Saturday, February 14, 2009

Week in Review 2/9/09 - 2/14/09

Monday evening I attended the Wake Young Republican’s monthly meeting in Raleigh. The highlight of the evening was former Wake County YR Chair Jonathan Bandy’s announcement of his candidacy for NC State YR Chair. I’ve known Jonathan for quite some time now and you will be hard pressed to find a more honest, harder working young man than Jonathan. I can’t think of anyone better to take over for Kim Cotton as the next Chair of the YRs. Best of luck Jonathan and thanks, Kim for everything you have done to grow the club and make the YRs a more powerful force in our party.

The Republican Party needs to get back to basics and refocus on our core values and beliefs. Republicans used to be the party of individual responsibility and liberty. We used to be the party of less government and lower taxes, yet over the last eight years the Republicans have grown government bigger than it’s ever been before and racked up a trillion dollar budget deficit in the process. How’d this happen? Republicans tried to be everything to everyone. That’s not Republican, and that’s why we have failed.

Leaders like Ronald Reagan stood firm on principle and by doing so earned the trust and respect of the American people. Leadership today seems more concerned with self preservation. It’s long past time for new leadership in the Republican Party and I believe our YRs will ultimately play an important role in providing that leadership. Thanks for letting me vent – now back to my week in review.

Tuesday council held a worksession to discuss three topics – an overview and update on Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Cary, updating the Town of Cary’s Water Shortage Response Plan (WSRP), and review and discuss the expectations and planned outcome for the Site Design Standards Project.

Council’s discussion of EMS focused on the response times of both the first responders (Fire Dept.) and that of EMS, the levels of training and certification of both our first responders and EMS providers, and workload performance indicators.

In regards to updating Cary’s WSRP; as a result of the 2007-2008 drought, the NCGA approved drought management legislation that requires specific elements to be included in WSRPs, and it also requires the state Division of Water Resources (DWR) to approve WSRPs. The most significant change that needs to be made to Cary’s current WSRP as a result of the new legislation now requires municipalities to propose using the number of days remaining in their water supply allocation as the trigger for water shortage stages. Town staff is recommending we use 180 days as the first trigger. NOTE: Cary’s water supply level during the 2007-2008 drought – thanks to the sacrifices made by our citizens in an effort to conserve water - never went below 200 days. We must also solicit public comment prior to approving a revised WSRP – which we would do anyways.

The purpose of the Site Design Standards Document project is to build upon and update the existing seven design principles found in the Town-wide Design Guidelines Manual into an easy to read reference document. In November council created a Site Design Focus Group consisting of citizens, members of council and our Planning and Zoning Board, and members of the business/development community to promote greater a representation of all stakeholders involved. Consultants and town staff presented an overview of the process, initial project direction, and sought council feedback prior to moving forward. My main concern pertained to our downtown area – I do not wish to move forward with something that may ultimately be in conflict with the vision for downtown. I was assured this would not be the case.

Council members Julie Robison, Jack Smith and I met with town staff on Wednesday evening to further discuss the proposed involuntary annexations – which I have opposed from the beginning. The main points of discussion pertained to the potential changes in annexation law being considered by the NCGA and the current economic climate. It was a good meeting as I left confident that Cary would not be involuntarily annexing anybody anytime soon. I went home happy. ;-)

I had the pleasure of participating in Cary High School’s Career Day this week. I spoke to numerous students regarding the pros and cons of a career in the automotive repair and service industry – the biggest pro being that those of us in this industry are not feeling the negative effects of a bad economy as much as others are – people simply aren’t buying new cars right now and instead are choosing to hang onto that old one a little longer. I also spoke to a few students about my service on the council. Explaining how working on a 220 degree engine spewing scalding hot fluids in the middle of summer was a much less stressful than politics was pretty easy….JUST KIDDING!!!....maybe. ;-)

Thursday evening was our council meeting. Two main topics of discussion were Cary’s proposed involuntary annexations – which council unanimously decided NOT to move forward with, and whether or not council wished to again utilize Instant Run-Off Voting (IRV) in the upcoming 2009 Cary elections (the 2007 Cary elections were the first elections in NC history to use IRV and yours truly is the first candidate in NC history ever elected utilizing IRV). The Board of Elections was present and answered a number of questions, and citizens also spoke at public speaks out regarding their thoughts of IRV. Council made no decision on whether or not to move forward with IRV at this time, but everyone agreed that should Cary decide to pursue IRV for the 2009 elections council would first solicit citizen input. This was not done when council agreed to use IRV in 2007.

Council also discussed the dangerous traffic situation for vehicles exiting Panther Creek High School in the morning. Council approved an ordinance prohibiting left hand turns from the exit driveway onto McCrimmon Parkway from 6:30-8:30 am Monday through Friday. This will prohibit vehicles from crossing in front of westbound traffic on McCrimmon – the same maneuver which has resulted in all traffic accidents at this intersection. WCPSS must however agree to allow Cary to erect a no left turn sign on their property. Council also directed staff to work with WCPSS towards one of the town following solutions: the placement of traffic cones to channelize motorists into a westbound lane eliminating a left turn out of Panther Creek, or pursue private traffic control measures.

Friday morning Councilors Gale Adcock, Jennifer Robinson, and I met with citizens to further discuss details pertaining to a schools forum we are looking at hosting in the near future. More details on this to come later.

That’s about it for this week. Happy Valentines Day and thanks for reading!