The four Republican commissioners on November’s ballot in Wake County have collectively chosen to duck encounters with voters. They’ve announced they will not attend three candidate forums sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the citizens group, WakeUp Wake County.
The reason? The League of Women Voters, a 94-year-old organization that supports nonpartisan voter education, can’t be trusted to stage an event in which Republicans will be treated fairly. Or, as the four commissioners put it in their joint letter to the league, “We believe your group has a scope that is too narrow to adequately preserve the impartiality of the setting needed for a full and fair discussion of local issues.”
It’s no secret that these four commissioners who hold the 4-3 majority on Wake’s board oppose tax increases, adequate funding for Wake schools and public transit. But it is a surprise to see them come out against democracy. Yet there it is in writing and signed by Paul Coble, Joe Bryan, Phil Matthews and Rich Gianni.
The collective rejection in the Aug. 11 letter came long after the league invited the commissioners on June 17 and then sent formal invitations on July 8. The timing compounded the insult to the league by leaving the forums in the lurch. The league’s rules bar it from holding a forum with candidates from only one party. WakeUp Wake County is still weighing whether to go ahead with the events on its own.
It’s true that the Republican commissioners’ four Democratic opponents also turned down an invitation for an Aug. 28 forum sponsored by the conservative Wake County Taxpayers Association. But the Democrats declined because of scheduling conflicts after the invitation came with relatively short notice.
Sig Hutchinson, a Democrat running against Bryan, said of the Taxpayers Association, “I’ll talk to those guys. I’ve got a great message about keeping taxes low.”
To read the full article click here.