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Morgan's special interest campaign machine is at it again

By John Hammond
Posted Monday, November 7, 2005

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Or as Yogi would say it's daju vu all over again

Pittsboro, NC - Chris Walker appears to have taken his campaign strategy for the Bunkey Morgan, ReMax and Newland play book.

Walker's last minute attack ad in the Chatham Record and his turn to computer based robot telephone calls are classic examples of the Morgan special interest machine. What they don't know is robot telephone calling is among the least effective political campaign tools. It appears that Walker like the Morgan machine cannot run a clean campaign based on issues or his record and has turned late in the campaign to negative attack ads.

Morgan in the his 2002 campaign had the support of the real estate lobby and California based residential developers Newland Communities who hired a San Diego, California public relation company to counter the local defeat of its Briar Chapel development. In an article entitled "It took a village" in the August 2005 issue of Big Builder magazine, Diane Gaynor describes her multi-year public relation firms campaign to overturn the County Commissioners vote against Newland's Briar Chapel development. Gaynor using her professional public relations skill created local support for Newland development by mobilizing the local real estate community and in the land rich rural western property owners who ultimately hoped to cash in on residential development of their property. Gaynor's campaign orchestrated from San Diego and coupled with Bunkey Morgan's successful negative 2002 political campaign led ultimately to the approval of Newland's Brian Chapel development in 2005. Yes it was a long process but Newland had millions in profits at stake and that made it worth it even if it totally destroys the quality of life and the rural nature of northeaster Chatham County.

The citizens of Chatham County well remember that Morgan's 2002 election campaign was the dirtiest in Chatham County history and heavily based on repeated mailings of slick glossy issueless negative campaign ads, character assassination, negative push polling and computer based robot telephone calls said to originate out of San Diego California to simulate the turnout of a select group of voters. These negative campaign techniques heretofore were unknown in Chatham County elections. The Morgan campaign machine was funded by the out of state and out of county developers with some local real estate and out of county builder special interest money.

Morgan's win in 2002 proved that given an unorganized electorate in a low turnout election year that massive amounts of special interest money can win elections. Bunkey ran on an impossible pledge of no new taxes and that residential development will pay for itself. After the last six-cent per hundred tax increase this year, which is only the beginning of perpetual property tax increases, we all now can see that this pledge is impossible to deliver.

The Morgan special interest machine attempted to repeat its 2002 success in the 2004 primary election campaign. This time the people rose up and organized to fight the Morgan-special interest machine and proved that grassroots campaign can defeat the special interest money. Here again the our ReMax real estate lobby entered the campaign by hosting a free luncheon reception on behalf of the Holland - Wallace campaign at Best Foods in Siler City on June 24, 2004. This event was advertised on corporate stationary and is in apparent direct violation of North Carolina campaign finance laws that prevents any business or corporation from contributing directly to a political campaign. The local Pittsboro and Siler City ReMax realtors are currently under investigation for hosting this event by the State Board of
Election. In the 2004 election cycle an organized citizen based grassroots campaign led by the Chatham Coalition defeated the Morgan-special interest machine.

As noted above we see again the specter of the Morgan-special interest machine raise its ugly head in the negative attack ad strategy of campaign of Chris Walker running for reelection to the Pittsboro town council. Walker has taken a page from the Morgan-special interest campaign by running, not on the issues or his record which he can't, but by running campaign based on a late in the campaign attack ad with the standard lies, innuendos and fabrications and using ineffective computerized robot get out the vote calls all so reminiscent and modus operandi of the Morgan special interest machine campaign strategy in 2002. It appears that same local real estate special interests are supporting the Walker campaign. Will the slick glossy negative ads arrive in your mailbox on Monday? If so that will be diagnostic of the Morgan special interest machine campaign working on Walker's behalf.

It is important for these forces to keep a candidate like Walker on the town council who is willing to literally give away the towns sewer and water infrastructure to politically connected old time Chatham landowner and out of county developers and then happily pass the bill for the future multi-million dollar expansion of the sewer plant to the taxpayers of the town of Pittsboro while the well-connected local landowner and out of county developer laugh all the way bank. Having supported this gift to the Morgan special interests Walker clearly cannot run on his record but must turn to the negative attack strategy.

Pittsboro can ill afford to re-elect Walker to the town council. Yes it would be really good for the Morgan special interests machine and few local wealthy landowners but very bad for the ordinary taxpayers of Pittsboro who will be stuck with the infrastructure bill.

In this year's Pittsboro election the Morgan-special interest machine is just warming up for the 2006 election cycle that will decide whether the people of Chatham or the Morgan special interest machine own the Chatham County government.

Let our grassroots political efforts of Pittsboro Together prove again as the Chatham Coalition did in 2004 that people vote and dollars don't.

Your support for the Voller-Baldwin-Ramirez ticket will send a strong message to the Morgan special interest machine that all the people really own the election and not just the special few.

Related info:
It Took a Village
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