Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week in Review 10/5/09 - 10/10/09

The majority of my time this past week was spent helping candidates running for both school board and municipal elections and preparing for Thursday evening’s council meeting.

Tuesday was Election Day – and what a great day it was! All four conservative, family friendly, pro-neighborhood schools, anti-mandatory year round school board candidates won their elections handily. Debra Goldman, Debra Prickett, and Chris Malone each won landslide victories garnering 60% of the vote. John Tedesco, candidate for district 2 school board running in a five person race also won big, but just missed the 50% + 1 of the vote required to avoid the need for a runoff. He finished with 49%. Tedesco now faces a runoff on November 3 with distant runner up Cathy Truitt who received only 24% of the vote. Why she is even calling for a runoff I am not sure but regardless I am confident that Tedesco will seal the deal in November. However we cannot rest on our laurels. This election is too important folks. I encourage everyone reading this to call or email John and offer your support. We know where John stands on the issues – Truitt’s positions change almost hourly depending on which way the wind is blowing, or to whom she is speaking with.

Voters sent a clear message to WCPSS. Parents and taxpayers are sick and tired of having our children used as pawns in some liberal social engineering experiment without any data whatsoever that proves the experiment even benefits the children it is designed to help. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe diversity in our schools to be a good thing – as long as a child doesn’t have to give up their seat at their neighborhood school so another who lives 15 miles away can sit in it.

Jack Smith and Julie Robison, candidates for reelection to the Cary Town Council also won big. Jack Smith received 66% of the vote and Julie received nearly80%. Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson also won on Election Day, but like Tedesco, failed to receive the 50% +1 of the vote to negate the need for a runoff. Jennifer received 49.97% of the vote in a four person race – 2 VOTES shy of winning outright. Think your vote doesn’t matter? Think again. There are a handful of provisional ballots left to count so there is still hope that Jennifer may pull this one out without the need for a runoff.

Regardless, the Robinson campaign is not sitting around waiting for the final tally. That’s not her style. Its full steam ahead towards victory in November! On a positive note, a month long runoff election allows Jennifer the time to debunk all the misinformation coming from the Bush campaign. Cary's citizens deserve honest answers to their questions, not quotes taken out of context and half truths. Whether you agree with all of Jennifer’s decisions or not, it's poor character to make her out to be something less than the dedicated and honest public servant that she is. I look forward to a debate between the two of them.

I also want to say “Thank You” to Terry ‘Doc’ Thorne and Cindy Sinkez for running positive, issue oriented campaigns. It has been an honor and a pleasure to get to know the both of them better during this campaign season. I wish them all the best in their future endeavors.

Thursday evening was our council meeting. The main topics of discussion were the proposed Cameron Pond revegetation plan and associated subdivision plan amendment.

The Cameron Pond buffer issue has been one of the most difficult subjects; if not the most difficult I have dealt with during my time on the council. For those of you who may be unaware of this issue, the 100 foot buffer behind Cameron Pond that would have protected the residents from the future I540 was annihilated by Progress Energy to make way for massive 100 foot tall high voltage transmission lines. This was done without any knowledge or notification to the town or the council by Progress Energy or the developer of Cameron Pond. Unfortunately, no matter how wrong this was, Progress Energy is a condemning authority and has the power to do so.

The town, Cameron Pond residents and developer have been working for months to develop a revegetation plan that provides for as much screening from the future I540 and the power lines as possible. The reality however is that no amount of revegetation can ever right the wrong that has been imposed upon this community. You simply cannot replace the 100 foot of mature hardwoods and pines that were removed – and Progress Energy will not allow any plantings within the easement. Council was tasked with determining whether or not the proposed plan was sufficient (in my opinion no), and met the letter of the law in regards to Cary’s opaque buffer standards (it does). After a lengthy discussion and a commitment from the developer to install even more plantings the council swallowed hard and unanimously approved the revegetation plan.

The next item of discussion was the associated subdivision plan amendment. The existing plan is nonconforming as it does not include the utility easement nor the revegetation. Council voted 5-2 to approve the plan. Both Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson and I voted against the subdivision plan as we felt there was more the developer could do within the development to help compensate for the diminished quality of life in Cameron Pond. On behalf of the Town I sincerely apologize for everything the Cameron Pond residents have had to endure, and I thank them for all their work in helping us get to this point.

Afterwards council members pledged to partner with NCDOT in the construction of I540 so that we may better work together to further reduce the impacts that I540 will have on this community.

Council also unanimously denied the Nelson Road Industrial site plan as they were requesting a reduction to the required buffers along the west side of their property and the 100 foot thoroughfare buffer along Aviation Parkway. Great timing huh? I don’t see this council granting any buffer reduction requests any time soon - if ever; and in fact we will be working to strengthen our buffer standards in the very near future.

On Saturday I had the honor and privilege of attending the 9th annual Diwali Festival at Koka Booth Amphitheater along with council members Smith, Robison and Portman. Congressman David Price was also in attendance. I had a great time and I can’t thank the folks at Hum Sub enough for all their hospitality. Being a history buff I always enjoy learning more about other cultures – and sampling their food while I’m at it! ;-) But no matter how different our cultures may be, we still have so much in common. We all want good government, safe communities, a clean environment, great educational opportunities and respect. Sounds simple enough to me.

I also want to take a minute to thank everyone who took the time to email or call with your concerns regarding our son Jordan’s injury in the ECU/UCF football game. It really means a lot to our family and we are forever grateful for all your support.

Well that’s about it for this week in review. As always thanks for reading!