Category Archives: News

Thank you, Indy!

Thank you, Indy!

We are so grateful to The Independent Weekly for their resounding endorsement of Mark!

The relevant part is below, you can read the whole article online.

Indy VOTEIt’s time for a sea change at the Orange Board of County Commissioners and we can’t think of two better candidates to do the paddling for District 1 than Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich.

Both candidates are keying on transit, economic development and trash as the most important issues facing the county.

Each has experience serving on town government, something that is lacking on the current board. Dorosin served on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen from 1999–2003. Rich is a Chapel Hill Town Council member.

With Orange County’s trash plans still in limbo even as the Rogers Road landfill is set to close in June 2013, now is the time to elect leaders who have the vision for how to responsibly dispose of the waste.

If we invented our ideal candidate for this office, his or her résumé would look similar to Dorosin’s. He’s the managing attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, where he works alongside Julius Chambers. Dorosin was instrumental in the successful campaign to rescind the anti-lingering ordinance in Carrboro that prevented day laborers from congregating on a public street corner during midday hours. He knows the issues facing small local businesses. He owned Hell, a favorite Rosemary Street watering hole, for a decade. He also worked as a loan officer at Self-Help Credit Union.

Like the other candidates, he opposes Amendment 1, but he takes it a step further by stating that if the referendum passes, he would instruct the county to continue offering benefits to same-sex couples and those in civil unions until the federal government says otherwise.

Campaigning heats up as we get down to the wire!

Campaigning heats up as we get down to the wire!

With Election Day only 3 1/2 weeks away and early voting starting all over the county on April 23 (at the Board of Elcetions on the 19th), our campaign is moving into high gear.  This week there was a candidates forum on Wednesday (read the WCHL coverage here and the DTH story here, and today I talked at length with the News of Orange and the Chapel  Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce.

Tomorrow I’ll be at the Orange County Democratic Party convention, and on Sunday at two house parties being held by dedicated Operation Commish supporters Catherine Devine, and Jen Bills and Barb Fedders.  Sunday evening is the online candidate forum hosted by Orange Politics. I’ll be steaming and streaming! 

Also this weekend we’ll be out going door-to-door in neigborhoods across District 1, talking about the core principles of our campaign: social justice, communtiy engagement, and prosperity.  We’ll also be reminding folks to vote against Amendment 1, and of course, our vision of a fair county and a county fair.  If you’re interested in getting out in the sunshine on Sunday afternoon and talking to folks about the campaign, please let me know.

We also have great, collectible Ron Liberit designed “fair county/county fair” t-shirts.  They’re available with a donation of $25 or more.

Esme' says, "You know you want one."

A fair county and a county fair

A fair county and a county fair

A major theme of my campaign is to ensure that our fundamental values of social justice, equity, and community engagement are the primary considerations in all county decision making.  A key component to achieving this vision requires all of us –elected officials in each local government and residents throughout Orange County– to work together to achieve our collective potential.  We need to put aside the differences we too often let divide us, and celebrate the diversity that make our community so unique.  What better way to embrace the agriculture, artisans, craftspeople, musicians, and creativity in Orange County, bring the whole community together, and create an annual economic boost than a county fair?  

That’s what I’d like to see: a fair county and a county fair.

My opposition to Amendment One

My opposition to Amendment One

As most of you know, on May 8 voters will have the opportunity to vote on an amendment to the state constitution that will make marriage between a man and a woman “the only legal union” recognized by our laws.  This amendment is grounded in hate, exclusion and discrimination, and will enshrine second class citizenship for gays and lesbians in our state constitution.  Ironically, it was only 40 years ago that the prohibition on interracial marriage was removed from that document, and even then only as a result of a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that recognized such vile provisions violated the federal constitution.   

This amendment will hurt residents all across our state, but it will have some severe and particular harms here in Orange County, where the County Commission currently provides the full range of employee benefits to domestic partners and their families (as do the towns of Carrboro and Chapel Hill).  If the amendment passes, it will immediately strip from these citizens tangible and vital benefits upon which they  depend and, perhaps most importantly, will violate our most cherished and fundamental right  under the U.S. Constitution, the equal protection of law.

I refuse to let that happen. If  I’m elected county commissioner, I’m required to take an oath that I will uphold the U.S. Constitution, and the constitution and the laws of North Carolina  “not inconsistent therewith.”  This amendment is an attack on our community and our values, and is fundamentally inconsistent with the federal constitution’s promise of equal protection of law.   We cannot sit idly by or feel sorry for ourselves however.   I will insist that the commissioners, in accordance with our oath, continue to pay those benefits and will work to get every other local government that also provides these benefits to do the same.


Some past writings on key issues

Some past writings on key issues

In the course of my work as Managing Attorney at the UNC Center for Civil Rights, I’ve written op-eds and commented on a number of critical issues about or affecting local government. To provide some background on me and my thinking on these matters, I’ve linked several of these below.

–On the continuing challenge of school segregation:

–On the inequities of municipalities exerting jursidiction beyond town boundaries:

–On ending the newspaper publication of the police blotter:

–On racial segregation in charter schools:

Donate to Mark

Donate to Mark

Did you know it costs a fortune to run for County Commissioner? It takes a lot of work and a serious budget to win. You can support Mark’s campaign by donating online right now at

Please tell your friends. Mark can only win with the whole community mobilized to support him. Thanks!



Today I filed my candidacy for Orange County Commissioner for District 1. I want to serve the residents of the county as we all face the challenges to reaching our potential as a community.

I believe it’s critical that we address the growing racial and socio-economic disparities in our county. Reducing these inequities must be the main goal of all county policies. In our decisions to honor the debt to Rogers Road, provide services to those in need, ensure economic opportunities for our youth, protect the assets or our elderly, preserve the environment, and fully embrace the diversity of Orange County, our core values of equity and inclusion must be paramount.

Orange County is one of the most progressive counties in the state. We should be setting an example of how innovative public policies– based on our fundamental principles of social justice and citizen engagement and empowerment —can effectively address the critical issues we confront: community development, land use, education, employment and criminal justice.

Last week a column in the Carrboro Citizen noted that Orange County has one of the highest poverty rates in the state. Given the significant economic and social resources in our community, high per capita income, and the presence of the premier public university in the south, this stark reality is shameful. If these inequities continue, it is because we won’t address them, not because we can’t.
One of the major tasks for the county commissioners is creating the county budget. We must remember that budgets reflect values. As we seek solutions to the problems of transit, solid waste, and economic development, we must ensure that all county policies prioritize social justice and equity.

I believe that for the county to move forward, we must:

  • Promote affordable housing: develop policies designed to preserve historic neighborhoods, promote diverse housing options, and assist distressed communities;
  • Create healthy neighborhoods: reduce environmental injustice and risks, improve access to fresh and affordable food, and promote development near public transit;
  • Refocus land use, zoning and planning priorities: enhance neighborhood assets, encourage development that meets community needs, and expand access to infrastructure and resources;
  • Implement community focused economic development: strengthen community based programs, use community mapping to target placement of resources at the neighborhood level, and ensure local hiring and minority contracting;
  • Increase diverse and meaningful participation and engagement in local government: recruit underrepresented populations for all elements of government including appointed commissions and boards, county employment, and government contractors; ensure that all decision-making is transparent, accessible and participatory; and eliminate jargon, overly technical descriptions and complicated procedural requirements that undermine the people’s confidence and meaningful engagement in the process.

I look forward to the campaign and to beginning the conversation. Together, we can fulfill the great promise of our county and our community.