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Orange County residents show up in numbers to fight tax increase
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Newspaper Article

Orange County residents show up in numbers to fight tax increase

BY Jesse James Deconto

Bryan Berger never imagined the tax revolt that began in his Carrboro living room would draw an overflow crowd to a 350-person meeting hall three weeks later.Organized through word-of-mouth and $1,700 worth of yard signs, fliers, newspaper ads and robocalls, the ``Orange Tax Revolt'' ballooned so big in the Big Barn on Monday night that leaders are looking for another venue for the meeting March 16.``It just made me feel so good all over,'' said Berger, who was just one of those donating money to the cause. ``To me, it's the best 200 bucks I ever spent.''

02/25/2009
Raleigh to Revisit Budget Cuts
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Raleigh to Revisit Budget Cuts

BY Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

RALEIGH -- City Manager Russell Allen will take another look at his proposed 2003-04 budget to see where the city could cut programs and projects, likely equal to about the amount a proposed solid-waste fee increase would raise. The City Council on Tuesday unanimously asked Allen for the report after a public hearing on the proposed budget that drew about a dozen speakers, including some who questioned a recommended spike in city fees. Last month, Allen proposed a $ 380.3 million budget with no change in the property tax rate. But faced with a bad economy, he proposed raising the solid-waste fee from $ 60 a year per household to $ 96 a year, the water rate 5 percent and the sewer rate 9 percent. He also proposed a new stormwater utility fee. Council member Kieran Shanahan originally suggested asking each department to come up with across-the-board 5 percent cuts, which would total about $ 19 million. But Allen said he'd rather look at each department's budget to come up with possible cuts. Council member James West said cuts should be tied to a specific number, such as the amount increased fees would raise. After Tuesday's meeting, Allen said he planned to target the amount raised from the increase in the solid-waste fee, which would likely generate about $ 3.3 million annually. "I will ask each department to try to think about things that they consider lower priority," Allen said. Raleigh's public hearing Tuesday night was far different from a similar hearing in Durham on Monday that drew hundreds to complain about that city's proposed budget. In Raleigh, state Rep. Russell Capps, a Raleigh Republican who is president of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, and Jonathan Hill, state director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a national antitax group, called on councilors not to raise taxes or fees. Others came to ask the city for more. Representatives of the Burning Coal Theatre Co. lobbied for $ 200,000 in the next couple of years to renovate an auditorium. Mary Freeman, CEO of the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities, asked for $ 50,000 -- which is $ 32,000 more than recommended -- to help the center continue services for children. And city police and firefighters asked for better wages.

06/04/2003
Lang Looks to Downsize
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Lang Looks to Downsize

BY Lorenzo Perez, J. Andrew Curliss, Aisling Swift

If you're in the market for a pink, lakeside mansion in Cary, give Mayor Glen Lang a call. With his eldest son entering his senior year of high school and preparing to leave home for college, Lang said Friday he and his wife are looking to downsize to someplace smaller. "As the kids leave, we'll need a lot less space," Lang said. The home has 6,600 square feet of heated space, according to Wake County real estate records. That might be more than most families need, but Lang said he has already gotten a few nibbles. It's listed at about $ 1.4 million, Lang said, so he expects it will take at least a few months to sell. The mayor insisted he has no plans to move out of Cary. "I'm not going anywhere," he said. HIGH SCHOOL DAYS: Raleigh City Council member Philip Isley headed home this weekend, where he'll add some circumstance to the pomp of his high school's graduation. Isley is the commencement speaker. He was polishing his speech Friday for graduates of the private Carlisle School in his hometown of Martinsville, Va., and it got him to thinking of his experience there. Since 1974, every student at the school has been accepted to a college or university and the academics are rigorous, he said. "We were learning a foreign language in the third grade," Isley said. "We made speeches in the sixth, seventh and 12th grades." He said Latin and Greek mythology were other subjects. "I don't use my Latin," he said. "But if I ever made it onto 'Jeopardy!,' I'd be hell on Greek mythology." BUSY SIGNAL: The Durham County District Attorney's Office has found a way to handle calls from the media whenever a high-profile case comes its way. When anyone phones the main number, they are greeted with this message: "We are experiencing a high volume of calls. Please try your call again." And if you call the number for District Attorney Jim Hardin's secretary, she will politely transfer you to that recording. It's the same recording the media hears every time there's a high-profile case, and on Friday, when the body of missing cellist Janine Sutphen was identified, the office dusted off the recording again. POLITICAL TRAIL - THE JOHNSTON COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY'S executive committee will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Johnston Central Alumni Center, 1002 Massey St. in Smithfield. - AMERICANS MAKING A DIFFERENCE, a nonprofit civic education group, plans to hold a roundtable discussion on why many young people don't participate in politics. The event will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the auditorium of Richard B. Harrison Library, 1313 New Bern Ave. in Raleigh. - WAKE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS JOE BRYAN AND TONY GURLEY, along with County Manager David Cooke, will discuss the proposed county budget with the Wake chapter of N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy at 7 p.m. Thursday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center at the corner of Gorman Street and Western Boulevard in Raleigh. - THE WESTERN WAKE REPUBLICAN CLUB will hold its annual BBQ from noon to 3 p.m. June 7 at Apex Community Park.

