Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

At least four seeking empty seat on Wake County school board

February 22, 2013 

Mary-Ann Baldwin

STEVE BECKER | 312.286.5533

At least four people say they want to fill the vacant seat on the Wake County school board once held by Debra Goldman.

Nancy Caggia, a long-time school system volunteer, and Linda Gunter, a lobbyist for the N.C. Association of Educators and former state Senator, said they filed Friday. Lois Nixon, who ran against Goldman in 2009, says she also filed. Former school board member Bill Fletcher had filed last week.

Friday was the deadline for people to submit applications. School officials did not have information Friday evening on who and how many people had applied.

Applicants seek the District 9 seat that covers much of Cary. The seat became open Feb. 1 when Goldman resigned to lead a nonprofit organization in Wilkes County.

The other eight school board members will interview the applicants and likely fill the vacancy in March. The new board member would finish Goldman’s term, which expires in November.

Earlier this month, the board appointed Tom Benton to the District 1 seat. Benton took over for Chris Malone, who resigned after being elected to the state House in November.

Guns and greenways

The Raleigh City Council won’t push state legislators for an exception to a law allowing guns on greenway trails.

The council is compiling its legislative agenda, the list of local wants and needs it sends to legislators. Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin doesn’t think greenway users should be allowed to pack heat, but she said petitioning the Republican-dominated legislature for an exemption would be futile.

“I think when you have political capital, you use it wisely,” Baldwin said.

The council voted 5-3 in favor of Baldwin’s request to take greenway gun rules off the list. Councilman Randy Stagner was among those who want to continue pushing the gun issue at the legislature.

“It’s an important issue here,” Stagner said. “Additional guns on the greenway do not make it safer.”

Stagner said he’s received emails from gun enthusiasts offering to help police the greenway with their weapons. “I don’t see a need for outside first responders,” he said. “We do an excellent job of that here.”

Cities and towns across North Carolina were forced to change park and greenway rules in 2011 in response to a state law that allows guns in all parks but makes an exception for “recreational facilities” such as playgrounds, swimming pools and ball fields.

Designs on public safety

Raleigh will move forward with two designs for a public safety building: one that includes a joint city-county emergency operations center and one for the city only.

Wake County commissioners this week approved spending $100,000 to help pay for the designs. The City Council then approved a memorandum of understanding with the county that allows the planning to go forward.

The city plans a $69 million building on Brentwood Road to house its 911 call center, an emergency operations center and a data center. The county must decide by May 1 whether it wants to move its emergency operations, now housed in the basement of the county courthouse, into the new building as well to provide better coordination in case of an emergency.

When preliminary plans for the building were presented to commissioners this week, some board members said the emergency operations center should be underground, where it would be less vulnerable to disaster. The plan shows the center on the ground floor.

Political Trails

• State Sen. Josh Stein and Rep. Duane Hall will speak to the Western Wake Democrats on Tuesday at the IHOP at 1301 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. Social house begins at 6 p.m., followed by the program at 7 p.m. RSVP to westernwakedems@nc.rr.com.

• Randy Voller, newly elected chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party, will speak to the Democratic Women of Wake County on Thursday at the N.C. State University Club, 4200 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. The buffet lines open at 11:30 a.m., and the program begins at noon. The cost of the luncheon, payable at the door, is $18 for members, $20 for nonmembers and $5 for anyone wishing to attend and not eat. For reservations, email democraticwomenwakecounty@gmail.com or call 919-467-0151 by 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Compiled by T. Keung Hui, Colin Campbell and Martha Quillin.

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