Election Day 2006: Hogan Farms and Beyond…

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Covered Hogan Farms from 6:45am to 9:45am. BOCC candidate Jamie Daniels was handing out material until roughly 9am. Stein supporters covered the precinct from 7ish on. The Democrats staffed a table handing out sample ballots the whole time I was there…

As of 9:35am, 300 confirmed voters with another 10-15 milling about waiting to go. When I called in to report the numbers to O.C. Democratic headquarters, was told the 10am figure was 369.

Hogan Farms has a nice setup – including hot coffee. A welcome bit of hospitality considering the temperature and rain began falling in earnest as I left. Judge Baddour was getting some good support. So to folks voting NO on the districting referendum. A welcome surprise.


2AM Chapel Hill Library – Prepping Signs

[UPDATE: ] Moved the rest of the photos here.

The rain has let up a bit. I’m hoping most of it has swept through by 4:30pm when Elijah and I start working Chapel Hill library (Estes Hills – my home precinct).

Vote No on Orange County Districting Referendum, Another No from Katz

Saturday, November 4th, 2006

A resounding NO from former Orange County Democratic Party chair Barry Katz in his Oct. 28th LTE to the Chapel Hill News:

I will vote no on the ballot referendum to restructure the Orange County commissioners.

First, there hasn’t been enough public debate on the merits of change, and I oppose change without voters’ understanding its consequences. Second, since the mid-1930s, The Chapel Hill News has reported countywide contests between candidates in favor of funding schools, health clinics, etc., and candidates who oppose raising taxes to fund such services. Most years the pro-funding candidates win and they do it with support from all parts of the county, albeit with greater support in southern Orange. So this is an old story.

Third, my six years on the county Planning Board suggests to me that underlying the push to change how county commissioners are elected are residents who are concerned about “restrictive” land-use planning and the rights of landowners to do what they want with their land. I joined the board as a skeptic regarding land-use planning and left a confirmed proponent of strategic land-use planning. We have only to look at Wake County to see how unregulated growth leads to urban sprawl, a lack of public transportation and too little public open space.

Orange County has been in a decades-long urban-suburbanizing transition that will continue past my lifetime. Agriculture now accounts for about 1 percent of the county’s economy, but the value of agricultural land has skyrocketed in recent decades due to residential housing demand. “Recent residents,” i.e., people whose grandparents weren’t born in Orange County, constitute a strong majority of voters and now determine the outcome of local elections, as is only proper. Not only would new and future Orange residents benefit from planning, but agricultural landowners would enjoy sustained maximum land values if the quality of life stays high in the county, as would occur under a thoughtful land use plan.

I hope landowners recognize the practical truth in this notion. — Barry Katz, Chapel Hill

Vote No on Orange County Districting Referendum

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Thank you Orange County League of Women Voters for sponsoring tonight’s forum.

There were 15-20 folks in the audience this evening, including former BOCC candidate Artie Franklin, current BOCC candidate Jamie Daniel and Superior Court District 15B candidate Chuck Anderson.

Fright-night, referendum style, came a day late as Moses Carey pretty much reprized his earlier “debate” performance pulling out the legislature as bogeyman. In Moses’ scenario, the legislative demons will swoop in if the referendum dies, reject the voters will and steal our ability to choose alternatives.

Backing off an earlier claim that independent runs would be easier, tonight he just claimed it would be slightly easier. It won’t be. Technically it’ll take %5 of 88944 registered voter signatures to even get on the ballot. Strangely enough, that’s more signatures than it would’ve taken to win a District 2 spot in this year’s primary.

Once again, he asserted the best way to unite the county is to divide it, contrary to the lunacy our southern neighbors in Chatham county are going through…

Though he acknowledged helping craft a 1993 recommendation to use this alternative voting method, he characterized my claim that cumulative voting opens doors to minority voices as pure speculation. Further, he rejected my claim, once again saying it was pure speculation, that evidence to the contrary and in spite of wide usage throughout the world – our country – in corporate governance, the method is better than districting in apportioning representation.

He did recant and admit that the expansion of the board and districting could be voted on separately.

He also agreed that the “1 person, 1 vote” didn’t accurately capture the real exercise of voting power – a side-effect which allows fewer voters in District 2 to elect a candidate than candidates in District 1 (this given that winning the Democratic primary is “de facto” winning the general election).

Moses did surprise me with his suggestion that Orange County citizens weren’t up to understanding cumulative voting – that it was too confusing – and that they couldn’t be educated.

After presenting the only option in defeat as sticking with what we have, I asked him directly what would stop the BOCC, 24 hours after the referendum’s defeat, from starting over and incorporating the best ideas for selecting and electing a diverse slate of candidates.

He ducked that direct question and a subsequent one from the audience: “What will you do if the referendum is defeated?”

When asked the same question I made the following pledge:

If the referendum is defeated I will appear at the first BOCC meeting after the election and ask for:

  • Expansion of the board to seven members
  • Non-partisan elections
  • Cumulative voting
  • Immediate implementation of rural and urban super-precincts

If we pass this referendum, additional reforms will not be implemented. If we pass this referendum, rejecting proven and practical alternatives which emphasize coalition building, then we’ll have consciously created a house divided.

Please don’t be fooled by the sugar-coating, board expansion, around this bitter pill, institutionalized divisiveness and disenfranchisement.

Vote NO on the Orange County districting referendum.

Chatham’s Yes Men

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I’m quite interested in the fortunes of our southern neighbors in Chatham County.

As reported in today’s N&O, local Chatham activist Mark Barroso has put together a great little youTube video on the outgoing Commissioner’s ill-deeds.

By the way, the Chatham redistricting proposal, which everyone should vote NO on, serves well as an example of the divisive nature of districting. Orange County residents should vote NO on our referendum to preclude such inanity.

Via Dan Coleman on OrangePolitics.

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