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Appearing at the Oct. 28 Forum, from left: Charlie Dannelly, N.C. Senate District 38 Democratic candidate and incumbent; Malcolm Graham, N.C. Senate District 40 Democratic candidate and incumbent; Beverly Earle, N.C. House District 101 Democratic candidate and incumbent; Bobby Drakeford, co-chair of the My Community Bonds Campaign Committee; Forum co-founder Sarah Stevenson; James Soder, N.C. Senate District 38 Republican candidate; Beth Marlin, N.C. House District 101 Republican candidate; Vilma Leake, Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners District 2 Democratic candidate and current school board member. 

Bond issues explored; candidates focus on crime

 Oct. 28, 2008

Amid an uncertain economy and in the last days of an election cycle dominated by presidential politics, speakers at the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Forum focused on bonds and crime, with incumbents citing their experience and newcomers evidencing their inexperience.

Tuesday's Forum was among the more disjointed events in memory. Candidates running for county commissioner, N.C. House and N.C. Senate were all on the dias, along with a representative of the campaign committee supporting passage of Mecklenburg bond issues. Some of the candidates found their opponents in the room; others did not. Discusssion veered quickly and widely, and newcomer speakers attempted to turn the Forum's Q&A format into debates between rivals for the same elective office.

So rather than take matters up in chronological order, this report will split the material by the persons speaking. As it can be transcribed, material will be presented on separate pages reachable by clicking on the pictures below.



Bond issues on ballot


Bobby Drakeford, co-chair of the My Community Bonds Campaign Committee, offered a description of the bond referenda on the Mecklenburg ballot, and answered questions. For that discussion, click Drakeford's picture at right.














N.C. Senate District 38


Charlie Dannelly

Dannelly, a Democrat, is a veteran educator and holder of elective offices at local and state levels. He is seeking his eighth two-year term in the N.C. Senate. One of his challengers, Republican James Soter, also participated in the Forum.













James Soder

Soder, a Republican, has not held elective office. His website has a biography page, but does not include any background on the candidate. The Charlotte Observer has reported that Soder is a licensed professional counselor, and is an artist and business owner.













N.C. Senate District 40


Malcolm Graham

Graham, a Democrat, is running for re-election to the N.C. Senate after a number of terms on the Charlotte City Council. His opponent, Republican Ed Mulherren, did not attend the Forum. Graham is well-known to the Forum audience, having attended regularly during his City Council years and making less frequent appearances since commuting to Raleigh for legislative business.














N.C. House District 101


Beverly Earle

Earle, a Democrat, is seeking an eighth term in the N.C. House.













Beth Marlin

Marlin's website lists her as a nurse for 42 years. She did not respond to the Charlotte Observer candidate questionnaire. As a voter and candidate Marlin has listed her address as that of Primary Health-Care of Charlotte PA at 508 Beatties Ford Rd.















Mecklenburg Commissioners District 2


Vilma Leake

Leake currently represents the same voting district on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Her Republican challenger, Tim McLeod, did not attend the Forum.




















The Forum welcomes all persons to its meetings beginning at 8 a.m. most Tuesdays of the year
at the West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2222 Kendall Drive, Charlotte, NC
down the hill from West Charlotte High School.