Political notebook: County’s governing board is still ‘bad’, says Democratic commissioners candidate

Published 12:05 am Saturday, August 27, 2016

By Josh Bergeron


The Rowan County Board of Commissioners has gotten better since 2014, but things could be better, said Democratic county commissioners candidate Veleria Levy on Thursday.

Levy spoke during the Rowan County Democratic Party’s annual picnic at Shoaf’s Wagon Wheel. She was one of a number of candidates who spoke during the event. When describing her candidacy, she spent a portion of her time talking about the recent election of three new county commissioners.

“There has been a change, and a pretty good change recently, where you see the board is not as bad as it was before,” she said. “I’m saying as bad. We don’t have (Jim) Sides. It’s not as bad. However, we can do better.”

Even as they improve, Levy accused county commissioners’ economic development efforts as only catering to Rowan’s wealthiest residents. She also criticized a recent plan to build welcome signs on I-85 that are each projected to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 “Here in this county what you’re seeing with our county commissioners is that they’re only catering to one part of our county and that is not fair,” she said. “There is no reason that we should believe that businesses are going to drive highway 85, Interstate 85, come upon this fabulous $650,000 signs and say ‘hey, that’s where I want to have my business — that place over there with those fabulous $650,000 signs.’ “

Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds has proposed massive signs at the entrance to I-85 that would be multiple stories high, include tall brick towers, and a message of some type in the middle. The signs would be funded through private donations and county funds.

Each sign is estimated to cost $325,000 each. When Edds presented the idea, he had already secured $171,000 in private donations.

“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” she said about the signs. “We, as county commissioners, have to reach out and do the work and talk to the people and find the best solution for the county. That’s not putting a bandaid over a gash.”

McCrory locks up law enforcement endorsements

Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign announced endorsements from two significant law enforcement groups this week.

McCrory received endorsements from the Police Benevolent Association and Fraternal Order of Police. Previously, he had been endorsed by the N.C. Troopers Association.

The Fraternal Order of Police and the Police Benevolent Association are similar-type organizations. The latter of the two is larger. Both provide legal assistance to officers.

In conjunction with this week’s announcements, McCrory’s campaign released a TV advertisement that included Michael Potts, a former state trooper who was shot several times during a 2013 traffic stop.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper this week also received endorsements from the National Association of Police Organizations and the Professional Firefighters and Paramedics of North Carolina.

Charlotte mayor speaks for Clinton at Rowan Democrats event

We can’t afford to lose our country, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts told a crowd of Rowan County Democrats on Thursday.

Like Levy, Roberts spoke during the Rowan County Democratic Party’s annual picnic at Shoaf’s Wagon Wheel. She spoke as a surrogate for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign and focused on the need for an inclusive democracy.

“We fought too hard. Our ancestors, our grandparents, all those in our families fought to keep our country free, fought to keep our country serving every single person,” Roberts said. “They fought because they believe democracy means everyone. That’s what democracy is. It’s not just some people. It’s not just rich people. It’s not just white people. It’s not just tall people or short people. It’s all the people.”

She said Clinton would support and help create an inclusive democracy.

When talking about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Roberts said Americans “can’t afford to let money continue to run our country.” She called Trump “really bad money” and noted lawsuits he’s facing and businesses he’s been involved in that have gone bankrupt.

Cooper pulling ahead in gubernatorial race

Polling is beginning to consistently show that Attorney General Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is beating Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, in the North Carolina gubernatorial race.

Within the margin of error or a few points for months, North Carolina’s gubernatorial race has been considered the most contentious in the U.S. Now, Cooper appears to be pulling ahead in the race.

Two polls — from Monmouth University and CNN/ORC — released Wednesday show Cooper with leads outside of the margin of error. In the Monmouth University poll, Cooper leads by nine points. In the CNN/ORC poll, he leads by six points.

The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls now shows Cooper with a nearly 4 percentage point lead over McCrory. Monmouth attributes McCrory’s dip in the polls to House Bill 2. A majority of voters disapprove of the measure, which requires people to use public bathrooms that correspond with the gender on their birth certificate, prevents local governments from setting a minimum wage that’s higher than the state and supersedes local governments in other areas.

Another factor working against McCrory is his approval rating — 45 percent of voters approve and 46 percent disapprove — according to the Monmouth poll.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.