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Election results draw cheers from Democratic board members and jeers from GOP board members

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The reactions from Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday night to the Wake County school board election results was about as different as you could get.

As noted today in this article and this article, Democrats were hailing the results as a step forward. Republicans who face four years of being in the minority were warning about a return to the days of forced busing and possibly even Superintendent Tony Tata leaving.

Speaking to reporters after the results came in, GOP board vice chairman John Tedesco said he hopes the new board majority won't try to rehash old battles.

Tedesco said he's concerned about Democratic board member Kevin Hill's support for setting aside seats at high-performing schools for students from low-performing nodes.

"That sounds benign when he says it," Tedesco said. "It's not. It's a quota system. That significantly changes the choice model."

Tedesco predicted the new board majority will install Hill or Keith Sutton as the next chairman.

"Those are the only two on the opposition side with any experience," he said, adding that he is not yet ready to make his choice.

"We'll see if they can show me a vision that's worth fighting for," Tedesco added. "If we're moving forward, I'll work with either one. If they want to go back, then I'm going to put up a fight."

GOP school board member Chris Malone, who still plans to run for a seat on the state House next year, said he sees difficult times ahead for Wake County schools under the new majority.

"It means that we're going to go back to where we came from — to the old ways," Malone said. "We're going to go back to forced busing because of set asides. Maybe not right away, but eventually."

Malone added that "the argument (over student assignment) is still going to be the same. It's who wins that's going to change."

As referenced in a previous post, you also had Heather Losurdo warning that Tata might go the way of Del Burns and quit.

Now let's contrast it with the Democratic reaction.

Hill again voiced Tuesday night his desire to have the seat set-asides, noting that Tata "himself has said we need to do some tweaks."

"This is the plan the board voted on and we need to work on it together as a board," Hill said.

Other Democratic board members downplayed the possibility previously raised by Susan Evans of delaying the new assignment plan by a year.

Sutton said he does not see a need to delay the plan to make changes.

"I think we will take our time to make some good data-based decisions, make decisions that are best for the community," Sutton said. "Not that we haven't made some before.

More than anything I think we'll be able to improve the process by which we move things along."

New Democratic board member Christine Kushner echoed Hill in saying she expects the board to move forward with the new plan while making revisions.

“This is the plan,” Kushner said. “We’re going to go forward with. it. We’re not going backward.”

Kushner said they'd avoid the actions taken by the GOP majority after taking office of rushing into action.

"We will be very deliberative,” Kushner said. “I expect us to exercise good governance.”

After all the acrimony of the past two years , Kushner said "my goal is to return the school board to dull and boring.” She said she looked forward to working with the now GOP-minority members to end the 5-4 votes.

“I’m very hopeful we’re going to have some strong governance on the school board,” Kushner said. “We’ll have our focus on students and teachers.”

Over at Milton's Pizza & Pasta on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, the crowd at Hill's celebration was like a a cast party for a movie of the last two years.

Attendees at Hill's party included Tim Tyson, Rita Rakestraw, Congressman Brad Miller, state Rep. Rosa Gill and Lois Nixon.

"I'm great. greater than I have been for two years," said Nixon, who was defeated when she ran for school board in 2009.

Miller was equally jubilant.

"We turned back what happened two years ago to take over the schools and take them back 50 years," Miller said.

1347335726 Election results draw cheers from Democratic board members and jeers from GOP board members The News and Observer Copyright 2011 The News and Observer . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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For or Against

I'd love to see a poll of District 3 voters from yesterday's election that indicates whether they were motivated to vote FOR a specific candidate and their platform or were really voting AGAINST the other candidate, whether out of dislike/distaste/distrust/whatever.

I haven't talked to many folks that were in love with either Losurdo or Hill, but I talked to MANY that were passionate about one of them NOT being elected.  Yes, I know the party-line folks loved their candidates, but I'd bet the folks in the middle did more prevention of someone else being elected than actual electing yesterday.

Exit poll numbers would be interesting

IMO, Hill would probably not have won if the GOP had put anybody with a slight modicum of electability on the ballot... 

I agree with the premise of

I agree with the premise of your statement, although I believe Losurdo would have gotten the job done on the board. The challenge is finding someone with all the qualifications one desires and who is willing put in the time and effort to raise the necessary money and support... AND has the fortitide to put up with the abuse that so many are so willing to dish out. The Democrats were going to come out with the full force of their demonizing attack rats no matter who the GOP put up.

Tedesco is such a class act - not

Not even 24 hours after the election results and he's already referring to the new majority as the opposition.

Interesting choice of words - battle.  Implies that there was some sort of engagement.  But it was always 5 to 4 with no interest in getting the other side involved.  They didn't even have copies of some of their proposals for the minority members.  Adding items to the agenda last minute doesn't indicate a desire for analysis and throughtful discussion.

Hmmm, wonder if the new chair will punish Tedesco by not giving him any committee assignments, like Margiotta did to Hill?  Will he or she lie to Ron and Tedesco and say they don't want a meeting the second half of December, then claim publicly that they never said that and accuse the outgoing chair of trying to do something underhanded? (Think I still have the video of Tedesco saying that at a Combs meeting.)  I bet the public will be holding the new members to higher standards of behavior and civility.

Let's hope everyone - the new members and the new minority learn from the mistakes of the last few years.  No more drama.  I agree with Kushner - I want the BOE meetings to be boring and dull like they used to be.

Tedesco's worst enemy is our long memory

Excellent points you make about the way the 2009-2011 majority treated the other members of the board. With contempt. With disrespect. With sneers and public scoldings. And, even worse, that is how they treated staff. Del Burns eventually couldn't take it any more, and he left. I hope Tedesco sobers up before the first meeting of the new board. We need dialogue, not more of his partisanship.

I Hope He Doesn't Have That Attitude....

going forward.  I really do.  BTW..the new student assignment plan passed 6 to 2. 

Sorry, the drama will continue

It will just be funny to see those who caused all the drama for the last 2 years get it back in return.

Sign up now because the line to return that favor will not be a short one.

Tedesco/Malone Responses

Tedesco - "I'm going to put up a fight" - Pout, scream and call the new members names (why change who you really are - a pitiful human being with no idea of what a good education means).

Malone - "It means we're going back to where we came from" - Please do, we really don't need you around here anyway - What have YOU accomplished since being on the board - All I see is you just sitting there and seconding JT's motions - As for running for the state house / what a joke you are!  Why don't you just get a job like the Apex mayor did with his buddy Stam a few years ago (must be nice to make $50,000+ a year for part time work) - That might be the closest you come to a seat in the GA.

Concession call?

I have yet to hear what Heather said to Kevin when she made the usual phone call that the losing candidate makes to show they are gracious and respectful of the democratic process. It would be good reporting to let us know what was said.

Attendees at Hill's party

Attendees at Hill's party included Tim Tyson, Rita Rakestraw, Congressman Brad Miller, state Rep. Rosa Gill and Lois Nixon.

If this does not scare folks, they must be either fearless or crazy. The voters will reap what they sowed.

voter turnout, style and facts = victory for the Dems

District 3 was realigned to be heavily GOP.  Thankfully, moderate GOP-ers, UNAs and Dems checked their facts and considered the qualities of both candidates. 

This is a stark contrast to the 2009 when we had much lower turnout and and campaigns based upon smoke & mirrors.  I still remember a big campaign ad of John Tedesco in a "family photo shot" with a cute blonde & two adorable kids.  Hmmm....

Losurdo's Palin impersonation was no help to her campaign.  Making outrageous claims, immature behavior and then crying foul when questioned about her own record was hysterical.  Her supporters on this Blog & in the LTTEs were even claiming "No One Has Ever Been Held to Such Scrutiny!!"  Please.....produce a long-frm birth certificate and then she will have met the new benchmark.

The lesson learned from 2009 - you still get what you don't vote for..... The lesson learned from 2011....voters prefer qualified candidates.

