Speculating Wake: Coble up, transit down, schools in trouble, Pope's in his heaven

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Paul Coble
  • Paul Coble
I am bumming myself out just thinking about the consequences of last night's elections, so allow me to just fire up as raw speculation — sans elaboration — some of the things I've been hearing:

1) Paul Coble will be the new chair of the Wake County Commissioners.

2) The idea of a 1/2-cent sales tax for transit on the ballot in Wake next year is dead.

3) For the why on No. 2, see No. 1.

4) Also, see the enormous school budget cuts coming down the pike from the General Assembly to the Wake schools — leaving a budget gap for the Wake Commissioners to fill of $100 million or more. That's 2,000 teaching and support personnel in jeopardy. The argument against transit: Schools first.

5) School board elections next year are going to suck the air out of Wake County. Raleigh will be the vacuum's center, because —

6) Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is signaling he's not going to run for a sixth term. City Councilor Nancy McFarlane, an independent who represents District A (North Raleigh up the middle), is considering making a run for mayor. On the Republican side, I've heard Wake Republican Chair Claude Pope's name mentioned.

7) Claude Pope is a distant relative of Art Pope, the Raleigh businessman whose millions helped elect the Wake school board, the Wake Commissioners board and also paid for so much of the N.C. Republican Party's winning, if disgusting, negative campaign materials.

8) If there's one thing Art Pope thinks is a waste of money, it's public transportation.

9) If there's another thing Art Pope thinks is a waste of money, it's public schools.

10) Actually, Art Pope thinks most everything government does is a waste of money, except maybe invading other countries — I don't know what he thinks about that.

11) Pope ran for lieutenant governor once and lost. In the aftermath of last night's elections, consider him at least as powerful as the governor, without any of the bothersome responsibilities of actually being governor.

12) Second happiest fella in North Carolina today: Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, who tagged along with Art Pope's tea-party campaigns all year and is now odds-on to be Art Pope's stand-in for governor — a.k.a., the Republican nominee — in 2012. McCrory, of course, lost to Bev Perdue in 2008.

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