05/31/2003
Meeting Without Media
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Meeting Without Media

BY T. Keung Hui, John Zebrowski, Aisling Swift

Wake County commissioners and school board members were so excited about having lunch together Thursday to discuss the school system's new education goal that they forgot to notify the media as the law requires. Neither elected board apparently followed the state Open Meetings Law's requirement that they give at least 48 hours notice for the session, stating the time, place and purpose of the meeting. Notice must be posted on a board's principal bulletin board or the door of the board's usual meeting place and also must be made to all media that submit written requests for notice. School officials said Friday they didn't have to notify the media because the lunch was set up by a panel (whose co-chairman is Orage Quarles III, president and publisher of The News & Observer) formed by the Wake Education Partnership to help come up with the goal. School officials also noted that commissioner Joe Bryan publicly announced the meeting at the Wake Education Summit on Thursday morning. During the get-together, the groups agreed over roast-beef sandwiches to work together on the new goal. The meeting drew five of the seven commissioners, seven of the nine school board members, County Manager David Cooke, Schools Superintendent Bill McNeal and other senior staffers. FAILING GRADE: Durham City Council member Tamra Edwards received an F on the local Police Benevolent Association's new political report card. It says she "misled" the chapter about her support for an independent grievance board for law enforcement officers to appeal disciplinary actions. Once she received the 588-member PBA chapter's endorsement and was elected in 1999, it says, she opposed the PBA on that issue. Despite her opposition, the grievance board was approved in March after City Manager Marcia Conner compromised. Other elected officials fared better. County Commission Chairwoman Ellen Reckhow received a C-, despite her support of the grievance board, after she opposed a version of the county budget that included raises for sheriff's deputies. Mayor Bill Bell and council member Lewis Cheek earned Bs. Council members John Best, Howard Clement and Cora Cole-McFadden got As. NEW POST: The Wake County Mayors' Association tapped Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly to serve on the Centennial Authority, which owns the RBC Center. Weatherly's four-year term on the authority will begin July 1. Wendell Mayor Lucius Jones is the other authority member selected by the mayors group. NEW OFFICERS: The N.C. Republican Party's 2nd Congressional District Convention elected these new officers: Chairman Dan Mansell of Selma, Vice Chairman Duane Royal of Clinton, Secretary Joey Powell of Dunn and Treasurer Janet Maynard of Lillington. POLITICAL TRAIL - WILLIAM SANDERS AND JUNE RIVERS of the SAS Institute will discuss the federal "No Child Left Behind" law at a $ 15 per person luncheon sponsored by the John Locke Foundation at noon Tuesday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center, 1101 Gorman St. in Raleigh. - RUTH EASTERLING, a former state representative from Charlotte, will be honored by Lillian's List of North Carolina at its 2004 campaign kickoff from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the home of Sally Wood Creech, 1514 St. Mary's St. in Raleigh. - MICHAEL WALDEN, an N.C. State University economist, will speak to the Wake County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy at 7 p.m. Thursday at the McKimmon Center.

05/03/2003
House's Tax Writers Choose to Resist Reductions
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House's Tax Writers Choose to Resist Reductions

