Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Raleigh officials: No ‘new direction’ for the city

April 26, 2013 

Raleigh City Council members say their decision to fire City Manager Russell Allen doesn’t represent a “new direction,” despite what the city’s announcement of Allen’s departure said.

“Council to take new direction” was the headline on the city’s press release, prompting similar language in news articles and reports. Later that day, though, the city issued another release with a different, equally nonspecific title: “Raleigh City Council Takes Steps to Position Raleigh for the Future.”

Asked Thursday about the new direction, Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she’d never used the phrase. “It’s not a new direction,” she said at a meeting with News & Observer editors. “We like the direction that Raleigh is going.”

Councilman Randy Stagner explained the mistake. “That headline went out without the approval of council or Mayor McFarlane and was quickly corrected,” Stagner said in an email.

Town says no to gun buy-back

The Morrisville Town Council this week decided against starting a gun buy-back program despite a request and offer of funding by a local executive. In the end, operating a gun buy-back program – where the town would compensate people who turn in firearms – would be too time consuming for staff and provide little results, said council members.

“I only envision a small amount of weapons to be turned in even if we offered it,” said Councilwoman Margaret Broadwell. “Whatever we would take in would be a drop in the bucket of what’s out there.”

Amalendu Chatterjee, vice president of technology for EximSoft International in Morrisville, offered to give local municipalities between $2,000 and $5,000 to start a gun buy-back program.

Instead, the town plans to contact Chatterjee to see if he would be interested in using the money for a gun violence prevention and education program or to support existing gun buy-back programs in other towns, such as Rocky Mount.

Tedesco throws bond gauntlet

Wake County school board member John Tedesco is warning he might not support a fall school construction bond referendum unless it includes long-promised renovations for schools in Garner.

A list prepared by school facilities staff doesn’t include any money for renovations to Vandora Springs Elementary School and East Garner Middle School even though they rank high among schools with needs. The list includes $6.7 million to start renovations for Garner High School with the rest of the project to be funded by a later bond.

School staff said that they ran out of money to include Vandora Springs Elementary and East Garner Middle. They’re working under an agreement that the school board and Wake County Board of Commissioners made to go with a school construction program of around $900 million this fall.

Tedesco said he was “a little choked up” and “trying my best to be polite and calm” as he talked about the bond proposal. He complained that residents of Garner, which he represents, have been promised in the last few bond referendums that the projects would be in the next one.

Board opposes death penalty

The Orange County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 this week to support a resolution that asks state and national lawmakers to repeal the death penalty. The resolution also urges the governments to use any savings from the repeal to help murder victims’ families and fund crime prevention programs.

Orange County is the first county in the state to sign the resolution, said Stephen Dear, executive director of People of Faith Against the Death Penalty. The campaign has more than 900 signatures from religious and community groups, businesses and governments, including Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

Commissioner Earl McKee cast the dissenting vote.

While it’s been proven that some innocent people were sentenced to die because of bias, he said, not everyone opposes the death penalty. Some crimes – the Boston bombing and Newtown shootings – are “so morally wrong, so egregious, that the only solution” is death, he said.

In addition, McKee said, “I am becoming increasingly uncomfortable with having unanimous votes by our board on social issues when I know that there are many different views within our community.”

Political Trails

• State Supreme Court Justice Mark Martin will speak to the Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. Check-in and social time is at 11:30 a.m. with lunch at noon. The cost for lunch is $15. RSVP to Lisa at 919-303-8870.

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

Compiled by Colin Campbell, Aliana Ramos, T. Keung Hui and Tammy Grubb.

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