Commissioner Race Gets Going

Finally! I tell you this July primary business is tough on us political junkies. It was sad to watch May 4, which should have been the date of our primary, come and go with only the thought of an election in the air.

A few newcomers will be challenging the two incumbent members of the Orange County Commision this year. Since this is such a "liberal" community (ha ha) most of the excitement will be played out in the primary election since the Democrats always win the general race in November. (Anyone know how long this consistency dates back? Have I asked that before?)

However, we usually have one brave Republican (or Indepdendent/Green) attempt to challenge the hegemony, and this year is no exception. Jamie Daniels will be making his second attempt for this office. So far he has no primary opposition for the Republican nomination. Here is what I know about him so far (thanks, Google): he is 32; ran for commisioner in 2002; lives at 617 Sinai Circle, Hillsborough, 27278, 919-225-6795; served on the Technology Plan Committee in 2000 for Orange County Schools; practices Ninjitsu (The Art of the Ninja) at Hillsborough Bujinkan Dojo; and has almost no chance of being elected to the Orange County Commissioners. (That wasn't so hard was it? Ask yourself why this is more information than you get from paid journalists.)

Another recently-announced challenger is Democrat Pam Hemminger. According to the Chapel Hill Herald: Pam is 44, married to a UNC professor, has four children in the city school system, opposes merger (shock!), is an advocate of parks and of more public input regarding them, is a member of the board of Rainbow Soccer and of the Ephesus Elementary School Governance Council.

And the third challenger so far is Valerie Foushee, a CHPD employee and Chapel Hill-Carboro School Board Member who we have already been chatting about for a while now. She has not yet officially filed for office.

There are five members of the Orange County Commission, but the seats are staggered so that only 2 or 3 are elected every two years to their four-year terms. This year both incumbents - Margaret Brown and Moses Carey - intend to run to to keep their seats. I'm sure we'll hear lots more about them later.

Again, the Democratic primary on July 20 is the one to watch. We will have at least four candidates vying for two nominations. Candidate filing is open until this Friday so this could get even more interesting.

P.S.: You must register by June 25 to vote in the primary. Contact the Orange County Board of Elections.



Regarding the CH Herald.... I'd be disappointed in a columnist who routinely spoke to local issues and left no idea of where they stood. As a candidate in the past, I have at times been frustrated by signed columns. But the CHH does a darn good job, I'd say, in creating space for all interested views to print their minds.


If I hire pen and ink communications how many pages in the Chapel Hill Herald of good free press will I be guaranteed each week, does anyone know? Can I get both forms at one place?


I stand by my postings; not sure how you interpreted them. The specific item you reference to me was about school merger in a thread of merger discussion by many. It was not intended to attach one issue to Foushee and Hemminger.

On the other hand, at least I knew where these two candidates stood on an issue. Where are Brown and Carey on solving the issue of equal funding for Orange Co. students? That's right, I forgot, their solution is merger.

As you state, a major element of the dialogue being posted is about merger - - - a natural reaction to the bombshells the incumbents commissioners threw out.

Regardless, my consistent point is that Foushee and Hemminger are outstanding candidates, with or without merger as an issue. And in fact, what you point out regarding the importance each places on the need for improved communication and decision making are EXTREMELY important, NOW. These primciples are what representative government is all about. I'm glad FOUSHEE and HEMMINGER have made such principles a major part of their campaign!

And, I agree with you, it will indeed take more than changing out a couple of commissioners to accomplish these lofty goals. But hey, it's a start I'm willing to support vs.the status quo.

In terms of the incumbents, they need to take their lumps. The whole "" initiative grew from a group of frustrated citizens; truly grassroots and not at the behest of the candidates. These are citizens interested in good government...involved citizens. Sounds like a good thing to me, and not something to use to criticize two strong contenters for the commission.

I hope you will consider voting for FOUSHEE and HEMMINGER on July 20th.


Thanks Paul - is a lot of fun.. You have the best informational posts.

What I find really interesting is that Jean Bolduc's company

Pen and Ink communications appears to host and design

both Margaret Brown's web site and Steve Halkiotis' too.

And guess what she rights positive columns for both in the Herald.

