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Raleigh Mayor, County Chairman at Odds Over Rolesville School

Posted September 25, 2007
Updated September 26, 2007

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— Raleigh's mayor and the chairman of the Wake County Board of Commissioners are at odds, again.

First, they clashed over the city's request to fund a college football stadium. Then came a battle over tax money for North Hills East. The latest round is a dispute over education.

“The school board does not have an accountability issue on land purchases,” Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said during the latest taping of "WRAListens."

On the program, Meeker criticized the commissioners' decision to halt a middle-school land purchase in Rolesville. Meeker implied the commissioners' delays were wasting tax dollars.

"To sit around and quibble over a few thousand dollars per acre on land purchases when you've got a $15 million or $20 million school, the construction costs are going up 10 or 20 percent a year, makes no sense at all,” Meeker said on the program.

"Mayor Meeker had no business talking about those without a county commissioner there to defend us,” Tony Gurley, chairman of the Board of Commissioners, said Tuesday.

Gurley was so upset by Meeker's comments, he said he wants to discuss them at the next commission meeting.

"It is false. It is not true. I think the public needs to know the Wake County Board of Commissioners is protecting the taxpayers' money,” said Gurley.

"My comments were pointed, and things need to change,” Meeker said Tuesday.

When WRAL talked Tuesday with Meeker, he defended his comments and said he has no conflict of interest since his wife, Anne McLaurin, is running unopposed for the District 5 seat on the school board.

"I think the mayor of Raleigh can certainly have comments about the school system. My wife, when she takes office in December, since she has no opponent, may well express other opinions, and she certainly is entitled to do that. But there's no reason I can't express my opinions,” said Meeker.

"I'm glad to debate him on the facts. When I hear falsehoods, I'll call attention to it," said Gurley.

Meeker said that if he is invited to next week's commission meeting, he will attend. So far, Gurley said Meeker has not been formally invited.

The commissioners will replay an unedited portion of the comments from "WRAListens" before the meeting.


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  • SubwayScoundrel Sep 26, 2007

    Gurley wants to act like he is doing something and not agreeing to a price for the land. He is really interested in a bullet point for his website in the next election. Who is to say the cost he is proposing is even close to market value or realistic. He is not protecting us from $$$thousands wasted, he ends up costing us more. I work in "source selection" for a Fortune 10 company and just saying "I want this cost" gets you nowhere. It makes great headlines while Gurley gets in the newspaper. Work the deal, negotiate and close the deal.

    For the school system a wreck, that is just exaggeration. Vouchers are a joke.

    I am a conservative, classically trained through one of the most conservative MBA schools in the country. Following talking points like you see here are just leading the conservatives from being good business people to puppets of the far right nut case movement.

    What ever happened to the conservative business leader? He is shaking his head.

  • whatelseisnew Sep 26, 2007

    Wreck the school system. What rock are you living under. The system is barely functioning and it certainly is not providing the outcomes it should based on the billions of dollars being spent statewide. Sooner or later people need to wake up and push the state to provide vouchers and shut down this miserable failing public system that we have now.

  • DrJ Sep 26, 2007

    Yeah, he's a right wing nut because he doesn't want to pay several hundred thousand more for the land than it's worth. Talk about nut job thinking.......

  • SubwayScoundrel Sep 26, 2007

    Gurley---another wreck the school system right wing nut job. Get his name in the newspaper. Would rather stop and block then move forward. Typical...just typical. Go Meeker GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • DrJ Sep 26, 2007

    In typical liberal fashion, Meeker is all too happy to hand over our tax dollars to these land pirates. "Oh, the costs are going up!" Never mind the fact that a purchase like this would assure Wake County NEVER again gets a piece of land at fair market value. "Sure, your offer is fantastic. But I have the Wake County School Board on the other line, and I'm sure I can get double that amount from them. They don't care how much they pay!"

  • whatelseisnew Sep 26, 2007

    Meeker needs to tend to Raleigh. Apparently he thinks he controls the entire county. As to what is going on the city, bmr66 I hope you enjoy paying for that garbage over the next 30 to 40 years. You are getting double-hammered with tax increases and in the meantime there is not enough water to go around so you get the privilege of paying fines if you don't use your water according to Herr Meeker's rules. The decisions of the City Council and Meeker are reaching well into my pockets even though I do not live in the city of Raleigh (thankfully). But of course the downside is I don't get to try to vote that clown out of office either, even though my wallet is being hit. The Fetzer and Coble years were much better in that at least the property owners were not being harmed so badly.

  • readerman Sep 26, 2007

    I watched this story on WRAL news. It's interesting to see which man was calm and which one was upset. It makes me wonder who is telling the truth.

  • hpr641 Sep 26, 2007

    Why is the Mayor of RALEIGH even talking about a proposed land deal in ROLESVILLE? Maybe if he would focus on RALEIGH and not trying to do the job of the county school board, the county commission, and everyone else, we could get taxes reduced, roads improved, or traffic lights timed (which was approved in a bond referendum recently).

  • coolwill Sep 26, 2007

    Let’s not forget Dorothea Dix Campus he wants to turn into a park using taxpayer’s money. Check the ballot this election the same thing will be on it that was voted on the last time.

  • imtiredofit Sep 26, 2007

    This just reaffirms how out of touch Mayor Meeker really is. He has absolutely no respect for the taxpayer's hard earned dollars.