Orange County Commissioner Penny Rich takes issue with the phrase "minority report" in today's Raspberry in The Chapel Hill News. We razzed the former Town Council woman for calling on her former council colleagues to ask for the resignation of Del Snow as chairwoman of the Planning Board. Snow recently spoke at a county commissioners meeting, asking the county to delay the start of the half-cent sales tax for transit.
"Now it is unusual for one government’s adviser to speak to another government, especially without letting the first government know," we wrote. "But if sharing a minority report of an appointed advisory board is a firing offense, we’ve got more serious problems than a breach of protocol. Rich is no political novice; she and the rest of the commissioners were more than capable of taking Snow’s comments in context and assigning them whatever merit they wanted."
For the record, Rich says she can take the Raspberry -- she even thanked us for it -- but she also says it's not accurate to call Snow's comments a "minority report." A minority report technically is a report by a small number of group members on the losing end of a vote, a formal way to get a dissenting opinion out there. We know that, and perhaps we should have said minority viewpoint.
Rich says she welcomes minority reports from advisory boards and doesn't want to squelch or be perceived as squelching community discussion -- our main point. The planning board's opposition to the regional transit plan was unanimous, she notes.
Her concern, she says, was with Snow leapfrogging her board and the town's elected leaders to press her case with the county commissioners. Snow didn't tell her board or anyone at Town Hall that she was going to speak to the commissioners. The Town Council supported the regional plan and the first they heard about Snow's end run was on the radio, she says. (OK, Rich didn't use the phrase "end run." That was me just now.)
"Really it was a pretty bold move," Rich says. "I have to tell you I know he (Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt) was disturbed by this too. It was bad. It was a bad thing to do. My opinion."
Reasonable people can disagree, we said in our Raspberry. Tell us what you think here, in a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or on my Facebook page. Thanks.