Mr. Ray Gronberg/Neil Often do have any policies about paid consultants writing columns that benefit their employers?

Are there any conflict of intererst guidelines at the herald?

His relationship with the two challengers was not clear to me before. I knew he endorsed them, but the fact that he hosts their websites makes a difference to me. The bi-directionality of the relationship says loads. I was berating myself over spending so much time here today and for being so vocal. It paid off--in an unexpected way. Thanks to whoever Public Records may be.

Glad someone can use whois ;-> But seriously this seems to be no secret, at home page, both sites as well as several schools sites are listed as being there with nice links. Obviously Mark Peters has a position in the race and candidates he supports. His postings here and his site hardly attempt to keep that hidden.

Terri --

the signs do not legally belong to any candidates and are "not authorized by" any candidates. They do not own them.

Legally they can not be removed by any one of the other candidates nor would we listen to anyone to remove them. They are legally placed and within the time frame allowed by the Town's jurisdiction.

It is political speech and you are welcome to pay for your own signs.

The web sites of two candidates were registered by the same individual and are hosted on the same server as



Whois Server:


Name Server: DNS8.NETLL.COM

Status: ACTIVE

Updated Date: 04-mar-2004

Creation Date: 04-mar-2004

Expiration Date: 04-mar-2006


Mark Peters

104 Grainger Lane

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

United States



Whois Server:


Name Server: DNS8.NETLL.COM

Status: ACTIVE

Updated Date: 03-may-2004

Creation Date: 03-may-2004

Expiration Date: 03-may-2006


Mark Peters

104 Grainger Lane

Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514

United States

It is doing a diservice to the challengers for county commission seats to paint them as single issue candidates.

School merger has public hot under the collar because it has been handled so poorly by the current commission, using devisive rhetoric and approach with the school boards. People are just plain tired of it, and are more involved, only in part because of this issue.

Both challengers bring needed diversity to the commission. And, have complementary skills and experience which will result in a more thoughtful and participative approach to issues of the environment and development.

Mr. Clapp,

You should refresh yourself on your own postings in which you made the two challengers sound as if they are one issue candidates (that issue being education/merger):

In fact, the majority of posts on this thread are related to merger--including blasts against school board candidates. Of course, there is that small discussion about your political affiliation, but that too was about merger (republicans don't support tax increases).

For a while, I thought the merger issue was dead, but then I drove around Chapel Hill and found that the two challengers appear to be running together as an anti-merger ticket. Of course, those signs could come from or some other issue drive group/individual rather than from the candidates themselves, but I haven't heard of the candidates asking for them to be removed.

The other issues listed on the challengers websites are: improved decision making, better communications, environmental support, more soccer fields. I gotta say except for the environmental protection issue, I don't see those as issues to elect a county commissioner on. Even when we talk about environmental protection or economic development, we have to factor merger into the discussion since no one has any informed thoughts on how a significant new tax would impact land ownership.

Communications and decision making are certainly important--but it's gonna take more than a couple of new commissioners to make that happen. On top of which, I haven't noticed the communications from the CHCCS school board to be particularly effective. I'd like to think otherwise, but it seems like the commissioner election is all about merger to me.


You make the assumption though that an additional district tax for county residents will solve all disparities (although we don't really know that there are disparities) between the two systems. Where's the data? Where's the data that says all children in CHCCS receive a significantly better education than those in OCS due to their additional funding? Do you equate funding with opportunity?

Where's the data that says an additional tax on the rural population of Orange Co will not have a detrimental impact on the environment? I've heard county employees say that don't think it will, but I haven't seen any data or even any attempts to investigate the question.

Also, you say "elected officials need to take stands that they believe are right for the county. Yes, some times those stand cost votes." I would say that Moses Carey has done what you are suggesting. He's taken a stand and may lose his seat as a result of that stand. Yet, you are not advocating for him. DISCLAIMER: I do not know Moses Carey, am not on his re-election team, have donated no money to his campaign.

In fact, you are attacking the entire body of commissioners for their failure to support one attempt by the districts to collaborate. Did the commissioners really not support the initiative or did they just not provide additional funding for it? The fact that the merger issue had already been raised 2 years ago when the initiative was suggested does not convince me that the school boards are really all that interested in collaboration--especially since they waited over 15 years to pursue that recommendation from the 1985 study.

