Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Policy change won’t stop Tedesco from talking

August 9, 2013 

Wake County school board member John Tedesco made it clear to his colleagues this week that he think changes to the ethics policy that would allow board members to be censured, reprimanded or asked to resign are a waste of time.

Under the proposal that will be voted on Aug. 20, the school board can penalize members who are found to have violated the code of ethics. The changes were prompted by leaks about closed-session board discussions that new Superintendent Jim Merrill was the board’s top choice before it was officially released.

“You tell me I’m censured, I can’t talk?” said Tedesco, who has denied leaking the information. “You think I’m not going to talk if I want to keep talking? Now what are you going to do to me then? There really is no teeth to it if I want to keep doing it.”

Tedesco also said the policy has the potential to position the board “for some real potential ugliness in the way board relationships evolve.”

But school board Chairman Keith Sutton, the most vocal advocate for the policy, said “it’s about having respect for the process and decorum for this institution.

“I don’t know anyone who is in an elected body that takes lightly a censure, a reprimand or what have you,” he said.

Durham group works amid rift

The Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People is holding its endorsement meeting Saturday for candidates in this fall’s municipal elections.

In an email to the group’s membership this week, Chairman Randal Rogers wrote: “We will proceed prayerfully with unity, strength, peacefully, constructively, and optimistically, to serve the community of Durham.”

Committee members have been divided over a July 27 decision by the group’s executive committee to censure and suspend former Durham City Council and school board member Jackie Wagstaff as the Committee’s political chairwoman.

Rogers affirmed that Wagstaff’s suspension remains in effect. A move to reinstate Wagstaff was indefinitely tabled without action during the Committee’s Aug. 1 general meeting.

State Sen. Floyd McKissick led the group’s candidate interviews in preparation for the endorsement meeting today.

The Committee on the Affairs of Black People, formed in 1935, is one of three major political-action organizations in Durham, along with the business-oriented Friends of Durham and the Durham People’s Alliance, a self-described “progressive” organization.


The Durham People’s Alliance website ( has posted responses from the candidates in this fall’s city elections to the organization’s questionnaires.

According to the Alliance, questionnaires were sent to all candidates in the mayor and City Council ward races. Replies were in from all except Ward 2 candidate Franklin Hanes as of Thursday afternoon.

Mail questionnaires are a standard practice in every election for the People’s Alliance, a self-described “progressive” organization founded in 1975.

The Alliance is holding a meet-the-candidates mixer Aug. 21 (see prior to its Aug. 27 endorsements meeting at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Hillandale Road. Anyone who wants to join PA may do so at the door, but, according to PA bylaws ( only those who have been members for 30 days or more are eligible to vote on the endorsements.

Durham’s third major PAC, the business-oriented Friends of Durham, holds its candidate interviews next week and an endorsement meeting the following week, Chairman David Smith said Friday.

Political Events

Dr. Aldona Z. Wos, the state Secretary of Health and Human Services, will speak to the Wake County Republican Women’s Club on Thursday at the N.C. State University Club, 4200 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Social begins at 11:30 a.m. and the lunch-program begins at 11:45 a.m. Lunch is $19 at the door. Pay by mail, P.O. Box 30454, Raleigh 27622 or online at Contact us or make reservations by emailing Reservation deadline is Monday.

Compiled by staff writers Jim Wise and T. Keung Hui.

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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