To avoid a potential conflict of interest, there has been a change in the federal judge presiding over the lawsuits challenging the General Assembly’s new election lines for the Wake County school board and Wake County Board of Commissioners.
U.S. Chief District Court Judge James C. Dever III has taken over the cases. He replaces Judge Terrence W. Boyle, who had to recuse himself when his son, W. Ellis Boyle, became the Wake County Board of Elections secretary. The Wake County Board of Elections is being sued in both lawsuits because it is responsible for enforcing the new lines drawn by state lawmakers.
The judicial change should make it easier for local court watchers to attend the proceedings. Dever’s courtroom is in Raleigh, while Boyle’s courtroom is in Elizabeth City.
Several left-leaning groups and activists have challenged the new election maps that were drawn up by the Republican-led General Assembly over the objections of the Democratic-led school board and commissioners.
Wake forum on growth, assignment
The Great Schools in Wake Coalition will host three community forums this fall to get a conversation going about the future of growth and student assignment in the Wake County school system.
The first forum, called “Overview of the Challenges Growth Poses on Student Assignment,” will be held Sept. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Fairmont United Methodist Church, 2501 Clark Ave. in Raleigh. Topics at that session will include how poverty and housing patterns are helping to segregate schools by race and income.
The other two forums will be held from 7 to 9p.m. on Oct. 27 and Nov. 19. The locations haven’t been set yet.
The forums take place at a time when Wake has seen the number of high-poverty and racially-isolated schools double since 2008.
“We know our school system faces serious challenges, and we want to ensure that our community is involved in the conversation about those challenges,” said Karen Rindge, executive director of WakeUP Wake County, the parent group of GSIW, in an email Thursday announcing the forums.
Go to nando.com/growth for more information on the forums, including how to register.
Polling place questioned
Two candidates for Morrisville Town Council are questioning a Wake County Board of Elections decision to relocate a polling place to a neighborhood that’s home to their opponents.
The polling place for precinct 05-07, which covers parts of Morrisville and Cary in northwest Wake County, was moved in late July from Good Hope Baptist Church in Cary to the clubhouse in Morrisville’s Breckenridge neighborhood.
Brian Foxx and Pete Martin don’t live in Breckenridge, but their opponents do. Martin is running for an at-large seat against Satish Garimella, president of the Breckenridge homeowners association. Foxx is running for the District 1 seat against incumbent Michael Schlink.
“I found it strange that they chose Breckenridge, knowing there are two persons living in Breckenridge who are running, including the president of the neighborhood,” Martin said. “When you start doing that kind of thing, it’s unfair to the other candidates. It’s good for the people who live there.”
Garimella said he didn’t play any role in the county’s decision and recused himself when the HOA voted on the matter.
Gary Sims, the nonpartisan Wake County elections director, said politics played no part in the decision. He said representatives from Good Hope Baptist Church told the county after last year’s elections that it no longer would host voting booths. The clubhouse, chosen for its location in the center of the precinct, was named before candidates announced their intentions to run. His staff doesn’t screen for links to candidates at potential poll sites.
“We’re talking about a facility we’ll need to be using for next year’s elections, and all elections after that,” Sims said. “Presidential elections, everything.”
The site will be used for elections this fall and through 2017.
Cox’s famous cousin
Who knew that Raleigh City Council District B candidate David Cox has familial ties to the popular boy band Backstreet Boys?
“Congrats to my cousin @nickcarter for being chosen for Dancing with the Stars!” Cox tweeted on Thursday.
Cox later clarified that Carter is his third cousin.
Carter is one of 12 celebrities who will participate in “Dancing with the Stars,” a dancing competition. The first episode will air on ABC on Sept. 14.
The connection seems to have had no effect on Cox’s campaign – at least so far. As of Friday, Carter hadn’t tweeted him back.
Compiled by T. Keung Hui, Will Doran and Mechelle Hankerson.