Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

RALEIGH: New Raleigh neighborhoods won’t get individual mailboxes | Raleigh |

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

As I left the home this morning, I drove through the new Oakwood North neighborhood and something caught my eye. Workers have installed a concrete pedestal near the front of the subdivision to house the community mailboxes that the neighborhood is now required to have.

I beat up on Colin yesterday about his targeting of certain councilmembers (and I will have more to say about this soon) but he is capable of writing stories that deserve kudos. This one about the Postal Service discontinuing home delivery for new subdivisions was interesting and newsworthy. It’s something that apparently even caught giant homebuilder KB Home by surprise. Suddenly their ultimate home for retirees is much less attractive if living there requires daily trips to the mailbox. Or perhaps homeowners will be the fittest in Raleigh?

RALEIGH — At the model home for the newest neighborhood inside the Beltline, an ornate black mailbox sits atop a post at the curb.

But homebuyers in the Oakwood North subdivision won’t be getting one of their own. After developers started work on the community, the U.S. Postal Service pulled the plug on what’s been a standard amenity: curbside mail delivery.

via RALEIGH: New Raleigh neighborhoods won’t get individual mailboxes | Raleigh |

N&O’s Colin Campbell writes hit piece on Crowder

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Well, that was predictable.

Days after Raleigh City Councilman Thomas Crowder defended against the recent attack on planning documents our city and citizenry spent millions of dollars and many years crafting, News and Observer reporter Colin Campbell writes a hit piece on Crowder’s pursuit of parking lawbreakers.

Objectivity does not appear to be Campbell’s strong suit. He needs a new beat, pronto. And shame on the News and Observer editors for condoning this tripe.

On a related note, I have been doing some research on Campbell’s reporting that is providing some interesting insights. Stay tuned.

RALEIGH — Two years ago, Raleigh City Councilman Thomas Crowder spearheaded an effort to ban front-yard parking in his district. These days, he’s filing dozens of complaints to make sure parking scofflaws are held accountable.Crowder has asked city zoning staffers via email to investigate 26 possible front-yard parking violations – many within blocks of his house – in his Southwest Raleigh district during the past year. Crowder’s complaints represent nearly 30 percent of the parking ordinance reports received in Raleigh since July 2013, according to city records.

“I have complaints regarding the above referenced property,” Crowder says in many of the emails, sometimes including a photo of the offense. “Please investigate and notify me of your findings and action taken.”

via RALEIGH: Raleigh councilman turns in neighbors under controversial parking ban | Wake County |

Vladimir Putin’s circle of fear

Sunday, July 27th, 2014

I enjoyed this account of the current state of Russia’s political opposition.

The tragedy of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 has brought the conflict between Russia and Ukraine back into the headlines. This crisis, and the accompanying crackdown on domestic dissent in Russia, represents a new and frightening phase in a process that began 15 years ago: Vladimir Putin’s reversal of the freedoms Russia gained after the fall of communism in 1991 and the creation of a new authoritarian Kremlin regime.

Consider it a predictive metaphor for recent events in Russia, a quarter century after the country’s awakening from communism. The neo-authoritarian Kremlin regime of Vladimir Putin is squeezing the air out of the remaining pockets of dissent, cranking up the propaganda machine to Soviet levels, and setting up the conditions for a new Iron Curtain.

The spring of 2014 featured a high-water mark for Putin’s post-Soviet restoration, with its belligerent rejection of ‘‘Western values,’’ its confrontational stance toward NATO, and its aggressive claims towards former Soviet territories. As Komsomolskaya Pravda columnist Ulyana Skoibeda rhapsodised after the mostly unchallenged Russian annexation of the Ukrainian territory of Crimea, ‘‘It’s not about the Crimea coming back to us. It’s we who have come back. Home, to the USSR.’’

via Vladimir Putin's circle of fear.

BBC News – US says evidence shows Russia fired artillery into Ukraine

Saturday, July 26th, 2014

While the United States government has been investing billions of dollars so it can listen to Grandma’s phone calls, Russia has been busy boosting its military and invading neighboring countries.

Hey, DoD, the threat is over THERE.

The US says it has evidence that Russia has fired artillery across the border targeting Ukrainian military positions.

Russia also intends "to deliver heavier and more powerful multiple rocket launchers" to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, the state department said.

Russia has frequently denied sending any rocket launchers into Ukraine.

The US comment comes a week after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, with the rebels widely accused of shooting it down.

via BBC News – US says evidence shows Russia fired artillery into Ukraine.

Downtown summit? First things first

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The News and Observer wrote an editorial about the need for a downtown summit. I’ve been pondering it for a while and have a few comments.

Revitalization has been a success, to be sure. But with that success comes challenges the city now must address. Yes, the City Council is doing so in working on a “downtown plan,” but a broader effort is needed, because the boom has brought up some issues.

Therefore, council members can lead the way in calling for a downtown summit of sorts, bringing in not just the dedicated advocates from places like the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, but residents from North, South, East and West Raleigh, people who perhaps, even now, don’t come downtown all that much. Even with all the hoopla, it’s still not uncommon to meet North Raleighites who have never been downtown, period.

