The son of Raleighs first African-American mayor sent a letter to Wake County Board of Commissioners chairman Paul Coble criticizing the idea of naming the new county criminal justice center after the late U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. And hes already drawn a strong response from another commissioner, Tony Gurley.
Bruce Lightner, son of the late mayor Clarence Lightner, used pointed language in asking Coble to stop any movement to name the building after Helms, who was Cobles uncle. Jesse Helms name being affixed to anything called justice would be an aberration and cruel, Lightner wrote in the letter, which he released to the public.
Gurley, who is seeking the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, fired back that Lightner had ignored the good Helms had done and the changes he had made in his views over the years.
I have grown tired of so called leaders who malign their political enemies with broad and inaccurate generalizations, Gurley wrote in a letter to Lightner that was shared with fellow commissioners and others. Making your comments more distasteful is the fact that Senator Helms is not alive to defend himself.
Helms, who died in 2008, was an icon to many conservatives for his uncompromising stances, but anathema to liberals who cite actions such as his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday.
Both Gurley and Coble, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 13th District Congressional seat, have said they favor naming the building for Helms, but have not proposed the idea to the board.
Ask to be recognized
Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane established a new practice for how City Council members should communicate during meetings. From now on, ask to be recognized before you speak, McFarlane told her colleagues.
I would appreciate that a great deal, the mayor said at the start of Tuesdays meeting.
The directive comes two weeks after Thomas Crowder touched Mary-Ann Baldwins arm as the two faced off in a heated exchange. They were debating whether to impose tougher penalties on construction crews that make noise in neighborhoods.
Baldwin later said the gesture made her uncomfortable. Crowder said he would be more careful to avoid contact.
On Tuesday, council members raised no objections to McFarlanes request. And they followed her instructions, making sure to catch the mayors attention by either raising hands or simply saying mayor and waiting to be recognized before speaking.
Prickett backs Cutlip
One day after a public split over the Wake County school budget, school board member Deborah Prickett came out in favor of fellow board member Chris Malones opponent in a state House contest.
Duane Cutlip, who is running against Malone for the Republican nomination for state House 35 seat, has trumpeted Pricketts endorsement. Cutlip said he received the endorsement Wednesday, the day after Malone broke ranks with Prickett and the other Republican school board members to approve a budget that asks county commissioners for an $8.8 million increase.
Malone has defended the budget developed by Superintendent Tony Tata as being reasonable and necessary to meet the school systems needs. Cutlip has criticized Malone for voting against the other Republican board members and standing with Democrats.
Phelps wins endorsement
Travis Phelps of Durham, 22, has the conservative Friends of Durham endorsement in the Democratic primary for state House District 50. One of the countys three major political-action committees, the Friends chose Phelps, an employee at Reckless Paints & Accessories, over Orange County Commissioner Valerie Foushee.
In the Republican primary, the Friends endorsed Efland banker W. Lewis Hannah over three rivals: Jason Chambers of Bahama, Rod Chaney of Hillsborough and Thomas Samuel Wright of Mebane.
House District 50, reconfigured in the 2011 redistricting, covers most of Orange County and northern and eastern regions of Durham County.
• State House Minority Leader Joe Hackney will speak to the Wake Democratic Mens Club on Monday, May 14, at the Clarion hotel in downtown Raleigh. Doors open at 6 p.m., with a plated dinner served at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7:00 p.m. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 10 a.m. on the Monday of the meeting. The cost is $17 for members and $20 for non-members.
Compiled by Thomas Goldsmith, Matt Garfield, Jim Wise, T. Keung Hui and Paul A. Specht
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