I agree with you that the process is flawed. But the flaw started long before this current board of commissioners was in office and the flaw extends to the two schools districts and their boards of education. That's why I have been so unwilling to take the funding/merger reports from these bodies as fact. And why I don't think the merger issue should be a consideration in deciding who to vote for. Unfortunately, some of the candidates have taken positions against merger while advocating for improving decision making processes and communications making it nearly impossible to separate their platforms from the merger issue.

The school systems have been working together for some time actually. There are a number of areas were there is definitive collaboration.

In the particular case that I am defining, the school systems were 1) requesting money to develop a model and plan (by using an outside experience mediator) and 2) requesting the commissioner's active participation in the process. The school systems wanted to go further than they had ever gone before. They also wanted to define a communication model.

Again, I will state this issue of "an election is held and momentum is lost" is smoke. The district tax for Orange Country could have initiated long ago without being in the held up by an election.

Additionally, elected officials need to take stands that they believe are right for the county. Yes, some times those stand cost votes.

Additionally, it is the responsbility of the commissioners (like other officials) to explore an issue in a constructive and definitive way. It is their responsiblity to define a constructive process where all parties are included equally manner. That process should include the review of other counties that have mergered. In fact, there is a wealth of information about problems/resolutions in other county school mergers (including academic studies)

That is my point.... They failed in that process. This has not been the first time that the process has broken down.

Jeez, more emotional rhetoric--without a fact to go on. The current commission cannot even study how a merger could occur and what impacts it would have because they don't have a majority vote. Imagine that--can't even study the problem in any depth yet it's the major topic of discussion in the community. This is supposed to be an informed electorate. What's the problem with supporting a serious investigation--includng the impact additional taxes would have, what kind of bussing might occur, what kind of cost savings might/might not occur in a single system, etc. instead of all these predictions sans facts?

I'd fully support a study as to what cost savings might be realized as well as a study of effeciency of spending of tax payer dollars.

However, NEITHER of these components is going to be studied in the only one currently commissioned.

That is the whole point serious relevant studys are not being done -- nor is it clear the public really wants it.

Dr. Grument is listed in the phonebook anyone can ask her what will be in the study is is of limited funds, duration and scope.

I agree with RealStudyIsNotHappening - those are indded the "facts." It is hard to have an objective study as is suggested by Terri when at least the two incumbents have made up their mind on merger.

Another couple of "facts" on the issue of objectivity...(1) the study Margaret Brown pushed for, and is now occuring with UNC, was started by her without serious consultation with the two respective school boards, and (2) these school boards have no role in the study.

Many of the "facts," on their surface, warrant a resolution on the real issue by the commissioners - - - read my lips - - - FUNDING LEVELS FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM - - - the current incumbents continue to cloud the issues by not addressing this matter.

The public education issue reflects just one of the concerns many have with current County Commission leadership. There are others...a. communication, b. public safety, c. development/smart growth...on and on.

I agree with RealStudyIsNotHappening - those are indded the "facts." It is hard to have an objective study as is suggested by Terri when at least the two incumbents have made up their mind on merger.

Another couple of "facts" on the issue of objectivity...(1) the study Margaret Brown pushed for, and is now occuring with UNC, was started by her without serious consultation with the two respective school boards, and (2) these school boards have no role in the study.

Many of the "facts," on their surface, warrant a resolution on the real issue by the commissioners - - - read my lips - - - FUNDING LEVELS FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM - - - the current incumbents continue to cloud the issues by not addressing this matter.

The public education issue reflects just one of the concerns many have with current County Commission leadership. There are others...a. communication, b. public safety, c. development/smart growth...on and on.

The other "fact" is that candidates are campaigning for a job on the basis of an issue on which they do not have complete facts. I am not advocating for any particular candidate; but it concerns me to see all the anti-merger candidate campaign signs when there was a study in 1986 that recommended merger and no study has been done since to negate that recommendation. Maybe the UNC study won't be complete--but why shouldn't we wait until we have some 'facts' to make such an important decision? The best information delivery I have seen on merger comes from the No Merger group and they are clearly a group who took a position and then found the facts to support that position. The county has put out a lot of information, most of which is difficult to access since it is presented as PowerPoint slides, but where's the data on what a merged system might look like? Right now there's a straw man image of CHCCS children being bussed 50 miles a day to sit in a classroom full of farm children.

I am not arguing in one way or another about any candidate or merger/no merger. I am simply asking why the citizens of this highly educated community are so willing to take political positions without a clear picture of the alternative choices.

Just to clarify a few items. The 1985 study actually had four recommendations. But, it did not recommend merger at that time.

Two of the recommendations were:

1) Greater collaboration between the two school systems

2) Equalize the funding.

Equalize of the funding between the two school system could have been (and was not) addressed by the commissioners long ago. There were a number of suggestions to put the district tax for Orange County on the ballot (most recently made by Keith Cook).

None of these suggestion were taken up by the commissioners.

Both school boards asked two years ago to begin a formalized process to define a communication model and collaboration plan. That was also rejected by the commissioners. This process would have been facilitiated by an independent party - Dr. Philip Boyle (who is known for bringing different governmental bodies together in collaboration).

When Moses suggested merger, country staff and the school systems were instructed to pull together a significant amount of data regarding merger (in six months). The school systems stated that six months was a very short period of time to pull together sufficient data for a complete merger study. Most merger studies that have taken place, have taken between 1 to 3 years (most 3 years). The school system comments was ignored. There was additional information that the school system suggested to be gathered. That was ignored.

The current committee defined by Commissioner Brown has nothing to do with merger. It is a study that is to addresses educational policy. A definition that significantly extends into the statutory responsibility of the school boards.

I believe that the problem here is one of process. The commissioner pulled together ideas about merger in too short a period of time. They rejected a logical and requested plan to develop a communication model between the district (recommended and suggested by the 1985 study). They needlessly paniced the public because they did not define, or research the facts about merger. They did not put together a committee of diverse parties to study merger and its impacts. They paniced as they approached the election because of the natural response from the public (given their poor preparation and delivery of an idea).

From the conversations from them (on record) that I have heard is that several of them have already made up their mind.

Spending $25,000 on a committee that does not study merger, where the definition of the committee's charge passes into the charge to the school boards is poor process and poor use of taxpayer money.

I agree with you that a thoughtful process on merger (built upon the information gathered from the 1985 study) should be undertaken. I believe that a communication model should have been defined so that the process would have been owned by all parties. However, the commissioner has failed in the development and delivery of either of those processes.

I am supporting a poliltical candidate (Valerie Foushee) because I believe that reasonable and measured process is critical for good government. Commissioner Brown has proven on a number of occasions (merger being only one) to have not demostrated either good process or resaonable government. This sad for me to say because I supported Commissioner Brown in her first election to the seat.

Just to get off of merger as the only issue in this race for a moment.

At a recent forum, candidates for county commissioner debated whether there had been any delay in funding parks projects supported by voters in the 2001 bond referendum.

Yes, there was delay, as you can discover by looking at the schedule of bond sales approved by the commissioners in September 2002 and updated most recently at the commissioners meeting on May 5th (see the county website). Back in 2002 eight different parks and open space projects were scheduled for bond funding this spring. However, on May 5th all bond sales were canceled because the projects had not progressed sufficiently to warrant the sales. The money was available; it was just not spent. The incumbents missed a chance to sell bond at historically low interest rates, and now the rates have already started to rise.

Citizens have complained about delays for Twin Creeks Park (Chapel Hill District Park near Eubanks Road), Fairview Park (Hillsborough), and North Human Services Center Park (Cedar Grove District Park), and also the lack of plans for additional soccer fields except for the ones near Mebane.

The problem Gloria is that no one knows if merger will actually solve the problems outlined in the 1985 study--communications, collaboration, and funding. As I recall the study said 1985 was not the time to pursue merger but that it appeared to be the best long term solution for the county. In preparation for the inevitable, the study recommended implementing steps that would lessen the impact of merger, such as collaboration between the districts and equalized funding.

