Politics & Government

School board hopefuls' backers hunt in PACs

The number of groups raising money to back Wake County school board candidates who will support neighborhood schools is on the rise.

This week, a new group called Take Wake Schools Back announced it had formed a political action committee. In a news release, Dennis Berwyn, a member of the group's PAC and an activist in state Republican Party politics, blasted Wake's busing of students out of their neighborhood schools as not working.

Two other groups have their own political action committees. One was formed by Wake Schools Community Alliance, and the other by Dana Cope, president of the state Employees Association of North Carolina.

The question is whether these three groups can all work together to back the same candidates or will split the opposition vote in this fall's school board elections. Four of the nine school board seats will be on the October ballot.

Burns to be shorn

Wake County Schools Superintendent Del Burns is willing to stick out his neck, or at least his hair, for a good cause.

Burns has agreed to have his hair shaved off this afternoon at Napper Tandy's Irish Pub in Raleigh to help raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The organization raises money to help children afflicted with cancer.

Burns said he wants to support Wake students who are fighting cancer.

His goal is to raise $3,000. His donors include Michael Evans, Wake's chief communications officer; Donna Hargens, Wake's chief academic officer; Harvey Schmitt, president of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; and Nancy McFarlane, a Raleigh City Council member.

R-Line is the road to ride

Two weeks ago we asked readers to answer Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker's call to give the city's new downtown bus route, the R-Line, some soul by coming up with a theme song. We got three responses, which is good news for those Raleigh musicians now hard at work on their original R-Line compositions.

One reader said Raleigh already has a song, Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," and he has a point: "Straddled that greyhound, rode him past Raleigh, On across Caroline ..."

Jack Nichols of Raleigh offered up "Bus Stop" by the British band The Hollies. That song equates bus riding with a level of romanticism that even the free R-Line may have trouble achieving: "Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop ... Sometimes she'd shopped and she would show me what she bought ... Other people stared as if we were both quite insane ... Someday my name and hers are going to be the same."

And finally, David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, suggested the 1960s hit song "Downtown" by Petula Clark.

"It's retro, which captures the local and independent retailers and restaurants found in downtown," Diaz explained. "And Seinfeld repopularized it in one of his episodes."

Our recommendation will come as no surprise to regular readers of Triangle Politics: Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight." Now if we could only find the key and turn this engine on.

The number of groups raising money to back Wake County school board candidates who will support neighborhood schools is on the rise.

This week, a new group called Take Wake Schools Back announced it had formed a political action committee. In a news release, Dennis Berwyn, a member of the group's PAC and an activist in state Republican Party politics, blasted Wake's busing of students out of their neighborhood schools as not working.

Two other groups have their own political action committees. One was formed by Wake Schools Community Alliance, and the other by Dana Cope, president of the state Employees Association of North Carolina.

The question is whether these three groups can all work together to back the same candidates or will split the opposition vote in this fall's school board elections. Four of the nine school board seats will be on the October ballot.

Burns to be shorn

Wake County Schools Superintendent Del Burns is willing to stick out his neck, or at least his hair, for a good cause.

Burns has agreed to have his hair shaved off this afternoon at Napper Tandy's Irish Pub in Raleigh to help raise money for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The organization raises money to help children afflicted with cancer.

Burns said he wants to support Wake students who are fighting cancer.

His goal is to raise $3,000. His donors include Michael Evans, Wake's chief communications officer; Donna Hargens, Wake's chief academic officer; Harvey Schmitt, president of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce; and Nancy McFarlane, a Raleigh City Council member.

R-Line is the road to ride

Two weeks ago we asked readers to answer Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker's call to give the city's new downtown bus route, the R-Line, some soul by coming up with a theme song. We got three responses, which is good news for those Raleigh musicians now hard at work on their original R-Line compositions.

One reader said Raleigh already has a song, Chuck Berry's "Promised Land," and he has a point: "Straddled that greyhound, rode him past Raleigh, On across Caroline ..."

Jack Nichols of Raleigh offered up "Bus Stop" by the British band The Hollies. That song equates bus riding with a level of romanticism that even the free R-Line may have trouble achieving: "Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop ... Sometimes she'd shopped and she would show me what she bought ... Other people stared as if we were both quite insane ... Someday my name and hers are going to be the same."

And finally, David Diaz, president of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, suggested the 1960s hit song "Downtown" by Petula Clark.

"It's retro, which captures the local and independent retailers and restaurants found in downtown," Diaz explained. "And Seinfeld repopularized it in one of his episodes."

Our recommendation will come as no surprise to regular readers of Triangle Politics: Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight." Now if we could only find the key and turn this engine on.

-- Orange County Commissioner Mike Nelson, as the commissioners heard Thursday night that the county faces an $8.7 million revenue shortfall for the coming fiscal year. The shortfall represents about 5 percent of the county's current budget and about 6.2 cents on the current property tax rate.

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