Friday, May 2, 2008

Real Estate Association & Home Builders support Jonathan and Kevin

As of May 2nd (a few days before the election), The Real Estate Building Industry Coalition website and the Union County Real Estate Agent website show support for Jonathan Thomas. The Real Estate Agent Website also shows support for Kevin Pressley.

See links below for more details:

http://www.rebic.com/2008%20SPPACE%20Financial%20Support.html

http://www.unioncountyassociationofrealtors.com/

These are the same special interest groups that supported Allan Baucom and Parker Mills for office two years ago and we see the results - special interests lining the county appointed boards and committees, a proposed land-use plan that rewards certain developers and land-owners with high density and commercial zoning while leaving us paying for the needed infrastructure to support this development.

It's time for a change, don't you agree?

Union County Sued by Charlotte Observer for Open Meetings Violations

Below is an example of our current majority of county commissioners conducting county business behind closed doors. When an elected body makes policy - that policy should be deliberated in public to allow the citizens to witness the thougths and process that goes into creating a policy. It seems as though this current board prefers to deliberate behind closed doors. What are they saying that they don't want us to hear?

The Charlotte Observer has filed suit in Superior Court seeking the release of County closed session meetings related to the deliberation and approval of the County's Sewer allocation policy.

"On Sept. 17, the board adopted the policy 3-2 (commissioners Lane and Lanny Openshaw dissented) with almost no public discussion. The new policy means many developers won't get all the sewer hook-ups they want; others won't get any at all."

"In a brief filed Monday, Observer attorney Jon Buchan wrote that the N.C. Public Records Law requires closed-meeting records be made public "as soon as the reason for keeping the secret ceases to exist." Since the sewer policy has been adopted, there's no reason to keep the records from public view, the Observer argues."

Click Below for the Full Story:
http://www.charlotte.com/268/story/604383.html

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Union County Families - Please Vote for Kim Rogers & Tracy Kuehler

Kim Rogers & Tracy Kuehler have stepped up as candidates for Union County Commissioner in order to provide the citizens of Union County a voice at the county level. Special interests have run our county government for too long. As a result, we have:
  • too much residential growth at too fast a pace
  • not enough commercial to help even the tax base
  • the second highest debt of any county in NC being used to pay for needed infrastructure (schools, etc...) to support the high rate of residential growth
  • special interests serving on boards and committees advising the commissioners
  • ethics issues and open government violations

The current majority of commissioners do not represent the families living in our county. Their decisions are based on satisfying the special interests that paid for their campaigns. They have shown time and time again over the past two years that they do not value open government, nor do they wish to include the normal citizens of this county on their boards and committees.

Tuesday, May 6th gives us an opportunity to break the chain. Tracy Kuehler and Kim Rogers are two of the best candidates we've seen run for county commissioner. A brief discussion with either of them leaves you knowing that the county's future will be in good hands if we elect them to the Board of County Commissioners. They both have been involved in our local governments. They know the process. They know the issues. They know how to make progress and get things done. Their past actions have shown that they will represents the families of this county.

Kim & Tracy are PUBLICLY supported by many active Union County residents who want to preserve their quality of life and property values. Join us on Tuesday in voting for Kim Rogers & Tracy Kuehler for County Commissioner. Our future depends on it!

Commissioner Candidate Websites & Media responses

The following is a list of each candidates website (Jim Boatner does not list one) and some links to candidate forums and responses to the local media. Get informed!

Tracy Kuehler: http://www.electtracyk.com/
Scott Melin: http://www.vote4scottmelin.com/
Jeff Gerber: http://www.jeffgerberforunioncounty.com/
Kevin Pressley: http://www.votekevinpressley.com/
Kim Rogers: http://www.kimrogers2008.com/
Jonathan Thomas: http://www.thomasforunion.com/

We encourage you to research all the candidates before making your decision. Below are some websites you can use to find candidate profiles. We also strongly encourage you to view the commissioner candidate forum that was held on April 9th. This forum will be replayed at 2pm and 6pm each day on Time Warner Channel 16 (The Government Channel). Pay special attention to the question regarding disclosure for county boards & committees.