Actually, some people will never visit downtown and it doesn’t matter what you try to do to change this. There are suburbanites who don’t “get” downtown and likely won’t ever. And you know what? That’s okay. Raleigh is a big city now and offers something for everyone – for downtown fans and others. You can get by just fine if you never go downtown.

One Parks board meeting left

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Raleigh's Parks board at the Fred Fletcher awards, May 2014.

Raleigh’s Parks board at the Fred Fletcher awards, May 2014.

At last week’s Parks board meeting, I did some calculations and realized I have exactly one meeting left: July 17th. Has it been six years already? Where does the time go?

So much has been accomplished during my time with the board. I recall how contentious my early board meetings were, with lots of strong opinions and little sense of compromise. I contrast that to the last few years, where my fellow boardmembers have voted unanimously on nearly every issue. I don’t think that all votes should necessarily be unanimous but I’m so glad to have been on a board where the members try to work together.

I’m working up a speech to give for my two minutes of member comments at the end of every meeting. There’s a lot to cover for these six years so I’ll have to choose my words carefully.

While July 17th will be my last meeting, my term doesn’t officially end until September 5th. Thus I have one more dedication left to attend: the Mount Hope Cemetery dedication on September 4th. After that, who knows where life will lead me?

Having it both ways on Jones Street

Friday, June 20th, 2014

By BigBuzzMedia

By BigBuzzMedia

I learned yesterday that there is some consternation in the North Carolina General Assembly over the City of Raleigh’s decision to allow two-way traffic on Jones Street. The street is one of four that the city is converting from one-way to two-way traffic.

One-way streets have been the bane of downtowns everywhere, turning streets which should be serving the businesses and homes around them into miniature highways. One-way streets prioritize commuter traffic over local traffic and that’s not how our modern-day downtown works. My only complaint with this decision is that the city didn’t fix the rest of the one-way streets along with these four.

Why is the General Assembly so up in arms? Who knows? Could it be that two-way streets threaten their cushy, legislators-only on-street parking on Jones? Could it be their worry about the schoolchildren who cross Jones at the front of the Legislative Building? Could it be that our right-wing state leaders don’t want Jones Street ever moving to the left? Or could this simply be our legislators’ desire to micromanage every goddamn municipality in the state?

Here’s an idea, legislators: why not let the experts be the experts and not try to butt in on every decision anyone in the state makes? Let professional educators decide how education should be run and let the traffic engineers decide how traffic should work. While we’re at it, how about letting Charlotte leaders run Charlotte and Raleigh leaders run Raleigh? You can focus on important stuff like legalizing opossum abuse and denying climate change.

Trust me. You’ll feel better. And we’ll be much happier when we drive past the Legislative Building. Both ways.

Paul O’Connor: Big government from Raleigh | Salisbury Post

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Well said.

RALEIGH – The true conservatives were all in a lather about federal intrusion into states’ rights during Tuesday’s House Education Committee.

First they complained about the federal courts and their attacks on God, then about federal intrusion into education and then about the lack of judicial and congressional attention to the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The true conservatives, you see, believe that local folks know best how to govern locally and that this big, bad government in Washington should just stop interfering in the affairs of North Carolina.

What was most amazing about the prolonged committee meeting, or you might call it a rant, was that no audience member stood up and shouted: “Pot, kettle. Pot, kettle. Pot, kettle.”

via Paul O’Connor: Big government from Raleigh | Salisbury Post.

Green Tie Awards

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Our family attended the Green Tie Awards and dinner of the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters as guests of Bill and Bett Padgett. It was great seeing so many familiar faces in the crowd, so many I couldn’t possibly talk to them all.

The highlight, though, was the speech Hallie gave to the crowd at the end of the program. She marched right up to the podium and gave a heartfelt speech on why conservation matters to her. Kelly and I were justifiably proud of her and her speech generated a lot of positive comments from the attendees.

Afterwards, I had to chuckle at the spectacle. When I was Hallie’s age, there wasn’t enough money in the world to get me to speak in front of a crowd. I would have died on the spot, or nervously mumbled my way through it yet our daughter can belt out a passionate speech to a roomful of strangers without even breaking a sweat. That’s a pretty powerful skill for a kid. It took me until the age of 30 to even get close to that.

So, even though my attention is drawn in dozens of directions right now, it’s great to have the opportunity to cheer the accomplishments of our kids.

Doing away with generators at Raleigh’s street festivals

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Noisy, smelly generators are bad, mmmkay?

Noisy, smelly generators are bad, mmmkay?

I’ve long thought that Raleigh’s Moore Square is a poor place to hold festivals. The foot traffic, lack of infrastructure, damage to trees, poor sight lines (from the aforementioned trees), and other aspects make it a tough place for large crowds. However, there is one thing that Moore Square offers that Fayetteville Street cannot: silence. Vendors working in Moore Square went about their business without one thing you almost always find in other festival areas: generators. The Moore Square vendors didn’t need generators because Moore Square provides power facilities vendors can plug into.