Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Younger candidates among challengers for Raleigh City Council

From Staff ReportsJune 21, 2013 

It looks like Raleigh politics will get some new, younger blood.

With the municipal election filing period less than two weeks away, five challengers have stepped up to run for Raleigh City Council. Most are significantly younger than the incumbents they face in the October election, with a couple of candidates in their 20s.

While more challengers could register during the July 5-19 filing period, so far four district council seats have competition. Here’s who’s running:

• In Southwest Raleigh’s District D, Raleigh native Jim Kemp Sherron, 26, who manages a downtown apartment building, will face incumbent Thomas Crowder.

• Southeast Raleigh’s District C will be a rematch from 2011, with author and consultant Racquel Williams again challenging incumbent Eugene Weeks.

• In North Raleigh, District A pits attorney and Marine Corps veteran Wayne Maiorano against incumbent Randy Stagner.

• Two challengers – real-estate agent Sam Smith, 23, and insurance company executive Brian Fitzsimmons, 31 – will face incumbent John Odom in Northeast Raleigh’s District B.

So far, no one has announced plans to run against Mayor Nancy McFarlane, District E Councilman Bonner Gaylord or at-large council members Mary-Ann Baldwin and Russ Stephenson.

Volunteer looks to enter schools race

A long-time Wake County school volunteer is taking steps to get her school board campaign started.

Nancy Caggia filed paperwork with the Wake County Board of Elections to form a campaign committee to run in the District 9 race that covers much of Cary. The seat is now held by Bill Fletcher, who has not said if he’ll run for election this fall.

Caggia and Fletcher were among six people who were interviewed by the school board in March to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Debra Goldman.

Four of the nine school board seats are on the Oct. 8 ballot. Candidates will run for three-year terms and not the traditional four-year seats because of a state law passed this month changing Wake school board elections.

City manager’s last day is Friday

Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen’s last day on the job is Friday.

After 12 years running the city, Allen was fired in April by the city council, but he agreed to stay on through this month to oversee the budget process. His final budget proposal was adopted Tuesday at what was likely his last council meeting.

So after the budget vote, Allen asked the council if he could make a brief parting speech. He made no mention of the circumstances of his departure, instead taking the opportunity to thank the city employees and elected officials he’s worked with here.

“We have some of the most dedicated, caring employees,” he said.

Allen also noted that his legacy will likely be discussed after he leaves. “I hope they’ll say three things: that he worked hard, he cared about the people, and he left the place a little bit better,” he said.

The council and an audience filled with city employees, journalists and other city government watchers gave him a lengthy standing ovation. Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who voted to keep Allen, even shed a few tears.

Development foes mobilize

Opponents of the 751 South development in Durham were mobilizing this week to make a showing Monday at the General Assembly, where legislators are considering a bill that would overrule the city’s rejection of the project.

The House Finance Committee is holding a public hearing at 4 p.m. on Senate Bill 315 – which would overrule the Durham City Council’s vote against water and sewer connections, and eventual annexation, for the 751 site and an adjoining tract near the Chatham County line.

Supporters of 751 South claim the project would be a major job creator and produce tax revenue for the city and Durham County.

Opponents say the project would further degrade water quality in Jordan Lake and extend urban sprawl, and have taken offense at tactics the developers and their lawyers have used, such as an unsuccessful legislative effort in 2012, to advance the project.

In an appeal for support on the InterNeighborhood Council email list, 751 South opponent Steve Bocckino said the most effective argument against the Senate bill would be that it is state intervention in what should be a strictly local matter.

“Environmental arguments would likely not play well with many of these Representatives, and neither would ad hominem arguments,” Bocckino wrote. “They might even give them an excuse to vote against us.”

Compiled by Colin Campbell, T. Keung Hui and Jim Wise.

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