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Wake commissioners: shameful, disgusting and mean

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We've gotten more letters this week about the Wake County Board of Commissioners' vote for chairman than we can print. Here are seven. Find more in The People's Forum on tomorrow's editorial page.


I don’t understand why all the Democrats are so upset about the action taken by the Wake County Board of Commissioners when Betty Lou Ward was absent. This is exactly the kind of thing the legislative Democrats did to get the lottery bill passed, and passing the lottery was a much bigger mistake.

You’d think that as long as Ward has been in politics she would have or should have known better.

Joyce Fowler


It looks to me like Wake County is trying to emulate a “banana republic.” First the coup d’ etat staged at the school board, then the incredibly shabby way that the Wake County commissioners elected a new board chairman (taking advantage of one member’s need to use the bathroom). Shameful and disgusting!

Jud Lawrie


I was greatly disturbed reading the Dec. 9 editorial “Boo birds.” Although I am only 14, I do understand the meaning of dishonest behavior. Each day at school I see petty examples of cheating, for instance, the foul in the basketball game, but hey, it’s no big deal. However, I was shocked by actions of the Republican Wake County commissioners.
If these people must wait until a Democratic board member is taking a bathroom break to have a majority vote, it is clear that their ideals are no longer of use to the population as a whole, in which case they should step aside to progressive leaders who will aid our county in these troubled times rather than wasting time talking about the UNC women’s soccer team. (I am not joking; they actually did talk about that.)

I implore you to consider what is best for Wake County when it comes time to elect the board again.

Jake Marchman


Difficult circumstances provide opportunity for people to step forward and do the right thing, even if they aren’t required to do so! Two such opportunities were missed recently by the Wake County Board of Commissioners. With only six members present (Chairman Harold Webb was home recuperating from a serious stroke), it was time to vote for new leadership. Out of respect for Webb’s many years of service, the right thing was to delay a vote until either he could be present or another method for his participation could be found.

Failing on this opportunity to do the right thing and after 14 ballots resulted in 3-3 ties along party lines, Commissioner Betty Lou Ward slipped out for a needed bathroom break. It seems she failed to get permission, and seeing an opportunity, the Republican members of the board voted 3-2 to elect their candidate.

Their action might have been within the rules, but from where I sit Commissioners Tony Gurley, Joe Bryan and Paul Coble failed miserably in doing the right thing. It would be easy to cynically attribute their action to “just politics,” but I and many others refuse to give them a pass. It wasn’t “just politics” – it was just wrong!

Tim Quigg
Wake Forest


I have been a lifelong registered Republican (50 years). Although my actual voting for Republican candidates has steadily dwindled over the last decade I have retained my party affiliation. This week’s performance by the Republican minority on the Wake County Board of Commissioners has finally motivated me to send in an update to my voter registration. Retaining Republican as my party affiliation on my voter registration card would be an embarrassment to me.

David Rose


Commissioners Paul Coble and Joe Bryan’s vote against ordering food to help a diabetic fellow commissioner regulate his blood sugar was just plain mean-spirited. Thanks for the leadership, guys.

Pearl Rosenberg


Embarrassing!? The Wake County Board of Commissioners should have flipped a coin to come to a decision – that would have been the least embarrassing feat of the evening! Do they not consider it embarrassing when they throw all civility, couth, respect for fellow colleagues and those being recognized, compassion, courteousness, not to mention good sense out the window and resort to antics seen on a preschool playground? And all in the name of power!

I am appalled at the rudeness and lack of true leadership of our elected officials. Shame, shame!

Wanda Denning
Willow Springs


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"mean spirited".

A typical code word from the left that is consistently incorrectly applied.
The original definition of the term, "mean", actually meant cheap or miserly.
Thus, a mean spirited person was a cheap or miserly spirited person.
The definition of the word, "mean", has degenerated into something meaning not nice, but the definition of the term, "mean spirited" has not changed. It means cheap, not nasty. People that use such terms are consistently from the foolish left, and they are consistently incorrect in its application.

I find it odd that Ward, a

I find it odd that Ward, a 21-year veteran of the board, did not comprehend the dynamics of the day and failed to request a recess to accommodate her break. In my view, the real issue is that Ward made a lazy, amateurish mistake with her lack of attention to procedure. With appropriate awareness, she had the power to control the fate of the vote. Interestingly, I have not seen any criticism directed at her.

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About the blogger

Burgetta Eplin Wheeler is the associate editor of the Editorial pages, responsible for the Other Opinion page. She occasionally writes editorials. She can be reached at bwheeler@newsobserver.com or 829-4825.