Burns' resignation today makes it official: Wake County is in crisis

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The Wake Commissioners have a 4-3 Democratic majority and a Republican chairman elected by chicanery -- or fraud, take your choice. Anyway you look at it, it's a disfunctional group unless and until Democrat Harold Webb, who is recovering from a stroke suffered in October, either returns or resigns and is replaced.

The Commissioners decide what the Wake school board's budget will be, and that's a train wreck waiting to happen this spring. The new school board majority, ostensibly conservative, is talking about sweeping policy changes that, unless they're accompanied by enormous tax hikes, could destroy one of the nation's top urban school systems. But the school board isn't likely to ask for new money, and even if it did, the Commissioners aren't likely to grant it -- especially with the faux-majority Republicans running things.

And with Del Burns' resignation today as superintendent, effective June 30, and Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney leaving the building (retiring) March 1, the schools staff is rudderless in the storm. Not to say that Burns should've stayed. With what the board majority was telling him to do, he couldn't in good conscience have stayed.

Then there's the Raleigh City Council, which fought a virtual Civil War today -- in a 4-to-4 split -- over whether the proposed Clarence E. Lightner Public Safety Center is (a) the great building ever designed and must be approved virtually intact or else the world will end (Mayor Meeker and his bunch); or (b) the wrong building on the wrong site and a huge waste of money (Councilor Bonner Gaylord, speaking for the rest). There was no vote -- again. But there was a whole lot of pissing going on, with Meeker (and he pretty much admitted it) the pissiest of them all.

As bad as Congress looks, this doesn't look any better.

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