Not sure

Not at all sure I concur.  I think all residents want a BoE that is responsive to their needs regardless of whether they are a democrat or a republican; whether in the county center or the farthest boundaries or in the middle; and regardless of income or ethnicity.  People want to know their concerns for their family, their neighborhood, and Wake County are heard.   There needs to be a sustained focus on student achievement and on whether implemented measures work or need to be scrapped.   The entire 9 member BoE from Dec. 6 onward would do well to spend some time getting to know the perceived issues in their districts for all the residents there, not just the perceived issues and solutions of their supporters.  Although democrats won 5 seats, a 52% to 48% margin is no mandate, either overall or within an individual district.


so I hope the new members will not throw out the opinions of those "48%". What was the percentage in Margiotta's race? 


Although democrats won 5 seats, a 52% to 48% margin is no mandate, either overall

...the overall margin in all five races wasn't 52-48, it was  60.1% to 39.9%.  That's pretty much a textbook definition of an electoral mandate.  
I agree with you that the winners should try for consensus and build bridges where possible.  But if - as the Tedesco & Malone comments last night indicate - the minority responds with the national GOP strategy of spurning all compromise,  then I sure hope at that point the winners remember that they were given a healthy mandate.

Still screwing up with the

Still screwing up with the mathematics, chaboard! Please give it a rest and take a course in basic math. They actually teach this stuff as early as the 6th grade in Wake County Schools.

There's all sorts of problems with averages. If three guys work at home, and the 4th commutes 100 miles to work, would you feel comfortable saying that the average commute for those 4 people is 25 miles per day??? Of course not.

The word you're looking for is OUTLIERS. Outliers skew averages, and such averages then become statistically misleading.

I hear there's an opening in Ms. Beyman's 6th grade math class at Ligon Middle.

But it would be accurate to

But it would be accurate to figure out the total number of votes cast and then determine what percentage of those votes went to the 5 winners, right?  That would be 60%.

So the averages weren't actually that far off.

Nice rant, though.  I'm sure this is just an OUTLIER and that usually averages are bad.

But it would be accurate to

But it would be accurate to figure out the total number of votes cast and then determine what percentage of those votes went to the 5 winners, right?  That would be 60%.

Sure it would be accurate, but it certainly would not be meaningful.

And you have the 3 people

And you have the 3 people working at home commuting 25 miles a day..... You have to look at what happened in each district to get a clear picture. Lumping them together does not show what happened in each district. It is kinda like spreading out the low performing students through out the county. Then you don't have a high percentage of failure in one location and you can dilute the percentages per school! And you then have each person commuting 25 miles....Not an accurate measurement

I agree 100% Dove.  Well

I agree 100% Dove.  Well said.  I think we need to have honest, objective discussions about what is and isn't working from a student achievement perspective and from a 'customer service' perspective.  


...Dove. It's NOT 52-485 that's the mandate, it's the 5-0 sweep THAT'S THE MANDATE! When you and your crowd did the 4-0 shuffle in 2009, you guys were abundantly clear that the people and parents of Wake County had spoken.

Now, with double the turnout and Democrats, in some races, beating GOP 2 to 1 (with NOT one Republican EVER leading in ANY race), there can be NO question what the  people of Wake County truly want - good governance, good planning, a board that listens and fairly considers all options, and finally, a board that is driven by common sense, NOT politics!

THAT is the mandate,  my friend! DEAL WITH IT!

You Might Want to Tone Down The

'you guys' and 'mandate' rhetoric.  We all know who is in the extreme corners on these blogs (VD, Woodstock, etc).  The rest of us may be on the other side from you but I personally didn't believe the 2009 election was a mandate.  I felt it was an opportunity for some of the issues that had  been ignored by the previous board to finally have a chance to be heard.   There have been plenty of positive things done by this current board and to say otherwise is just plain wrong.  Could they have handled things better...absolutely...it still doesn't make the past 2 years a complete waste.

What "extreme" positions did

What "extreme" positions did I take?