Since no action has been taken in the past 20 years, the funding disparities has grown, but the community has changed significantly. At this time, no one knows if funding inequities are creating a real problem or a perceived problem. How do we know that the funding that goes to CHCCS district really makes a difference in children's learning? If it doesn't why would we set that as the benchmark for OCS funding? The educational research shows that funding does not equal quality. The UNC study is working from that basis--it's looking at *opportunity* rather than funding. Some kind of impact study should also be done, IMHO.

I cannot/will not try to justify any actions by the commission on the schools boards' attempt to collaborate but I would ask why the two systems need the commissioners permission to work together?

I went to a forum and asked Moses Carey why this funding/merger issue was still unresolved after 20 years. He said that there was no consensus (needed 3 votes) to pursue the recommendations from the 1985 report. He also said they can't study the impacts merger would have without the 3 votes. NOTE: 3 votes to study the problem; not to pursue merger. Carey said further that every time the group of commissioners gets to the point where they understand action needs to be taken, an election is held and momentum is lost. If anyone, citizen or commissioner, has a different story, I'd like to hear it.

Actually - the commissioners do have one thing they do control and could do to limit busing.

Build schools in Town at the time of needing them.

However, the current commissioners record of having schools built in Town when needed is less than stellar.

Nickle and Dimed is not just a book, it is how the Town school board is treated and contributes (not the only reason) as to why schools are vastly delayed.

So yes the commissioners affect one aspect - funding and building of schools -- that could limit busing.

But it is hard to believe their past record on this will not be indicative of the future.

So vote them out before they bus our kids all over the county, even though they don't have the authority to bus kids around?

Let's bring the mountain to Muhammed instead.

Whether you love or are not found of any elected official you start by hoping they shoot straight and are transparent as to their true intentions. There could be a lot more of this by lots of officials - not just - the county commissioners - but you can't have it both ways. The only way the county commissioners can guarantee a smaller busing zone is by not enlarging it via merger. I am all for the southern part near chatham being incorporated into the district to shorten thier bus rides but legally they'd have to pay the district tax (no way around that) and none of the commissioners (not just the incumbents) seem particularly interested in this...

Dear Val S

This is exactly why it was so interesting that both Commissioner Brown and Carey stated in the Senior Center that no busing needed to occur with merger. That no busing needed to happen for many years. HMMMM.

If you have one part of the school system packed and the other part that is not, how do you achieve merger without signficant redistricting and significant busing.

But, maybe that bit of unaccurate information is like what type of car that one drove to the Sierra forum.

Maybe that is what is considered "truth in politics". Don't forget to vote for the truthful politician on July 20th.

For all those who care about the law the county commissioners have ZERO authority over what the school board does in terms of busing philosophy.

I find it hard to believe they can tell the seniors at the carol woods center with a straight face there will be no busing when they don't have legal authority to make the busing districts to begin with.

When there is a lotta space in one area and another area is overcrowded ... kids will be bused and the county commissioners are misleading the public at least to let them think that decision is in their realm.

May I bring up another point not currently addressed. If the whole county merges, any child based upon racial, or socioeconomic differences, or any other reason deemed OK by those making the decision can be bused from one end of the county to the other as is currently occurring in Wake County. This is truely in no childs best interest. This is the biggest reason that I could not vote for merger. Thank you.

Val S

Since we are talking about voting or not voting. Let look at few records of voting.

Carey and Brown have talked about Fair Funding of school However, neither of them seconded two motions by Commissioner Gordon recently which would reduce funding disparity in the schools.

The first motion was to raise the ad valorem tax by a penny and lower the city district tax by 0.7 cents, thereby starting to reduce differences in funding with very little tax impact.

The second motion was to start preparing a countywide supplemental tax ballot question which could be considered for inclusion on the November ballot. This motion was not seconded.

Maybe Brown and Carey were out of the room during that discusssion before the subsequent vote. Then, again maybe they were out checking where their challenger's signs were.

> All new candidates should be upset with the recent action concering sign removal.

Yes, I find this very troubling and I have a lot of questions:

Why is the county ordinance more restrictive than the ordinances in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough? I believe the answer is that the county ordinance was not meant to apply to temporary political signs, but rather to permanent signs. This is why it has never been enforced.