BY Tim Simmons

Unwilling to increase state taxes on cigarettes, House lawmakers charged with assembling a balanced budget chose instead Tuesday to delay reductions in the sales tax and income taxes adding up to $ 384 million. The decision paves the way for the full House of Representatives to begin debate today on a $ 15 billion budget and greatly improves the chances of the bill reaching the Senate by the end of the week. The tax package crafted by the House Finance Committee would delay for two years a half-cent reduction in the sales tax, keeping it at 4.5 cents, and a half-percentage point reduction in the income tax rate -- from 8.25 percent to 7.75 percent -- for residents in the highest income tax bracket. Delaying the tax reductions was part of a plan put forward by Gov. Mike Easley in his recommended budget. The House panel, however, did not go along with other parts of Easley's plan. Those provisions would have delayed an increase in the child tax credit and delayed an increase in the standard deduction to eliminate the "marriage penalty" for couples who file tax returns jointly. During hours of debate Tuesday, members of the House tax-writing panel began arguing the merits of raising the cigarette tax by 45 cents and ended with an agreement to delay the planned tax reductions. As legislators debated the issue inside committee rooms, an antitax group, Citizens for a Sound Economy, rallied outside the Legislative Building. Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, said the key step in keeping the budget talks on schedule occurred Monday evening when Democratic House Speaker Jim Black invited several supporters of the tobacco tax into his office. At the meeting, Luebke told the speaker that at least a half-dozen members of the Finance Committee wanted a fair shot at winning approval for a cigarette rate hike before taking up other tax measures. Black agreed. Tuesday afternoon, supporters from health advocates to clergy lined up to support the bill, most saying a decrease in teen smoking that a tax increase would trigger made the proposal worthwhile regardless of budget implications. "This has nothing to do with being Republican, Democrat, conservative or liberal," said Jim Goodmon, chief executive of Capitol Broadcasting, which owns area CBS and Fox affiliates. "This isn't about politics. Kids are dying over this. If you had a billion-dollar surplus, you should be doing this." Opponents said they feared an increase could actually decrease revenue by driving down purchases in border counties and eliminating sales to out-of-state visitors who stop along North Carolina's highways specifically because tobacco is cheap here. Others said it wasn't the job of the lawmakers to force others to make healthy choices. "I didn't hear anybody mention personal responsibility in this debate," said Rep. Billy Creech, a Republican from Clayton. "What's next? Obesity is a problem. Maybe we ought to think about a tax of 50 cents on a burger or a Big Mac." Lacking the votes to win, the sponsor of the cigarette tax, Rep. Jennifer Weiss, a Cary Democrat, withdrew her bill. "We wanted a fair debate before we would lend our support to any other options. We got that debate," Luebke said afterward. Luebke and Weiss were not happy with the outcome, but both felt they had made progress merely by persuading lawmakers to consider a cigarette tax hike. North Carolina's tax on a pack of cigarettes was last increased in 1991. Only Kentucky and Virginia have lower rates. An increase to 50 cents a pack would generate about $ 260 million a year. After a brief afternoon recess, the House tax panel voted 22-13 to delay the tax reductions. Children's advocates complained that the spending plan still leaves them as much as $ 800 million short in critical areas, but no lawmaker suggested a larger tax package. Republicans offered little serious opposition, with some suggesting openly that they knew there was little they could do to stop the proposal. Without the votes to defeat the proposal, opponents were reduced to questioning and criticizing a variety of smaller fees of less than $ 250. The fees cover such services as day-care licensing, emergency medical services licensing and oversight of health-care facility construction. Rep. Sam Ellis, a Raleigh Republican, offered the only seriously debated amendment, which would have relieved EMS providers of additional fees by increasing the proposed fees to 16 hospitals or clinics authorized to perform abortions. His proposal would have raised fees to clinics from $ 700 each to $ 4,562 each. Ellis' amendment failed 16-19. "There are some things in this bill that I don't like either," said Rep. Joe Hackney, a Democrat from Orange County. "But it's the time of year when you get a proposal that's reasonably acceptable to most everyone, and you go with it." Tuesday night, the Rules Committee merged the spending and revenue plans into a budget bill that the full House will debate today. But Black and Republican Speaker Richard Morgan did some tinkering with the spending plan. They restored $ 590,000 that had been cut from the Center for Death Penalty Litigation. The center uses the money to train and assist private lawyers and public defenders representing poor people facing the death penalty. They also removed about $ 90,000 in cuts to economic development programs in the Commerce Department that assist minorities. Action on the state budget, which is about $ 700 million more than the current year's, is coming this legislative session much more quickly than in recent sessions. For those unaware of the typically glacial pace, Rep. David Miner, a Cary Republican, offered a history lesson before introducing the revenue package early in the evening. "It is April, and the House has a budget bill," he said. "This hasn't happened in 20 years." ### Staff writer Dan Kane contributed to this report. ### DELAY TAX CUTS? THEY WOULD A $ 15 billion spending plan expected to be voted on today by the state House proposes delaying tax cuts that would have taken place July 1. The plan would: - Delay a half cent reduction in the state's sales tax, keeping it at 4.5 cents for two years. Cost to taxpayers in the next fiscal year: $ 346.5 million. - Delay a half-percentage-point reduction in the state income tax rate -- from 8.25 percent to 7.75 percent -- for residents in the highest income tax bracket for two more years. The bracket covers individuals earning $ 120,000 or more and couples earning $ 200,000 or more. Cost to taxpayers in the next fiscal year: $ 37.5 million. ### Staff writer Dan Kane contributed to this report. ### PROPOSED FEE INCREASES Here are fee increases included in the state House of Representatives' spending plan. Except for the new ferry tolls, all fees would begin in the new fiscal year beginning July 1. - TOLLS FOR FERRIES. Four state ferries would begin charging tolls: Hatteras-Ocracoke, Bayview-Aurora, Cherry Branch-Minnesott and Currituck-Knotts Island. The tolls would be in the range of what three other ferries already charge, $ 1 for pedestrians to $ 45 for large vehicles. The new ferry tolls would start July 1, 2004. - LICENSING FEES for hospitals, nursing homes and group homes. The health-care facilities would pay license and regulatory fees between $ 250 and $ 950, and nearly all would pay an additional fee of $ 12.50 per bed. They also would face new construction fees, ranging from 10 to 20 cents per square foot. Family care homes and group homes would be assessed construction fees ranging from $ 100 to $ 275. - EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICE FEES. EMS personnel would pay a $ 90 credentialing fee. EMS providers would pay an annual $ 50 license fee per vehicle. EMS dispatch programs would pay $ 185 annually. Volunteer providers and personnel would be exempted. - CHILD-CARE LICENSING FEES. Child-care centers would pay an annual licensing fee ranging from $ 35 for those with fewer than 13 children to $ 400 for those with more than 100 children. - PAP SMEAR FEES. Local health departments and other state facilities would pay an additional $ 7 to have pap smear analysis conducted by the N.C. State Laboratory of Public Health. - OFF-ROAD DRIVING. People wanting to drive off-road vehicles at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area would pay a $ 40 annual fee.

