Wake County GOP Chair Claude E. Pope Jr. blasted Mayor Charles Meeker for statements he made yesterday in which Meeker said School Board members were ”not from the area” and didn’t “share our values.” Meeker’s remarks, quoted in the News & Observer, came at a meeting of the East Raleigh Citizens Advisory Committee.
At the meeting, Meeker also said he was seeking to find civic and business groups to file suit against the Board for its plan to end the policy of forcing students to endure long school bus rides, and replace it with one in which they would attend community schools closer to where they live
“Mayor Meeker has insulted our school board members and all the citizens in Wake County who have moved here from somewhere else,” Pope said. He owes each and every one of them an apology immediately and in public His remarks are repugnant.
“For decades, North Carolinians have encouraged the growth of our economy and the enrichment of our culture by seeking out businesses to move here, and people from all parts of the country to join us in our wonderful state,” Pope added. “Mayor Meeker’s bigoted and insensitive statement undermines that policy, and represents a bigoted attitude that has no place in civilized society,” the Republican Chairman said. It sends a clear message to anyone who is considering moving to the Raleigh area that the Mayor doesn’t want you here. What kind of civic leadership is that?
Pope said that Meeker has every right to disagree with School Board policies, although he noted that since Meeker’s wife, Anne McLaurin, sits on the board herself, and has opposed the majority’s reforms, his views may represent a conflict of interest between his obligations to the city and his natural instincts as a husband. But whatever the motivation for his views, there is no excuse for him to demean the “values” of the School Board members, who are committed, as they should be, to carrying out the pledges they made to the voters last November.