The planning department apparently picked a middle ground to be enforced. Were incumbents given a heads up on the "rules to be enforced", which are different from the actual ordinance? Were any discussions or decisions in a county commissioner meeting used as a basis for enforcement? If so, was this info relayed to candidates and county PACs? (the actual minutes take 3 or 4 months to be posted, so it's not like anyone could read up on the discussion in a timely manner)

Over a week ago, asked the planning department to notify them via email if any of the NoMerger signs were pulled up and they were not notified even though apparently TEN signs were present at the planning dept Friday evening. There was also apparently ONE Moses Carey sign, ZERO Margaret Brown signs, THIRTY FIVE Pam Hemminger signs, SIX Val Foushee signs. When was each candidate and county PAC notified? Were some notified and others not?

Were there complaints about specific signs or were the locations and signs chosen completely initiated by the Planning Dept?



"Because I don't want to know the answer?" That's a trivial reponse. Actually the answer is less important than the fact that it happened without explanation or concern.

Me knowing the answer is not the point. This is a public issue that apparently nearly everyone is willing to overlook. I don't understand how a veteran elected official can stand aside on an issue that has been attracting so much attention and the consensus is that it's of no concern. Maybe some of you could tell me why you are so comfortable with her not voting on this issue?

It's no surprise the county commissioners are leaning on staff to protect their friends...including their colleagues..

of course having no advertising /press /signs always favors incumbents... It's not a secret Halkiotis was lambasting the planning department....

I'd say make sure you put your signs next to the incumbents to protect you signs....But what if you want to put out more signs than the incumbents ..I guess you can't do that.

What is a bigger and more important question is are the county commissioners leaning on the county manager to not raise the district tax and other serious long term policy issues?

Since we (at Mark's helm) get to ask elected officials about what they think in cyberspace....

I'd Like to Ask Barry Jacobs why he thinks the lottery of all things SHOULD be put to a vote but something like merger should not. Does this democratic streak run with the compassionate conservative one and depend on which district or which office you are running in?

I'm not sure that either subject would make for a valid referendum. I assure you that many NC attorneys (including the ones who are most knowledgable about this matter) are in agreement with the County's attorney that NC law permits referenda on the subject of imposing a new tax only (or approving General Obligation Bonds - which is about the same thing).

However, the General Assembly will probably do just as they please on the lottery and they can modify whatever state rule they want to about referenda. On the other hand, the Orange County Commission cannot change NC referendum law.

Having said all that, I guess you might be able to pose certain tax district issues as referenda and then have those same tax district issues determine the outcome of the merger issue. Example:

Shall Orange County extend the current city school tax district to encompass all properties in Orange County?

The above question might be a lawful ballot issue. And it amounts to the same thing as asking:

Shall OCS and CHCCS merge?

Let's ask the philosophical issue behind all that, though: Why should these issues be put to a popular vote? There might be a good answer, but please note that hardly any other legislative issue is put before the voters in North Carolina. Shall we have a statewide referendum on a death penalty moratorium? How about the NC Defense of Marriage Act? Or how about . . . but I digress.

PS Once again, as teacher/mom says, why don't you just email the candidate and ask? Because you don't actually want to know the answer? I found Barry's email address on the Orange County website: - it took about 10 seconds to find, but I have DSL . . .

All new candidates should be upset with the recent action concering sign removal. The Planning Dept took action and I'm sure at the direction of the County Commissioners to remove some campaign signs. They used the excuse that they were enforcing a sign ordinance which has never been enforced and to enforce it in the final stages of a campaign.. Isn't it interesting that for the first time in many years the County Commissioners race is probably close and also the House seat in the 50th district.

Of course all the incumbents certainly have more name recogintion so by removing unknown candidates signs those incumbents certainly maintain a distinct name recogition advantage over newcomers. This just continues to show how power hungry the CC are.I think most political observers agree that signs do make a difference so look at the incumbents advantage. Personally I think the 30 days of sign wars are amusing and also looks like a lot of effort put forward.

I hope all voters recoginze what is going on.


Dear Teacher/Mom -

I think you've made that suggestion to Mark numerous occasions in this dialogue. My guess is that he simply doesn't want to ask her directly; I know of no other reason to keep asking the rest of us over and over again about something we aren't worried about.

Valerie is honest and transparent on issues.

Maybe Mark prefers some sort of conspiracy theory.

