Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few holidays left that hasn’t been ruined by commercialism or political correctness. I don’t have to worry about offending anyone by wishing them a Happy Thanksgiving and I don’t have to run all over town and spend a small fortune buying gifts for folks either…at least not yet. ;-) It’s all about family, getting together with loved ones, giving thanks for all the good that we have in our lives, great food and football!

I have so much to be thankful for. First and foremost I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my wonderful wife who is always supportive, loving, and patient. I am thankful for our six amazing children who have brought so many blessings into our lives. I am thankful for my mother and father who taught me responsibility and that life is what you make of it. I am thankful for my brother Dan who has been my best friend for my entire life.

I am thankful for all our friends. Through good times and bad they have always been there for us. I am thankful for our good health.

I am thankful for God and that he sent his only begotten son to die on the cross for our sins. I am thankful that God has a plan and brought me to Cary.

I am thankful for our success in business and for our incredible employees who make that happen – especially you, Darryl. I learned a long time ago that in business you are only as good as the people you have working for you. We are truly blessed to have such highly skilled and dedicated employees.

I am thankful for the trust and support Cary’s citizens have bestowed upon me by electing me to serve as your representative. I am thankful for my council colleagues and for our town staff who work so hard day in and day out to make Cary one of the greatest places to live in America.

I am very thankful, and I hope that you are too. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Day in the Life

Folks often ask how I balance my business and family responsibilities with those of a council member. I decided that instead of my usual week in review I would post a day in review instead to give folks a better idea of what an average day is like for me. Hopefully you find it interesting. If not, I’m sure you’ll let me know. ;-) So without further adieu,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Alarm goes off – hit snooze. Repeat. I am so not a morning person. ;-) After coming to terms with my denial and accepting that yes, I do have to get out of bed and go to work, I roll out of bed and sleepwalk to the shower. My day begins.

I arrive at work at 8:00 am to find that Darryl’s got everything under control. Why am I not surprised? He’s awesome. I check the morning paper and internet sites for anything newsworthy. Find nothing. ;-) Check and respond to a couple dozen emails. Some require staff assistance to better address –contact staff for assistance. This will generate more email. Respond to three phone calls missed from the previous evening. One is from a citizen requesting a meeting regarding a neighborhood issue, one from a fellow councilor and one is from a newly elected school board member.

Time to get to work…the kind that pays the bills anyways ;-) I am needed to diagnose a couple of drivability problems. One is a high idle and check engine light on a Ford Focus, the other a hard start on a Honda CRV. I find that the CRV needs a new oxygen sensor and an intake service to remove excessive carbon build up, and the Focus needs a new PCV hose assembly to cure a lean condition. I write it up and give the info to Darryl so he can authorize repairs and order parts so I may participate in a conference call with the North Carolina NFIB Leadership Council of which I serve as a member.

The NFIB conference call lasts almost an hour as we discuss a wide range of topics including the NFIB’s and small business' position on health care, taxes on services, card check legislation and incentives vs. North Carolina's corporate tax rate.

10:30 am: I check email again to find that staff has provided some of the information I had requested earlier – follow up with citizens. I have found that I keep up with email best if I check it numerous times throughout the day. There isn’t much worse than opening your email account to see that you have 120 new emails. Ahhh!!!!

Back to work. I complete the needed repairs on the CRV and Focus – yes I still turn wrenches – and also perform a routine service on a Toyota Highlander. After my work on these three vehicles is complete I handle a number of business related responsibilities for both Frantz Automotive and Rosedown Weddings.

2:00 pm: I leave work and head home to clean up and change clothes before attending the town’s employee appreciation reception. I Hit the BK drive-thru on the way home to grab a quick bite for lunch and call Lisa to see how her day is going. It’s no surprise to hear she’s doing five things at once. Those of you that know Lisa know what I’m talking about. ;-) She’s an amazing woman who works hard not only at home, at work, and in the community, but she also takes up my slack – especially at home – as my council responsibilities keep me away from home more often than not. My wife is a saint. I love you sweetie!

