Local Politics

New Wake commissioners plan to maintain bloc

Posted November 5, 2014

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— After campaigning as a bloc, the four Democrats who defeated incumbent Republicans in Tuesday's election said Wednesday that they plan to continue working as a unit when they join the Wake County Board of Commissioners next month.

Democrats Sig Hutchinson, Matt Calabria, Jessica Holmes and John Burns defeated commissioners Joe Bryan, Phil Matthews, Rich Gianni and Paul Coble, respectively, putting all seven seats in the hands of a single party for the first time in recent memory.

Hutchinson and Calabria said Wednesday that their first order of business is to sit down with the Wake County Board of Education. Relations between the two boards have been frosty in recent years as they bickered over education spending and control of school construction and maintenance.

"(We want to) really delve into the question of how can we work better to help you do your job and remove barriers to your success," Hutchinson said.

Calabria said the discussion would include teacher pay and adequate school facilities.

"We've heard so many complaints from parents and people in general," he said.

Hutchinson said it's too early to say whether a higher commitment to area schools by the county would require a tax increase.

"That means working with the school board to answer that question," he said.

Public transportation is another top priority for the incoming commissioners, including a new transit hub in downtown Raleigh.

"We saw a 2007 plan basically frozen in time, and only recently has it been dug out and have we started to work on refreshing that," Calabria said.

Durham and Orange counties have moved forward on transit – each implemented a half-cent sales tax to fund projects – but the issue has been a non-starter for the Republican majority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners in recent years. The Democrats pledged the discussion of mass transit will be revived in Wake County.

Hutchinson said he wants to move forward with a half-cent sales tax for transit in the county, noting that it would double the county's bus capacity in the next 18 months. The other six members of new board also support the plan, he said.

"That's what we need to move forward on. We need to give our citizens a voice and a vote on their transportation future," he said.


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  • downtowner Nov 6, 2014

    Hagan won by 40,000 votes in Wake County. Aiken actually won in Wake County. And all 4 democrats won their CC races. Even the liberal "activist" judges won under a nonpartisan banner. Looks like Wake county is a haven for progressives and forward thinkers, albeit surrounded by a sea of red. As a lifelong born and raised NC citizen I am glad to call this place home.

  • caronia49 Nov 6, 2014

    I feel very sad and sorry for all the people in Wake County.....

  • Edward Levy Nov 6, 2014
    user avatar

    It looks like we have a group that will run our taxes through the roof. Power crazy!

  • sinenomine Nov 6, 2014

    The new Wake commissioners, all Democrats, plan to "maintain a bloc" the story says.

    I would bet my bottom dollar that if the new commissioners were Republicans and said the same thing the Democrats and liberals in the audience would deafen us with their outcry.

    More than anything else about current American politics I am troubled by the double standard. It cannot be the case that when Democrats and Republicans do the same thing one (take your pick which) is evil and the other good. Same with liberals and conservatives of whatever party.

    Another way to put it, not original with me, is that we must all have the same rights as the alternative is that none of us will have any rights.

  • Tom Boswell Nov 6, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    It is depressing and sad how the public does not understand the relationship to voting yes for a bond and their taxes going up and voting for a Democrat and their taxes going up.

  • Mods Hate Me Nov 6, 2014

    These races should be district based so that property owners can have legitimate representation in regards to their tax money. The republican 4-3 majority was the only thing keeping taxes in check. One day after winning, and the dems are already talking about raising taxes....

  • Joseph Smith Nov 6, 2014
    user avatar

    Hold onto your wallets. The assault on the middle class is intensifying.

  • ralnc Nov 5, 2014

    increase property taxes, increase sales tax, add a few more bonds : destroy wake county
    the corridors in our schools should be paved in gold with all the money that is spent.

    time to put up the for sale sign: goodbye wake county!!

  • theliberadicator Nov 5, 2014

    This is the only real negative in a night of GOP led mandates. If you live in Wake you can count on this board increasing your property taxes in mass and begging for a bond or sales tax increase every other year.

    Up first, they must have a transportation request approved by you fine voters. As you always do, just say yes.

    Sales tax is going up.

  • Tom Boswell Nov 5, 2014
    user avatar

    "and remove barriers to your success," translation is here comes the tax increases. 80% of a billion last year which increased our taxes 9% was not nearly enough.