04/16/2003
Odom proposes capital L
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Odom proposes capital L

BY J. Andrew Curliss, Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

After the convention center study committee narrowed its picks Wednesday for a new center's location to three downtown Raleigh sites, a good number of people hung around and studied a large map of the central city. They mulled the choices. Tossed around some ideas. Then City Council member John Odom separated the crowd and took over. He wasn't in favor of the third site choice, a large tract on the western edge of downtown next to some railroad tracks in a warehouse district. The other two still in the mix -- both just west of the existing center -- were fine. But Odom wants something creative. Maybe it would be good to fashion some combination of the two sites to the west into a third choice, he said. Raleigh does not need a long box of a convention center. Something L-shaped would work, he told the gathering. Ed Jones, a businessman and member of the study committee, was listening and nodding. "Yeah, John, you want something big and different," Jones said. "Like the Sydney Opera House." Odom responded: "I've never seen the Sydney Opera House. But if it's L-shaped, then I'm for it." SPEAKING OF ODOM: Count Bruce Spader as another candidate running to replace Odom, who has served on the council for a decade. Spader ran against Odom for the District B seat in 2001, winning nearly 23 percent of the vote. Since then, Spader has been appointed to city committees. Spader, a leader in the Brentwood neighborhood, said he plans to run a grass-roots campaign. "I am going to put the question to the active voters in District B whether or not they want me sitting down there or not," he said. John Knox, a former interim police chief; Jessie Taliaferro, a Planning Commission member; and Jeff Perkinson, a member of a city committee working to create a land-use plan for a section of Five Points, also have said they are considering a run for the seat, which represents an area that stretches from neighborhoods inside Raleigh's Beltline to Northeast Raleigh. Voters go to the polls Oct. 7. POLITICAL TRAIL - ROY COOPER, North Carolina's attorney general, is scheduled to speak to the Wake County Democratic Men at 6 p.m. Monday at Griffin's Restaurant, 1604 N. Market Drive in Raleigh. - DONNIE HARRISON, the new Wake County sheriff, will speak to Wake County Young Republicans at 7 p.m. Monday at Greenshields Brewery & Pub, 214 E. Martin St. in downtown Raleigh. - DAN GERLACH, Gov. Mike Easley's senior policy adviser for fiscal affairs, will speak about the budget situation to the Wake County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy at 7 p.m. Thursday at N.C. State University's Jane S. McKimmon Center, corner of Western Boulevard and Gorman Street.