Maybe he should ask Margaret Brown or Moses Carey why the highly touted SAPCO legislation has actually been used by the Commissioners to hold up important decisions at their level. That would be a more productive dialogue.

I agree with you, Mark. It is a fair question that seems very important to you. Since it is sooooo important to you and, as you say, hardly anyone else thnks it is important, why don't you email her, as I suggested before, and get your question asnwered once and for all!!!

The Emperor has no clothes - except this emperor is not a pretty sight.

And that Emporer is NOT in a pumpkin, she is in a big deluxe "Carriage" drawn by many horses. :)

and gets half a page of free propaganda twice a week in the herald sun.

I still think it's fair to ask why Foushee abstained on such a prominent vote. It's also very strange that hardly anyone thinks this is important.

differentiation and gifted kinda pale in comparison to 5-10 years of flat per pupil spending under merger. I'd say that vote is much less important for education in town than the commissioner's Votes. If you don't like a programmatic choice you can change it over time unlike school districts. It can be fixed or changed whatever choice of words you'd like.

did anyone read the article about the Hispanic students in the Town schools and how no one asked them how they would be harmed under merger? It was in the chapel hill news a couple months ago but I guess the Hispanic population in Carroboro doesn't count as much as native speakers in the County.

The story about the party by Jean B in the CH Herald just puts everything in perspective. The OC Commissioners ,make no mistake about it are a unit that operate as one power group. If you have ever watch one of their meetings on TV or in person you would see a group that really thrives on being power hungry. Instead of listening to what the citizens want they try to solve the rest of the states problem. Just recently Comm. Halkiotis went on a rage about something he thought he knew something about. There is talk of building a NEW road in durham and making it a toll road.

Comm Halkiotis didn't get all the facts and thought they were talking about making one of the current roads a toll road. Wrong. Wasn't there a problem with the Cedar Ridge School and ball fields. Who is in charge of that? I think we all know.

This is just some of the examples of why we need change on the Board of CC starting this year and continuing in 2 more years.

This group needs to be spilt up. There are to many years of the same people running our county. We need some fresh ideas and new faces. If you think the taxes are high now just wait a few years when we have to completely fund all the programs and when all the bonds start up. You're really not going to believe how much taxes will go up.

Look at Raleigh> No tax increase for 12 years. Orange Co even with all the growth and its going to slow down has raised taxes every year. If you also look at how much cash Orange Co. has on hand I think its just above what the state mandates. What if we had a couple of bad years?


Hey is there a public interest story in how much would be added to our tax rate by issuing bonds to do all those VOTER APPROVED things.

What would be the debt service and principal on these bonds in theory?

Is that why nothing gets done on voter approved projects? Fear of taxes to pay for the bonds? Maybe the commissioners on their own can just scrap whatever they want.

When's the last time the county has issued any bonds??

Hey is there a public interest story in how much would be added to our tax rate by issuing bonds to do all those VOTER APPROVED things.

What would be the debt service and principal on these bonds in theory?

Is that why nothing gets done on voter approved projects? Fear of taxes to pay for the bonds? Maybe the commissioners on their own can just scrap whatever they want.

When's the last time the county has issued any bonds??

I don't have much to add, but would like to reference the postings above by Gloria Faley (Go girl!) and Voter - - - very solid comments. As a long term registered unaffiliated voter who believes that neither main party is perfect, I'm thrilled that the July 20th Primary will likely see active participation by many in the election process.

My key points are as follows:

1.Some early postings on this site were raising questions about where Valerie and Pam stood on the issues - well, they are out there now in full view...consensus builders, environmentally friendly, experienced public servants, long term residents who care about the County...all solid

2.Both are more than one issue candidates despite what their detractors have tried to paint...improved communication, the environment, development issues, transportation...

3.They have drive and energy. I attended the Sierra Club, NGK and Carolwoods forums - Pam and Valerie lit-up the room with their energy and knowledge. The other candidates were just happy to answer forum questions after Pam and Valerie made their own comment..."I agree with those two..." was often the refrain!

