STATE FAIR OPENS TODAY
You can find a decent update on Raleigh City Council campaign finances here; I’m glad some else reported the data so I wouldn’t have to.
A few tidbits you won’t read there:
- Incumbent At-Large Councilor Mary-Ann Baldwin gave Incumbent District C Councilor Eugene Weeks $1,500 of her campaign funds.
- District A Candidate Wayne Maiorano spent $800 to a photographer to take his picture, and $2,500 for television production. I haven’t seen his commercial on television, then again I don’t watch much television.
- District C Candidate Racquel Williams finally filed her late report – she used campaign funds to pay rent and get her hairdo done. A self-described successful entrepreneur, author, and consultant, she lives in subsidized housing and runs her campaign out of the Kingdom Transportation taxi service that runs out of the back of Raleigh Collision on New Bern Avenue. Despite having raised only $600, she is the only Council candidate to “open” a campaign office. It’s also where she runs her other “businesses” - IOW, paying the business rent with campaign funds.
- At-Large Candidate Jason Spriggs has used his meager campaign change to put gas in his ride.
IN AN TENEMENT, NOWHERE NEAR THE RIVER
The ink is finally drying up in the veins – the N&O edited the online version of its City Council endorsement editorial, now correctly identifying District D candidate JK Sherron IV as “an apartment building manager.”
When the editors are totally clean and sober, perhaps they’ll reconsider how they could advocate for the City “staying on a progressive course,” then endorse for the District A seat the archnemesis of all progressive cities – the Big Real Estate Attorney.
I got this in the mail, but I would have never caught this blunder.
A “Raleigh geek” I ain’t.
IN A VAN, DOWN BY THE NEUSE RIVER
The N&O announced its endorsements for Raleigh City Council today.
The editors tell us that District D candidate “Jim Kemp Sherron is an author and motivational speaker.”
Somebody has been mainlining ink behind the presses.
Earth to paper carriers everywhere – even in the 21st century, two tweets do not an author make.
OBERLIN ROAD: NOW A NOISY CRISIS
A couple of days ago, the local rag reported that “traffic is likely to be a major concern at the public hearings” for the Cameron Village Vicinity Plan.
“Some fear the influx of new residents could clog Oberlin Road, and city officials have already scrapped a proposal to narrow the street and add roundabouts.”
There is so much wrong with the severely misnomered YIMBY that I don’t have near enough time to take it on right now. But I do want to remind us all that fear and loathing on Oberlin Road is nothing new. I dug this old gem out of my archives, produced in 1972 by Wake Environment. More than four decades after they were penned, the introductory words of Elizabeth Michaels are powerful testament to the eternal truth that in our hometown the more things change, the more they stay the same:
“Physical and economic growth such as Raleigh is now experiencing is certainly a stimulant for a higher standard of living, and the temptation is great to maximize short-term benefit with great peril to the future quality of our city’s life and our environment.
The future of Oberlin Road is a silent crisis that will have significant effect on local neighborhoods. The project is but a small portion of the entire Raleigh Thoroughfare Plan, but it can determine the fate of that plan.”
Political debate doesn’t get any more boring than what dribbled forth last night at the Raleigh City Council Candidates Forum, put on by the League of Women Voters. I’ll never get those two hours of my life back; lucky you, you only need three minutes to read the highlights here.
Three candidates were absent – Incumbent Thomas Crowder for District D, who was ill with his ongoing cancer treatment; Sam Smith for District B, AWOL; and Incumbent Bonner Gaylord, unopposed in E so might as well catch a rare evening at home with the kids. Venita Peyton for Mayor arrived quite late, missing a good bit of the forum.
Most of the questions from the moderator were softballs, the few with substance the candidates managed to brush off with ease – Should the City limit growth at the outskirts? Do you support the UDO? How do you feel about the school bond? Questions from the public didn’t shine much light either.
It’s a month until the elections, and the class of 2013 is already in the yearbook.
Most Likeable (and runner-up for Class Clown) – John Odom, incumbent in District B, reminded us about why he is so successful. He’s light at the right moments, just substantive enough to be taken seriously. A real everyday kinda guy, the kinda guy everybody likes. He’s a shoe-in.
Miss Personality – Racquel Williams for District C, with no close second. The most articulate of the whole bunch, by a lot, her time in the pulpit has paid off. Able to tease out the complexities of seemingly intractable problems of poverty and infrastructure. Too bad she can’t do the same with solutions. Williams doesn’t believe that the state can be separated from the church – her political platform is Proverbs 29:2 -When the righteous are in authority, the People rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the People mourn.
Most Likely To Live In His/Her Parent’s Basement At Age 30 (no “Her”, as women don’t do this) – Marcus Hill for District C. Hill is a Tea Party extremist, by that I mean that within the Tea Party he is on the far right. He is obsessed with UN Agenda 21, and believes that the City has colluded with PotashCorp to dispose of its hazardous waste in our drinking water. He says he’s a researcher at NC State, but don’t be fooled into thinking he’s a scientist – he’s a temporary field technician in a position classified as paraprofessional. He rents a room in East Raleigh, and with his extreme beliefs, austere dress, and shaved head, you could easily mistake him for a skinhead. To represent District C? I don’t think so.
