Triangle Politics: A weekly look at the local political scene

TriPol: Mayor McFarlane, husband to meet professor they funded

From staff reportsJuly 4, 2014 

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will have dinner next week with a UNC professor who has the mayor’s name in her job title.

McFarlane and her husband, Ron, made a major contribution last year to UNC’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy to create the Ron and Nancy McFarlane Distinguished Professorship in Pharmacy Practice. The couple own MedPro Rx, a specialty pharmaceutical company.

Combined with state matching funds, the McFarlanes’ gift brought the endowment for the professorship to $500,000. But since the donation was announced in April 2013, the mayor hasn’t met Denise Rhoney, the professor who holds the position.

Rhoney chairs the school’s Division of Practice Advancement and Clinical Education, and her research focuses on traumatic brain injury and acute stroke. She’s set to dine with her job’s benefactors at Second Empire restaurant in Raleigh on Wednesday.

Former Morrisville mayor dies

When Morrisville native Wade Davis joined the town board in 1973, the town had fewer than 250 residents. When he left in 1989, the town’s population had quadrupled to about 1,000.

When Davis died last week, at age 76, the population had topped 22,000, and the rural community he once knew was gone.

Davis served as mayor from 1975 to 1977 and helped established the town’s first police department and the city water and sewer system. He also helped hire the first town administrator.

Though he had much to do with establishing modern Morrisville, the town’s explosive growth made Davis uneasy. In an interview in 2005, he said he worried residents wouldn’t get to know their neighbors.

“The small-town atmosphere is gone,” he said. “No longer do you know everybody.”

Group didn’t ‘Koch’ their error

The National Education Association is the latest liberal group trying to link the 2009 Wake County school board election victory by Republicans to the conservative Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The NEA’s Education Votes website says in a post this week that in Wake, “ALEC-endorsed candidates outspent their opponents hardily (sic) thanks to Koch dollars and took over the school board. They enacted ALEC-backed policies, even going so far as to resegregate the schools.”

In 2009, a conservative Republican majority took control of the school board and made changes such as dropping diversity from the student assignment policy.

A Democratic-backed majority took control in 2011.

The NEA is citing as its source the “Koch Brothers Exposed” documentary by Robert Greenwald. Local conservative groups have hotly disputed the accuracy of Greenwald’s charges about the Wake school elections.

Neither Charles Koch or David Koch gave money in 2009 to the GOP-backed candidates or to the political action committees that backed them or to the Wake County Republican Party. ALEC doesn’t endorse candidates.

Political events

• Claude Pope, chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, will speak to the Apex Peak Republican Club on Tuesday at the Loft at Anna’s Pizzeria in downtown Apex. Social begins at 6 p.m., followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. For more information, email: apexprc@gmail.com.

Compiled by T. Keung Hui and Richard Stradling.

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