Part I. ‘People Like You Because You’re Normal’

It was the least-polished speech of her career, but Nancy McFarlane didn’t care.

Twelve years of public service had drilled into the preternaturally shy, introverted Raleigh mayor a deliberative oratory style: Hit the important notes. Be personable but authoritative. Thank the right people. Hold that smile long enough to satisfy the camera’s flash. 

But there were no cameras at Brewery Bhavana that night. It was late November, one week before she’d leave office. Under the low lights in the back of the downtown restaurant, Manhattan in hand, draped in an elegant blue shawl, surrounded by two hundred friends and allies, McFarlane did something uncharacteristic, at least to those outside her inner circle.

She let her guard down. 

She rambled. She blushed, her green eyes shining. She smiled broadly, accentuating the lines of her cheeks. She laughed. She was obviously buzzed. 

“Van’s been feeding me Manhattans all night, so this is a problem,” she said, referring to Bhavana owner Vansana Nolintha. The crowd laughed.

“You deserve it!” someone shouted.

“It’s been twelve years of craziness—but also support,” she replied.

More than anything, McFarlane seemed relieved, like a weight had been taken off her shoulders. 

The bullshit was finally over.

Nancy McFarlane never aspired to be mayor. She was never drawn to the title or the pomp and circumstance. For that matter, she never aspired to build a multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical company, either.

She did those things because opportunities presented themselves, and she took them. That’s what you do when you’re smart and driven, when you’re the kind of person who sees a problem and instinctively wants to fix it—not talk about fixing it or brag about fixing it once it’s fixed, but fix it and move on to the next thing that needs to be fixed. 

McFarlane ran for mayor in 2011 and sought re-election three times for that reason: to get stuff done. Most of her tenure was defined by her low-key leadership, building off the momentum the city gained under her predecessor and mentor, Charles Meeker. She gently guided Raleigh into a new era, from a sleepy Southern capital to an adolescent big city with big-city things—a bustling downtown, a shiny new train station, an ambitious plan for Dorothea Dix Park.

McFarlane was proud of those things. But they weren’t the keys to her success.

As her daughter Katie Thompson put it at Brewery Bhavana: “People like you because you’re normal.”

That is, she was a neighbor, a mom, a businesswoman. She wasn’t a politician. She never saw her office as a stepping-stone to something else. 

Of course, lots of politicians say they’re not politicians. But McFarlane really wasn’t one, and she had no desire to be one. She was just Nancy, who happened to be mayor. 

This proved to be a blessing and a curse.

McFarlane wasn’t the kind of mayor who uses a bully pulpit to advance a vision and rally supporters to her banner. Rather, she was reserved and strategic, saving her punches for backroom negotiations, always focused on results. 

That helped her improve relations with Republicans on Jones Street and broker the Dix Park deal, but it later left her vulnerable to council members willing to exploit her perceived weakness, even those she considered friends. In 2017, at the start of what would be her final term, a five-member anti-development coalition—including longtime friends Russ Stephenson and Kay Crowder—staged a sort-of coup to strip her of powers so they could dominate the council’s agenda, leaving McFarlane out in the cold.

Backroom negotiations, it turns out, only work when your colleagues are willing to negotiate.

This year could have broken her. Her body broke; a spinal injury led to six months of surgeries and agony, three in a hospital gurney on a couch in her kitchen. Decades-long relationships unraveled. The city council became a viper’s nest.

And in late February, Crowder accused McFarlane’s husband, Ron, of verbally and physically assaulting her following a confrontation at a Dix Park event. 

Not long after, McFarlane announced she wouldn’t run again.

The way McFarlane tells it, she didn’t succumb to bitterness, nor did she crumble. She did the harder thing. 

She let go.

“Don’t let this become part of your identity,” McFarlane told me recently. “Because you’ll either lose and get crushed, or it will be that much harder to walk away.”

Part II. ‘This Godforsaken Place’

On the car ride from Richmond to Raleigh, McFarlane cried the whole way.