Most Likely to Deceive – Wayne Maiorano for District A. He gave two smooth, protracted, and highly evasive answers to two direct questions.
1) Do you support the City’s Scattered Site Housing Policy, which encourages spreading development of affordable housing throughout all areas of the City?
He answered that not only does he support it, he’s “lived it”. He cited his four years on the Board of Directors for CASA (Community Alternatives for Supportive Abodes) and his work with Habitat for Humanity. I am not about to trivialize this work or these organizations, but let’s be honest – these folks have not embraced the scattered site policy. Under this policy, subsidized low-end housing is supposed to be spread uniformly across the City. CASA currently operates ten facilities in Raleigh – 5 in District D, 4 in District C, 1 in District B.
And in District A?
Nada. Cero. Nichts. Hakina.
And don’t waste your time looking for a Habitat for Humanity house anywhere near Maiorano’s casa. The correct answer – “I am very proud of the important work I have done with housing the less fortunate, but let’s be honest, nobody’s buying into that scattered site egalitarian hooey.”
2) When neighborhoods are at odds with developers, will you have any conflicts that would prevent you from representing those citizens?
No doubt the citizen that asked the question was trying to set him up, and with an almost straight face, the attorney for Big Real Estate said no. Almost straight, as he sports a George W. Bush smirk on his face – he needs to work on suppressing that.
Biggest Tweet – At-Large Council Mary-Ann Baldwin. Baldwin loves to tweet. I, on the other hand, subscribe to a more agrarian philosophy of Twitter – too much chaff, precious little wheat to plow that field. In that spirit, Baldwin took the award for most injudicious verbal tweet (aka a one-liner) of the 2013 campaign, “We need R-line service from Cameron Village to Downtown.”
If you haven’t ridden the R-Line, it’s the free bus service that ferries conventioneers by day and bar flies by night around downtown. Busses run every 10-15 minutes, connecting restaurants, retail, entertainment venues, museums, hotels, and parking lots. You drive downtown, pay to park, ride the free bus. Apparently now residents in the Cameron Village area want to take a free ride. Ever price a house in those neighborhoods? They are among the most expensive in the City (and rent ain’t cheap either). I guess when you carry that kind of mortgage, not only is there nothing left at the end of the month for a cab ride downtown, you don’t even have enough loose change to drop four quarters into the fare box of one of the CAT busses on the half-dozen lines that serve that area.
Free bus service for the rich, while the masses in their hoods wait up to an hour and pay the freight. Give the tony a free bus ride, next thing they’ll demand is free biscuits in the Raleigh Rose Garden. And nothing less than Biscuits Roses de Reims will satisfy.
Egalitarian hooey my patootie.
“Follow the money”
As I said I would, I updated the chart in this post.
Peyton raised $399.66 from five donors, four of whom do not live in Raleigh.
Fitzsimmons raised $1,976, of which $1,600 comes from out-of-state donors (think IL, PA, NY, VA).
Raquel Williams is over two months late in reporting her campaign finances. She boasts that she took a course from the failed Raleigh Business and Technology Center, where she learned good business practices. Apparently it didn’t sink in.
Maiorano spent August raising Big Money from the Big Real Estate – think of a local real estate developer, financier, attorney, chances are he’s hit them up. If he wins, he won’t really represent District A, he’ll only do Big Real Estate’s bidding. Big Real Estate already owns Baldwin and Gaylord, just two more councilors and it owns the little bit of City government it doesn’t already control.
Speaking of Big Real Estate, over in District D there’s also Jim Sherron – that’s J.K. Sherron the IVth in the Sherron Real Estate and Politics Dynasty. A very young man, he’s no hot-shot attorney mover and shaker like Maiorano, and has only raised $5,000 – $200 from the tenants in the apartment building he leases, $500 from Northwood Ravin Real Estate in Charlotte, $1,500 from Gramps, $1,500 from Granny, and $1,000 from Dean Debnam.
Yep, that Dean Debnam, uber-arch-enemy numero uno of Thomas Crowder. Debnam considers himself a kingmaker, but in District D he’s a log-jammer, not a logroller. Sherron doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Fayetteville of toppling Crowder, the best he can do is establish a reputation as an up-and-comer in the district for the benefit of future runs at the council seat.
That’s an uphill battle for a Big Real Estate baby in the only truly progressive district in the City. Lying down with Debnam will only make that mountain higher – Sherron should have had a heart-to-heart with former Debnam-designated 2009 Crowder challenger Ted Van Dyk (Crowder 68%, Van Dyk 30%) before he took those thousand bucks. It’s not enough dough to energize his superficial campaign, but more than enough to poison the well.