Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Raleigh councilman holds post-election fundraiser

November 29, 2013 

Despite being unopposed for re-election in October, Councilman Bonner Gaylord is using the occasion of this week’s swearing-in ceremony to hold a fundraiser.

Supporters of Gaylord, an independent who represents Northwest Raleigh’s District E, will gather Thursday night at a private home. Tickets start at $100 per person, but guests can donate up to $2,500 to be listed as a “host.”

Among those listed as hosts or sponsors: Capitol Broadcasting CEO Jim Goodmon, Mayor Nancy McFarlane and developer Gregg Sandreuter.

The invitation asks guests to “help Bonner Gaylord to continue to serve Raleigh on the City Council.” But with the next council election nearly two years away, the fundraiser could suggest Gaylord is setting his sights on a higher office.

New City Councilman Wayne Maiorano will hold a reception for his supporters Monday, the day of the council’s swearing-in ceremony. Maiorano is the only new council member.

Morrisville tackles traffic

Morrisville is making a new effort to tackle a long-discussed problem in town: traffic.

This week, the Town Council appointed a volunteer panel of engineers, planners, project managers and residents to come up with ways to pay for transportation upgrades.

With the state’s new funding formula focusing resources on regional transportation fixes, Morrisville Mayor Jackie Holcombe pushed for finding local solutions.

For that, the town turned to the public.

Eighteen residents and nonresidents applied to serve on Morrisville’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation Funding. The Town Council appointed 11 members and two alternates to the group Tuesday. The panel will begin meeting in January.

School named for educator

Wake County Commissioner James West is getting credit for last week’s decision to name the new career and technical education high school after the late Vernon Malone.

Joe Bryan, chairman of the board of commissioners, said it was through West’s initiative and efforts over the past four months that Malone’s name was proposed. The Vernon Malone Career and College Academy, scheduled to open in August, will give students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and gain college credit and training in fields such as biopharmaceuticals, plumbing and cosmetology.

Malone was chosen because of his long career starting as a teacher and working his way to superintendent of the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh. He was also a chairman of both the Wake County school board and Wake County Board of Commissioners and a state senator.

“There couldn’t be a more appropriate person for it to be named for,” Bryan said.

School board civics lesson

It’s not unusual for retired teachers to become school board members, but the Wake County school board could be unique in having three former social studies teachers.

On Tuesday, Zora Felton, a social studies teacher who retired in June, will be sworn in to the District 7 seat she won in October. Also being sworn in Tuesday is board member Tom Benton, a retired social studies teacher and principal, who was elected in October to the District 1 seat he had been appointed to fill earlier this year.

Also serving on the school board is Kevin Hill, a retired social studies teacher and principal, who was first elected in 2007.

“I guess all the talk about civics we put into practice,” Benton said.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway will give the oath of office to both Benton and Felton. Ridgeway was one of Felton’s students when she and Benton taught at Sanderson High School in Raleigh in the 1970s.

Benton is hoping that Wendell Murray, who was Sanderson’s principal when he and Felton worked there, will attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Off on the wrong foot?

Durham Mayor Bill Bell says he considers retiring City Councilman Howard Clement a “great friend,” but that it didn’t start off that way.

By the time Bell first ran for office, in the county commissioners election of 1972, Clement was an established political figure in Durham, from years of work in the civil rights movement.

“I was pretty young and naive,” said Bell, who came to Durham in 1968 as an IBM engineer. “I figured since Howard and I were both Howard University alumni, I would give Howard a call and ask for his endorsement.

“His answer was, ‘Bill Bell? Who knows Bill Bell?’

“That was my introduction to him. … But after I thought about it, he was right.”

Bell won the election, anyway.

Political events

• The Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake will hold its monthly meeting Thursday, Dec. 5, at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. The meeting begins at noon, with check-in and social at 11:30 a.m. and lunch at noon. The cost for lunch is $20. RSVP to Lisa Werner at 919-303-8870.

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

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

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