I received a lot of positive response to my "Point After" column yesterday that called for the front office of the Carolina RailHawks to be more transparent and honest with its fans. It was titled "Now's time to be open."
It cost Cary taxpayers $3,814 in overtime costs to hold Wake County school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman's forum at Town Hall on Tuesday.
As noted in today's Triangle Politics item by Sadia Latifi, Cary paid 20 police officers, eight public works employees, five members of the fire department, three administrators and two town clerks at the event
The forum lasted a little over an hour. It was a relatively quiet meeting that drew less than 150 people and left more than half the seats empty.
Wake County school board vice chairwoman Debra Goldman will soon be holding her first major public appearance since she split with the Republican majority to scrap the zone-based assignment plan.
As noted in today's Cary News article by Sadia Latifi, Goldman was invited several weeks ago to speak at 6;30 P.M. Tuesday at Cary Town Hall by Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Goldman says she plans to do a lot of listening and note-taking when she meets with residents on Tuesday.
“It’s a chance for my neighbors to come and talk to me and tell me what they’re looking for so that I can better represent them,” Goldman said.
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is trying to enlist other Wake County mayors as part of his ongoing efforts to put the student assignment process under the microscope.
As noted in today's online article by Sadia Latifi and Ray Martin, Meeker has been contacting other mayors to form a committee to review whether the new plan that's being developed "“complies with state statutory and constitutional standards." This special committee would consist of mayors and "high level" residents of each town who have educational or legal experience.
“Our goal is to get an objective group, to get good advice and see if it’s a good plan or bad plan that needs some changes,” said Meeker, a sharp critic of the new board majority and husband of school board minority member Anne McLaurin.
If you've got a few bucks to spare, then Cary would love your help paying for a forum on school issues in Wake County.
The Town Council voted 6-1 on Thursday to approve holding the "Climate on Student Success" forum on May 11. With an estimated cost of $7,196, council members said they'd try to raise as much of the money as possible to pay for the event without using town dollars.
Putting up some bucks could get you a seat at the invitation-only event.
Don’t look for all of Wake County’s mayors to stand behind changing the way school board members are elected.
The Wake County Mayors Association had been working on a resolution calling for changes in how county commissioners and school board members are elected. But Holly Springs Mayor Dick Sears said they dropped it this month after they couldn’t unanimously agree on the specific changes they wanted to recommend.
They had been wrestling with whether to call for at-large school board elections, reducing the number of seats and changing when the elections are held.
It was a pretty gung-ho crowd at Thursday night's meeting in Holly Springs.
As noted in today's article, the twin goals pitched at the meeting were to get involved in this fall's school board elections and to back state legislation for at-large board seats.
Before I get started, Wake Schools Community Alliance now has a web site up that can be reached by clicking here. They're using it to help enlist people for this fall's campaign.
Are we reaching the point now that parental anger over reassignment could lead to major changes in the school system?
As noted in today's article, there are a whole lot of groups around who want to change the school system. Many of them will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at Holly Springs Town Hall to see if they can find common ground.
"The more you impact, the more you'll alienate," said Kathleen Brennan, co-founder of Wake CARES. "At some point you'll reach the saturation point. Whether that's been reached remains to be seen."
School and Cary leaders will meet Monday to try to resolve the impasse over road improvements near Panther Creek High School that have blocked the use of 22 needed modular classrooms.
Rosa Gill, chairwoman of the school board, and Kevin Hill, vice chairman of the school board, will have a private meeting with Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. They'll discuss Cary's requirement that Wake construct an additional northbound through lane on N.C. 55 from McCrimmon Parkway through the intersections of the ramps at N.C. 540.
The problem is that it doesn't look like either side will give in on the road work, which Cary is requiring before Wake can use the modulars.
Day 2 of Cary's annual council-staff retreat began with a slightly different agenda than Day 1. Much of the first day was spent discussing largely philosophical ideals on how the council could work together as a team -- along with town employees, of course -- and identifying strengths and weaknesses within the town's overall governmental operations.
The second full day was spent in part on more meat-and-bones issues. Interim Town Manager Ben Shivar helped walk the Town Council and Cary's staff through a series of agenda items discussed at last year's retreat in Southern Pines. Shivar and other staff members provided updates on various projects and asked the Town Council to identify those the board would like to focus on in the coming year.
A few highlights:
*Find a downtown development manager. Council member Erv Portman likened the position to the kind of work a mall manager might perform, but added that anyone selected to fill such a post would need to strike a balance between the public and private sectors.
Council member Jennifer Robinson said she envisioned the manager perhaps working alongside officials at the Cary Chamber of Commerce to draw new business downtown. Interim Town Manager Ben Shivar, who will temporarily fill the role, said it was an important role.
"We need someone who can bring focus to that area and direct competing interests," he said.
*Begin planning for a new business park. Interim Town Manager Ben Shivar said that he, along with Cary's economic development manager, would likely meet with staff in Chatham County in coming weeks to discuss an idea to build a new business park that would provide economic benefits to both parties.
Some on the council liked the idea in theory. "I don't think there's anything better we can do from an economic development standpoint than to make sure this is built," Council member Erv Portman said of the concept. "It's a relatively cheap economic stimulus initiative."
But Julie Robison and Jennifer Robinson were among those on the board who urged caution in moving forward with the idea of building in a neighboring county. Both Robison and Robinson suggested as an alternative that the Town Council might want to also explore development near the NW Cary rail station or in downtown.
*Continue promoting 'green' practices. Mayor Harold Weinbrecht expressed a dissatisfaction with the amount of litter he sees along Interstate 40 and suggested an anti-litter campaign as a means of raising awareness of environmental issues.
Ideas proposed for such an initiative included Julie Robison's idea of sponsoring a cleanup day through the Haw River Assembly, a non-profit group helping to protect the Haw River and Jordan Lake. Also, Erv Portman proposed conducting an anti-litter campaign to coincide with Earth Day in April.