2:50 pm: Arrive at Town’s employee reception at the Herb Young Community Center and speak with a number of guests and town employees prior to the start of the presentation. Our town’s staff is an amazing collection of dedicated professionals who work very hard to help make Cary the great place to live that it is. Attending this reception was the least I could do to show my appreciation for all their efforts.

Afterwards I head back to the shop to tie up a few loose ends. No time to change back into my work clothes so I take a little extra care to make sure my tie doesn’t get caught in a fan belt. ;-)

4:30 pm: Back to town hall for a meeting with the Town Manager, Engineering Director, Councilwoman Robinson and a family who lives on Pamlico Drive to discuss flooding issues they are experiencing and what steps the town can take both short and long term in an attempt to address their issues. I wish I could report that I left this meeting with the confidence we will be able to help. Unfortunately I did not but we will work as hard as we can to do so. Afterwards I race across the hall and into Council Chambers for our Planning and Development Committee meeting – on time with 30 seconds to spare!

5:30 pm: P+D Committee meeting begins – notable topics included consideration of a Comprehensive Transportation Plan Amendment and whether or not to consider an appeal from an applicant regarding a staff decision to require connectivity to their proposed site plan. The committee agreed to hear the appeal. Both of these items will come to the full council for discussion and decision at our next council meeting.

After our P+D Committee meeting I head across town to attend the tail end of a reception for WCPSS Board Member-elect Debra Goldman. It has been a pleasure to get to know Debra better over the last few months and she has become a great friend. I look forward to working with Debra on school related matters both in Cary and Wake County and I am confident she will do a great job as a member of the school board.

I stop the shop to pick up some documents and tie up a few loose ends before getting home around 8:00. Once home I grab a bite to eat (not out of a bag – yay! Thanks sweetie!)- and help Elizabeth with her homework before reading her a story and tucking her into bed. I spend the remainder of the evening responding to email and reviewing staff reports before retiring around midnight.

And there ya have it – an example of what a typical day is like for me as a business owner, family man and member of the council. There is always much to do, but by focusing on what’s most important - and with a little help from my family and employees - we get it done. I am very proud of my work on the council and hope that you are too.

And no matter how busy I might get I try very hard to make sure I make time for family – although there’s never as much time as I would like. I can’t thank my family enough for their love and support and for understanding how important my role as a council member is to both me and Cary. I couldn’t do what I do without you. I love you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week in Review 11/9/09 - 11/15/09

My week began with a meeting with Town Manager Ben Shivar to discuss a number of topics including Old Cary Elementary (more on this later), the town’s current financial outlook and council relations.

This past Tuesday Council held a work session to discuss two topics – Cary’s Historic Preservation Master Plan and Koka Booth Amphitheater.

Town staff and consultants presented the final round of updates and recommendations for Cary’s Historic Preservation Master Plan before preparations begin to send this to public hearing. Council asked that the public hearing be held AFTER the Holidays thinking that folks will already have enough on their plates (turkey I hope!) and might miss their opportunity for comment. As important as this initiative is we want to ensure we gather as much citizen input as possible before making any final decisions.

Next on the agenda were Koka Booth Amphitheater and sound levels. After a healthy discussion council ultimately agreed to allow three events next year to exceed the current limit of 92 decibels but not to exceed 95 decibels. This doesn’t sound like much of a difference I know, but believe me it is. A number of artists, patrons, and citizens have complained about our noise restrictions and a number of artists have even refused to play at the amphitheater due to sound limits. Council decided on limiting the number of shows which may exceed 92 decibels to three as a “test” to see how this works out for the amphitheater and area residents.

Council also discussed concessions and seating – but those are mainly operational items so we differed to staff….although one council member was somewhat critical of current wine selections. Obviously not me. ;-) Beer and pretzels and I’m good to go!

