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Challengers face many aversions and half truths from incumbents Lucier, Vanderbeck and Thompson

By Tom Glendinning
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010

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Pittsboro, NC - Recent debates, ads and newsletters have cast the pall of rumor over the abilities of candidates for commissioner in Chatham County challenging the existing power block of Lucier, Kost, Vanderbeck and Thompson. The issues are crucial to the future health and welfare of the taxpayers, business community, farmers and anyone who owns property.

So many aspersions and half truths have been spread that responding to each and every one would take another election cycle. This modest explanation will answer some of them adequately or not. That depends on which side of the liberal-conservative fence one is on. Hopefully, there are few "mugwumps."

The radio spot saying that the challenging trio will be worse than Bunkey Morgan in fact means that while the Chatham Coalition group in now is hypocritical. While development was marching at a galloping pace, it did cause two benefits. Infrastructure was planned and installed during the Morgan era. Please remember that Margaret Pollard, Patrick Barnes, Mike Cross, and Carl Outz also served then. All of them had to vote to approve projects.

Second, the value added to the tax roles more than doubled county revenue. The current Coalition bunch has spent it all and borrowed more than Chatham has ever seen before. Chatham needs four hundred new homes, average value of $275,000, to pay for the debt service on the $170,000,000 borrowed in the past four years. To equal a 7.5 percent tax cut, three thousand four hundred of the same are required, or two hundred $6,000,000 industries.

As Clinton said, "It's the economy, stupid." Spending has to stop.

Brian Bock supposedly does not care for children. Anyone who voluntarily wishes to serve in local government cares for children as well as the rest of the population.

While a career in health science educated George Lucier on children's health issues, he could have been more tactful.

The comment was made that Bock had not attended any commissioner's, board or committee meetings. No, not in person. But his supporters and campaign volunteers followed these proceedings for decades. Commissioner's meetings have video and written documentation. The Planning Board has transcribed minutes and reports of its meetings. All official meetings of the county are documented.

The only ones in question are the decisions made and work done on the task force for rewriting the planning subdivision ordinance and changes made in environmental requirements and regulations. This work was done in several meetings over some years in a closed group whose public meetings were merely presentations of the decisions made by that group. Further, the rules of order established in the by-laws of the group were authoritarian, placing all protocol in the hands of the chair (and executive committee.) In other words, if we don't like you or what you say, you're out.

Any committee of the county should be governed by the same parliamentary authority as the county. Told to me by an employee of the manager's office, this authority is Robert's Rules Newly Revised (RONR.)

Another question of legality is that this person who chaired that committee, supervised all the work and made presentations to all the "stakeholders" was a managing contractor to produce the plan and an employee of the consulting company contracted to render the plan and change the master plan for the county. The recommendations of the "committee" were adopted as part of the master planning document and subdivision regulations. These same changes are the ones stifling business and costing homeowners, along with higher taxes, incessant building costs and unpublished, capricious inspection demands.

Open government - hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

As far as the attendance of all the committees on which the current board members serve, they are part of consulting organizations, lobbying groups, educational outfits, or special committees set up under other organizations. They meet once a month or hold annual meetings and can be easily attended when necessary. More in depth, the functions of these committees can be performed by staff specializing in the particular work. Cary has a staff person on the work committee for the Joint Cary/Chatham Work Group.

Triangle J Council of Governments has monthly meetings for each topic or effort it undertakes. It is a research, educational, legislative topic study organization which holds umbrella groups within. The Research Triangle Regional Partnership is part of Triangle J COG. There is no reason that the special work groups like Chatham-Orange and Joint Cary/Chatham could not work under the aegis of Triangle J to better effect. Besides, Sally Kost sits on these boards.

Does the CCCC board really need a commissioner sitting? Since it is such a vital part of the county, why does it not simply report to the commissioners like everyone else? Of course, there are important issues of cooperation and budget. These can be dealt with based on information and informal or formal communication.

The Child Fatality Prevention Team and Child Protective Services Board are attended by Sally Kost and Mike Cross.

The Rural Planning Organization is a governor's committee which plans regional transportation systems. It is attended by Mike Cross and meets once a month. Is Chatham scheduled for the commuter train route between Raleigh and Charlotte?

The EDC is a county board. It reports to the BOC. It does not require a commissioner sitting, except to have input (influence) on the plans and business. This board should be doing the bidding of the BOC competently. Does the BOC not trust its appointees?

The NC Association of County Commissioners has an annual meeting, a grand affair. It is a research, lobbying and educational group whose topic meetings occur once a month. Its educational meetings are held across the state for government employees.

The E-NC Board is the state board on broadband. Topic question is asked and answered in debate.

The NC Criminal Justice Partners is a part of the Department of Justice. The main focus is on prisons, prison issues and court issues. We have no prisons here. Further, we are not listed on the task force in the June 28, 2010 ledger of all participants across the state.

So to recap, there are six to eight important monthly meetings to be divided among three commissioners, one annual fete and two in which we do not need to participate. Certainly, they can attend three meetings a month in the middle of the work week. The questions threatening the effectiveness of the three candidates are moot or answered. To counter the question, how many of these different meetings did the present commissioners attend before being elected? Most of these were not, with the exception of the Planning Board. Most of the meetings were invented by the commissioners.

In summary, the arguments made to debunk the conservative candidates are falsely made, in poor taste, or just so much fluff.

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Challengers face many aversions and half truths from incumbents Lucier, Vanderbeck and Thompson
During a debate at Woods Charter School county commission candidate George Lucier claims that while his opponent may not care about the health of our children, he does.