02/08/2003
Garner ponders payment
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Garner ponders payment

BY Lorenzo Perez, Anne Blythe

The education task force that Garner Mayor Sam Bridges assembled with Cary Mayor Glen Lang picked a consultant Thursday night. Garner's aldermen still haven't decided, however, whether they want to help pay the consultant's $ 60,000 fee. The McKenzie Group, a Washington, D.C. firm, was selected to help craft a reform plan for Wake County Schools' student assignment policies. The elected officials, along with parents' groups, are taking a closer look at the school system's reassignment policies, including student diversity. The Cary Town Council has already agreed to use public money to help pay the consultant's fee, but the same request got a chillier response in Garner. Bridges says he plans on making another pitch to his board at its Jan. 21 meeting. Armed with more specifics about the consultant's plans, Bridges said, he hopes to get a more favorable response. "Mayor Lang and I talked about that briefly last night," Bridges said Friday. "And neither of us want the Town of Cary to have to pay for the consultant on its own. So I'm going to really work as hard as I can to persuade our board." After attending Thursday's task force meeting, Garner alderman Graham Singleton said his position has shifted on using town money for the consultant. "I'm much more open to it now than I was before," he said. NATIONAL NOTORIETY: ABC News crews were in Carrboro the week before Christmas asking a lot of questions of the mayor and several aldermen. The news team was preparing a segment on the federal Patriot Act and the strong stand the seven-member Board of Aldermen took last June. At a time when towns and cities across the country were passing resolutions "urging federal authorities to respect the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism," the Carrboro aldermen went a step further. They directed the town police department to continue to preserve residents' civil rights even if federal law enforcement officers, acting under the Patriot Act, authorized or requested such an infringement. The news crews asked Carrboro officials whether their action was merely a symbolic gesture. "They were just asking: 'Why Carrboro? What is it about this town? Does it really make a difference?'" said Alderman Mark Dorosin. On Dec. 23, several days after the TV news crews were in town, The New York Times published a story about the issue and gave Carrboro a prominent mention. The TV segment has not aired yet. One of the aldermen received an e-mail from a producer saying the news crews had not yet been able to interview Justice Department officials. Stay tuned. POLITICAL TRAIL - RALEIGH MAYOR CHARLES MEEKER will hold his monthly run with constituents at 8 a.m. today at Shelley Lake in Raleigh. - THE WAKE COUNTY CHAPTER OF N.C. CITIZENS FOR A SOUND ECONOMY will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center and hear from new Wake County commissioners about plans for the coming year and the county budget.

01/04/2003
Raleigh's Tangled Web Site
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Raleigh's Tangled Web Site

BY J. Andrew Curliss

After a decade of winning dozens of those "Best of" awards, Raleigh has come up a big loser. Brown University researchers ranked Raleigh's city Web site (www.raleigh-nc.org) as one of the worst among those of the 70 biggest cities nationwide. Raleigh's "e-government" efforts were in the same crowd as those in New Orleans, Norfolk, Va., and Detroit. "Good lord!" city spokeswoman Jayne Kirkpatrick said. "That's some tacky company." The Brown University study evaluated Web sites based on a 100-point scale, measuring the availability of information and services and the quality of citizen access, privacy, security, disability access and foreign language translation, among other features. Raleigh ranked 68th out of 70, down from 47th a year ago. Worst was New Orleans, then Norfolk. Best were Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and San Diego. Kirkpatrick said the rankings don't tell the city something it doesn't already know. The city plans to revamp its Web site, she said, and meetings are already scheduled to talk about it. Until now, the Web site operation has been "fragmented" and the pages need to be redesigned, she said. "It is something that we need to address," she said. POLITICAL TRAIL - THE CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF NORTH CAROLINA will hold its annual conference from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the old House chamber of the state Capitol in downtown Raleigh. The theme is "Politics and the Environment: Who We Elect Matters!" - THE RALEIGH JAYCEES will hold a voter registration drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in the food court at Triangle Town Center. - DONNIE HARRISON, the Republican candidate for Wake sheriff, will hold a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Heather Hills clubhouse, 901 Claymore Drive in Garner. He will also appear at a coffee from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at 4824 Fox Branch Court in Raleigh, at an event from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at 805 Hemingway Drive in Raleigh and at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 2700 Hazelwood Drive in Raleigh. - REBECCA LIEBERMAN, president and CEO of Vote for America, will speak at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Brickyard at N.C. State University and at 8 p.m. Monday in Room 100 of Hamilton Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill. Vote for America is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit group that is trying to increase voter participation, especially among young people. - PRECINCT 07-07 will hold a candidates' forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Abbotswood at Stonehenge retirement community, 7900 Creedmoor Road. - WAKE SHERIFF JOHN BAKER and Gerry Bowles, a Democrat running in N.C. Senate District 15, will attend a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the home of Jim and Sara Liles, 11504 Black Horse Run in Raleigh. - THE JOHN LOCKE FOUNDATION and Citizens for a Sound Economy will be hosts of a speech on Social Security from Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute in Washington at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road. - STATE REP. JENNIFER WEISS, a Democrat seeking re-election in N.C. House District 35, will hold a fund-raiser from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the home of Bett and Bill Padgett, 1213 Dixie Trail in Raleigh.

10/05/2002
Orange Schools Slate Lines Up
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Orange Schools Slate Lines Up

BY Kayce T. Ataiyero

Hillsborough -- One of the first votes to be cast by new members of the Orange County School Board after the Sept. 10 election will be to hire a new superintendent. The six candidates running for the four open seats face a January 2003 deadline -- which coincides with the month they would take office -- set by the current board to select a replacement for Randy Bridges, who resigned in July to head the Rock Hill, S.C., school district. The current board will work with the new members in the selection process, with the final vote being made by the new board. The candidates -- incumbent Brenda Stephens and political newcomers Randy Copeland, Betty Tom Phelps Davidson, Al Hartkopf, Libbie Hough, and Patrick Mulkey -- have two other immediate issues to contend with: the construction of a new middle school and school funding. The school funding issue could prove to be a particularly hot topic as the district explores its financial options on the heels of the defeat earlier this month of a proposal to establish a district tax. Stephens, 49, is seeking her second term. She wants the board to make a decision on an alternative school and work through the system's fiscal crunch. She said she sees her re-election bid as a "sign of stability." "I am excited about the progress that Orange County Schools has made over the years. The overall trends across the district are positive. I hope to use the accomplishments of yesterday to line our path into tomorrow," she said. "My goal has always been to maintain an open, ethical and fair relationship among the members of the school board. In doing so, I can trust the collective strength of our experience to aid in sound decision-making." Copeland, 46, a lineman with Piedmont Electric Management Corp., initially entered the race to campaign against the district tax. When the proposal was voted down, he said he decided to stay in the race because he wants to help children. "I talked to my teenagers at church and heard about their problems with drug and gang activity and violence in the schools, and I felt like it was time for a Christian conservative that wants to make a difference for my grandchildren and other young people," he said. "I am an average citizen, born and raised here. I guess what makes me different is that a lot of times we sit around and complain about problems, and I took it one step further and decided to run for office." Davidson, 43, owns Olive Branch Inn and is an adjunct professor at Elon University. She said she is running as a teacher and staff advocate. "I spent time as a science teacher at Stanford Middle a few years ago, and that experience solidified my goal of supporting those teachers. If we keep our teachers happy, our children will soar," she said. "I think the staff have been neglected. They haven't seen pay raises that in my mind warrant what they deserve. But, it's not always about money. It's also about their morale and restoring dignity to the profession of teaching." Hartkopf, 45, a program manager with Nortel Networks, said his goal is to increase the board's accountability to voters by improving communication with the community. "The current board does not reflect the values of the people of Orange. I've only lived here for three years but I come from a small town in North Carolina and the needs of Orange County resonate with me. 'Children first' goes without saying, but I think the board does not express an accountability to the voters," he said. "I want to use what I know to keep us growing and do it efficiently." Hough, 40, is a public relations and marketing consultant. She said her aim is to be an advocate for the district's schools. "I am passionate about providing an excellent education for every child, no matter their grade, ability, race, or income level. I think my background in social work makes me aware and attuned to a wide variety of needs that you deal with whenever you deal with the public and children and families," she said. "I think my professional life will benefit the board as it looks to better communicate the system's successes and needs externally with parents and internally with staff and faculty." Mulkey, 47, a senior electronics technician at Duke University, said he sees the race as an opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to the board. "I really think it's become time to inject some new blood into the board of education, fresh faces with new ideas. I think that the things that make me qualified are the number of community activities I have been involved with. I've been able to obtain leadership roles in those organizations through my willingness to be open and to be fair," he said. "I want to make the best possible decision for our students, and I want to create an environment on the board where the public perception is that we are approachable." ### Randy Copeland PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat HOME: 3303 Mount Willing Road, Efland born: April 10,1956 FAMILY: Wife, Deborah, two daughters, one son EDUCATION: Attended Alamance Christian High School OCCUPATION: Lineman, Piedmont Electric Membership Corp. POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Youth athletic coach, soccer, baseball, Citizens for a Sound Economy RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Eastside Baptist Church, Mebane HOBBIES: fishing, yard work POLITICAL HERO: President Reagan LAST BOOK READ: The Bible WHAT MAKES me BEST QUALIFIED: "I guess what makes me different is that a lot of times we sit around and complain about problems, and I took it one step further and decided to run for office. I want to see what is best for our children and also look at the needs of the people who are paying their taxes and funding the system." TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "Getting a new superintendent is the biggest thing in front of us now. I will work to get a superintendent like the one we had, a person who works well with the teachers, is very accessible to the public and mindful of the needs of the schools." HOW TO CONTACT: Phone, 563-4389; e-mail, cope@@touchnc.net ### Betty Tom Phelps Davidson PARTY AFFILIATION: Unaffiliated HOME: 7015 N.C. 57 Rougemont born: May 21, 1959 FAMILY: Divorced, two sons EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in science education, Duke University, 1981; bachelor's degree in biology, Old Dominion University, 1987; master's degree in biotechnology, Old Dominion University, 1989 OCCUPATION: Owner, Olive Branch Inn; adjunct biology professor, Elon University POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: none CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Soccer coach, Orange County Parks and Recreation Department; Stanford Middle School PTSA, Orange County Schools Homework Policy Committee; Cameron Park Elementary School Governance Committee RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Presbyterian HOBBIES: farming, soccer POLITICAL HERO: Winston Churchill LAST BOOK READ: A book from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant series by Stephen R. Donaldson WHAT MAKES me BEST QUALIFIED: "I believe I have the most unique perspective of all the candidates running because I was born and raised here. I've been a student, teacher and parent in the schools. My experiences as a teacher have made me aware of what is required of our exceptional teachers." TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "The most immediate issue is selecting a new superintendent who will move the district forward. Also, I want to find solutions to the fiscal crunch, including scrutinizing all personnel salaries. I will also look at ways to improve job satisfaction for all district staff." HOW TO CONTACT: Phone, 644-1685; e-mail, b.davidson@@rtmx.net ### Al Hartkopf PARTY AFFILIATION: Republican HOME: 2405 Uphill Court, Hillsborough born: June 28, 1957 FAMILY: wife, Kathy, two daughters EDUCATION: attended East Carolina University OCCUPATION: Program manager, Nortel Networks POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: none CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Citizens for a Better Way, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Cornwallis Hills Property Owners Association, Project Management Institute RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Duke Memorial United Methodist Church HOBBIES: woodworking, scuba diving POLITICAL HERO: none listed LAST BOOK READ: A book by Jesse Helms WHAT MAKES me BEST QUALIFIED: "The needs of Orange County resonate with me. I like to think that I am pretty fair-minded, that I listen to someone no matter what their perspective is." TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "I want to improve the communication between the [school] board and the community. I want to create a forum and a process for teachers to have open and honest conversations with the board, and work on teacher retention. I want to drive down class size, improve the way the system contracts for building and other services, and have greater accountability for the money the district spends." HOW TO CONTACT: Web site, www.alhartkopf.com Libbie Hough PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat HOME: 5401 Hough Road, Hillsborough born: Sept. 28, 1961 FAMILY: Husband, H.B., two daughters EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in religious studies, UNC-Chapel Hill, 1984; master's degree in social work, UNC-CH, 1988. OCCUPATION: Public relations and marketing consultant POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: none CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Volunteer, Grady Brown Elementary School, PTA cultural arts committee, alternative school funding task force, North Carolina chapter of the Public Relations Society of America RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: United Church of Chapel Hill HOBBIES: gardening, reading, swimming POLITICAL HERO: George Washington, Martin Luther King, Barbara Jordan LAST BOOK READ: "All Over But the Shoutin'," by Rick Bragg WHAT MAKES me BEST QUALIFIED: "I am passionate about providing an excellent education for every child, no matter their ability, race or income level. I think my volunteer activities in our schools and the fact that I have been an advocate for the schools for the last three years proves my commitment." TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "One is hiring a new superintendent. I want to work on the third middle school, address the funding disparities between the two school districts, and work to incorporate state and federal mandates into the system. I want to support our faculty and staff by providing a healthy environment in which to learn and work." HOW TO CONTACT: Phone, 967-0469; e-mail, hough4schools@@yahoo.com ### Patrick H. Mulkey HOME: 8702 Stanford Road, Chapel Hill born: Dec. 10, 1954 FAMILY: Wife, Robin; one son, twin daughters EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in recreation and parks administration, N.C. State University, 1980 OCCUPATION: Senior electronics technician, Duke University POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: none CIVIC ACTIVITIES: President, A.L. Stanback Middle School Athletic Booster Club, Grady Brown Elementary School PTA, Carrboro Farmers Market board of directors, Orange County Parks and Recreation Advisory Council RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Cane Creek Baptist Church HOBBIES: Farming, watching sporting events POLITICAL HERO: Abraham Lincoln LAST BOOK READ: "Coach: The Life of Paul 'Bear' Bryant," by Keith Dunnavant WHAT MAKES me BEST QUALIFIED: "I think that the things that make me qualified are the number of community activities I have been involved with that have allowed me to grow in that aspect. I've been able to obtain leadership roles in those organizations through my willingness to be open and to be fair." TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "I think that we need to work on the selection of a new superintendent. The funding is another area of great concern to me. Another concern of importance is how the board interacts with public. I want to improve that interaction." HOW TO CONTACT: Phone, 942-3814; e-mail, mulkey@@tunl.duke.edu ### Brenda Wilson Stephens HOME: 5807 Craig Road, Durham born: Oct. 22, 1952 FAMILY: Husband, Gregory; two sons, one daughter EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in sociology, Winston-Salem State University, 1974; master's degree in library information science, N.C. Central University, 1980 OCCUPATION: Director, legal secretary, Hyconeechee Regional Library POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Orange County Board of Education, 1998 to present, chairwoman, 2001-02 CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Orange County Partnership for Young Children, Kiwanis Club of Hillsborough, Orange County READS, N.C. Public Library Director's Association, Status of Women in Librarianship, A.L. Stanback PTO, Orange County School Education Foundation RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Lipscomb Grove Missionary Baptist Church HOBBIES: Baking, family POLITICAL HERO: Former U.S. Rep. Barbara Jordan LAST BOOK READ: "Open House," by Elizabeth Berg WHAT MAKES ME BEST QUALIFIED: "During my tenure on the board, we have experienced many challenges. We have shouldered unexpected issues. My bid for another term is a clear promise that I will maintain priorities established for our school system. My strength as a member of the board comes from my commitment to the children of Orange County." TOP PRIORITY IF ELECTED: "The first business is to address the selection of the new superintendent. Once a strong candidate for the position has been identified; the board will begin the strategic planning process for siting our third middle school. As always, the strength and safety of our schools and high achievement are always my action items. Equally as important to the success of our children is the recruitment and retention of the country's best and brightest educators."

