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:
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 idea of a permanent commission. Without any debate whatsover, the Council accepted the position of its Budget & Economic Development Committee, wherein Mayor Meeker (according to the May 26 minutes) moved that the proposed Affordable Housing Commission be wrapped up and deposited in the nearest trash can. All in favor: Meeker, James West, Nancy McFarlane and -- after some futile speculation about what else might be done -- Thomas Crowder.
Meeker's stated rationale, by the way, is that the county will address affordable housing, starting with an all-municipalities summit in September, so Raleigh needn't rush ahead. So -- put the affordable units out in the boondocks first? or in Holly Springs?
He's running for Raleigh City Council at-large.
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 -- and a Democrat.)
The election is in October. Filing starts next month.
(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.
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, the acorn. And yes, ever is a long time, so make that any time soon.)
This, at any rate, was my thought after the kickoff press event yesterday with Mayor Meeker and landscape architect Rod Swink (disclosure: close friend) , and especially after talking with Trisha Hasch, the department's lead on the project. Three things she said really registered with me.
First, parks and green space create equity in cities. Absolutely right, especially if your city is out to supersize itself with towers of condos.
Second, Moore Square is Raleigh's best example of the first point. Historically, it's been a communal gathering place for East Raleigh and West Raleigh, black Raleigh and white Raleigh, downtown Raleigh and neighborhoods Raleigh. Today, it's at the center of every cultural cross-current in town. (The city put together a neat little summary of Moore Square's past -- did you know, for instance, that from 1865-71 African-American soldiers of the U.S. Army lived there in barracks? Highly recommended reading.)
And third, a juried competition like this is a first for Raleigh planning -- and potentially is a huge step forward process-wise for a city that's used to taking what developers offer and saying, "Gee, we wish it were better, but -- move approval."
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.