Tue 2 Nov 2010
In case there’s any confusion, Morgan Freeman had nothing to do with this post!
I’ll be helping the Orange County Democratic Party over at the Caldwell precinct in northern Orange County from 9:30am to 4:00pm. Drop by if you’re in the area.
Over the last week I’ve received emails asking my recommendations for the judicial races. Here’s who I’m voting for:
US Senate – Elaine Marshall
I know, Elaine isn’t running for the bench but since I have your attention….
A lot has been made of the apparent Democratic electorate malaise this year. We are still involved in the longest war of our country’s history. We still haven’t punished the use of torture or kidnapping as tools of war. Affronts to our Constitution, to basic human rights continue to be promulgated. Backroom deals derail chances of improving our populaces health and welfare. Billions are bilked and the public coffers milked. Spying and lying are now commonplace insults to our country’s democratic well-being. So much of the same old, same old with nary a peep from so many Democratic “yes we can change” Congress folks.
I understand that immense lethargic unease the folks that turned out in 2008 must feel. Does that mean we need to suffer with a Burr under our saddles another 4 years? Hell no.
Elaine is more than the anti-Burr choice. She wasn’t supported by the torpor inducing national Democratic apparatchik, a real win in my book. She will work to bring real change on behalf of all North Carolinians if elected. Do your part today to make that happen.
Supreme Court – Bob Hunter
Both candidates have a strong record on governmental transparency, solid experience and track records of reasonable judicial advocacy. While Jackson served as counsel under Labor Secretary Cherrie Berry during a period of time when that office was less than proactive on a slate of labor related issues, it’s not clear to me if her role allowed her to advocate for better outcomes. Hunter has the edge in experience, great endorsements and, as a Democrat, the background to work towards an equitable decision on Congressional redistricting should it land in the Court’s hands.
Court of Appeals – Gray,Elmore,Geer.
Gray and Geer, Democrats, have solid reputations, been unequivocal that politics will play no role in their courts. Elmore is a solid choice.
Court of Appeals – Instant Runoff version: Thigpen – 1st. Hammer – 2nd. Payne or Middleton or Vesper -3rd.
In other races:
Board of Commissioners – Earl McKee.
I’ve been watching Earl as he has taken on a few County issues these last 18 months. He spent 6 months attending BOCC meetings to get a feel of the office before ever standing up and speaking his piece. His first issue, challenging the expensive remodeling of an office space to serve as a Commissioners chamber, demonstrated the type of leadership he plans to bring to the Commission: he did his research, spoke sincerely and directly to the issue, stood firm on his principles while pursuing the best policy for both his rural district (District 2) and the County as a whole.
Sales Tax Referendum – AGAINST
This is a lousy year to raise any taxes – no matter how small the bite – but that is not the main reason I stand so firmly opposed to this referendum.
Poverty is on a steep uptick in Orange County. Demand for health and welfare services is at an all time high. Long needed structural shifts – from fully staffing our community health system to shifting the emergency homeless shelter burden off the IFC – are not occurring supposedly due to fiscal difficulties at the County level. Yet, when presented with $2.3M from a sales tax or $4.6M windfall from refinancing the County’s debt, the BOCC chose areas outside those vital needs.
I lobbied them to put the lions share towards addressing the needs of those struggling the most – for the 1 in 5 Orange County residents in poverty and other residents who are just treading water. $2+ M new revenue targeted effectively represents more than a life jacket – it would lift folks out of the deep end of the pool and move them on to firm ground.
Again, I appreciate the BOCC making a somewhat firm commitment to spending priorities – I just don’t support the same set of priorities.
The BOCC has been clear, as they should be, that this revenue sharing plan is a firm commitment over the next 5 years and will not change – period. The BOCC has also reaffirmed their stance that this new revenue will not replace existing revenue or cover existing expenses – it is new money for a new purpose )funds will not be freed up elsewhere that could be redirected to human services).
Given that, tomorrow, I’m voting NO for the sales tax in hopes that we will get another chance to set the priorities for that spending, that the new priority will be waited heavily towards addressing human service needs and that core needs – like improved emergency medical services(EMS) and required school facility repairs – be paid out of core budget.
More of my reasoning on voting against the sales tax below: