City of Raleigh begins first in state curbside textile recycling program | abc11.com

Recycling bin

The City of Raleigh has teamed up with a for-profit company to collect clothing along with recycling. The company, SimpleRecycling, will resell the items.

I know Bianca Howard and I think the city’s recycling program is top notch, however I’m uneasy with the city’s staff doing the dirty work of a for-profit company. I’m especially uneasy with the idea that this clothing could instead have gone to charities to distribute to people who need it, free of charge. Austin’s deal with the company has become controversial after local non-profits complained it was hurting their donations.

I think I’ll pass.

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) –The City of Raleigh will begin to offer a textile recycling program on February 20th.Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News AppRaleigh is the first city in North Carolina to partner with Simple Recycling, a for-profit company that sells the items domestically and internationally so residents will not receive a tax write off for their items.”They’re providing this service at no charge to residents of Raleigh,” City of Raleigh Environmental Coordinator Bianca Howard said.”Residents who prefer to get a tax deduction or help a favorite charity should continue to do that,” she said. “We really see this as another way to help people learn about textiles and keep good textiles out of the landfill.”

Source: City of Raleigh begins first in state curbside textile recycling program | abc11.com

Raleigh’s in the Running for Amazon’s HQ2. But Do We Really Want the Damn Thing? | Wake County | Indy Week

IndyWeek pretty much repeats what I’ve been cautioning about Amazon HQ2 landing in Raleigh. Be careful what you wish for.

There’s been something surreal about watching cities all over the country prostrate themselves before Amazon in hopes of landing HQ2, the company’s second headquarters, which will employ some fifty thousand workers and pump $5 billion into the local economy over the next two decades. Newark has offered the internet behemoth $7 billion in incentives. Philadelphia offered as much as $2 billion over ten years. Missouri offered in excess of $2.4 billion (which wasn’t good enough; Amazon rejected bids from Kansas City and St. Louis). Other cities that have made their incentive packages public aren’t far behind. For those that haven’t—including North Carolina—it’s difficult to imagine that figure not reaching the billions.

Source: Raleigh’s in the Running for Amazon’s HQ2. But Do We Really Want the Damn Thing? | Wake County | Indy Week

Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace – The New York Times

Speaking of Amazon, here’s an NYT piece from 2015 on its workaholic ways. This is largely confirmed by former Amazon employees I know.

I read this stuff and wonder why I give my money to Amazon. And then I do it anyway.

On Monday mornings, fresh recruits line up for an orientation intended to catapult them into Amazon’s singular way of working.

They are told to forget the “poor habits” they learned at previous jobs, one employee recalled. When they “hit the wall” from the unrelenting pace, there is only one solution: “Climb the wall,” others reported. To be the best Amazonians they can be, they should be guided by the leadership principles, 14 rules inscribed on handy laminated cards. When quizzed days later, those with perfect scores earn a virtual award proclaiming, “I’m Peculiar” — the company’s proud phrase for overturning workplace conventions.

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)

Source: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace – The New York Times

From Seattle, a former Raleighite advises about living with Amazon | News & Observer

Again, be careful what you wish for, Raleigh. The question we should be asking Amazon is “what will you do for us?

Well, congratulations, Raleigh! You made the cut! You’re one of 20 cities that Amazon is considering for its second headquarters, better known as “HQ2.” (Best to get hip to the lingo if you want to stay in the game.)

Best, too, to know what you’re in for if you win the online retailer’s heart – the existence of which some Seattleites wonder about. Like Sasquatch, or sunshine past September.

But let’s not get into that just yet.

This civic lottery means one hell of a windfall: Amazon promises a $5 billion capital investment and 50,000 new tech jobs.

Win it, and the Triangle will be brimming with new energy, new money and that trademark Tar Heel satisfaction that comes from besting those bank nerds in Charlotte.

hBut I know the charm and ease of Raleigh; I lived there for 1994 to 1998. I know what’s at stake.

And I’ve lived in Seattle through Amazon’s explosive growth, which has been going on for several years and hasn’t let up.

Source: From Seattle, a former Raleighite advises about living with Amazon | News & Observer

January snowfall

A drone’s eye view of the snow.

Last Wednesday morning we got a rather significant snowfall here in Raleigh that kept us out of work and school for the rest of the week. For a while there, it looked as if the heaviest snow would be directly over Raleigh but the fictitious “Raleigh weather dome” (said by equally-fictitious blogger William Needham Findley IV to be controlled by former Raleigh city council member Bonner Gaylord) kept the heaviest snow to the west of us. When it stopped snowing at our home in East Raleigh I had measured 4.75″.

I worked from home Wednesday through Friday (ah, the joy of being a knowledge worker) but did enjoy how beautiful the snow looked on the trees. It was a clumping sort of snow that wound up sticking very well to branches but causing few issues with broken limbs. I also caught up on some technical projects I’d been meaning to get done. It was a nice winter event, though when the streets had cleared I was quite ready to go for a bike ride!