I'm Talking About...

the general theme of your posts...Repulicans all good....democrats all bad.  In the case of VD it's the opposite....Republicans all bad and democrats all good.  I've met good people in both parties and I like to give credit where credit it due.  Sorry it I hurt your feelings it wasn't intended. 

My feelings are not the

My feelings are not the issue. I never said the Democrats were bad and the Republicans were good... not ever (there are many bad Republicans and many very good Democrats). However, concerning the school board issues and at the party level there was a very real and distinct divide in ideology and how to move forward. So, from that perspective, and that perspective only, I do believe one side is right and the other side is wrong. Issue-wise, I bet there is very little that we disagree on. I may have been more "aggressive" in making a point, but if we were able to vote item by item on the various issues, I bet there would be very little difference.

Over the last two years this

Over the last two years this board did some really good things.  They eased the pain of MYR for some (although not enough for many others), they did an outstanding job managing through fiscal crisis without cutting teaching jobs, they hired a great superintendent.... but, most importantly, they shone a light on discriminatory math placement practices and took steps to right a longstanding wrong.  These accomplishments should have been enough to earn continued support, but they got overshadowed by other things that were amplified by the media and outside groups.

Some of the same folks who said that 2009's 4-0 sweep was not a mandate are now saying that the 2011 5-0 sweep is.  Neither was a mandate, both were rejections of previous boards, in some cases for the same behavior.  Odds are the Dems will be in control of the school board for a very long time.  As it stands, they will have the majority for at least 4 years.  If they can avoid a 4-0 sweep in 2013 the Dems have a good chance to hold reign for another 6+ years.  If they let that go to their heads and go back to board practices and policies of the past we're all screwed.

Careful with the use of

Careful with the use of "we're" in your last sentence - it sounds too much like the assumptions a certain couple of folks like to make.

That said, I'm hoping the extra scrutiny wakes up all the board members - or at least shows all of us who's enough of a mensch to hold their words and actions up to a standard we can live with.

As for some of the practices and policies of the past - I'm guessing we'd both agree and disagree on the various details.

Oh...and I'll let you call me idiotstinker if I get to call you ScaryTurducken.

Ah the middle

Ah, the joys of being in the middle.   Do not count me in the 4-0 shuffle crowd either as that would be wildly inaccurate.   Just ask Woodstock or CC or Bob.   I was not supportive of them thinking they had a mandate and acting like dictators.   My suggestion is that no BoE member from either party act like a dictator.

Good post

Nice one Dove!  High Five!

Well said Dove.  RM/Evans

Well said Dove.  RM/Evans results were in the 52/48 range as well which doesn't represent a margin for mandate either.  Considering all the negative attacks and money from Common Sense/Progress NC/Debnam's group etc. I am frankly surprised that Losurdo and RM were able to overcome the bad press/dirty tricks/etc. to get 48%.  This election cycle was as underhanded and scrappy as I've seen in a long time.  I don't think we will be achieving unity from the BOE or the public anytime soon.  I do agree that an objective assessment of the issues within each district should be sought, especially since some of the districts have not had strong area supt. representation.  I'd also like to see them compare the issues across each district to identify similar/dissimilar issues. 

You've got to be kidding me

As much as the left spent attacking Losurod, it was dwarfed by the money the right poured into her campaign, not only in campaign donations but in bringing in a high-proced consultant, pressuring McCrory and the Sheriff (for godsakes) to call voters, sending attack mailer after attack mailer and endless robo-calls. The money and time and resources the GOP poured into her campaign for the run-off was astounding -- and she lost anyway. By your own reasoning, the miracle is that Hill won at all under that huge of a GOP machine effort.


I agree. Impossible to spin this as a Leftwing smear campaign against Losurdo. She was a silly candidate. No experience, no record of ever working on school issues. Was she even a Wake County resident during the last school board election?

To nominate her for the Board in place of backing Jennifer Mansfield was a crass act of political partisanship. Her defeat cannot be chalked up to attack ads. She was a terrible candidate and we are all lucky we dodged that bullet.

