The truth shall set us free

This is a post I have been needing to write for a while. It is a real test of my committment to right speech because I would really like to attack the people who I feel are attacking me.

Here are a few things about me that normal people can’t possibly give a crap about. But some folks are extremely curious and have active imaginations, and other people just don’t want to listen to me or something.

  1. I am not from a wealthy family, nor am I a “trust fund baby.”
    I barely even qualified to purchase my house in 2001 (see #3 below). A $10,000 gift from the estate of my late, childless aunt and uncle formed my down payment. Without this (and other help), I could not have become a homeowner. My stepfather passed away in April 2005 (4 years after I bought my house), and my stepbrothers and I are listed as trustees of his “estate,” but we have no access to or control of the funds. My father is a high school teacher, and my mother is a semi-retired small-business owner, not exactly fat cats.
  2. I did not use any kind of influence to purchase my house.
    I was not on the Planning Board yet when I bought my home on March 13, 2001 and even if I had been, I can’t imagine how it could have helped me. I took Empowerment’s homebuyer class in 2000, which put me in line for a house. 313 Sunset (my house) had two previous buyers fall through leaving Empowerment eager to get it off their hands by the time I looked at it in January 2001. As you can see, it is well under 900 square feet and is valued by the county at just under $100,000 – mostly for the land it is on.
  3. I never got a housing subsidy from Orange County.
    Empowerment receives assistance from the county, but none was used on my home. I was fortunate to receive a soft second mortage from the N.C. Low Income Housing Association. If I made more money at the time, I would not have qualified for this assistance; but if I had made less money, the bank would not have given me a mortgage at all. I was only barely even able to buy my house, which is considered tiny by Chapel Hill standards and is in the middle of a neighborhood probably considered too dangerous for most of my attackers to comfortably drive through.

I don’t even know Jessie Beard, the person who originally made up all this stuff about me. I have thought long and hard, and am unable to determine what purpose she could have except to hurt me or my political allies or positions.

I welcome any questions about the FACTS of my life that people think are relevant to my community advocacy.

9 thoughts on “The truth shall set us free

  1. Ruby, first of all, I didn’t know you were getting married. Congrats!

    Now, onto other matters: wow, people really are awfully mean. I remember when you were really broke, when Taco Bell was the extravagant night out. But that’s not even the point.

    Here’s a great poem by Audre Lorde:
    And when we speak we are afraid
    Our words will not be heard
    But when we are silent
    We are still afraid
    So it is better to speak
    We were never meant to survive.

    (I may have gotten the line breaks wrong, but I think you get the idea.) Thanks for being a great advocate for progressive speech and doing what you do.

  2. Ruby-

    I’m glad you’re finally refuting this crap. I know there’s a temptation to just ignore evil people like the folks who have spread these lies and just hope it will go away but it didn’t seem like they were going anywhere. Hopefully the truth will put all this to rest- it’s beyond me how folks can act in a way that is so bitter and destructive.

  3. Thanks y’all. This has been bothering me for so long. It is good to get it off my chest.

    There are so many better reasons for people to attack me than than this made-up stuff! Like actually disagreeing with my positions or actions.

    Joan, thanks for taking me back to the days as a student when I first learned to appreciate being attacked publicly. When I was depicted in a DTH editorial cartoon about the BCC (of course), I didn’t even care that they were trying to make fun of me, I was just glad to be having an impact.

  4. Because I’m so close to Ruby – I live with her and am about to marry her – it’s really hard for me to comment on this thread. When I first heard this BULLSHIT that was said about her I just tried to ignore it.

    I feel Ruby has been incredibly brave, truthful, and honest in her response. It took a lot out of her to write this.

    It’s actually very important to respond. Especially on the web for everyone to see. Now we have information to learn from. With out these facts a outside observer wouldn’t know what to think.

    Have you ever Googled yourself? Go ahead try it. Go to and type your whole name in. What did you find?

    Everything you’ve ever written on the web is up there for the world to see. If I were these assholes who wrote this shit about Ruby I’d be more concerned that a future employer would see it. Your name Jeff Vanke and Jesse Beard will for ever more be connected with these lies. The Internet is powerful that way.

    I want to add that Ruby works her ASS off for Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County. I know because I’m the one who misses her when she’s off at a board meeting. Or when she is sitting in-front of her computer till the early hours. I don’t think many people really understand all she’s done.

    Orange Politics isn’t just a nifty website that allows a bunch of armchair political pundits to brag about how much they know about local politics. It’s a HISTORICAL RECORD. Imagine if we had this much specific data about local politics of the past? What could we learn about the towns? In the future people will look at all this data and be amazed. I’m not just talking about decades but a year from now. You can learn so much about our homes from this info. (Especially if you’re new to it like me.)

    I humbly ask everyone who loves Ruby and Orange Politics to tell her so. It’s important.

    I love you Ruby!

  5. Ruby, I’m saddened that you had to respond to this garbage but I’m glad that you have responded. I thought that your earlier dismissal of it would only help it retain life. As Winston Churchill said, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” In our brave new Internet world, not only is the lie transmitted faster around the world, it stays around until someone finally takes it off the web. And too many believe anything that they read.

    It’s my hope that those who sincerely care about our community writ large will exercise greater care to ensure that their words will serve as a measure of their character. We who care about our community can and will disagree on all sorts of stuff, but we ought to be able to do it in more classy ways.

    Thanks for all that you do.

  6. Oh man. Ruby- you put up with a lot of ridiculous stuff, but this takes the cake. Do we need to start a At least you know people think you’re worth gossiping about. Our very own Paris of the Piedmont? Sorry for the bad joke- but please know that your work & dedication is appreciated. I can’t believe anyone would attack you for being informed and availing yourself of local resources when you bought your house.

  7. Thanks to all of your for moral support. It appears that Ms. Beard finds her own unsubstantiated opinions more palatable than reality. I think it should be clear by now why arguing the facts with someone so disinterested in them is not a good use of my time.

    In her mind I will always be a “trust fund baby”, while I will always have memories of growing up on welfare in a run-down cabin in the woods, going to college on a need-based scholarship, waiting tables until I could get into AmeriCorps, and building a career working for nonprofits.

    In fact, her accusations have become the running joke among my friends and family who are all waiting for this cash we are rolling in to appear. I’ll let you know when it does…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.