08/31/2002
Honor Father?
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Honor Father?

BY Cindy George, Anne Blythe

Many people want to honor Clarence Lightner, Raleigh's first and only black mayor, who died last month at the age of 80. But his son, Bruce Lightner, wants to make sure that any tributes are tasteful. Lightner, in his role as administrator of his father's estate, says those who wish to use the former mayor's name must contact the family first and be respectful that only weeks have passed since his death. Earlier this month, Bruce Lightner learned that the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association, a group instrumental in getting his father elected, wanted to plan a political banquet in Clarence Lightner's name. In an e-mail message to the dinner's chairwoman, he wrote that "the Lightner family has not granted you permission to honor, pay tribute, bestow posthumous award or otherwise utilize or mention my father's name in any manner whatsoever in conduction with your event." This week, Lightner said the RWCA bucked longstanding "social protocol" by overlooking the family's permission. "We have a high regard for what the organization has represented down through the years," he said. "But for the RWCA to even consider using Mayor Lightner's name for a political fund-raiser without having the presence of mind to first seek input from the family does not represent respectful diligence and planning." On The Spot: Stephen Halkiotis, a candidate for Orange County commissioner, shifted uneasily in his seat last week when a moderator at a League of Women Voters' forum in Chapel Hill tossed out an unexpected question. With North Carolina among the states with the worst obesity problems, the moderator wanted to know what county commissioners could do to battle fat. When it was Halkiotis' turn, he cast his eyes downward, then back up and offered: "One novel thing we could do is eat less." Like the the three other commission candidates at the forum, he, too, spoke about county- and school-sponsored nutrition programs. Then the truth came out. "I have to plead guilty," he said with a red face and a sheepish grin. "I had french fries today. I was in a french-fry mood, and now I feel terrible." These weren't just any french fries, either, he 'fessed up later. He got them over the line in Durham County, at a point halfway between his workplace and his wife's. He did not even "Shop Orange," as commissioners have encouraged residents to do to give the local economy a boost. ### Political Trail - Libertarian Party Candidates will hold a rally from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today at the State Capitol in Raleigh. - North Carolina Citizens For A Sound Economy will sponsor a discussion on the state budget from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center at the corner of Western Boulevard and Gorman Street in Raleigh. - Linda Coleman, a Democrat seeking re-election as Wake County commissioner in District 1, will hold a meet-and-greet event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Wingate Inn, 1542 Mechanical Blvd. in Garner.

08/31/2002

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