That’s how her daughter tells it, anyway. But Katie Thompson was a one-year-old strapped to a car seat in the back of their dark blue Toyota Corolla station wagon. It was 1984, and Ron had to move to move up at his pharmaceutical company, which had given him a choice of cities—Chicago, Raleigh, Columbia, Maryland, a few others.

They liked the Maryland suburbs, but that was too expensive. Raleigh was close enough to their families in Virginia to make sense. But McFarlane didn’t want to go. She had a nice life in Richmond. She was a city girl who grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and she worried she’d be bored or, worse, out of place.

But she loved Ron. So she reluctantly found herself in a second-floor Brentwood apartment sandwiched between two floors of hard-partying N.C. State students, with no friends and no job.

This wasn’t the life she imagined growing up on Ohio Street in the sixties, when she babysat for Representative David Pryor and dreamed of becoming a surgeon. She had a scientific mind and was fascinated with anatomy, how the body’s systems worked together, and how to fix them when they didn’t.

As a senior at Yorktown High School—her classmates included journalist Katie Couric, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and astronaut David Brown, who died in the Columbia disaster—McFarlane had been given an aptitude test. If the test taker were a boy, the results said, he should be a doctor, architect, or engineer. A girl? A teacher, bank clerk, or X-ray engineer.

That’s stupid, McFarlane thought. Perhaps she took it as a challenge.

McFarlane doesn’t talk about her undergraduate years, nor does she say why she won’t talk about them. She skips over that part of her biography, to where she transferred to pharmacy school and beelined toward a career she that hoped would be fulfilling while still giving her the flexibility to raise a family.

Being a pharmacist, it turns out, requires problem-solving and following directions. McFarlane excels at both. But it was also a crash course in public relations—in dealing with people at their worst or most vulnerable or most aggravated—for the shy twentysomething.

“Being a drug-store pharmacist was the best prep for being the mayor,” McFarlane says. “Part of it was very much a lesson in, everybody’s got shit. Whoever walks through the door, they usually don’t feel good, and they take it out on you.”

McFarlane’s first few weeks in Raleigh didn’t go well.

She remembers standing in line at Big Star with diapers and peanut butter in her kart and only $12 in her checking account. There were no open positions at the hospital, so she’d taken a position at Kerr Drug. The first day, they’d sat her down in front of a computer she didn’t know how to use. She ended up dragging a typewriter out from under the desk to print prescription labels, left that night, and never returned.

One day, anxious to get out of the house, she left the baby with Ron and headed to the downtown library. As she was walking down Fayetteville Street, then a pedestrian mall, she saw a man walking toward her. He dropped his pants to his ankles.

She rushed back to the car, got home, and told Ron, “Pack! I am not living in this godforsaken place!”

Slowly, things got better. Maybe it was the autumn leaves or the night she saw Mikhail Baryshnikov dance at the performing arts center. 

She got a job working nights at Raleigh Community Hospital. Katie entered preschool a few years later. The McFarlanes started making friends. They met a developer named Dickie Thompson, who later served on the city council with her. They befriended Thomas Crowder, another future council member, who later designed the renovation for their home in Greystone Village.

McFarlane met Roxie Cash at work and helped her school board campaign. She got involved with Katie’s school. 

When Katie entered second grade, Lead Mine Elementary School opened, but there were no picnic benches or trees. Where would the kids eat?

This was a problem that needed to be fixed.

McFarlane found someone to donate the wood and a business to build the benches. A few weeks later, Lead Mine Elementary had picnic benches.

In the world of school volunteering, there’s always more to do—more events to organize, campaign signs to draw, problems to fix. For McFarlane, helping made Raleigh feel like home. And if Raleigh was going to be home, it needed to be the best Raleigh possible—not for her, but for her now three children, two girls and a boy. 

After decades of working in pharmacies, McFarlane branched out. 

In 2002, she founded MedPro, a niche company that provides medical infusions, with just a handful of employees. The business took off, lifting the McFarlanes out of the middle class. (Twelve years later, they sold MedPro for $52 million, after giving 20 percent of the company’s stock to their employees.)

