Triangle politics

Workers must do as Wake school board says, not does

October 16, 2010 

When Wake County school board member John Tedesco called former ally Debra Goldman "Benedict Goldman" on his Facebook site, he did something that's forbidden to school employees under the system's new social media policy.

The policy was set forth in a memo in August, after an eighth-grade science teacher faced firing last year after she and her friends made caustic remarks on a Facebook page about her students, the South and Christianity.

"Do not make any comments to others in cyberspace that you would not make face-to-face," Assistant Superintendent Stephen Gainey wrote in the memo to school employees. "In particular, do not demean, harass, insult, or intimidate others.

"Remember that under Board policy 3005 ... you are expected to serve as an example and role model to students, and conduct yourself accordingly at all times."

Tedesco has apologized for the Facebook comment, which he posted after Goldman split last week from the Republican majority to join with Democrats in halting work on a zone-based assignment plan.

Board members are the employers and wouldn't be subject to the policy, according to school board attorney Ann Majestic.

Forum cost Cary $3,814

Speaking of Goldman, Tuesday's high-security forum with the renegade school board member cost the town of Cary $3,814.26. That's the cost of overtime paid during the evening event, which lasted a little over an hour at town hall.

Sound high? It might be because the town overstaffed.

By a lot.

There were 20 police officers, eight public works employees, five members of the fire department, three administrators and two town clerks at the event. All for a relatively quiet meeting that drew fewer than 150 people and left more than half the seatsempty.

Goldman, who representsCary on the school board, came after Mayor Harold Weinbrecht offered her a place to hold a community forum for residents. The meeting was held a week after Goldman made a controversial move to scrap plans for a zone-based student assignment plan.

Endorsed in Durham

The Durham County Republican Party has endorsed candidates in this fall's judicial races, including four of the 13 candidates in the "instant runoff" Court of Appeals election.

To fill the seat vacated when James Wynn took a federal judgeship after the filing period, voters can vote for first-, second- and third-favorite candidates. The Durham GOP recommends they choose from Chris Dillon, Jewell Farlow, Daniel Garner and Doug McCullough.

Four other seats on the Court of Appeals are up for election this year. For those positions, the Durham party favors Judges Anne Marie Calabria, Rick Elmore, Sanford Steelman and Dean Poirer.

In other judicial races, the county party favors:

Barbara Jackson for state Supreme Court.

James Hardin, Michael O'Foghludha and James Hughes for Superior Court.

Brian Aus and Doretta Walker for District Court.

Split decision

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker had a difficult choice to make for Mayor Pro Tempore, so he chose not to choose.

Meeker says that on Tuesday he will nominate Mary-Ann Baldwin and Nancy McFarlane to take turns serving as Mayor Pro Tempore - the mayor's No. 2, who leads meetings in his absence and attends events that he can't.

The plan is for Baldwin to serve through April, and McFarlane to take the post from May through November, when council members will be up for re-election.

Baldwin and McFarlane have been on the council since 2007 and have aligned closely with Meeker on some of his signature issues, including the stalled construction of the Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center.

"Nancy McFarlane and Mary-Ann Baldwin are consensus builders who have worked hard to keep Raleigh moving forward during the past recession period, and both will represent the city well at meetings and ceremonies," said Meeker, Raleigh's five-term mayor. "Both are well-qualified and deserving. I didn't want to choose between the two."

Meeker's nomination must be approved by the council Tuesday, when he also will swear in Eugene Weeks to replace former Councilman James West, who left last month after 11 years to fill a vacant seat on the Wake County Board of Commissioners.

Political Trails

The Orange County Democratic Party will hold its 21st annual Orange County Democratic breakfast from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. today at the Carolina Club at UNC-Chapel Hill. The fundraiser for the Orange County Democratic Party will include U.S. Rep. David Price, state House Speaker Joe Hackney, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, state Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, and several other state and local candidates. Profits from the sale of tickets, which cost $75 today, will support Get Out The Vote campaigns and voter guides.

The Wake County Republican Party will hold a pre-election rally from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Five County Stadium in Zebulon. The candidates scheduled to appear include U.S. Sen. Richard Burr; congressional candidates Renee Ellmers, Bill Randall, B.J. Lawson, Ilario Pantano, Greg Dority and Ashley Woolard; Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison; and Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell; as well as local candidates. For more information, go to www.wakegop.org.

Compiled by staff writers Thomas Goldsmith, T. Keung Hui, Jim Wise and Sadia Latifi

Triangle Politics is a weekly look at the local political scene. Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send e-mail to metroeds@newsobserver.com. Send items by noon Thursday.

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