Thursday the council retreat committee and staff met to discuss the upcoming retreat agenda. The retreat will focus on where, or what we want Cary to be in thirty years from now – a visioning exercise in some regards. We will be reviewing allowable densities throughout town, housing types (suburban vs. urban), transportation, stormwater issues and our downtown. The retreat will be held locally in Cary again this year to reduce costs and encourage citizen participation – so if you have an opinion on Cary’s growth rate – and I know you do! – please come.

Afterwards was our council meeting. The majority of the meeting consisted of ceremonial presentations and awards but there were definitely a few other notable items worthy of discussion here.

Funding for the Old Cary Elementary School renovations and conversion to the Cary Community Arts Center was unanimously approved by council. Cary had previously estimated construction costs to be in the neighborhood of $15+ million. Bids came in at 7-9 million; a substantial savings given the down economy and increased competition. The remaining balance of the $15 million that was allocated for Cary Elementary (cash on hand) will be returned to the general fund to help make up for the reduction in revenue we are experiencing given the recession.

Council also unanimously approved the hiring of six new police officers for a new police beat in West Cary – our fastest growing area of town. Council had previously held off on filling these positions as we had applied for a federal grant to help defray some of the costs. Once we were notified we did not receive grant funding we approved the hiring of these additional officers. I wish all our decisions were this easy.

The highlight of the council meeting was the awards presentation for Cary’s first ever Hometown Spirit Award. All 12 finalists were recognized at our meeting and received a small token of our appreciation. Congratulations to Alisa Wright Colopy who was selected as Cary’s first ever Hometown Spirit Award Winner. Many thanks to the selection committee as well – in reading the nomination forms their job of choosing a winner from such an incredible group of individuals was surely no easy task.

On Friday evening I met with WCPSS Board Member Elect Debra Goldman to help her with her new blog, Debra’s Chalk Board. Make sure you bookmark it and check back often for updates…just like you do for my blog right??? ;-) Hopefully more elected officials will follow suit and make the effort to better communicate with their constituency. Great job, Debra!

On Saturday evening I attended John Tedesco’s victory ball in Garner. This was a lot of fun and it was great to celebrate with so many friends and colleagues. I can’t wait for December 1st!!!

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

Monday, November 9, 2009

Proud Mama and Papa!

Jordan Richards and Rocky Ross Named to ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District Team

Knight student-athletes named to ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA First Team.

Nov. 5, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two UCF football players, linebacker Jordan Richards (Cary, N.C.) and wide receiver Rocky Ross (Jacksonville, Fla.) were honored for their academic success on Thursday as they were both first-team selections by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) on the ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-District teams.

To be eligible a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore, a starter or key reserve, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.3. As first-team all-district picks, Richards and Ross both advance for consideration for the national ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-American teams.
Richards and Ross are both pursing master's degrees in sports and fitness after earning bachelor's degrees in criminal justice. Richards has posted a 3.63 cumulative GPA while Ross carries a 3.88 cumulative GPA.

Both also have helped the Knights (5-3, 3-2 C-USA) greatly this season. Ross is the team's leading receiver with 27 catches for 327 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 0:23 left to play against Marshall on Sunday night. He has also returned eight punts for 99 yards on the year. Richards has made 17 stops this year from his linebacking position, including two tackles for loss. He also forced a fumble.

This is Ross' second time receiving the honor, also doing so in 2007. He is the third Knight to be so recognized twice, joining Ron Johnson (1980-81) and Sha'reff Rashad (2005, 07).
These two honors make a total of six times that a Knights has been named to the all-district team over the past three years. In 2007, Keith Shologan went on to earn ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.