In 2003, McFarlane became president of the Greystone Homeowners Association, just as new developments inundated nearby lakes with stormwater runoff, creating a layer of grease so thick geese could walk on it.

This, too, was a problem that needed to be fixed. 

McFarlane took her complaints to City Hall. At the time, downtown was just beginning its revival, but the council was deadlocked in a clash between Democrats and Republicans, unable to move forward on projects like the second phase of reopening Fayetteville Street, as well as the Hillsborough Street Renaissance plan. 

The Democrats needed an ally in District A, the long-held Republican stronghold in the northern section of the city. They thought McFarlane, who was unaffiliated, could be the tie-breaking vote. She had access to money and well-connected friends, thanks to her advocacy in school board races and for her neighborhood.

She decided to run. 

Hers was the closest race in 2007. But she beat incumbent Tommy Craven that year with 54 percent of the vote and soon joined her friends Thomas Crowder and Russ Stephenson on the council.

Soon after, the Fayetteville and Hillsborough projects passed. 

“The logjam got broken,” Meeker says. “Her election made the difference.”

III. ‘You Don’t Try to Bluff’

As the story goes, in March 2011, Meeker called McFarlane and fellow council member Mary-Ann Baldwin, told them he was stepping down that year, and said, “Either of you could be the next mayor. Now work it out.”

McFarlane says this wasn’t the first time Meeker had broached the subject. Three years earlier, he’d assessed her interest in the top job. She wanted nothing to do with it. She’d only been on the council a year—what did she know about being mayor? 

Then the recession hit, and Meeker decided to stick around. By 2011, however, he was ready to get back to civilian life.

Baldwin was pugnacious, never one to back down from a fight. But she turned Meeker down—her mother was ill, and it wasn’t the right time. 

As for McFarlane, she was largely unknown outside of her district. She was the council’s quietest member, more a listener than a leader. But with her campaign coach, Perry Woods, she’d improved as a public speaker over the last three years.

Maybe, she thought, she was ready.

She was. She bested her Republican opponent with 61 percent of the vote.

For the first year, McFarlane jokes, everyone thought Meeker was still mayor. Indeed, for the first few months, she often sought his advice—“What do I need to know about this project?” 

She’d ring up former mayor Thomas Bradshaw, too, and ask him to explain bond financing. During a visit to New York, she called then-mayor Michael Bloomberg and peppered him with questions. 

She peppered everyone with questions.

“She didn’t mind calling someone up and saying, ‘I don’t know a thing about this. Can you help me?’” Ron McFarlane says. “And that’s how you get better on things. You don’t try to bluff your way through it.”

McFarlane also crafted a leadership style that would characterize much of her time in office. With a few exceptions, council meetings were efficient to the point of being dull. There was little drama. Most votes were unanimous.

This was by design. McFarlane met individually with council members before meetings, brokering outcomes to head off heated discussions on the dais. She became skilled in the art of dealmaking, most effective in the backroom or a late-night phone call. As long as things got done, she didn’t care who got credit.

McFarlane, however, has gotten credit for Dix Park.

Raleigh had been eyeing the 325-acre campus of Dorothea Dix Hospital, which the state had owned for more than 150 years and had used as a mental hospital and then a hub for the N.C. Department of Health and Social Services. In the heart of the city’s core, McFarlane and many others imagined the sprawling fields as the city’s central park.

They just needed the state to hand over the keys.

Eleven months before McFarlane became mayor, Republicans had taken control of the General Assembly, bringing with them not just right-wing policies but also an overarching disdain for North Carolina’s increasingly liberal cities. Getting them to play ball wouldn’t be easy. 

Throughout 2012, McFarlane met with GOP leaders to try to hash out a deal. But in an election year, her efforts hit a wall. 

Only after the election, when Democratic governor Bev Perdue was a defeated lame duck, did McFarlane get what she was after: In her final month in office, Perdue signed a lease agreement giving Raleigh the rights to Dix Park. 

Republicans weren’t happy, arguing that the state wasn’t getting enough for prime real estate. Months after Governor Pat McCrory took office, bowing to pressure from Republican lawmakers, he halted the agreement. 

