Triangle politics

Wake school board worries about the exits

February 19, 2011 

With everything else on their plates, members of the Wake County school board spent quite a while this week talking about the specifics of the boardroom at their new headquarters in Cary, expected to open this fall.

The shape of the table, members' sightlines, audience access and places for the superintendent and board attorney all got close attention. Then member Chris Malone brought up a security concern.

Only one door will be directly behind the board members, making it more difficult, Malone said, for everyone to get out during an attack. He had in mind the December incident when a man fired at county school board members in Florida, without hitting any, then killed himself.

"If you have a situation like you had down in Florida ...," Malone said, members would be able to get out twice as quickly if another door were set into the back wall, at a cost of about $1,200.

Chairman Ron Margiotta seemed unenthusiastic but let members say yea or nay in turn. They decided to tough out any future attacks with the one door.

Durham council races

The mayor's chair and three city council seats in Durham are up for election this fall, and three of the four incumbents have made their intentions known.

First-term Councilman Farad Ali has not said publicly whether he will stand for re-election, but five-term Mayor Bill Bell said in December that he expects to run again.

Two-term Councilwoman Diane Catotti has said she is not running again.

This week, Councilman Eugene Brown said he plans to seek a third term. "I need the money," he said. Council members only get paid $18,835 a year, but Brown's day job is selling real estate.

Wake Forest parks chief

Wake Forest named a new Parks and Recreation Department director this week.

Ruben Wall now holds the same job in Goldsboro and was an assistant parks and recreation director in Durham before that. He'll begin in Wake Forest on April 5.

Wall, 43, has a degree in recreation from Shaw University and a master's in recreation management from N.C. Central University. He'll supervise 15 full-time employees and an operating budget of $2.73 million.

Wall replaces longtime Wake Forest parks and recreation director Susan Simpson, who retired in December.

Political Trails

Congressman Brad Miller will speak at the Wake Democratic Men's Club meeting Monday at the Clarion Hotel in downtown Raleigh. Registration starts at 6 p.m., and a plated dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. The cost for dinner is $17 for members, first-time guests and those not eligible for club membership, and $20 for nonmembers. Please RSVP for dinner at 828-5656 or by e-mail (wakedemmen@wakedems.org) by 10 a.m. Monday.

Ferrel Guillory, founder of the Program on Public Life at UNC-Chapel Hill, will speak at the next luncheon meeting of the Democratic Women of Wake County at noon Thursday at the N.C. State University Club in Raleigh. Guillory will speak on the current session of the General Assembly, focusing on the redistricting and budget battles. For reservations, e-mail democraticwomenwakecounty@gmail.com or call Kay Parry-Hill at 782-7608 by Monday. The cost is $15 at the door.

By staff writers Thomas Goldsmith, Jim Wise and Chelsea Kellner

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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