· http://www.blogger.com/www.charlotte.com/union/
· http://www.blogger.com/www.unioncountyweekly.com (2 candidate profiles are listed each week)
· http://news14.com/content/carolina_decides/candidates/charlotte/

Follow the Money...

The latest round of campaign finance reports were filed in the last few days. Just like the last commissioner election, we are seeing a certain candidate with a high amount of personal loans to support his effort to be elected.

Jonathan Thomas, has accumulated over $33,000 in his effort to be elected. Almost $20,000 of this money came from loans that he and his wife charged to their credit cards (almost $8,000 has already been paid back by contributions to his campaign). To put it into perspective, the next highest candidate has raised just under $10,000. If you pay attention to county government, Jonathan Thomas was an unknown until the end of 2007. If running for political office was something he's always wanted to do, don't you think we would have seen him involved in government in some way in the past? Isn't it just a little worrisome that he has appeared from nowhere and was willing to put $20,000 on his credit cards to improve his chances of being elected to a position that pays $8,000 a year?

Maybe he knows something the rest of us don't... if the campaign of Jonathan Thomas follows the same path as those commissioners supporting him that were elected two years ago (Baucom and Mills), my guess is that after the primary election is over, we will see many special interest contributions flow into Jonathan's campaign account to payback his $20,000 worth of loans.

In addition to the $33,000 Jonathan Thomas has invested in his campaign, even more money is being spent to get him elected. The committee of "Union County 2020" that is not yet registered with the Boad of Elections (so you can't tell who is running it) has spent big money mailing out professional glossy fliers supporting Jonathan Thomas for commissioner and just as much money attacking candidates Kim Rogers and Tracy Kuehler. Eventually this committee will have to file - probably after the election is over, and only then will we know who Jonathan's supporters are.

If the leaders of Union County 2020 aren't willing to make themselves public, that can't be a good sign for the citizens of Union County. I hope the voters in Union County are smarter this election than we were 2 years ago.

Kevin Pressley Supports a School District Tax

On Tuesday evening, a special meeting was held at Piedmont High School where Allan Baucom and John Petroskey of the UC Tax Office met with property owners from the east side of Union County. These property owners were upset with how much their property value had increased with the re-evaluation and wanted some answers as to how the County was spending their tax dollars.

Allan Baucom just happened to bring along the two candidates he is supporting for Union County Commissioner - Kevin Pressley and Jonathan Thomas. Below is a video showing the comments made by Pressley and Thomas.

Suprisingly Kevin Pressley had a new plan that he presented at this meeting. He is advocating creating a school district tax so that only the property owners that are located in the area of the county that need new schools would pay for them. This would put a higher tax burden on the citizens where growth is occurring.

Let's think about this a minute... You and I are already living in Union County. The current commissioners are advocating a new Land Use Plan that will designate thousands of acres for developers to build up to 5 homes per acre. This greatly benefits the developers who have been large campaign supporters of the current commissioner majority. In turn, you and I living in the area where they are placing the high density will be stuck paying a tremendous amount of tax dollars for the new schools & infrastructure to support the high density they approved. This is wrong.

Has anyone heard Kevin talk publicly about this plan outside of this meeting? Is this another example of where Kevin's view changes depending on the audience he finds himself in? Just like he supported disclosure statements for appointed boards and committees during the candidate forum and then later voted against them during a commissioner meeting?

video

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Who do you trust?

Spend a few minutes and think about it...

You have two candidates Tracy Kuehler and Kim Rogers running their own grassroots campaign for Union County Commissioner. These candidates are wholeheartedly supported by the local leaders in our community that spend their time and energy making this community better. These supporters are volunteers in our schools, our athletic associations, our churches and our town governments. They have no issues putting their name on a newsletter or this website to show their support for Tracy & Kim.

