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

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's Senator-elect Franken as Coleman finally (seven months later) concedes

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 4:30 PM

What's the Raleigh angle? Me. I love Al Franken. He'll soon be Minnesota's junior senator. Which makes 60 Democratic senators, a supposedly filibuster-proof number -- but only if they all hang together....

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Lee Sartain: "Just a candidate" for City Council at-large

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 1:17 PM

From Q-Notes: “I’m not particularly keen on being called the ‘gay candidate,’” Lee Sartain, a 2009 city council candidate in Raleigh, told Q-Notes. In today’s time, Sartain said, gay and lesbian people actually have a chance to run for office and make a difference on a range of issues other than those pertaining to the LGBT community. “One of the things that strikes me in 2009, is that if you look back over history and you look back to Harvey Milk — that was 30 years ago and he was the gay candidate,” Sartain said. “In 2009, you are not...

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rep. Darren Jackson: I'm going to kiss my 10-year old goodnight and know that I voted the right way.

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2009 at 8:10 AM

If you're in doubt about the wisdom of Senate Bill 526, the School Violence Prevention Act -- also known as the anti-bullying bill -- and especially about the provisions in it enumerating the kinds of kids who're most likely to be bullied (autistic, gay, perceived to be gay, and on and on) and therefore in need of school officials' protections, I recommend reading the 700 words spoken last night by Rep. Darren Jackson, D-Wake. Jackson was in the 59-57 House majority last night in favor of the bill, pushing it ever closer to final enactment. (Update, 6/23: Because the losing...

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Wake GOP calls out Allen's $10k raise, other Raleigh budget blunders

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 4:38 PM

When the Raleigh City Council adopted its '09-10 budget Tuesday, Wake County's new Republican chair saw his opening. Today, speaking to the Wake Republican Women's Club, he ran through it. Claude Pope Jr. chided the Council, with its 7-1 Democratic majority, for failing to cut City Manager Russell Allen's proposed spending plan -- to the contrary, Pope noted with distaste, they added almost $2 million to it. The adopted budget leaves the city's property tax rate unchanged. In these parlous times, however, the Council should've cut it, Pope argued. The budget offers pay raises of up to 4 percent to...

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Perdue: I'm passionate about education, will leave the rest to legislators

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Gov. Bev Perdue jumped into the budget talks at the General Assembly today in a big way, calling for enough new revenues to protect school aid, keep class sizes at current levels and avoid laying off teachers and teacher assistants. Perdue "walked over" to the General Assembly early this morning, she said, to meet with the finance and appropriations chairs of the House and Senate. A few hours later, she was at the Capitol for the first of a statewide series of rallies/photo-ops with teachers. (Another was slated for Greensboro this afternoon.) Perdue was joined by Scott Ralls, head of...

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Athens Drive community library survives Wake's budget ax, GOP-Brown coalition

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2009 at 4:13 PM

The good news out of yesterday's Wake Commissioners meeting: The Athens Drive community library, unique for its location in Athens Drive High School, will survive as the county's only shared community-school library. Amazing that this good idea, which I extolled in the Indy last week, has never been replicated. The bad news: The 4-3 vote in favor of restoring the county's contribution to the library (it would've reverted to a traditional high school library otherwise) came instead of Commissioner Stan Norwalk's effort to add the library funds ($212,000 for Athens Drive) plus an extra $5.6 million for social services programs...

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Sic transit sales tax? Stein remains "optimistic" about the 1/2-cent transit tax

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 5:32 PM

House passage of an $18.6 billion budget over the weekend, with higher income tax levies on the well-off and a 1/4-cent sales tax hike on everybody, sets the stage for final budget negotiations among House Democrats, Senate Democrats and Gov. Bev Perdue's Democrats. But does the fact that the yawning budget hole is likely to filled in part with a sales-tax increase dull the chances of HB 148, the bill to give Triangle counties the option of raising their own sales taxes by 1/2-cent to pay for transit? When I asked Sen. Josh Stein, D-Wake, he conceded that "there definitely...

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fetzer edges Adams for state GOP chair

Posted By on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 8:31 PM

Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, who left public office a decade ago, is back. In a close contest, delegates to the state Republican Convention today chose Fetzer over Chad Adams as their new party leader. Some 1,600 delegates attended. By a weighted voting process, they cast a total of 8,180 votes. Fetzer fell just short of a majority on the first ballot, with 3,901 to Adams' 3,380; two other candidates received the rest, and both immediately withdrew. Before a second ballot could be completed, Adams also withdrew and conceded to Fetzer. Adams pitched himself as the champion of grassroots politics,...

