Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week in Review 4/20/09 - 4/25/09

This week I had the pleasure of participating in the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Day at the Capital.

The day began with a meeting of NFIB’s Leadership Committee – which I serve as a member. We discussed a number of issues pertaining to small business such as card check legislation and its impact on small business, as well as the NC Senate’s budget proposal.

The Senate’s budget proposal is a crock. They hype lowering the sales tax to 6% (a whopping .75% decrease) while at the same time levy a 6% tax on services – “non-professional services” that is. Legal and accounting services, as well as medical services will not be taxed. Considering how many lawyers there are in the senate this – unfortunately – is no surprise. Now I can agree with not taxing medical services considering how darn expensive medical care is these days, but the fact is we shouldn’t be taxing ANY services – we should focus on reducing state government spending. What a concept huh? The state is trying to make up a $500 million shortfall. Revenue neutral this isn’t.

To give you an idea how this new tax will affect YOU the consumer: let’s say your car needs a new engine (and I KNOW your getting it replaced at Frantz Automotive right???) ;-) Anyways. Say the labor is $1000.00 to replace. You will pay an additional $60.00 in labor taxes ON TOP OF the 6% in sales tax. Nice.

NFIB members also heard from Governor Beverly Purdue – who basically said she wanted to raise taxes “but now isn’t the right time”. She showed up 5 minutes prior to her speaking time then left immediately afterwards. Lt. Governor Walter Dalton (I love that name) spoke after Beverly Perdue followed by Secretary of Commerce Keith Crisco. Keith definitely seemed the most “real” of the bunch, and being a former business owner himself actually spoke to what mattered to us – creating a business friendly environment in NC.

Wednesday evening was the annual Elected Officials Reception at the Mathews House in downtown Cary. This is always a fun event and a great opportunity to speak to and lobby our state officials. It was interesting however that NO state senate members were in attendance. I guess they figured they wouldn’t be too popular at a business event after their proposal to raise business taxes

Council’s Planning and Development Committee meeting was this week and the only discussion item on the agenda was consideration of FY 2010’s Community Development Block Grant Action Plan and 2010-2014 Consolidated Housing and Community Development Plan.

In order to remain in compliance with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, the Town must update its Consolidated Housing and Community Development Plan every five years. The current 2005-2009 Consolidated Plan expires this year.

The Town of Cary is designated as an Entitlement Community by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is eligible to receive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. For the past five years the Town of Cary has prepared an Annual Action Plan describing the projects the Town plans to undertake in each upcoming fiscal year. HUD’s projection for the amount the Town will receive for the next fiscal year is $450,746.

Proposals for the use of the FY 2010 CDBG funds were solicited from citizens, developers of affordable housing, nonprofit agencies and organizations and Town departments beginning in March. Nearly $1.7 million in proposals were received for the available $450,746 in funds.

While I compliment staff on all their hard work, I really wish council could have held a worksession on this issue. We had one last year. Before I decide on how to distribute nearly half a million dollars in CDBG funds I want more details than what you typically get in a staff report.

On Saturday I was delegate at the Republican Party’s 13th Congressional District Convention. Turnout was better than previous years as we had over 100 delegates in attendance. While a close race between David Williams and David Robinson, we elected David Robinson 13th District Chair. We also had the opportunity to hear from candidates for the NCGOP Chair’s race – including front runners Chad Adams and Tom Fetzer. While I respect Tom Fetzer greatly, I support Chad Adams for NCGOP Chair. I believe our party needs new leadership and fresh ideas – someone who an motivate and excite young people. I believe Chad Adams provides that leadership.

That’s about all for this week. Thanks for reading and thanks for allowing me the opportunity to serve you.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

UPDATE: Climate for Student Success Forum

UPDATE: The Cary Community Foundation - a non-profit organization - has agreed to collect donations on behalf of the Town of Cary allowing contributors to now make a tax deductible donation. Thanks to Councilor Jennifer Robinson for arranging this.

Checks may be sent to:
Cary Community Foundation
2440 S.W. Cary Parkway #201
Cary, NC 27513

Make sure to write Town of Cary Climate for Student Success Forum in the subject line of your check.

Also, if you prefer to donate funds using a credit card, you may go to and click on Giving. From the drop down menu, select How to Give.

As many of you probably know, the Town of Cary is sponsoring an education event on May 11 titled Climate for Student Success. While municipalities do not have the responsibility nor the authority to govern education in Wake County, municipal leaders are often called upon by citizens to take a role in the future of Wake’s schools. At the Climate for Students Success forum, municipal 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.

Wake government, business leaders and citizen leaders will be invited and remaining seats will be made to the general public. The event will also be videotaped for later viewing. In today’s economic environment, public funding for the forum was approved with the understanding that private funds would be raised to reimburse the town for outstanding costs.

As this forum is an important beginning in understanding what role municipal governments can plan in creating a Climate for Student Success, I have started the fundraising off with a personal donation of $750.00, but unfortunately this only covers about 10% of the total cost of the forum. While I understand that the economy is tough right now, I am asking for your help in the form of a contribution. Your donation will bring the Town of Cary closer to the goal of funding this forum with private funds, and potentially result in the Town of Cary hosting future forums. Please consider a contribution - any amount would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your consideration,

Don Frantz
Cary Town Council District B

Hate Mail

A few people have asked recently, "do you get any hate email as a member of council?"


