Harold’s Blog – Education, Park West and the Sound of Rock & Roll

From the blog of Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week of October 11, 2010.

Cary, NC – This week was my first week back from my fractured vertebrae injury. I had a full week including a council meeting and several weekend events.

Monday: Meetings

Monday during the day I called council members about Thursday’s council agenda. The agenda seemed light and council members were not concerned about anything in particular. I was able to contact all council members except Robison and Portman.

Later Monday I met with directors, management, and other staff to go over the agenda. I let them know that I was planning to pull the item on the Booth amphitheater sound levels. The meeting only lasted a few minutes.

Tuesday: Town Hall Meeting with Debra Goldman

Tuesday was a town hall meeting for Wake County School Board member Debra Goldman in the Cary council chambers. She contacted me several weeks earlier about concerns I had expressed on behalf of Cary citizens. She asked about the use of town facilities for a meeting. I checked with staff and found that we allow this as long as it is issue oriented and not political. I had participated in a town hall meeting for Congressman Price last year.

The town hall meeting went well and Barry Mitsch did a great job moderating. Citizens expressed a variety of concerns but mostly were supportive of Goldman’s latest actions. My take was that some people have immediate concerns that need to be addressed but majority would prefer slow change. I tend to agree. I think adjusting the current plan followed by a multi-year plan would probably work best. We’ll see if the school board can work together to create a plan. At this time I am doubtful but I hope that they will at least act respectful and professional. I will do my best to continue to work with all sides to help.

Thursday: Prestonwood HOA

Before the council meeting on Thursday I met with representatives from the Prestonwood homeowners association. They had three major issues of concern: coyotes, the Park West development combined with the Morrisville Parkway rail closing, and homeowner maintained medians on Cary Parkway and High House road. We spent most of our time talking about medians. It is important to know that town maintained medians have to abide by Department of Transportation standards which are usually at a lower standard and don’t allow certain trees and vegetation. Staff agreed to continue to work with these representatives on the issues.

Thursday: Town Council and the Sound of Rock & Roll

The council meeting on Thursday was relatively quick with one main topic of discussion. That topic was the sound level at Booth amphitheater. A motion was passed 5 to 2 to raise the decibel level from 92 to 95. I pointed out in the discussion that high school marching bands play at over 100 decibels.

The current level of 92 decibels was not acceptable to many acts. According to SMG staff, three major acts passed on the Booth amphitheater this year because of the sound level. All of these would have been sell outs. In addition to missing certain acts, we endured a lot of damaging criticism from patrons and artists. I personally witnessed several artists criticizing and mocking our sound policies from the stage. We now have a reputation among acts as one of the most restrictive places in North America to play. I believe this is not good for the amphitheater or the town. Moving to a level of 95 decibels would be acceptable to most bands. Without this change it would become increasingly difficult to attract performers. A loss of acts could result in a town subsidy of about $1 million a year if we only had the symphony. I think that would not be fair to the 140,000 people that live and pay taxes. Having said that, I feel for the residents that live near the amphitheater and will continue to look for ways to improve their quality of life.

Saturday: Citizen Diplomacy Summit & Diwali

Saturday morning I gave welcoming comments to the third annual Cary Citizen Diplomacy Summit. The focus of the summit was to expand awareness and discuss educational, economic, and humanitarian connections. There have been other local summits on going around the nation. Ideas from all summits will be presented at the 2010 US Summit and Initiative for Global Citizen Diplomacy to be held in Washington DC from November 16th through November 19th.

Later Saturday morning I attended the first part of the Diwali festival. I was part of the candle lighting ceremony with Congressman David Price and council member Don Frantz. I also was able to witness about a dozen performances from classical Indian dance, fusion dance, and Bollywood. I stayed for a couple of hours and then left before returning later that evening.

When I returned in the evening I gave welcoming comments to the crowd and read a proclamation. I was joined on stage by Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and council members Portman and Smith. My wife and I were given a tour, fed, and then placed on the front row to watch the featured acts of the evening. The performers were of Indian idol fame and did hits from the 1940s up until present day. There songs were in Hindi but they spoke in Hindi and English. Our guide filled in the missing parts for us. After the great performance we had a fantastic view of the fireworks. It was a great evening and I am grateful for all that Hum Sub and the Town of Cary did to put this on.

Sunday: Talking Park West with Mayor Holcombe

Sunday evening I attended a fundraiser for Elaine Marshall at Erv Portman’s house. There were several elected officials in attendance including mayors from Garner and Morrisville. In a side conversation with Mayor Holcombe from Morrisville, we talked about the Park West article in the Cary News. She was not happy and said that the article was inaccurate. It is important to note that the people opposed to Park West were, in a large part, responsible for her election as mayor.

About That Lawnmower Accident

Emails and cards continued to come in about my fractured vertebrae. It is touching to read all the cards and letters. I especially enjoyed one from Boy Scout Troop 216 who send a large card with pictures signed by everyone. VERY NICE! I have all the cards sent to me on my desk at work. They now cover the entire front of my desk.

As far as my status, I received the all clear from the neurologist at Cary Orthopedic Spinal this week. I have been trying things but still have muscle pain at about a 1 to 2 out of 10. So far I have been able to run several miles several times, hit tennis balls, do the stationary bike, do the elliptical machine, lift weights (within reason), and do some modified crunches. I plan to add swimming back this week.

Weekly Mailbag

Emails this week included complaints about Kildaire Farm Road paving, a complaint about alternate day watering enforcement, complaints about the Motiva proposal in Apex, and a question about affordable housing in Cary.

I was proud to receive one email praising the beyond the call of duty by Officer Travis Knick of our police department. In case you didn’t know, we have the best police department in the state.

If you’d like to send me a note, I’d love to hear from you:

  • Personal comments please send to augustanat@mindspring.com.
  • All Town of Cary business – please email me at Harold.Weinbrecht@townofcary.org

This Week: Racing Go Carts

Next week will also be busy for me. One of the fun parts of the week will be a go cart race between the mayors of Wake County. We’ll see how I stack up. 😉

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Editor’s Note: Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht has agreed to let us republish his blog. The headlines, links and pictures are by CaryCitizen. The rest is Harold’s own recollection of the past week.

Photograph of Cheap Trick at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary by Hal Goodtree for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. All rights reserved.

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