Here again, McFarlane was faced with a problem that needed to be fixed.

She didn’t give up. 

Through countless meetings with lawmakers and the governor’s office, she got close to McCrory, a former Charlotte mayor who understood how transformational a project like this could be for a city. 

It took two years, but eventually, she convinced him—or, put another way, she wore him down through sheer relentlessness, showing up again and again until he gave in. Either way, in 2015, his office agreed to a new deal, and Republican lawmakers didn’t try to stop it. 

“I don’t think anybody has any idea what I did to get that park,” McFarlane told the INDY in 2017. “They don’t need to know.”

IV. ‘A Working Council Majority’

In 2013 and 2015, McFarlane faced just token opposition. But in 2017, attorney Charles Francis vigorously campaigned against her, portraying her as aloof and out of touch, especially with African American residents being displaced by gentrification. 

For the first time in her political career, McFarlane didn’t secure a majority in October, albeit barely. Francis called for a runoff. McFarlane beat him soundly.

McFarlane’s campaign compiled extensive opposition research on Francis that year—his lobbying work, his relationship to a pyramid scheme, his family’s real-estate dealings—but never used it. (It didn’t leak until Francis’s second bid for mayor in 2019, when a third party gave it to the INDY.) Perhaps McFarlane simply didn’t think she needed to use it. But most politicians would have gone for the kill regardless, especially when they were being attacked. 

McFarlane didn’t. It’s not her style. She likes to build bridges, not command fear.

Soon, that would come back to haunt her.

An hour before the council’s first meeting in December—where McFarlane, by tradition, would announce committee assignments for the next two years—her friend Russ Stephenson came to her office. With Stef Mendell’s election, he told her, there was a new coalition that was going to push through its own slate of committee assignments. 

He was going to join them. So, too, Kay Crowder, who had taken her husband Thomas’s seat when he died in 2014. They would join Mendell and David Cox. 

Behind her back, they’d hatched a plan to name themselves to the Growth and Natural Resources Committee, where they could effectively dictate the council’s development decisions. (Dickie Thompson—whom McFarlane had recruited to run for her former District A seat, and who voted against the coup—joined them on the committee and voted as part of the anti-development bloc.)

This, Stephenson insisted at the council meeting that night, would be a “working council majority.” A divided council would be ineffective.

To McFarlane, it was a knife in the back, but she barely put up a fight. What good would it have done?

The “working majority” quickly turned dysfunctional. Proposals languished in committees for months, sometimes more than a year. Rezoning debates dragged on over tedious things like setbacks and landscaping. Development was met with furious resistance while the city’s affordability crisis deepened. When the council did act, it placed draconian restrictions on accessory dwelling units, short-term rentals, and electric scooters.

It was, in a sense, cruelly ironic. McFarlane had risen to power from the ranks of neighborhood advocates. Now the neighborhood advocates had turned on her, casting her as a pawn of big developers.

McFarlane was frustrated and isolated, unable to work deals, unable to fix problems. As plans for Dix Park’s development were finalized, she started thinking about walking away.

Then things got worse.

In early 2019, McFarlane noticed a pain in her back, but she figured that with some exercise, she’d work through it. That wasn’t the case. 

At a wine tasting in Chapel Hill soon afterward, the pain became so unbearable that she walked out, went to her car, and lay on her stomach to get relief. A few days later, she was in the emergency room. Soon after that, on February 5, she was undergoing surgery for a herniated disc in her spine.

The day after her surgery, the city unveiled the Dix Master Plan at a swanky event at the Raleigh Convention Center, which offered an interactive tour of the park through light displays and renderings on cardboard cutouts adorned with picnic benches, a swing set, and astroturf. Hundreds of the city’s movers and shakers attended, schmoozing over miniature hot dogs. 

Had McFarlane not been incapacitated, this would have been a moment of triumph. 

But she wasn’t there, so Kay Crowder emceed the event in her place. She stood in a circle of light in the center of the room, remarking on how much she enjoyed the spotlight and thanking people involved in the project—the city manager, the Dix Park Conservancy, each and every city council member present.