Tracy & Kim have attempted to run their campaigns in a positive manner, focusing on the key issues this county faces and showing that their knowledge and experiences will make them great County Commissioners.

The opponents of Tracy & Kim support Jonathan Thomas & Kevin Pressley. They have broken many campaign finance laws in their efforts to attack Tracy & Kim. They hide behind a non-existent committee called Union 2020. Jonathan and Kevin have allowed the attacks to continue and done nothing to return the focus of this campaign season back to the issues of the county.

Who will you trust to run our governmnent in an ethical and responsible manner?

Attack Mailing on Kim Rogers Record



Today, many households in Union County received an attack mailing on the record of Kim Rogers as a member of the Union County School Board.
Kim wrote a response on her website to the mailing with the following information
  • Bullet 1 on the mailing stated I consistently voted against building new schools. Please refer to BOE meeting minutes (ucps.k12.nc.us) of 4/4/06 - we didn't even discuss new schools. You know that I have been a champion for new schools and during my tenure we have built and opened: Kensington, Sandy Ridge, Rea View, Rock Rest, Rocky River, New Town, Sun Valley elementaries, Marvin Ridge middle and Marvin Ridge High, the new Wolfe school, additions at many elementary schools, new gyms at most of the existing schools. The per pupil increase for this year's budget (08/09) is 5% - DOWN from over 15% per pupil increase for 07/08 school year.
  • Bullet 2 on the mailing stated I endorsed the land transfer tax. At the request of the Union County Board of Commissioners and Dr. Davis the Union County Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution of support. This same resolution was approved by the Union County Board of Commissioners (including Pressley) and they were the ones responsible for developing and distributing the flyers.
  • Bullet 3 on the mailing stated we have a declining student enrollment the past 2 years. Student enrollment was 31,580 in 2005-2006, 34,564 in 2006-2007, and 37,412 in 2007-2008 (an increase of 5,832 students....) I can't see a decline - can you?

The Negative Attacks - Who is funding them?

Over the past few days, we have seen a barrage of negative (and often illegal) attacks directed towards candidates Kim Rogers & Tracy Kuehler. All propaganda that supports or attacks a candidate must follow NC Campaign Finance Laws. Any person or organization that is spending money to advertise for or against a candidate must file committee reports with the Union County Board of Elections.

There must be a lot at stake in this local county election. If you have a registered Republican in your household, I'm sure you've received phone polls, robo-calls, flyers in your mailbox and glossy fliers through the mail. Many of them attacking either Tracy Kuehler or Kim Rogers.
Expect to receive at least one a day between now and election day. Big money is being spent to keep Kim and Tracy out of office.

Who is funding all these attacks? We should be able to find out - every call, every flyer, every mailing should specifically state what political committee is supporting the advertising. In many cases with mailbox flyers and phone calls, no committee has been identified which is ILLEGAL. If the people that are opposed to Kim & Tracy can't even follow Campaign Finance law, what other laws will they break once they (or their chosen candidates) are elected?

The lastest glossy mailing attack on Kim Rogers record (which is full of inaccuracies) was paid for by Union County 2020. Guess what? There is no committee listed on the Local Board of Elections Website. They don't want you to know who is funding these attacks until AFTER the election.

In contrast, the Local Families for Better County Government Committee that is sponsoring this website and has also placed 10,000 fliers in the community registered right away so that people would know who was leading this effort. We have nothing to hide. Obviously Tracy & Kim's opponents have much to hide.

A Case Study of our current County Government - What's Wrong?

There are many examples of how our current county government is not living up to the principles and values listed on their website. This blog entry looks at Union County’s Comprehensive Plan Process and shows how our county leadership is failing the citizens of Union County.

2006: The Union County Comprehensive Plan project was started under the previous set of County Commissioners. Concerns about growth management, a need for economic development, transportation considerations, an array of individual municipalities and high value placed on agriculture and rural character by county citizens made it essential that a comprehensive strategy be developed. Extensive public input was planned for this project.

