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

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Meeting tonight: The new Raleigh zoning code and the problem of accessory dwelling units

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Accessory dwelling units. They sound so benign, and in many cases they are — you put up a little cottage out back for grandma, or a college student, or as a place for your guests to stay if they're staying and, uh, staying. But now picture this. Your neighbor builds an ADU, a honkin' two-story pad behind his house; but wait, it gets better (worse): your neighbor doesn't actually live in the house. No, he rents it out to four college students, and in the new "accessory dwelling unit," four more college students are suddenly resident, and they're living just...

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Indy sold!! But wait, what about me?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM

It's a rule of old-school journalism that you are never the story. I'm going to violate it today to say that when the Indy is sold, my role will be changing. I'll be writing a column for the paper rather than, as now, doing the job of staff writer. What's the difference? I don't have a simple answer. If I did, I'd be — well, a columnist! Seriously, I've had the luxury at the Indy of writing in whatever style suited me or, better, best suited the material. I've done some straight news reporting, a lot of opinionated reporting, some...

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

State must provide pre-K schooling for all at-risk 4-year olds: N.C. Court of Appeals upholds Judge Manning's order

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 at 12:44 PM

The three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Superior Court Judge Howard Manning's ruling. You can read the decision here. Manning found, as part of his years-long ("Leandro") analysis of what the state constitution requires in the way of elementary and secondary education, that pre-K preparation is critical if at-risk kids, i.e., poor kids, are going to have a decent chance of success in the K-12 system. So he ordered the state legislature to step up and provide enough funding so that every such child can be served. Gov. Perdue agreed. But she didn't convince the Republican-led...

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Saturday: Packapalooza is NCSU's 125th birthday extravaganza on Hillsborough Street

Posted By on Fri, Aug 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Hey, the kids are back in town, and it's N.C. State's 125th birthday, so there's going to a blow-out on Hillsborough Street tomorrow. Number 1 fact: Hillsborough Street will closed to traffic from early morning to after midnight between the Pullen Road roundabout and Brooks Avenue. Number 2 fact: Free parking on campus. What does this mean? Come into the campus off Western Boulevard for best access to the parking lots and decks. The festival is from 2-10 p.m., with a big red finish promised at the Bell Tower. The main stage will be there with four bands: Liquid...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Police Chief Harry Dolan says bye, bye to Raleigh

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 1:27 PM

city of RaleighPolice Chief Harry Dolan Harry Dolan's been in the news lately, at odds with a lot of his troops. is there a connection between that and his announcement today that he's out of here as police chief in a few weeks? City Manager Russell Allen heaps praise on Dolan, so much so that you wonder why he's leaving: Raleigh’s Chief of Police to Retire City Manager J. Russell Allen today announced the retirement of Chief of Police Harry P. Dolan, effective Oct. 1. Chief Dolan’s retirement after five years as police chief caps a law enforcement career spanning...

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

All-in? Money is speech, the Supreme Court says, and politics is a no-limit game. So, place your bets.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 4:01 PM

The town hall meeting in Raleigh Monday evening was informative and polite. All of the more than 100 people who packed into Quail Ridge Books & Music were able to express themselves on a topic of high public significance. Now imagine that each of us at the meeting, while retaining our power to vote at election time, would not be allowed to speak in this town-hall setting without paying for the privilege. With limited time, only a few slots would be offered, and they’d be reserved for the highest bidders—not necessarily the richest among us, but obviously nobody struggling to...

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Friday, August 10, 2012

4-year terms for Raleigh City Council? Mayor McFarlane and Councilor Baldwin go another round.

Posted By on Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 1:54 PM

One follow-up to the Raleigh City Council retreat story from earlier in the week: In addition to their wanting some staff help and to push a bolder agenda of economic development tied to strategic transit and other infrastructure investments (click on the story if you missed all that), Council members were considering a change from two-year terms to four-year terms. Introduced by Councilor John Odom in February, the proposal is — was? — to have all eight council members, including the mayor, elected at the same time every four years instead of every two years as has been done since...

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sparkcon 2012: Filling Fayetteville Street once again

Posted By on Wed, Aug 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

So earlier, we reported that Sparkcon 2012 would be held, for the first time, in the tres-artsy Warehouse District. Great idea, but it turns out that getting all the necessary streets closed in order to have room for all the various "Sparks" wasn't possible ... or at least not this year. Maybe in some future year. Thus, this 7th edition (wow!) of Sparkcon will again be conducted on Fayetteville Street, which is where it all started and where, notwithstanding its amazing growth, all the sparks can still fly. This news comes from our 2012 Indies Arts Award winner Sarah...

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Friday, August 3, 2012

(Updated) Wake schools' test results improved in 2011-12; low-income students show gains. Added: Some thoughts on the so-what?

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 4:17 PM

[Update, August 3: Returning to the subject of the good results announced yesterday (i.e., the "what"), let me see if I can add a bit about what they tell us about our school system (i.e., the "so what?"). And especially the so-what when it comes to student assignment and the ongoing "choice" vs. "base assignments" vs. "hybrid base-and-choice" debate. 1) I'm not a statistician, so I won't question the statistical significance of the relatively small gains overall. They are gains, no question about it as far as I know. And the gains were not small with regard to economically disadvantaged...

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We're beggin' ya: If you meant to dial area code 9-1-9, and you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake, DO NOT HANG UP

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 11:38 AM

So here's the deal. You have to dial the area code now. So you dial 9-1-9. Oops, you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake. In Wake County, that happened 5,655 times. In July. So you did that, and now what? Well, you just hang up, right? No. NO. 5,655 times NO! You stay on the line. Otherwise, the cops think you called 9-1-1 because somebody was breaking into your house and you hung up because that somebody just put a gun to your head. That's what they're paid to think. You want them to think that way. They send a patrol car....

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Romney endorses national health care system with price controls

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Price controls? I thought the Republican term for that was death panels? Still, at the risk of seeming to ask for intellectual coherence from politicians who'll say anything to get elected and have no principles whatsoever, I submit this story from the Los Angeles Times about Mitt Romney's admiration for the way Israel handles health care: Romney praised Israel for spending just 8% of its gross domestic product on healthcare while still remaining a "pretty healthy nation." "We spend 18% of our GDP on healthcare," he said of the U.S. "Ten percentage points more. That gap, that 10% cost, let...

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It's your anti-gay Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day. Or, in my case —

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Not. I have never made a big point, or any point, about not eating at Chick-fil-A. The company is anti-gay. OK, it's a free country. And I don't have to buy their products. Also, a free-country thing. *** But since, between the company and Mike Huckabee, it's now Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, when everybody who appreciates how anti-gay they are is supposed to show it by eating their stuff, I will take the occasion to say: I don't appreciate Chick-fil-A. And I don't eat there. Not saying you shouldn't. To each his own....

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Placemaking in Raleigh? Beehive Collective has a $25,000 grant for your group

Posted By on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 10:32 AM

The Beehive Collective is "pollinating community giving"Coincidentally, I wrote about Stanhope for the Indy this week as a case study of attempted placemaking in Raleigh gone awry. (Here's the story link. I'll add a link to it when it goes online.) Then this morning, I see a press release from the Beehive Collective (they're another good story). They make grants for good works in Raleigh, and they've chosen placemaking as their theme for 2012. They're offering one grant of up to $25,000, for which they're taking applications through September 4: Placemaking means making the built and social environment that surrounds...

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