But not Nancy McFarlane. Not the woman who had lobbied day in and day out for two years to make it happen.

Ron McFarlane watched, boiling with rage. He couldn’t understand what he’d just seen. The Crowders had been their friends for thirty years, and now Kay had gone out of her way to slight Nancy—a woman who never cared about taking credit—when she’d just gotten out of surgery.

He pulled Crowder aside. He yelled at her. He placed his hand on her shoulder. He shook her. He yelled some more. A man tried to intervene. Ron yelled at him to “leave us alone.”

Three weeks later, Crowder told The News & Observer that Ron had “verbally and physically assaulted” her. She said she was still “very shaken by the experience.”

In a statement to the media, McFarlane said that Ron was stressed from her surgery and “expressed to Council Member Crowder how upset he was in a way that I believe was too strongly worded.” After their years of friendship, McFarlane continued, she hoped they could put the incident behind them.

Two weeks after that, McFarlane announced that she wouldn’t seek re-election.

McFarlane underwent two more surgeries on her back. For months, she was confined to a hospital gurney in the kitchen, staring out the window at the oak trees and watching episodes of Say Yes to the Dress until her mind felt like Jell-O.

She didn’t return to work until August. 

When she did, Kay Crowder and her ally Stef Mendell told their secretaries to cancel any future meetings with the mayor. They’ve barely spoken since.

V. ‘Politics Can Ruin a Good Idea’

It’s McFarlane’s house, but it’s really Greg Poole’s.

The original Dix Park visionary designed it, repurposing stone from Wakefield Plantation for the fireplace and its wood for the exposed beams that reach up to the lofted ceiling. It’s a nice place, of course, elegant even, but it’s not the ritzy estate you’d expect from a multimillionaire. Inside, it’s cluttered—not dirty, but a normal-people amount messy; their grandkids’ toys are scattered across the floor. The backyard is densely wooded and exquisitely landscaped. There’s a massive porch that hooks around the house, where people gather when they throw parties or concerts. (Ron is a musician.)

The McFarlanes have added their own touches: a custom mural of Dix Park in the dining room, with a small painted figure of Poole walking the path and a little illustration of their dog Kamuy. In the front hallway are remnants of the City Hall office McFarlane had cleaned out a few days earlier: boxes of file folders, photos that hung of the walls, a copy of a John Lennon drawing, a photo of her with Barack Obama, a psychedelic Peter Max painting of downtown.

This is the first time I’d seen her in jeans and sneakers. She’d hesitated before opening the door and stared at me as if to ask, “Am I really doing this?”

McFarlane has always been a private person, fiercely protective of her family. Letting someone into this sanctuary—not quite a stranger, but worse, a journalist—has to be unnerving. 

This isn’t the kind of thing she does.

We go into the kitchen, where she’s mixing dough for sugar cookies in a flour-stained red apron. McFarlane takes a pharmacist approach to baking, following a recipe like filling she’s a prescription. She mixes me a much-too-sour whiskey-cranberry cocktail, and we settle into her couch in the back of the kitchen, where months before she lay recovering from multiple surgeries. She cradles her dog Roscoe’s face in her hands, and when she moves, he gazes up at her in subtle protest.

Here, an admission: As I reported this story—as I spent many hours with McFarlane over the course of several weeks—I came to genuinely like her as a person, or at least to appreciate her in a way I didn’t when I covered her as a reporter does a public official. She’s funny and quick-witted. She’s brutally honest and can be incredibly blunt (off the record, anyway). She’s not calculating or plotting her next move.

She’s just Nancy. 

For hours, we talk, vent, and shower her dogs with affection. 

I spent the last few weeks of McFarlane’s term pondering a question: What makes an effective mayor?

Raleigh’s system, of course, isn’t designed for strong mayors. 

The Raleigh mayor is more like the chairman of a board of directors, setting policy and overseeing a manager who acts as an executive director. Aside from a few traditional privileges and ceremonial roles, she is one of eight votes on the city council. 

