Sunday, March 7, 2010

Week in Review 3/1/10 - 3/6/10

What an incredibly busy but productive week!

The week began with our monthly Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Advisory Board meeting. The board received a number of reports from sub-committee members as well as an update from Joy Ennis and Sal Cammarata regarding the Town of Cary’s Volunteer Banquet, awards presentation and silent auction fundraiser. Thanks so much to everyone who worked so hard to make this event such a huge success!

I had the honor and privilege of reading to students at Kingswood Elementary School on Tuesday for Read Across America. The book I chose to read was one of my all time favorites – Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The kids were a lot of fun and I can’t thank the staff and teachers at Kingswood enough for all their hospitality.

Cary’s Sign Ordinance Review Task Force met again on Wednesday evening. Main discussion and decision items included monument sign height and required materials, the allowable number of pieces of information that sign may have, text colors, and directory signage. Not all the task force’s decisions were unanimous, which just goes to show how diverse a group the council assembled to perform this important review. I am very pleased with the task force’s work thus far and I believe that what will ultimately be brought to council will be a good reflection of our community’s values. I can’t thank the task force members enough for taking so much time out of their busy schedules to assist us in this endeavor.

Thursday evening I was the guest speaker at the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club’s meeting. I spoke to the club about ongoing and future downtown projects including the renovations to old Cary Elementary School, the streetscape project (on hold), the recently approved way-finding signage concept and the proposed high speed rail project.

On Friday and Saturday I attended the 2010 Annexation Law and Reform Conference held at the Hampton Inn at Brier Creek. Notable guest speakers included Daren Bakst from the John Locke Foundation, Kathy Hartkopf of FreedomWorks, Tryon NC. Town Council Member Doug Arbogast, Rowan County Commissioner Tina Hall and NC Property Rights Coalition founder Kieran Shanahan.

This was an incredibly informative conference and all speakers did a great job of articulating the issues with the current annexation and eminent domain laws in North Carolina.

The conference concluded with a panel of state legislators who included Representatives David Guice and Bill Faison and State Senators Phil Berger and Larry Shaw – 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans; who all support annexation and eminent domain reform in North Carolina.

It is sad that there is obvious bipartisan support for reform, yet no real reform laws have been passed. It just goes to show how broken our government is when a few powerful people control which legislation comes to the floor for debate and a vote.

Real annexation reform should include the following:

Prohibits municipalities from annexing an area unless that area is in clear need of water and sewer service, police and fire services, and the municipality can adequately provide those services.

County Commission approval of forced annexations.

A simple majority vote of the property owners being annexed.

The annexing municipality – NOT the forcibly annexed citizens - will be financially responsible for water and sewer infrastructure.

Well, those are the highlights from this past week. I’m sorry I didn’t post a week in review last week but given my extra busy schedule these days I hadn’t seen the family much lately and I wanted to spend time with them. I can’t thank Lisa and the kids enough for all their support – I am one lucky man.