Monday, February 22, 2010

Week in Review 2/15/10 - 2/20/10

I want to start by thanking all of you who have taken the time to contact me to express your appreciation of my efforts to better communicate with citizens through this blog. It means a lot to me.

I realize that some of you may not always agree with every decision I make, but I have committed to keeping each and every one of you informed about why I voted a certain way, or why I supported a particular initiative. I do work for you after all.

I was sent to town hall to do a job – not to be everyone’s best friend. Heck, that’s government’s biggest problem today. The more government tries to be everything to everyone, the more it becomes nothing to no one and we can’t afford it any longer. But I digress.

Anyways, thanks again – Now on with my week in review.

Monday evening I attended the Wake County Republican Party’s Executive Committee meeting in Raleigh. WCPSS Vice-Chair Debra Goldman was the evening’s guest speaker. She provided an update on the new school board’s work thus far, including the status of the controversial H6 high school site northeast of Raleigh. Afterwards we attended the Western Wake Republican Club’s meeting at Ragazzi’s restaurant at Cary Town Center. I spoke to the club about the state of Cary and our financial situation, and my campaign for NC House 35.

The Town of Cary’s Sign Ordinance Review Task Force met again on Tuesday evening. Discussion items included potential changes regarding ground signs, monument signs, and directory signage, as well as allowable colors. While at times it seems we are going around in circles, I do believe we are making progress towards Cary becoming a little more business friendly while continuing to protect the visual landscape of our town. One of the challenges we face is Cary’s strict buffer and streetscape ordinances – which no one wants to tamper with. But requiring so much screening of development makes it very difficult for potential customers to see what businesses are in a particular development – often resulting in businesses going out of business due to lack of exposure. One example is Waverly Place (yes I realize Waverly also has topography issues). Unless you regularly patronize a particular business inside Waverly, you have no idea what other businesses are in there.

Cary’s Planning and Development Committee met this past Thursday. We had three consent agenda items and only one discussion item on our agenda. There just isn’t any development occurring in town right now to speak of. While it makes for a rather quick meeting, it doesn’t make for a sound financial situation. Just as business needs to grow to remain financially healthy, so does the town – or any municipality for that matter. A growth rate of around 3-4% provides new revenues to the town to fund new capital projects while at the same time allowing infrastructure to keep pace with development.

Our one discussion item was the re-adoption of Cary’s existing resolution of consideration of annexation. Cary has a comprehensive annexation program and state law requires it be readopted every two years. This program identifies land or properties that may be considered for future annexation. Re-adopting this resolution does not mean that Cary intends to annex these properties any time in the near future, but it does make it a lot easier for Cary to annex when and if the council decides to do so.

I oppose involuntary annexation and believe that affected property owners deserve a voice and a vote in the process. Given the ongoing debate in the General Assembly I also believe that Cary should wait and see what changes the state implements before moving forward with any annexation plans. The committee recommended sending this item to our next council meeting for discussion as we were divided on whether or not to approve it, and because this is a political issue that deserves council discussion. I intend to vote against this resolution.

Friday morning was a lot of fun. I spoke to 5th graders at Davis Drive Elementary School regarding the importance of reading. I spoke both from my experiences as a business owner and as a member of the council. The students were a lot of fun and asked a number of great questions.

Afterwards I attended a follow up meeting with town staff and Councilwoman Julie Robison regarding an issue we have been working on in the Silverton Community. Staff will be following up with us in the near future with potential options.

On Saturday I had the honor and privilege of representing the Mayor and Council at the 12th annual African American Celebration held at the Herb Young Community Center. I spoke to those in attendance about the importance of diversity, encouraging youths to become involved in their community, and that while we have made great progress towards eradicating racism in America; we still have a lot of work to do. I also presented a proclamation recognizing February and National African American History Month.

Well those are the past week’s highlights – as always, thanks for reading!