Triangle Politics: A weekly look at the local political scene

TriPol: Fuquay-Varina commissioner appears on Pawn Stars

Staff writersJanuary 3, 2014 

Fuquay-Varina Commissioner Jason Wunsch recently found himself in the limelight for nonpolitical reasons.

Wunsch was featured on Thursday’s episode of the History Channel show “Pawn Stars.” In the episode called “Finding Fonzie,” Wunsch tried to authenticate a handwritten poem he believed was written by Marilyn Monroe to a soldier serving in Korea.

The episode will air again at 8 p.m. Jan. 16 and is available online on History.com, iTunes and Amazon.com.

Wunsch, a fan of the show, was excited by his encounter with Corey Harrison, one of three generations of Harrisons who run the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop near Las Vegas and are the show’s stars.

“Corey Harrison was standing in front of me,” he said. “It was unbelievable to not just be watching it on television but to be there. It was surreal.”

The poem is owned by Wunsch’s father-in-law, who went on Antiques Roadshow about 10 years ago, where he was told it was authentic. But a handwriting expert on Pawn Stars said he thought the poem was written by Marilyn Monroe’s secretary not Monroe herself, and Wunsch says he now wants to get a third opinion to be sure.

Staying in touch in District A

The end of December is typically a quiet time for the Raleigh City Council, which cancels all its meetings during the second half of the month.

But as he wrapped up his first month in office, Councilman Wayne Maiorano was busy, answering more than 30 constituent emails in the two days following Christmas.

City Council members get a high volume of emails on controversial and mundane topics, and often they’ll read the messages without replying or respond from a personal account, which isn’t visible in a public records database made available to the media.

In most of the emails, Maiorano says he wants to learn more about the issues before taking a stand. But he does agree with some of the concerns: The pavement on Yonkers Road is “in poor condition,” and the use of comp time by Raleigh Housing Authority director Steve Beam “appears troubling.”

By engaging with resident concerns on everything from proposed developments to missed leaf collections, Maiorano is following in the footsteps of his District A predecessor, Randy Stagner, who was known for strong constituent service.

N.C. House 54 seat open

A state House committee is seeking candidates to replace former 54th District Rep. Deborah McManus, who resigned Dec. 11 after her embezzlement arrest.

Interested candidates must be residents of the 54th House District – in Chatham and northern Lee counties – and registered Democrats. A public meeting with the candidates will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 11 at the Historic Chatham County Courthouse, 12 East St. in Pittsboro.

The N.C. House District 54 Democratic Party Executive Committee will choose McManus’ replacement at a meeting Jan. 24, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the courthouse. Gov. Pat McCrory will formally make the appointment.

McManus, 56, was a first-term representative from Siler City. She is facing three felony counts of embezzlement related to more than $47,000 in state individual income tax withheld between January 2011 and July 2013 at her husband’s medical office, Carolina Family Practice in Siler City.

To apply for the seat, send a résumé and any supporting material via email to nchouse54vacancy@gmail.com. Information also can be submitted to the Chatham or Lee County Democratic Party chairmen via their contact information at http://www.chathamdemsnc.net or www.leedemocrats.org.

Political events

• State Rep. Tom Murry of District 41 will speak to The Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. The cost for the lunch is $20. Check-in and social time is 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon. RSVP to Lisa Werner at 919-303-8870.

• Valerie Johnson, chairwoman of the Durham County GOP Black Republican Committee, will speak on community outreach at the Triangle Republican Women meeting on Jan. 13 at 6:30 p.m. at Meelo’s Restaurant, 1821 Hillandale Road (Loehmann’s Plaza shopping center) in Durham. Contact Janie Wagstaff, janie.wagstaff@durhamgop.com.

• Elon University history professor and Southern culture specialist John Beck will discuss how demographics determine election results at The Wake Democratic Men’s Club meeting on Jan. 13 at the Clarion hotel in downtown Raleigh. Doors open at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. RSVP to awdellingerjd@yahoo.com.

Compiled by Aliana Ramos, Colin Campbell and Mark Schultz.

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

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