And the last thing I've got to say? I'm tired of the public getting lectured and looked down on by Margaret Brown. She does it in nearly every forum I've observed her. At the Sierra Club, she did not like one of the questions and said so. At the Carolwoods forum, she criticized the way information had been formatted. Routinely, in public hearings and forums...she removes her glassess, looks down at the audience, and proceeds to talk down to the public. Margaret Brown typically ends the session with the last word, and makes the public feel like idiots.

P.S. This issue of Valerie abstaining on a School Board vote is such a "red herring!" She has been a leader in reducing the achievement gap for minority student, and has at times taken unpopular positions; she is hardly one to shrink from a challenge.

In light of FLisaNameCaller & Paul's postings, I feel like I should clarify...

My statements yesterday were not intended to suggest that Republican support for a Democratic candidate is a "death nail" or even necessarily a negative thing for a campaign. I commend leaders who are able to appeal to and represent a wide base. My concerns arise, not from the idea that candidates in the Democratic primary may have positions favored by members of both the Republican & Democratic parties, but from the idea that Democratic candidates are actively collaborating &/or strategizing with an extreme right-wing group. I was only trying to convey that, as a Democrat, an alliance between any potentially-elected official in Orange County and "Citizens for a Sound Economy" gives me pause.

Where have you heard that CSE is working with any candidates? This is the first I've heard of it.

Mr. Newton,

It is nice to see you join the discussion. If you would read the earlier posts you would see that folks were talking about the soccer fields to be built next to the 3rd middle school in Efland. Very few folks even know where the soccer fields will be built so they refer to Mebane or Efland. The site that the school system and county purchased is SOUTH of I-85 which for those new folks in the area this is considered the dividing line between the north and south.

I perfer neither north or south but rural and city. Rural include the communities like Efland, White Cross, Orange Grove, Cedar Grove, Caldwell and etc. whereas northern orange does not include all these communities.

I find a few points about the incumbents to quite interesting.

1) Brown talks about smarth growth, but buys land for a school and park away from dense population. Something that the Smarth Growth state committees discourage.

2) The school system asked for a committee to define school facilities guidelines - that included smarth growth, urban school, green schools. That committee never completed its work under the chairmanship of Brown. She was more interested in making sure that the school system build air conditioned bus stops for the southern high school. If you know what you are supposed to build for good reason, you build better. It makes sense to me. It is very interesting that minutes were never officially taken at any of the "Smarth Growth" meeting with the schools.

3) The definition of the Twin Creek school/park site still languishs. Good thing the school system bought land in the south end of town (which Brown did not like) or by 2007 we would be stacking children like lumber. If the commissioners continue to drag their feet on money, we might still be stacking children like lumber. But then again, languishing on county projects appears to be a theme. Look at the aquatic center.

4) It is okay to build one middle school in the county on over 100 acres of land, but you can't build three schools on 40 some acres of land in the city. Does that make sense? Jacobs and Brown wanted urban schools on Twin Creek. Does that match the hay bales in the area? Is there public bus transporation planned for that area? Is there a definition of what an urban school is? Are we playing the game and changing the rules at the same time?

5) It is okay to pay $25,000 for a Educational Excellance committee to find ways to collaborate. But, when the schools asked to form a committee to collaborate two year ago with Dr. Philip Boyle and build on the 1985 report, that was rejected. We could have real working constructive collaboration now rather than playing the committee "delay" game. Interesting that this "Educational Excellance" committee does not complete its work until after the primary and general election. Interesting use of time. Interesting use of money.

I say it is time for change. It is time for sensible, sound, honest, and reasoned government. I am voting for Hemminger and Foushee.

I heard someone was talking about another garbage dump in Orange County at one of the forums and I thought all this was decided years ago? I think I missed something! Thanks for info if y'all have any, or can point me in the right direction!



IV -

Most people in town strongly believe in taxing themselves for green space, energy efficiency, connectivity, free buses , EDUCATION etc.... (that's why they pass her at about 60-70 %)

Most people in the county are not for bond referenda and taxes to provide the same service. (that's why they fail there (60-70%)

Are we right --the righteous ones -- are they just plain wrong -- the unrighteous ones ?

I don't think there is any right or wrong particularly when people have CHOICE knowing the rules of the game before they make a major decision like purchasing a home..

I prefer to let people make there own decisions .. including republicans who should realize they don't get much by being swallowed up by the Town residents...



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