Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane donated $10,000 to the Moving Wake Forward political action committee, which is advocating for the half-cent sales tax referendum to boost transit options across the county.
The back of the ballot asks Wake voters whether they’re willing to raise the sales tax rate by a half-cent to fund the Wake Transit Plan, a 10-year, $2.3 billion project that calls for commuter rail between Garner and Durham and stronger bus service throughout the county.
McFarlane, who co-owned a pharmaceutical company, has touted transit expansion as not only a solution for traffic congestion but as a complement to affordable housing.
“If we don’t provide transit options, congestion will choke off our quality of life. It’s also about affordability,” McFarlane said. “Having transit available helps with the cost of living in the city. More and more people are asking for it. Younger people want it, and the aging population needs more options.”
The Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Realtors and N.C. Conservation Network also gave five-figure donations. They chipped-in $22,800, $25,000 and $56,400, respectively.
Meanwhile, anti-referendum PAC Against the Tax has raised and spent $5,000 this election season, according to reports filed Oct. 31.
Wake schools race draws less cash
Wake County school board candidates are not collecting large amounts of campaign contributions this year compared with past elections.
Only three candidates reported raising more than $10,000 as of Oct. 22, according to the latest campaign finance reports. Gary Lewis, a former IBM network architect, led the way with $24,451 raised, including the $19,754 he gave his own campaign to try to win the open District 8 seat.
School board member Christine Kushner raised $23,467 before it became clear she would be unopposed. Board member Bill Fletcher has raised $13,492 to try to win the District 9 seat.
All nine school board seats are on Tuesday’s ballot, but four races are uncontested. There’s been much less focus on the contests this year since the results won’t change the direction of the board.
Things were far different in 2011, when more than $470,000 poured in during the campaign to see whether Republicans or Democrats would gain the majority on the nonpartisan board.
▪ Fawn Pattison and Jordan Kozal of the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Duke University will speak about the threat of lead poisoning to the League of Women Voters of Wake County on Nov. 18. “It’s Not Just Flint: Lead and North Carolina’s Children – Science and Solutions” begins at noon at Ridge Road Baptist Church, 2011 Ridge Road in Raleigh. Information: www.lwvwake.org.
Compiled by Paul A. Specht and T. Keung Hui
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