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Friends of Wake County leader gets tough reaction from Republican women's group

Phil Zachary, co-chairman of the Friends of Wake County, did not find a friendly audience Thursday when he spoke at a meeting of the Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake.

As noted in today’s article, Zachary found himself dealing with shouts of “no,” interruptions and people talking over him as he made his pitch for the bonds while bond opponents were applauded. Zachary probably shouldn’t have started his remarks by talking about trusting the school board.

“Can we trust this school board to spend this money wisely?” Zachary said, drawing loud, repeated no responses from the crowd.

Looking at the donors backing the Wake County school bonds

There’s not much doubt that the Friends of Wake County is winning the fundraising battle for the school bond issue.

As noted in today’s article, the Friends of Wake reported raising at least $248,990 as of last week. While no reports have been filed by opposition groups, the Wake County Taxpayers Association and the East Wake Republican Club said they’ve spent far less.

A look at the FOWC donor lists show that 55 percent of the money has come from the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, Duke Energy, Red Hat and WakeMed. The group has also received several donations from those that could benefit from the bond’s passage, such as construction companies, real-estate companies and law firms who have real-estate practices.

Wake County school bonds leader leaving for job in Boston

Phil Zachary, who has been one of the public faces for the Wake County school bond issue, will soon be leaving the area.

Entercom Boston announced Tuesday that they had hired Zachary as their new Vice President and Market Manager. Zachary will start his new job Oct. 21 overseeing several Boston radio stations and The Boston Red Sox Radio Network.

Zachary has been in the public eye most recently as co-chairman of the Friends of Wake County, regularly speaking at events to promote passage of the school bonds. He was also in charge of communications for Friends of Wake during the 2006 bond campaign.

Zachary, currently president of Curtis Media Group, will stay on as co-chair through the final week of the bond campaign. Zachary, a native of Connecticut, talked about how much living in Wake had helped him and his family in a campaign video for Friends of Wake.

Looking at the technology component of the Wake County school bond issue

The politics of technology in Wake County school bond issues is playing out again this year.

As noted in today's article, the $939.9 million capital improvement program that would largely be funded by the school bond includes $64.9 million for technology upgrades. But school leaders are emphasizing more the technology infrastructure upgrades the bonds would fund as opposed to the new devices that would be acquired.

During his speech Friday to the League of Women Voters of Wake County, Superintendent Jim Merrill stressed that the bonds would provide “technology upfits” for schools with some “limited equipment” purchases.

FOWC's newspaper ads and mailers for Wake County school bond issue

With their deep pockets, which I’ll get into in a later blog post, the Friends of Wake County are mounting a media and campaign mailer blitz to urge people to vote for the $810 million Wake County school bond issue.

The latest example is this half-page ad that will appear Sunday in the N&O and later next week in the N&O’s community papers. The ad says “great places aren’t built by saying no, great places are built on yes,” echoing the remarks that FOWC co-chair Phil Zachary made at Tuesday’s news conference.

Earlier in the week, FOWC ran this full-page ad in The Carolinian to reach out to the African-American community. The ad, which includes the smiling picture of two students and a joint statement from Wake school board chairman Keith Sutton and Wake Board of Commissioners chairman Joe Bryan, tells readers to “take 15 minutes to vote” because “our future depends on you.”

Wake County school bonds debate on Bill LuMaye Show

There should be a spirited debate on the Wake County school bond issue today on the Bill LuMaye Show.

Wake County school board chairman Keith Sutton and Phil Zachary, co-chairman of the Friends of Wake County, will represent the pro-bonds side. They'll be opposed by Tony Pecoraro, vice president of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, on the anti-bonds side.

Zachary is president of Curtis Media, which owns WPTF.

The debate is scheduled to air at 5;05 p.m. on WPTF Talk Radio 850 AM.


Click here to listen to the debate.

Saying passing Wake County school bonds shows community is built on "Yes"

For Phil Zachary, the co-chairman of the Friends of Wake County, the community is built on the idea of “yes,” including yes to the school bonds.

As noted in today’s article, Zachary repeatedly went back during Tuesday’s news conference at Garner High School to the idea that Wake Count is built on people deciding “Yes” and not "No” on issues. That’s why he said seeing the vote no signs on the school bonds “make me cringe.”

“I was driving over here and I couldn’t help but see a few of the no signs planted by those folks who are against the bond,” Zachary said. “It crossed my mind that no is a good thing sometimes. No trespassing after midnight is a bad idea. No smoking. No sharp objects on board the plane."

Wake County school bonds supporters hold news conference today

You’ve probably seen plenty of media coverage today about Garner High School as supporters of the $810 million Wake County school bond issue held a news conference and tour of the school.

Phil Zachary, co-chairman of the Friends of Wake County, talked about how Wake was built on “yes” and cringing when he sees the vote no signs. Wake County school board chairman Keith Sutton talked about the need for new schools and Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan said the bonds were the best way to pay for the growth.

Garner High Principal Drew Cook gave a tour of the campus. I’ve gone into detail about the issues he’s raised in this prior blog post.

The Wake County Taxpayers Association will hold a dueling news conference against the bond issue on Wednesday.

Phil Zachary on the "obligation" voters have to pass the Wake County school bonds

Phil Zachary, co-chairman of the Friends of Wake County, is telling voters they “have an obligation” to pass the $810 million Wake County school bond issue.

In a YouTube video posted last week, Zachary talks about how the current quality of life in Wake “was all thanks to the planning and vision of leadership here in the 50’s and 60’s.” Zachary tells viewers they can’t afford to let it stop now.

Zachary says that passing the bonds would “honor the vision. the sacrifice” that “have been put in place here over the last half-century.” He says “this is our time” and “this is our stewardship in 2013.”

Uncertainty over how active opponents will be on Wake County school bond fight

How aggressively will the opposition mobilize to fight the $810 million Wake County school construction bond referendum this year?

As noted in today’s article, it’s not clear yet whether a well-funded and aggressive anti-bond campaign will take place. Even though the Wake County Republican Party’s leadership is opposing the bond, it was by a one-vote majority and it’s uncertain whether they’ll be actively fighting the Friends of Wake County.

“Our number one job is helping our 30 endorsed candidates,” said Wake County Republican Party Chairwoman Donna Williams. “That’s where the majority of our time and focus will be spent.”

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