But what the mayor has is a platform from which to articulate a vision, set an agenda, and rally residents to her cause. This has never been McFarlane’s strong suit. Hers is a quieter form of leadership, working behind the scenes.

That’s not to say McFarlane didn’t notch real accomplishments: Dix Park, the train station, the city’s economic development, downtown’s maturation—these are big deals. In many ways, Raleigh grew up on her watch. 

But you could also argue that Raleigh coasted the last eight years. It coasted in the right direction, but it coasted all the same. The city was well-managed, tech companies came, national magazines took notice, people flocked here, and that was good enough. 

McFarlane saw problems, and she tried to fix them. But the city rarely stepped out of its comfort zone. Meanwhile, the housing affordability crisis deepened, and the gap between Raleigh’s black community and the rest of the prospering city widened.

Then, McFarlane lost control of the council, a coup abetted by close allies. 

A more pugilistic mayor could have fought harder the last two years, but it probably wouldn’t have amounted to much. And heading off the insurrection would have required McFarlane to be something she’s not: a politician—someone a little ruthless, someone willing to throw her weight around to get the council she wants.  

That’s not who she is. 

Instead, she’s someone who believes—as she repeated throughout our conversations—that “politics can always ruin a good idea.”

And that’s why people like her.

This is the catch-22 of Nancy McFarlane. 

In October, Mendell lost her re-election bid by one of the largest margins in city history. Crowder and Stephenson lost, too. Of the council members involved in the 2017 coup, only David Cox was left standing.

Led by Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin, the council sworn in last week acted swiftly to undo many of its predecessor’s policies. For McFarlane, that had to feel like vindication. And perhaps it made her abdication a little bit easier.

“She was here to get things done,” says Baldwin, who sometimes clashed with McFarlane in their decade together on the council, mostly owing to starkly different leadership styles. “When you are here for the right reasons, your identity isn’t caught up in it. It’s just a role you happen to play.” 

“People run for office because they either want to do something or be something,” adds Perry Woods, who ran McFarlane’s campaigns. “Nancy certainly qualifies as someone who wanted to do something. She did this because she loves her city. She’s done her service.”

It’s taken its toll, says former council member Bonner Gaylord, likening it to the frog that lets itself boil in slowly boiling water. 

“Expectations and the weight of the role—over time, it kind of cooks you,” Gaylord says. “I think she’ll feel a huge burden lifted off her shoulders when she walks away.”

She won’t walk far. McFarlane has been added to the board of the Dix Park Conservancy, where she’ll help oversee the park’s transformation.

She’s been asked several times to seek higher office—in particular, to run against Senator Thom Tillis next year—but that’s not in the cards. She’s done with politics, she says, and she doesn’t think she’ll change her mind. 

At her last council meeting, she called her five-year-old granddaughter to the dais and let her bang the gavel. Later that week, McFarlane lit the Christmas tree and rode in the city’s parade—formalities she didn’t care for at first but came to enjoy. 

It was a whirlwind of emotion culminating in the party at Brewery Bhavana. She meant it to be a thank-you to her supporters, but the spotlight she never sought was on her.

Her time as mayor hadn’t been easy. But it’s hard not to look back on it through rose-colored glasses. She’d seen the city through tremendous change. Downtown was busier than ever. Raleigh was on the map in a way it wasn’t before. And, of course, she’d brokered an ambitious project for the next generation and the ones to follow—a park where her grandchildren and perhaps their children will play.

Maybe the bullshit was worth it.

Contact Raleigh news editor Leigh Tauss at

UPDATED: The spelling of Governor Bev Perdue’s name has been corrected. 

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7 replies on “Politics Ruins Everything: A Story About Nancy McFarlane, Who Happened to Be Raleigh’s Mayor”

  1. Well done, Leigh Tauss. This was a nuanced and intimate look at a complex and successful public figure. Thanks to the Indy for continuing to do long-form journalism and doing it well.

    And thanks to Nancy McFarlane, for 12 years of public service during which she didn’t always get the spotlight for the work she was putting in. We were very fortunate to have her serve Raleigh when we did.

