Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week in Review 3/23/09 - 3/27/09

On Monday evening I was the guest speaker at the Western Wake Republican Club’s monthly meeting. I spoke to the group about some of the keys to running a successful campaign, and the pros and cons of running for public office. I have run for public office twice – I lost the first election by 130 votes, and won the second by 50. Hey, what can I say? I like to keep em close. ;-)

I spent a great deal of time this week responding to citizen emails. Council received a lot – and I mean a lot - of email asking that council support the Jordan Lake Water Supply Nutrient Strategy Rules. The funny thing however was that a good amount of these were sent to council on Friday - after we had unanimously voted to support the rules at our council meeting the night before. Regardless, I answered every email and informed folks that council did support the rules in their entirety. We also received a lot of email pertaining to Cary's new rollout cart recycling program.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. Prior to the meeting council held a closed session to discuss matters pertaining to a town employee. It was a closed session – that’s all I can say about that. Council meeting highlights included the discussion and adoption of Land Development Ordinance Amendments pertaining to the Conservation Residential Overlay District and Residential Cluster Subdivision Development Regulations, council’s agreement to host an education forum, and adoption of the Jordan Lake Water Supply Nutrient Strategy Rules that I spoke about earlier.

Amendments to the Conservation Residential Overlay District and the Residential Cluster Subdivision Development Regulations passed by a vote of 5-2. Mayor Weinbrecht and I voted against the proposed changes. My biggest concern dealt with the potential loss of rural character in our southwest area – an area of Cary that for years we’ve planned to remain just that - rural in character. The changes do provide for greater preservation of open space (a great thing) but encourages developers to cluster their developments to achieve this. Townhome/cluster development just doesn’t seem very rural to me.

In previous blog entries I eluded to an education initiative that council members Gale Adcock and Jennifer Robinson and I have been working with citizens on. I say working with citizens because in all honesty they have done most of the work. Anyways, at our Thursday meeting we asked that Council consider funding and hosting a forum of Wake government, business and citizen leaders to study quality education in our community. This forum, named “Climate for Student Success” will highlight several areas of increased academic achievement.

While municipal governments do not have the authority to govern education in Wake County, municipal leaders are often called on by citizens to take a role in the future of Wake’s schools. Some of us don’t wait to be called upon ;-) At the Climate for Students Success forum, leaders will be given important information about practices that have been successful in improving overall student achievement and an opportunity to discuss Wake’s current and future educational climate.

The keynote speaker is none other than Elaine McEwan, best-selling author of 10 Traits of Highly Effective Schools which speaks about the distinguishing qualities and unique characteristics of schools that help all students make outstanding gains in performance. Ms. McEwan is a partner and educational consultant with The McEwan-Adkins Group, offering workshops in instructional leadership, team building, and raising reading achievement. A former teacher, librarian, principal, and assistant superintendent for instruction in a suburban Chicago school district, McEwan is the author of more than thirty-five books for parents and educators.

Another distinguished presenter, Mrs. Amy Holcombe, Ph.D., Executive Director of Talent Development at Guilford County Schools will speak about the Mission Possible program, a comprehensive teacher incentive program that combines multiple components to recruit and retain highly effective teachers for the ultimate goal of increasing student achievement in schools with critical needs.

There will also be time for an open discussion and Q+A segment between municipal and community leaders.

The forum will be held on May 11, 2009 from 8:30 – 12:30 in the Cary Council Chambers. Unfortunately due to space limitations and the need for Wake County municipal leaders to attend this will be an invitation only event – but it will be videotaped and broadcast on Cary TV so all of our citizens can watch.

That’s this week in review. Thanks for reading!