To see Richards, Ross and their UCF teammates play in either of their two remaining home games at Bright House Networks Stadium (Nov. 14 vs. No. 13 Houston or Nov. 21 vs. Tulane), please either call the UCF Athletic Ticket office at (407) 823-1000 or logon to


Week in Review 11/2/09 - 11/8/09

Sorry for the late post – Lisa was in Texas all weekend to watch our son Jordan play Colt McCoy and company so I had Mr. Mom duties all weekend. Boy am I glad she’s home! ;-)

My week began with a council retreat committee meeting with staff, Mayor Weinbrecht and Council member Portman. First item on the agenda was the retreat location. To reduce costs and encourage citizen participation we again decided to stay local and host our retreat in Cary. While I offered the use of Rosedown in Smithfield at no charge to Cary, committee members and staff felt it did not provide enough space and was a bit too far away (40 minutes) for folks to travel to and from as we do not have enough bedrooms for all to spend the night.

Topics to be discussed at the retreat will include a review of allowable densities throughout Cary, Downtown, and Stormwater issues throughout town. We will have another retreat committee meeting to shore things up so stay tuned! I know – you can’t wait right? ;-)

Tuesday was Election Day in Cary’s District A and boy am I glad that’s over! I could write a book on this topic, but what really needs to be said that hasn’t already been said? The voters have spoken. Congratulations to Jennifer Robinson on her reelection to the council and thanks to everyone who turned out to vote.

Congratulations also go out to John Tedesco who won his District 2 School Board election in convincing fashion and a big shout out to Tom Murry in Morrisville, Gene Shulze, Mike Jones and Lance Olive in Apex for their Election Day victories.

Thursday morning I attended the Heart of Cary Association’s monthly meeting at the Cary Chamber of Commerce. The main discussion topic was the upcoming Heart of Cary Association’s Ole Time Winter Festival which will be held in downtown Cary on December 5 from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm. The Town of Cary’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (ya I know, it’s technically a “Holiday Tree” but it will always be a Christmas Tree to me!) immediately follows the festival at 6:00 pm. Please come to the Ole Time Winter Festival and have your picture taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the live entertainment, local artisans and tasty eats! This will be a very fun time – see you there!

On Friday Councilman Jack Smith and I had the privilege of attending the Town of Cary’s Annual Veteran’s Day Appreciation Luncheon. It was truly an honor to be in the company of so many incredible men and women who sacrificed so much of themselves fighting for liberty and freedom around the globe. I am forever grateful for their service to our great nation.

On Sunday I presented a proclamation on behalf of the Mayor and council honoring Bradley John Vohler’s achievement of making Eagle Scout. This was a good time for all and a number of family friends were in attendance. My remarks focused on the principle goals of scouting. A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. “Wouldn’t it be nice if all our elected officials lived by these same principles?” I asked. After commenting that the world would be a better place if we had a few more Boy Scouts in government service, I presented the proclamation.

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

Monday, November 2, 2009


Tomorrow, November 3 is Election Day. Go vote.

What’s that you say? You don’t think your vote matters? Think again.

I lost my first election by 130 votes. I won my last election by 48 votes.

Wake County School Board Candidate John Tedesco missed winning outright in last month’s school board elections by 38 votes.

Cary Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson came 4 votes short of winning Cary’s District A seat outright last month.

Al Franken ring a bell? Ya, I know – a dumbbell. ;-) But you get the point…I hope.

Voter turnout in municipal elections rarely breaks 13%, yet local officials impact our daily lives more so than that of our state and federal representatives. Apathy is often times a local official’s worst enemy.

Cary district A voters have the opportunity to head back to the polls tomorrow to either cast their ballot for change (whatever that means), or reaffirm Cary Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson’s leadership over the last ten years. Regardless of your preferred candidate I challenge each and every one of you to do just that - GO VOTE. And while you’re at it, call your friends and neighbors and encourage them to go vote. Drag your co-worker out of his cubicle and get him or her to the polls. Volunteer to drive someone without transportation. Allow your employees extra time during lunch so they may go vote. You never know, your vote just might decide Cary’s leadership and direction for the next four years.

Actually, I know it will.