December 2006: A new set of County Commissioners took office, led by a majority of Kevin Pressley, Allan Baucom and Parker Mills. The Planning Board is dissolved and re-formed with people who have financial interests in county development and many who financially supported Baucom and Mills in their campaigns. This board decides to supplement the Comprehensive Plan Committee with other members representing specific interests in the county. No thought was given to placing citizen representatives on this committee.

2007: To the public, this is a ‘stealth’ committee. No evidence of this committee exists on the County website. There is no list of committee members, no schedule of meetings, no agendas or minutes. No newspaper ever reports on what happens at these committee meetings. Without publication of minutes, NC Open Meeting Laws are not being followed.

February 2008: Finally, the public was invited to a meeting on the Comprehensive Plan. A presentation was given with the high-level goals for the plan. There was no structured vehicle to procure public input. There was no discussion or presentation given regarding proposed changes to Land Use.

April 2008: Less than 6 weeks after the public meeting, the Comprehensive Plan consultant presented to the committee a draft Land Use Map (a very detailed map) that was created based on input from the committee. The Draft Land Use Map is Alarming!

Thousands of acres between Wesley Chapel, Mineral Springs and Monroe are identified as "Urban Residential" with a density of 2.5 - 5 Houses per Acre. Wesley Chapel and Mineral Springs currently have densities of 1 house per acre and 1 house per every 2 acres in this area.

  • This density will destroy the rural character Wesley Chapel and Mineral Springs were planning for this area. The plans for these two towns were based heavily on recommendations from town citizens.
  • This draft plan worsens the uncontrolled residential growth that we have experienced over the past years and will place an even bigger tax burden on our residents.
  • The Comprehensive Land use Committee contains strong, vocal members of the development community. One member of this committee works for a company that owns 700 acres of land in the area where the proposed density has been increased to 2.5 - 5 homes per acre. Other large tracts of land in this area are owned by people that have made large campaign contributions to the commissioners that currently comprise the majority vote.
  • Union County already has the highest debt per person of 100 counties in North Carolina but for 1 small county. This is due to our rapid, unplanned growth that has caused the county to borrow money rapidly to build schools and expand infrastructure to keep up with our new population. To propose a land use plan that encourages even higher residential density than we have today is completely irresponsible to the current taxpayers that are shouldering the burden of this growth. Commissioners need to always be cognizant of the residents of this county especially those that have lived here a long-time and the impact that an increasing tax rate has on their ability to stay in their home in Union County.

In the draft Land Use Plan, LESS area was identified for areas of future industrial growth than what is on the current adopted Land Use Plan.

  • We need to focus on industrial and other types of commercial growth that provide a large tax base and require less services in order to begin to balance our tax base and lessen the tax burden on our citizens.

The draft plan shows designations of 3 "Community Activity Centers" being proposed on unincorporated county land between Wesley Chapel and Weddington, Marvin and Waxhaw. These Community Activity Centers are large scale regional draws. They may include big box stores and warehouse clubs. Multi-story buildings with a vertical mix of uses are encouraged.

  • The committee didn’t give any thought to working with the towns that have borders directly adjacent to these areas to see if their proposal was in harmony with the surrounding land-use in the towns. One can only assume that special interest favors are behind these proposals that are so specific in their location and allowances of unlimited density and uses.

Where and When can I vote on May 6th?

If you plan to vote on May 6th, please go to your normal polling precinct.

Polls will be open 6:30am - 7:30pm.

What if I don't know my polling precinct?

CLICK HERE to search for your voter information, including polling precinct. You can also call the Union County Board of Elections at 704-283-3809.

Who can vote in the Union County Commissioner Race?

In order to cast your vote for Union County Commissioner, you must vote in the Republican Primary. Only those voters registered Republican or Unaffliated are allowed to cast votes in the Republican Primary. Registered Democrats cannot cast a vote for County Commissioner in the May Primary.