Arrest made after woman stabbed 6 times at Raleigh Food Lion | WNCN

Only 20 years old, Mr. Dixon has been arrested 19 times over the last four years. With his attitude, I am not sure how managed to get all that time outside of jail.

Friends and neighbors have set up a GoFundMe for the victim.

A Raleigh man was arrested Wednesday, less than a week after a woman was stabbed six times outside a Food Lion in Raleigh, police said.

Khawan Dixon, 20, of Milbank Street in Raleigh, is charged in connection with the attack that happened around 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 in the parking lot of a Food Lion in the 1100 block of N. Raleigh Boulevard, police said.

Police said the woman was near her car when a male suspect came up to her and tried to rob her.

He then stabbed her three times in the head and three times in the back, police said.The suspect left the scene and was able to get away with nearly $1,000 worth of property, according to a Raleigh Police Department report.

Source: Arrest made after woman stabbed 6 times at Raleigh Food Lion | WNCN

The leadership itch returns

Last Thursday, I attended an RPD Community Meeting at Lions Park Community Center. It was a meeting to answer neighborhood concerns about the recent incident of delayed police response as well as answer any questions about crime in the area. A handful of neighbors attended, the usuals I’ve become used to seeing at CAC meetings, and a bevy of police officers, detectives, and representatives from the Communications Center.

I have two pages of notes on that meeting that I would like to type up into a report, but the point of this post is how at home I found myself feeling in that room. After three years of conducting CAC meetings, I was all too happy to volunteer questions when the presenters asked for them. I didn’t organize the meeting nor was I in charge of it but I certainly felt right at home quizzing these people for things I wanted to know.

In short, I may indeed miss being a CAC chair. More than that, I miss that I wasn’t able to run for City Council. I have not forgotten how absolutely jazzed I used to feel after my CAC meetings. The small taste I got of it Thursday reminded me that this is where I’m in my element. I hope some day I can get there.

Tom Dundon, king of subprime auto loans

Tom Dundon

The local paper is singing the praises of the new owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, Tom Dundon. WRAL Sports Fan The News and Observer’s Luke DeCock and Chip Alexander lauded the “self-made billionaire” in an adoring story today:

Dundon, 46, has no background in professional sports but knows how to operate a successful business and already has analyzed much of the Hurricanes’ organization and operation. He also likes to win.

Let’s talk about this “self-made billionaire” who “knows how to operate a successful business.” Dundon’s successful business was Santander Consumer Holdings USA, the subprime auto lending arm of the Spanish bank, Santander. Dundon founded the business and ran it until July 2015, when he stepped down just as the regulatory heat was being turned up on Santander. Santander Consumer is in the subprime auto loan business, making what some say is 1 out of every 5 loans. For those of you who didn’t see the film The Big Short or slept through the 2008 recession, America’s economy was nearly ruined by the kind of loans lenders like Santander made.
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Hello, 2018

New Years 2018 arrives in Raleigh City Plaza during the First Night Raleigh celebration

It’s New Years Day 2018 and I sit in my comfortable home office, coffee in hand and a pile of technology surrounding me. The weather is a brisk 22 degrees Fahrenheit as we’re in the middle of a brutal cold spell. I’ve been spending the past week and change catching up on home projects, mostly of the indoor variety.

When it was still warm enough to feel one’s limbs outside I worked more on our fence, digging up more than half of our old fenceposts. The ones that are left are anchored by concrete and not as eager to be ripped from the ground. On a future warmer weekend I will pry these out as well. For now, we have a mostly-open yard for the first time in a while.
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Burglars enter her home. Cops take an hour to get there.

Imagine being on your own with these guys for almost an hour

Yesterday evening one of my neighbors found herself in a terrifying situation. Three would-be burglars had targeted her home and two of them had just quietly entered through her back door – while she was home! If her very large dogs hadn’t alerted her and scared them off she could’ve found herself face to face with these young men.

She did what any panicked homeowner would do – she called 911 and waited for help to arrive.

And she waited. And waited. And waited.

Two strangers had just entered her home while she was inside and the first Raleigh police officer did not arrive until a full fifty minutes later. By that time the intruders trail had gone cold, too cold for the K9 unit to track them. Officers were apologetic, telling her the department is understaffed.

My neighbor said later that the dispatcher misclassified the break-in as a “Level 2” incident, meaning the officers didn’t even get dispatched until 20 minutes after the incident. Even so, if it takes 30 minutes to round up enough officers to respond to a B&E that is far too long.

No one should have to wait this long for assistance in a life-threatening emergency. This is completely unacceptable. If the Raleigh Police Department is this understaffed then the City of Raleigh needs to get this fixed.

I know the Council recently approved raises for our first responders. Has that boosted recruitment? Why or why not? What else can the city do to ensure the safety of its citizens?

I can’t imagine what I would’ve done had this happened to me. The City of Raleigh needs to do whatever it takes to get more officers in the Raleigh Police Department and to keep happy the ones who are there now. What we have now puts everyone’s safety at risk.

Neighbors will be asking the Raleigh City Council next month to allocate more resources towards our police.