Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Raleigh City Council gives $2,500 to advocacy group

Staff writersFebruary 28, 2014 

The Raleigh City Council is giving $2,500 to the nonprofit advocacy group WakeUP Wake County this month to help sponsor a series of water quality forums.

WakeUP Wake is a nonpartisan group, but it has clashed with local and state Republican leaders over issues such as transit, the environment and schools. Raleigh utilities director John Carman noted during the council meeting that he disagrees with the group about the city’s future water needs but sees the value of the forums.

It’s rare for the city council to allocate money outside its annual budget contributions to arts and human services organizations. “I’ve got a lot of heartburn about granting sponsorship requests, because if we start down that road we’ll have a line out the door,” Councilman Bonner Gaylord said.

But the vote was unanimous, and Councilman Wayne Maiorano said the water quality forums are worth pitching in for.

“This happens to be one that’s closely aligned with a lot of the strategic initiatives the city is undertaking,” Maiorano said. “It seems to be one we could be supportive of without setting a precedent.”

The first WakeUP forum is set for March 13. The topic is “Can development improve water quality?”

Chapel Hill joins Medicaid push

The Chapel Hill Town Council joined other groups urging the state to reverse course on last year’s decision to reject federal dollars that would have expanded Medicaid.

Chapel Hill resident Bill Murray told council members Monday that Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature’s decision to reject the Medicaid portion of federal health care reform affected roughly 560,000 state residents.

Murray is a board member of the nonprofit group Health Care for All North Carolina. The town will send the signed resolution to Orange County’s state legislators, Reps. Verla Insko and Graig Meyer, said deputy town clerk Amy Harvey.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand Medicaid, a federal-state health insurance program for the poor. The federal government pays 100 percent of the costs for the first three years, and then 90 percent. The governor said last year he didn’t know how much the state’s share would cost.

Murray said lawmakers didn’t consider thousands of jobs that would be lost or how many people might die without care.

“The obvious logic to that is people who are poor are lazy. If you give them money, they’ll be lazier,” he said. “The flaw in the logic here is the money does not go to the poor. It goes to medical providers – doctors, nurses, secretaries, clerks, people handing out the pharmacy drugs, the people who make the drugs.”

Morrisville narrows council candidates to two

The Morrisville Town Council has named two finalists for a vacant council seat.

Kris Gardner, 37, an attorney, and Jason Faber, 40, managing partner at Perimeter Studio & Conference Center, are vying for the seat left vacant since last fall, when then-Councilman Mark Stohlman was elected mayor. Two years remain in the seat’s term.

A total of 16 people applied for the seat. One was disqualified because the listed address was in Cary, and two others withdrew.

The council is expected to choose a new member on March 11.

Hunt leads Durham Committee

Former Durham city councilman and state Sen. Ralph Hunt has been elected chairman of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People, one of the city’s major political-action organizations.

Hunt was installed earlier this month for a two-year term. Other new officers of the group include bail bondsman Omar Beasley, former county commissioner Deborah Giles and retired educator Mignon Schooler as vice-chairmen.

Walter Jackson, former city affirmative action administrator, and real-estate broker Preston Edwards are chairman and vice-chairman of the committee.

Other new officers are Nathan Garrett Jr., treasurer; Paulette Morrison-Danner, executive secretary; Shielvonda Haith, recording secretary; C’Destine Couch, assistant recording secretary; Michael Palmer, civic committee chairman, and Pamela Oxendine, vice chairwoman of the civic committee.

Political events

• U.S. Senate candidates Ted Alexander, Greg Brannon, Heather Grant, Mark Harris and Edward Kryn will take part in a forum at The Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake meeting on Thursday at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. Check-in and social time is 11:30 a.m., followed by lunch at noon. Lunch is $20. RSVP to Sue Rousselo at

Compiled by Colin Campbell, Tammy Grubb, Aliana Ramos and Jim Wise.

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