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Chad Adams vs. Tom Fetzer for chairman -- and the soul of the NC GOP

Posted By on Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 9:54 AM

The state Republicans choose a new party chair today. Did some reconnaissance at the GOP convention last night: Chad Adams' backers liken their man's quest to the showdown four years ago in the Democratic party, when Gov. Mike Easley tapped Ed Turlington to be the Dems' state chair, but the rank-and-file rose up and picked Jerry Meek instead. Same thing here, the Adams team says. Tom Fetzer, the former Raleigh mayor, is the choice of the GOP establishment. Adams is the insurgents' favorite. And as one Republicans not associated with either camp said to me, finding an effective state chair...

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rosa Gill will take House 33 seat, vacating her Wake school board seat

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2009 at 9:03 PM

Rosa Gill, a 10-year veteran of the Wake Board of Education and its current chair, was chosen tonight to fill the state House seat in District 33. The House seat was vacated when Dan Blue was chosen to replace the late Sen. Vernon Malone in Senate District 14. Both districts are based in Southeast Raleigh and are predominantly Democratic and African-American. Gill was picked by Democratic party officials over Bernard Allen II, whose father held this House seat until his death. The vote was close: Gill won with 21 votes to Allen's 17 on the third ballot. On the first...

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Going to school should be fun, not dangerous: Equality North Carolina

Posted By on Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 4:21 PM

Equality North Carolina and its allies are in the home stretch with the School Violence Prevention Act. The bill passed the Senate. It's expected to pass the House, and become law. Just in case you're in any doubt about why the bill should be specific about bullying, and put school personnel on notice that pushing the small kids around, or the handicapped kids, or the gay kids, isn't just some harmless rite of youthful passage, ENC has produced a video: ...

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

City Council takes affordable housing idea, inserts in round container

Posted By on Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 3:37 PM

Fans of affordable housing may recall the recommendations of the City Council-appointed task force on the issue. (See the full report here.) A key recommendation: Adopt inclusionary zoning policies. Another: Turn the temporary Affordable Housing Task Force into a permanent advisory commission -- along the lines of the Arts Commission and the Convention Center Commission -- so that affordable housing doesn't disappear from the city's radar screen with the expiration of the task force. Here's an update. Inclusionary zoning's going nowhere. And just to make sure it doesn't, the Council voted last week to take no action either on the...

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Meet Lee Sartain, City Council aspirant

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 2:57 PM

He's running for Raleigh City Council at-large. Good-looking website. He'll tweet you if you let him. The mayor and two council seats are elected at-large; the other five council members are elected from districts. The at-large incumbents are Russ Stephenson and Mary-Ann Baldwin, both Democrats. They're both running for re-election. A Republican, Champ Claris, announced his candidacy recently. Sartain didn't list a party affiliation (city elections are officially nonpartisan); I'm looking for his voter affiliation on the State Board of Elections website. (Update: Just talked with him; Sartain is a registered voter -- actual first name Ricky, but goes by Lee...

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Time for some zip (cars) in Raleigh?

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 11:06 AM

If they've got them at UNC and Duke, can N.C. State be far behind? (OK -- stop it.) Better question: Is the Triangle's big city big enough for car-sharing a la zipcars? (Update: Per the comment below, there's more than one car-sharing vendor in the land, not just the zippy one.) Topic's on tap June 18, 1 pm, at the Urban Design Center. (h/t: Urban Planet.) Downtown Raleigh Alliance and Triangle Transit also involved: Details below....

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Moore Square: A chance to get it right

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2009 at 12:54 PM

We've had bad plans for Moore Square before that, mercifully, came to naught. So when the city announced yet another Moore Square renewal effort, suspicious minds went immediately to Defcon Uh-O. But let's approach this from the other direction: If the participatory, juried & competitive process described by the Planning Department (first meetings June 17 and June 27; details below) works the way they tell us it will, it could produce a very good plan for Moore Square. And a good plan, if executed, would block all the bad plans from ever again rearing their ugly adornments. (Excepting, of course,...

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fetzer shows: Haven't lost my GOP

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2009 at 4:16 PM

 If you like a good attack ad, Tom Fetzer learned at the foot of the master. In other words, it'll be like old times not forgotten if the GOP will just choose our former mayor, the so-not-gay alternative, as state Republican party chair....

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