The news articles seem to

The news articles seem to have indicated that the left spared no expense (including money from the hit groups) and outspent the republicans.  The Dems organized early and brought in 5 paid outside staffers to help coordinate a get out the vote campaign.  Meanwhile the republicans were saying, this is going to be expensive, you need to donate/spend your own money.  They brought in candidates late (Donna Williams), they overestimated the popularity of their candidates, they didn't vet their candidates well, they didn't coordinate volunteers well, they didn't fund campaigns well, they didn't prepare/educate their candidates very well, they didn't stay on message and let the other side beat them in defining the game, they didn't refute mailers well.  I could go on but I'd rather beat my head against the wall, and I don't understand how WhalerCane can make a living out of this kind of work because it is truly exasperating.

I Agree Dove

the reason for the board turnover in 2009 was because many families didn't feel their concerns were being heard.  There were a lot of decisions made in the past that hurt families and unfortunately many children.  If this new board truly wants to be different than boards in the past including the current board they need to learn from mistakes that were made.  Let's hope they can all work together! 


The reason for the Board turnover in 2009 was that regular people were caught napping and did not go to the polls, allowing an extremist faction to be elected. That's not likely to happen again. I'd expect moderates from either party to win from here on out. 

Totally Disagree

When the election occurred in 2009 there was plenty of upset parents because of what we were dealing with in regards to WCPSS policies.  Mandatory year round, 3 year assignment plan and Wacky Wednesdays just to name a few.  The election cycle had more people vote than prior elections...and we saw that again this year.  Going forward I hope the moderates do get elected because all sides need to be listened to.  Please don't think the election in 2009 was a fluke...it wasn't.

And there'll be plenty more PO'd in 2 years

PO'd over more MYR, PLT's being jammed back into the middle of the week, we still won't have an actual assignment plan 2 years from now, after they kneecap this one, the threat of split shifts if we don't pass a bond, the disdain Martin and Evans will show most parents in this county, the continued unfair Magnet practices, yeah, they'll be PO'd alright, but it won't change much will it.

What moderate in their right

What moderate in their right mind would run for office after what they witnessed this election cycle? 

That is a really good

That is a really good question.  In general, moderates don't get political party backing -- they prefer to support candidates who drink their brand of kool aid.  With a half a million dollars getting spent here, I think the days of running an independent grass-roots campaign are over.  I never dreamed we'd see this kind of money spent on school board seats.


Kevin Hill is the classic moderate. Boring, effective, lifetime in the education field, extremely uncomfortable with Democratic party efforts to back him. He repeatedly asked the PACs to no longer back his campaign. He refused every opportunity to attack Losurdo or even to do the politically smart thing during the second campaign. The guy's votes over the years are classic wonkish moderate votes.

Rehash OLD battles?

Since when is an ongoing issue an OLD issue? Because your party lost an election? All for compromise and bi-partisanship now, aren't we? Don't you understand that a MAJORITY of voters have rejected your friends and your ideology?

Tedesco,  you have to be

Tedesco,  you have to be one of the dumbest people I have ever encountered.  I'm mrean really, you are not very intelligent.

"We'll see if they can show me a vision that's worth fighting for," Tedesco added. "If we're moving forward, I'll work with either one. If they want to go back, then I'm going to put up a fight."

What part of the fact that the "real majority" of voters have spoken don't you understand?  They didn't like you and your other brain surgeaon cohort, Margiotta's approach.

You loved to run around with your 'the majority of voters want what i want..."   

They don't!!   Don't you get this you imbecile?!!

Did That Make You Feel Better...

I hope that post made you feel better.  Do you let your children talk that way?


...wrote it! Amen !

Hopefully his kids have been taken away

He is proof D. Dix should remain open.

His children? He is a child

His children? He is a child himself.


Nice segment on WRAL this morning with Supt. Tata.   When asked about the election shift, he cited his military experience, saying the key is staying focused on the mission regardless of who is in power.   He reiterated the mission is student achievement and parental satisfaction.

What! Heather Losurdo said he would quit...

if the democrats won.

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About the blogger

T. Keung Hui covers Wake schools.