Saturday, September 27, 2008

Week in Review 9/22/08 - 9/27/08

As always this was a very busy week. I spent a good amount of time answering email from citizens, visiting sites and reviewing reports in preparation for council's worksessions on Tuesday and Thursday night's council meeting.

My week started off by attending the Western Wake Republican Club’s monthly meeting at Bentley’s Restaurant at Crossroads. This month’s featured guest was Robert Hunter who is running for the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

Council held two worksessions on Tuesday evening to discuss the downtown Cary streetscape project and aquatics. The aquatics worksession was very positive. We received a presentation from Triangle Aquatics Center President Mike Curran on a proposal to partner with their existing facility to provide recreational and leisure aquatics for Cary citizens. Council directed staff to work with TAC to develop a proposal to bring back to council for decision. The streetscape worksession was for council to review the final plan, give direction on any changes we feel necessary, and vote on whether or not to accept the plan. I am pleased to report that council approved the streetscape plan by a vote of 6-1.

Wednesday was a really fun day. I attended the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s candidates forum at McGregor Downs Country Club. I really enjoy political events such as these – especially when it isn’t me in the hot seat! ;-) Afterwards Mayor Weinbrecht and I met at town hall to tape the October edition of the Cary Matters TV Show. It turned out pretty well….I think. ;-) Tune in to Cary Channel 11 to learn more about changes to our boards and commissions appointment process, guano, and trick or treating….seriously. You’re dying to watch now aren’t you??? ;-)

Thursday evening was our council meeting. Highlights include approving the comprehensive transportation plan, approving the transportation improvement waiver request at the Dry and Harrison Ave intersection (see previous post for more info on this), denying changes to the Walnut Street Corridor Transition Zoning District, and denying redistricting of council districts at this time.

I already spoke to the need to redistrict in an earlier post so I’ll spare you the details. We all showed up to the council meeting knowing the decision to redistrict now would fail by a vote of 4-3. No surprises there. What was surprising to me however was council didn’t vote to redistrict after the 2009 election either. The majority of council instead prefers to redistrict after the 2010 census - prior to the 2011 elections. Let me tell you why I think this to be a bad idea. Cary will not receive the results from the 2010 census until April/May of 2011. Council will then have to review the data, decide on new district boundaries, hold the required public hearings, and then notify the board of elections and our citizens of the changes….all before the election in October. To me, redistricting 2 years before the 2011 election makes much more sense than a few months before the election as it gives us a full two years to inform and educate our citizens of the change. Cary’s population data is just as accurate as that of the federal government (after the last census it was within 1%) - and considering how well our federal government is doing these days - I actually have more faith in our town government to get it right. ;-)

Another interesting thing that happened at our council meeting was I learned how stupid six of us are – I mean, Councilman Portman told us so, so therefore it must be true right? (Sarcasm off now) You see, everyone on council except Councilman Portman voted against the Walnut Street Corridor Transition Zoning District Amendments. Well, after he lost 6-1 he commenced to hopping on that soapbox of his (again) and berated council for not seeing things his way – that we “didn’t understand”. Now I respect the opinions of all my colleagues, and we have agreed to disagree on many occasions, but I won’t continue to bite my tongue during his rants much longer. It is long past time Councilman Portman realized there are seven members of council – not one.

On Friday Mayor Weinbrecht, Councilman Jack Smith and myself attended the Cary High School IMP Club Hall of Fame Banquet. This was very special for me as the Cary High School family is our extended family. My wife, and five of our children have attended Cary High School. We presented Proclamations honoring the inductees into the Cary High School IMP Club Hall of Fame.

Afterwards I attended a fundraiser for NC House Member and candidate Nelson Dollar at the Mathews House in Cary. This was a very fun event, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one of my friends is an incredible piano player!

That's about it for this week. As always, thanks for reading!