Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Wake County gets donations for its donation to Veterans Day parade

November 2, 2012 

Two weeks ago, Wake County commissioners put off a decision on whether to contribute $1,500 to the N.C. Veterans Day Parade in Raleigh, saying they wanted to seek an alternative source of money that didn’t involve property taxpayers.

Mission accomplished.

“As a result of media coverage of the Board’s discussion, several citizens offered private donations totaling the $1,500 request,” according to the agenda for Monday’s meeting. “The Board of Commissioners no longer needs to take any action on this request.”

There was no such hesitation on the Raleigh City Council, which needed little persuading to make a $1,500 contribution. The council includes three veterans: John Odom, Randy Stagner and Eugene Weeks.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Stagner, whose resume in the Army includes deployments to Bosnia and Iraq. He retired in 2008 as a colonel.

Wake commissioners made clear they support veterans and the parade. Some just wanted to seek a different source of money.

The parade will take place Saturday, Nov. 10, at 9:30 a.m. at the south end of Fayetteville Street and proceed north to the State Capitol.

Tata to attend fundraiser

Former Wake County schools superintendent Tony Tata will be among those attending a Saturday fundraiser in Cary for state Senate candidate Tamara Barringer, says event host and former school board chair Ron Margiotta, who was among Tata’s strongest supporters on the board.

In a brief conversation Friday, Tata confirmed that he would attend the event, but is not endorsing Barringer, a Republican.

The former superintendent has not spoken to the press since shortly after he was fired by the Democrat-controlled board in September.

However, there’s been widespread speculation that Tata, who became a popular figure with thousands of Wake parents during less than two years heading the system, may wind up entering GOP politics in some capacity in North Carolina.

The event is from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Tony’s Bourbon Street Oyster Bar, 107 Edinburgh South Drive.

Margiotta is inviting guests to sample real-deal New Jersey hot dogs, not the “red N.C. kind.”

Groups split on transit

Two ad hoc community groups in Orange County are divided over a proposed half-cent sales tax to fund beefed-up bus service and a light rail line into Durham County.

The community groups formed just two weeks before Tuesday’s election to advocate for and against the tax, which would be five cents on a $10 purchase and would not apply to gas, medicine, health care, housing or groceries.

The Durham-Orange County Friends of Transit backs the tax and plan, citing a Hillsborough Amtrak station, new and enhanced bus services and a future light rail connection from UNC to Durham.

“I support the referendum on transit funding, because its success means improved access to employment, retail, and cultural opportunities, to reducing traffic impacts, and to an easier path for those who don’t want or can’t afford cars to remain integral parts of our community,” said county commissioner Barry Jacobs.

Another group – Smart Transit for Orange County – opposes the tax and thinks there is a better transit plan.

The plan over-emphasizes light-rail transit at the expense of a frequent, reliable transit system, the group said.

It doesn’t consider changing demographics and commuting patterns; provide direct service to Research Triangle Park, the airport or Raleigh; or look at newer technologies, such as bus rapid transit, the group said.

“We find once people become informed about the plan and the intention to use most of the funds for Durham’s light rail project, their support falters,” Chapel Hill resident Will Raymond said. “When they see that the plan doesn’t support robust local bus, pedestrian, bike and other alternative transit improvements in line with their tax contribution, they realize that a ‘no’ vote now buys us the time to make a better transit future for Orange County.”

Political trails

• News & Observer political columnist Rob Christensen will speak about the fall election to the Wake Democratic Men’s Club at the Clarion hotel in downtown Raleigh on Mon., Nov. 12. Doors open at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. RSVP to

• Glen Anderson, an international specialist in climate change, will speak about global climate change and adaptations to it at the Timely Topics brown bag lunch for the League of Women Voters of Wake County.

The meeting will be at Finlator Hall, Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh, on Friday, Nov. 16, at noon. The public is welcome. For information, go to or call 919-783-5995.

Compiled by Matt Garfield, Tammy Grubb and Thomas Goldsmith

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to Send items by noon Thursday.

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