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INDY Week columnist Bob Geary's Raleigh news & politics blog

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday, April 28: Turn on to Hillsborough Street re-do

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 11:36 AM

Groundbreaking on the Hillsborough Street revamp (phase 1) is in three weeks. There's an open house tomorrow, from 4 to 7 p.m., for folks to catch up on what's planned, when, the effect of construction on traffic, etcetera. It's in the Hillsborough Street Partnership's new headquarters, which is in the office space attached to the back of the Mini Mart strip mall -- across from the Bell Tower and a few doors east of Sadlack's. (Office address is 2 Maiden Lane). Drop in when you can. Bring fond memories ... or put them here, if you like. ...

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's wrong with Moore Square?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2009 at 5:16 PM

The unanimous City Council vote today in favor of having a public competition to redesign Moore Square put me in mind of the last time city officials wanted to mess with Moore -- back in '01 -- and how that came to naught. A big issue then was that citizens weren't consulted before the Parks Department rolled out a redesign of its own, and a dreadful redesign at that. This time, the planning department's in charge, and it's all about citizens' input, with "an open call for design ideas," etcetera, etcetera. (See below for the city's press release.) But a...

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Councilor Crowder facing a likely challenge in District D

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 4:42 PM

The announcement by Mayor Charles Meeker a week ago that he will seek a fifth two-year term in October shut down any possibility that the other seven seats on the City Council would be shuffled. No Philip Isley versus one of the Democrats for Meeker's job, in other words. Thus, it seems the at-large councilors, Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin, will run for re-election and face nominal or no opposition, as will most of the council's district representatives. Or that's how it looks with the election less than six months off. The one exception so far is in District D...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Richard Burr in '10: Another Liddy?

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Sen. Burr may be a Democratic target in 2010? No, he is a target -- a point BlueNC made on Sunday and continues to pound on. PPP's survey, out today, shows the Republican Burr trailing potential Democratic challenger Roy Cooper by 4 points. Comparisons to ex-Sen. Liddy Dole's shaky standing the year before she ran for re-election are inevitable but not wholly apt. Dole's campaign skills were -- let's be kind -- awful. Burr's are fair-to-middling. And Cooper's, notwithstanding that he's won three elections as attorney general, are unproven....

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Luebke, Weiss, House Finance: Yes on 1/2-cent sales tax for transit bill

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 1:21 PM

In the long-running battle to unlock some local funding for a regional transportation network, two big tumblers fell into place this morning in the House Finance committee. State Reps. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, and Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake, both co-chairs of the panel, voted in favor of House Bill 148, which includes the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit provision. Luebke and Weiss, progressive stalwarts, continue to dislike the regressive sales tax as a way to pay for anything, and dislike is putting it mildly. Luebke's yes vote was cast "reluctantly," he said. Weiss's, she said, "gives me heartburn." Still, their support for...

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Meeker to go for 5th term as mayor

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Earlier this year, Charles Meeker was giving off an "I'm out of here soon" vibe that indicated his current, fourth term as mayor would be his last. He certainly thought about it, telling friends that he'd like to concentrate more time on his law practice and be done with -- though Hizzoner's not a complainer -- the incessant demands of mayoral politics and public relations. (For which our city of nearly 400,000 folk pays the princely sum of $15K a year.) But on Monday, Meeker will announce his decision about running again in October, and several excellent sources say he...

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Bill Bell: Can't have regional transit without Durham

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 4:50 PM

When last heard from (or about), the 1/2-cent sales tax for transit bill was breezing through the friendly confines of the House Transportation Committee, headed for the tougher terrain of the House Finance Committee. With the latter committee scheduled to take up the bill next Wednesday, April 15 (8:30 a.m. in Room 544 of the Legislative Office Building), Durham Mayor Bill Bell yesterday tossed a little grenade into the debate. As reported by the Herald Sun, Bell told a meeting of the DCHC (the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro transportation planning organization) that the bill should be amended to require that all three...

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Wake school diversity wars: Take 2

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2009 at 4:12 PM

Richard Kahlenberg was in town last week for a conference Thursday at UNC-Chapel Hill and for presentations to civic groups in Raleigh the day before. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation in Washington and formerly a law professor at George Washington University, is one of the leading scholars in the country on school diversity policies, and he has a long-standing and well-developed expertise regarding Wake County's policy. Bottom lines, Kahlenberg says: One: Wake's diversity policy is a national model, "with impressive results" to show for it academically, when it comes to maintaining racial and socioeconomic balance in its...

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Wake school diversity wars: Take 1

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 5:16 PM

Almost since the advent of the Raleigh-Wake schools merger in the mid-70s, the combined Wake County school system has followed a policy of managing student populations so as to achieve, first, racial balance, and later, "socio-economic" balance in all of its schools. That is, there should be no "high-poverty schools" in Wake ... and no "low-performing schools" either. The goal is that every school should have fewer than 40 percent of its students eligible for the federal program of "free or reduced lunch" -- meaning their family income is below $39,000 a year for a family of four -- and...

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