    Well done.

  2. Let me get this right. Ron McFarlane, a large, wealthy, politically connected white man physically and verbally assaults a woman (sound like anyone else) and Leigh Tauss and “Indy Week” make excuses and defend him! Shame on you! “Indy Week” used to be the triangle’s progressive voice but now it’s a sad copy of Fox News. Perhaps it should be called McFarlane News.
    Makes me wonder if the rumors are true that the McFarlane’s are using their millions to prop up “Indy Week”.

  3. So, Ron McFarlane physically and verbally assaults a woman and Leigh Tauss and “Indy Week” (again) make excuses and defend him. A large, rich, politically connected white male (sounds like someone else in the news) grabs a woman and shakes her while yelling and it’s OK.Shame on you!
    Makes me wonder if the rumors are true that the McFarlanes are using their million$ to prop up the “Indy”…
    Would be nice to see some real journalism again instead of being a propaganda tabloid.

  4. Another love letter to Nancy McFarlane from INDYWEEK. Kinda does make you wonder if the rumors are true that INDYWEEK is being propped up by McFarlane money.

    There are so many factual errors in this piece. There was no last-minute coup led by Russ Stephenson about committee assignments after the 2017 election. Russ had been discussing committee assignments with Nancy for weeks. He begged her not to announce anything until agreements were reached, but she refused to listen. She said David Cox would serve on GNR over her dead body. She could never forgive him for successfully representing neighborhoods in the Publix rezoning case. She preferred to portray herself as a victim rather than continue negotiating.

    As far as Ron’s assault on Kay Crowder – Kay was nervous that night – she was never comfortable speaking in public. She was given Nancy’s remarks to read. Because the remarks had been written for Nancy, they did not include an acknowledgment of Nancy’s role. However the next speaker, Kate Pearce, did acknowledge Nancy’s role. But that wasn’t enough for Ron. Not only did he attack Kay physically and verbally, he also shouted at Kate. Nancy and her allies keep trying to excuse Ron’s behavior because he was angry and upset, as if that justifies violence toward women.

    When I spoke with Nancy about it a few weeks later, I told her I thought it was imperative that Ron issue an apology to Kay. Nancy said she would get him to do that, but added “I don’t want to drag you into my marital shit, but my husband does have anger management issues.”

  5. Violence against women.

    Ron McFarlane turned in his man card years ago with his “issues” with anger management.

    Leigh Tauss has now turned in both her journalist card and her woman card with her acquiescence to violence against women.

  6. Indy’s continued “white” washing when it comes to the McFarlanes is a running joke. Continuing to position Ron McFarlane’s assault of Kay Crowder as “Crowder accused McFarlane” insinuates that it might just not be true. While it’s true that the local media did largely avoid reporting on this issue (wonder why?) CBS NC is the one outlet that DID report objectively, quoting a witness who put a stop to Mr. McFarlane’s physical and verbal confrontation which sure appears to have been an assault if his name was Ron Smith or say, Leon Jones. Yet Indy dismisses a physical assault of a woman by a man, just because it adores Nancy McFarlane so much. Yep, THAT’s white privilege. Rich white privilege, to be exact.

    From CBS17:

    “The Chairman of the Southwest Citizen Advisory Council, Bob Edgerton, said he witnessed the ordeal.

    ‘He had his left hand on her shoulder gripping her, and the other hand like this, and he was intensely yelling mostly into her left ear,’ Edgerton said.

    Edgerton said he didn’t know who the man talking to Crowder was but he could tell she was uncomfortable. Edgerton said he stood close to Ron and that Ron walked away. He said Crowder thanked him for intervening.”

    *Noted, CBS17 used the headline “Raleigh councilwoman says mayor’s husband verbally, physically assaulted her” but at least did the minimal reporting to demonstrate that someone actually witnessed it and put a stop to McFarlane’s attack.

  7. Reckon ol’ John Burns is priming the pump for campaign contributions? 😂 Given the anger management issues connection, bet he doesn’t even need to kiss the ring so often.

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