They typically don't bother me as I have thick skin and I sleep well at night believing in the decisions I make. I realize I will never make everyone happy - nor do I try to. I do my very best to respond to every email I receive and explain my actions or decisions. Once in a while however council gets an email that, well, deserves an appropriate response. ;-) I received the email below from a "Mr. Albert Einstein" (obviously not his real name).

Subject: Please make sure the new Cary Recycle Monster Wheel Bins are not the same color as the Monster Trash Bins...........



CC: ":barry.saunders";;;;;;

Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2009 02:06:30 -0400

Please make sure the new Cary Recycle Monster Bins are not the same> color as the Monster Trash Bins.........

Please use another color.............

How about pink???? Like your new prison clothes......

I think it is a good idea for automated recycle pick up like the trash pick up with the big bins with wheels. If it will be SORTED....

But someone still has to sort it at some time????

We all know the recyclables will just be lumped together and dumped into the same trash pits as the trash. So who are you fooling????

We will ride the trucks and vote you pathetic pukes out and into jail.

AE :)
Cary, NC

PS. If recyclables where valuable; some one buy them and government would not have to charge for them to be carted away.....

Here is my response:

Dear Al,

Thank you so much for taking the time to contact council - and everyone at the news and observer - with your thoughts regarding Cary's new automated recycling program. While pink would have been a great color for the recycle bins (my personal favorite was actually Carolina Blue), this is Cary - anything other than a shade of beige would be unacceptable. We have an image to maintain after all. Besides, Cary's trash containers are green, and green and pink just don't go well would look pukey.

You'll be happy to know that once all of the recyclables are collected, they will in fact be sorted. Changes to Cary's recycling program are being made for the following reasons:

a) To accommodate the addition of new materials (junk mail, mixed paper, chip board and phone books)

b) Employee safety

c) Cost reduction - 5 year payback ($600,000 per year in annual operating expenses)

That's right, Al. Those old phone books that you have been using for a booster seat at your parent's kitchen table can now be recycled. How cool is that?

Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding Cary's recycling program. I really appreciate your passion for better protecting our environment. Cary has become the wonderful place to live in that it is thanks to compassionate and caring citizens such as yourself.

If I can be of any further assistance please let me know.

Don Frantz
Cary Town Council District B

Now I can respect a difference of opinion. I do not respect anonymous insults.

Ya, I get some hate mail. And sometimes so do others. :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Week in Review 4/6/09 - 4/12/09

Due to spring break and the Easter Holiday this week was pretty light in regards to council business.

A great deal of my time this week was spent working the phone and email in an attempt to raise private contributions for the Town of Cary’s Climate for Student Success education forum this coming May. A number of folks have committed to help – I thank them dearly.

The Walker Street Extension Project Artist selection panel met again this week to interview our three finalists before making our final selection – which we did. All three artists are very talented and each brought a different perspective in regards to community engagement. After a healthy discussion the panel selected Vicki Scuri to serve as the artist on this project.

On a related note, while funding has been appropriated for the design of the Walker Street extension, construction funding has not been allocated, and in all honesty given the current state of the economy and budget constraints it may be 3-5 years before this project receives funding.

I continue to receive a number of emails pertaining to instant run-off voting (IRV). The majority of which oppose Cary utilizing IRV. While I expected this topic to receive a great deal of debate, the fervor of folks on both sides of the issue has been very surprising to say the least, and the amount of input from special interest groups has been very concerning to me.

The group that concerns me the most is Fairvote. The name of the organization alone throws up red flags – Fairvote. What’s not fair about voting? Every citizen who is registered to vote gets to do just that – vote. If there happens to be a run-off election they get to come back and vote again. What’s not “fair”?

From Fairvote’s website: There is no affirmative protection of the right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. Certain states have implemented restrictive election practices regarding voter registration, identification requirements and the voting status of people with felony convictions. This leads to an election system under which the status of a person's right to vote, even in federal elections, depends on nothing more than the state in which that person lives.

In other words Fairvote supports “automatic” voter registration, and believes that people with no identification and convicted felons should be allowed to vote.

Also from Fairvote’s website: The Municipal Right to Vote Intiative is an innovative approach that local governments can take to support the goal of an equal right to vote for local, state and federal elections. At the local level, governments may be able to allow non-citizens or people with felony convictions to vote for school board or city council.

Allow non-citizens the right to vote??? Are you %#$*& kidding me???? Now how is any of this “fair” to you or me? How is this “fair” to legal citizens? How is this “fair” to those who care enough to register to vote and participate in a transparent and verifiable process? All Fairvote’s initiatives do is empower rabid campaign supporters the ability to grab any Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street and into a voting booth, or the ability to vote multiple times under different names. None of these initiatives will actually increase voter turnout – they will however increase the number of votes cast.

Oh, and for what it's worth they also support eliminating the electoral college - effectively giving California and New York the power to choose this nation's President. Nice.

Support integrity in elections. Support requiring verifiable voter registration. Support identification requirements. And for gosh sakes do not support allowing non-citizens the right to vote.

Well that’s it for this week in review. Thanks for reading and HAPPY EASTER!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Family Time

I hate to do this to you, but I’m taking this week off from blogging. Instead I am going to spend some time with my family for a change – maybe even have dinner together.

I’ll see ya next week. Thanks for understanding.