If you are Unaffiliated, you must choose to participate in either the Republican or Democratic primary – you cannot vote in both. We certainly hope you will choose to vote in the Republican Primary to cast your vote for County Commissioner .

What if I didn't register to Vote? IT'S NOT TOO LATE!

If you are not registered to vote in Union County, you MUST vote during “No Excuse” Early Voting which will end on Saturday, May 3rd. See the chart below for details on the locations and times for Early Voting. You will need to take an acceptable form of identification with you when registering (examples: Driver’s license, Utility Bill, Government Issued Id, Paycheck, Bank Statement). Once registered, you can immediately vote at the same location. Click HERE for more details on how to register and vote during early voting or Contact the Board of Elections at 704-283-3809 if you need more details

The following locations are open 10a - 6p Monday-Friday and 9a-1p Saturday thru May 3rd:

  • Wesley Chapel VFD - 8521 Newtown Road, Waxhaw
  • Stallings VFD - 5616 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail
  • Hemby Bridge VFD - 6628 Mill Grove Road, Indian Trail
  • Wingate Community Center - 315 W. Elm Street, Wingate

The following location is open 8:30a-6p Monday-Friday and 9a-1p Saturday thru May 3rd:

  • Monroe Public Library – Griffin Room, 316 E Windsor St., Monroe

Early Voting - If you can't make it to the polls on May 6th - Go vote Early!

Early Voting is open NOW through Saturday May 3rd. If you can't make it to the polls on Tuesday, May 6th - you can vote early! Below is a list of locations and times for Early Voting.

The following locations are open 10a - 6p Monday-Friday and 9a-1p Saturday thru May 3rd:
  • Wesley Chapel VFD - 8521 Newtown Road, Waxhaw
  • Stallings VFD - 5616 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail
  • Hemby Bridge VFD - 6628 Mill Grove Road, Indian Trail
  • Wingate Community Center - 315 W. Elm Street, Wingate

The following location is open 8:30a-6p Monday-Friday and 9a-1p Saturday thru May 3rd:

  • Monroe Public Library – Griffin Room, 316 E Windsor St., Monroe


What should we Expect of a County Commissioner?

If you look on the Union County website (co.union.nc.us) you will see a list of principles and core values that sum up what the citizens of Union County should expect from their county government.


Principles

  • Encourage citizen participation in government and promote public trust and accountability.
  • Administer a government that is competent and responsive to citizens' needs while understanding its obligation to taxpayers.
  • Foster an economic, social and physical environment that allows individual and corporate citizens to realize their potential
  • Administer county government with compassion and fairness.

Core Values

  • Customer Service
  • Ethics and Integrity
  • Job Knowledge and Skills
  • Professionalism

Are the current majority of County Commissioners living up to these principles and values? I don't think so!

What are Commissioners Responsible For?

There are 5 County Commissioners in Union County, all elected at-large (all registered voters in Union County) can vote for all Commissioner seats. Terms are 4 years long with 2 spots available in 2008 (Vote May 6th) and the other 3 spots expiriting in 2010.

What Does County Government Do For the Citizens of Union County?
How are our Tax Dollars Spent?

All property owners in Union County pay taxes to Union County. 65% of our current county budget is spent on schools. This is because we are playing catch-up in providing adequate infrastructure to support the unmanaged residential growth that has occurred in Union County.
In addition to schools, The Union County Commissioners oversee the following services provided to county citizens:

· Union County Sherriff’s
· Emergency Services
· Human & Social Services
· Animal Shelter
· Public Schools
· Parks & Recreation
· County Library System
· Planning / Zoning / Inspections
· Public Works (Water & Sewer)

Who are Local Families for Better County Government?

