Sunday, October 5, 2008

Week in Review 9/29/08 - 10/5/08 - ;-)

Good evening Cary! And welcome to Don Frantz’ Cary Town Council Journal coming to you live from Interstate 95 near Manning, South Carolina. We’ve decided to take this show on the road on an east coast state to state tour – beginning in Cary, North Carolina and finishing up in sunny Orlando Florida. Why? Because confidence in government is at an all time low and Americans are demanding openness and accountability from their elected officials. Folks want to know more about “that councilman from Cary” – who is this guy? And why does he blog?

Our first stop was a “town hall discussion” sponsored by a successful small business called “Shell” in Florence, South Carolina. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive – and “Wanda”, the store manager even asked for my autograph. One gentleman waited outside all day for us to show up – and as soon as we arrived he begged us for “change”. I shook his hand and promised him that I am working as hard as I can to change politics as usual. I also recommended he buy a wallet since carrying around one’s money in a tin can didn’t seem very smart. After our forum I thanked everyone for their hospitality - and the use of their facilities - then we boarded “The Straight Blog Express” en route to our next destination.

Unfortunately due to security concerns I cannot reveal our next stop at this time. Security is already upset with me as it is – something about sub par refreshments at “Shell” – and the last thing I want to do is agitate them any more by revealing top secret information. I did call ahead however and made sure our next stop has Gummi Bears and YooHoo.

I figured I would write this week’s “Week in Review” in between stops.

On Tuesday I met with Torrey Dixon from FairVote. As many of you know I am the first candidate in the State of North Carolina elected utilizing Instant Runoff Voting (IRV). I’m also not shy with my thoughts. ;-) This was a rather informal discussion – a coffee table chat if you will discussing the pros and cons of IRV. In the afternoon I met with representatives of the Cary Police Department to discuss an ongoing neighborhood issue.

Wednesday was a very busy day. First was the Cary Chamber of Commerce’s Wake County Commissioners Candidate’s Forum. This event was well attended and a great opportunity to hear from all the candidates on issues relevant to Cary such as revisiting the hotel/meals tax distribution formula (Cary get’s the short end of the stick on this one big time). The convention center is great for Raleigh and good for the county, but it isn’t really doing much to benefit Cary (no matter how much they say it is). The Cary / Morrisville area contributes roughly 38% of the total amount of hotel/meals taxes collected in Wake County – but thanks to Raleigh we’re lucky to get 5%. We’re getting scr… um…treated unfairly. ;-)

Afterwards was our monthly Friends of the Page Walker Committee meeting. I serve as the council liaison to the Friends – but I have been a proud member long before ever joining council. If historic preservation is important to you – you need to join the Friends. Please visit their website here. Following the meeting I met with EMS Chief Cohen and Board of Directors Chair Brent Miller to discuss EMS funding and deployment strategies.

Thursday morning I attended The Heart of Cary Association’s monthly meeting. Our guest speakers were Kyle Hubert and Denise Dickens from the Town of Cary who provided the group with an update on the downtown streetscape project – which council officially approved at last week’s worksession.

Alright – we just completed stop #2 on the tour. This was an “Eat n’ Greet” hosted by a lovely lady named “Ruby” (I think her last name was Tuesday…maybe Thursday?). She had a lovely restaurant in Palm Coast Florida that, except for her inability to make a decent margarita, provided us a great opportunity to again speak to Americans about the need for more openness and transparency in government. They even had a podium and microphone waiting for us! After speaking with the citizens of Palm Coast, one lady (who obviously showed up late) asked for a “tip”. I told her not to leave your car windows down when it’s raining…like she did. We said our goodbyes and climbed aboard the “Straight Blog Express” to head to our next stop – sunny Orlando Florida.

Unfortunately word leaked out that we were coming to town (remind me next time to make sure I get the phone number right before I text message someone), so staff hastily worked with the folks at the University of Central Florida to arrange for a larger venue than the 4th floor dorm room we had reserved. Hearing of the record crowds we were drawing up and down the east coast, they allowed us the use of Brighthouse Networks Stadium. We figured what the heck, if Barack Obama (never thought you’d see that name on this blog did you?) could speak to thousands of folks in a stadium – why couldn’t we? It turns out it was a good call – about 35,000 people showed up to hear what we had to say. Coincidentally there also happened to be a football game between UCF and SMU scheduled at the same time. UCF – who even more coincidentally our son plays linebacker for won 31 – 17!!! Woo Hoo!

Last stop on the “Open Government World Tour” was held Sunday at Sea World. Security insisted that after reaching thousands of Americans it was now time to reach out to animals – mammals in particular. And after the refreshment fiasco at Shell I wasn’t about to say no. I’m glad we took her advice. Dolphins and Orcas were literally jumping out of the water when they heard what I had to say regarding openness and accountability in government. The seals however weren’t nearly as receptive – I had to buy $10 worth of dead fish to get their attention, but once I got it I had to shout as they wouldn’t stop cheering or applauding. ;-)

We’re now on the long road home. Security is asleep in the back of the “Straight Blog Express” and its staff’s turn to drive. I hope you enjoyed the humor this week…and yes it can get boring riding in a car for 18 hours. ;-)

Until next time! Thanks for reading.