The Raleigh chapter of the National Organization For Women will protest Monday what it calls the “disrespect to women and voters” shown by the conservative majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
In a press release Monday, Raleigh NOW charges that “the board majority has been extremely rude to the ladies of the League of Women Voters of Wake County, to 26 year veteran Commissioner Betty Lou Ward, and to the voters of Wake County.” Protesters are expected to gather outside the Wake County Justice Center, where the commissioners will be meeting.
Protest organizers repeatedly cite education issues as one of the reasons for the protest. For instance, they say the decision by the GOP board majority not to ask voters about hiking sales taxes to raise teacher pay hurts women because females make up the majority of teachers.
While the protest isn’t officially to support the four Democrats running for the Wake Board of Commissioners, events like these are being held by liberal groups to attack the Republican incumbents in advance of the Nov. 4 election.
Here’s the press release:
For Immediate Release: 9/15/14
Citizens Stand Together Against Wake County Board Majority's Disrespect to Women and Voters
RALEIGH, NC– On Sept 15, 2014, a group of outraged citizens led by Raleigh National Organization for Women (NOW) will meet again to protest the Wake County Board of Commissioners. Some people are concerned that the board majority has been extremely rude to the ladies of the League of Women Voters of Wake County, to 26 year veteran Commissioner Betty Lou Ward, and to the voters of Wake County.
On Sept 8, a dozen citizens held their signs in the pouring rain, because they are so outraged by the board majority's behavior.
"We believe this rude behavior by the Wake County Board of Commissioner majority has gone on too long, and is getting worse. In addition, the board majority is targetting women - the League of Women Voters of Wake County, the teachers who won't have access to raises in Wake County (most are women), and County Commissioner Betty Lou Ward," said Gailya Paliga, president of the Raleigh Chapter of the National Organization for Women.
The latest show of disrespect to the voters of Wake County (and women voters in particular) by the Wake County Commissioners came in the form of boycotting the upcoming LWV candidate forums. Not only is the Board majority dismissing the League of Women Voters' long tradition of voter education through community forums, they are sullying their committed non-partisan reputation. This snub was done in mid-August, barely a month before the first voter forum was set. These Commissioners had been invited on Jun 17th. Meanwhile, the four commissioners, who are all up for re-election, had participated in a forum sponsored by the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association.
On August 4th, the same conservative majority decided not to allow a Nov. 4 referendum to raise the sales tax rate by a quarter cent to fund higher salaries for teachers - so Wake County voters get no say in raising teacher pay. To add insult to injury, they refused to allow the longest serving county commissioner, Betty Lou Ward, to vote. Commissioner Ward was recuperating from a hospital stay at the time, and had followed the procedure to be allowed to vote by phone.
The biggest insult to voters and public schools is Senate Bill 325, which became law in June 2013. The conservative majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners had asked legislators for this overhaul of how and when votes are cast by creating new election districts for the Wake County school board. The law redefined two board seats to become regional positions, and completely gerrymandered the districts of the remaining seven seats. It changed when school board elections are held and changed current term lengths so that all nine board seats are on the 2016 ballot.
The board majority is undermining the will of the voters of Wake County, and targetting women with their disrespect.