Local Families for Better County Government —We are volunteers, leaders, neighbors, friends, housewives and residents of Union County. We care deeply about the future of our community and understand how critical it is to elect the best leadership. We are supporting Tracy Kuehler and Kim Rogers for Union County Commissioner – many of us have worked in the community with Kim and Tracy and know that they have the knowledge, experience and vision to make decisions that will benefit the citizens of Union County. Another important advantage they have over other candidates is that they both have been involved in this county and have a strong background on the issues and process of our county government. Union County is fortunate to have such qualified candidates. Please consider joining us in voting for Tracy Kuehler and Kim Rogers on May 6th! The list of people below have personally signed on as part of this committee - if you agree with our views, please let us know!


Frank & Luann Van Leer * Julie Gibson * Kristy Miller * Mary Erickson * Sheila Nye * Janet Johnson * Kim Ormiston * Jeff & Liza Kravis * Becky Paul * Cathy Killough Brown * Debra Korb * Colman & Schelly Conneely * Tom & Kristy Maher * David & Karen Wylde * Patricia M. Lombardi * Denise Atkinson * Doug & Chris Robertson * Jestine Schmitt * Sondra Bradford * Sharon Love * Mike & Kris Cognac * Chris & Sherry Killion * Phil & Elisa Gregorich * Jane Fussy * Carol Kurtz * Linda Hannigan * Kelly Reid * Teri Kosco * Carol Land * Doreen Wilson * Tamara Wilson * Cindy Zidaroff * Chris & Cathy O'Brien * John & Ann O'Hara * Tom & Tracey Clinton * Sean & Allison Maher * Katherine E. Lombardi * Daune Gardner * Kristi Ritch * Lisa Gildea (Malloy) * Kristi Ritch * Ashleigh Mock * Virginia R. Lombardi * Lynda Paxton * Beth Crumrine * Holly Stewart * Valerie Parrella * Rob & Melody Graham * Marnie Holland * Jax & Susan Jenkinson * Jennifer Gaskins * Pamela Murphy * Mark & Kim Dibiasio * Donna, Jim, Caitlin, Nikki, & Jamie Prendergast * Donna & Dan DeLay * Joe & Dorothy Moldovan * Mike & Kathy Patterson * Lisa Johnson * George & Mercedes Cass * Julie Brown * Barbara Tuttle * Jane Duckwall * Gloria Fridrich * Denise Kuntz * Janet Elmo * Charlotte Mott * Stephanie Haring * Fran Kohlmeier * Sandra Spivey * Amy Gough * Lori Bailey * Deborah Aten * Robert & Sonya Pierce * Clinton & Bobbie Westbrook * Mike & Liz Farley * Carol & Steve McKee * Diane Froelick * Starr Shaffer * Mary Hoglund * Gizella Sebestyen * Karen Bowman * Gail Snyder * Sherry Cantrell * Kathy Sanders * Kathy Nesbitt * Marilyn Wells * Gary & Karin Kemp * Nancy Rutherford * Larry & Colette Amodeo * Susan Orr * John T. Lombardi * Jane Connors * Jane Lutz * Tammy Norwood * Karen Fusco * Deb Lindway * Kristen Pruitt * Linda McQuay * Jane Lutz * Shellee Higgins, M.D. * Lois Crumpler * Jill Parker * Linda and Doug Dillenbeck * Kay Porter * Bruce & Stacey Cunningham * Brian & Susanne Gallagher * Cindy Burrell * Lauren Gibilaro * Sally Reardon, R.N. * Melody Hawkins * Phyllis Rosen, LMSW * Peter T. Lombardi * Laurie Sewell * Patty DesLaurier * Jeanne Fanning * Cynthia Simpson * L.A. Smith * Cynthia Hutchins * Terri Patton * Pat Stitt * Carol Reynolds * Tamara Wilson * Nancy Gizzi

May 6th - It's IMPORTANT FOR UNION COUNTY!

On May 6th 2008, 2 Republican candidates will win the Republican nomination for Union County Commissioner. Why is a May election so important? It's important because there are no Democrats running for election - so the two that are selected in the Primary will be our County Commissioners in November. What's at stake? A LOT! We hope you will read the different entries on this blog and send the link to your friends, family and neighbors in Union County.