Harold’s Blog: Jobs at SAS, Public Hearings, Fact Check on the Web

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, covering the week through December 26, 2010. SAS Photo by Hal Goodtree.

This week was a week to start slowing down and enjoying the holidays. The big items of the week included the Mayors Association Dinner, an announcement by SAS and the governor, and the taping of the state of the town.

Mayors Association Dinner

Monday was the annual Mayors Association Dinner at the Capital City Club in Raleigh. It was my last function as President of the Mayors Association. I was very humbled to receive a plaque from the mayors recognizing my service. In my outgoing comments I recognized that the mayors were able to come up with a unanimous legislative agenda which enabled the towns to get something passed in the short session of 2010. In addition, we held the first ever meeting of the entire school board with the all the mayors of Wake County.

The Mayors Association dinner was well attended with over 100 people from all twelve municipalities. Besides me, Cary’s delegation included the town manager, the public information officer, the town attorney and her husband, council member Smith, council member Robison and her husband, and my wife Belinda.

Jobs at SAS

On Tuesday at 10 AM SAS held a special event to announce 100 jobs being added during the next two years. These are very high paying jobs and the applicants have to have a PhD. They will be part of a new group called SAS Analytic Lab for State and Local Government. Basically it will combine many databases into one information stream. SAS already has a program that does this for law enforcement called CJ Leads.

The governor was on hand for this ceremony and made several comments. One that really resonated with me was that many companies need incentives from governments to create jobs. SAS will be creating these jobs without one dime from governments. Just another example of how SAS is such a great corporate citizen.

Security at Public Hearings

Later Tuesday I met with the town manager to go over a few issues. We talked about mediation issues related to the New Hill community. In addition, we talked about a security issue that came up at the Planning and Zoning Board.

This was the first P&Z (Planning and Zoning) Board meeting with the new public input process for Mixed Use. The new process has citizens speaking at a public hearing at the P&Z first. Sometimes citizens get emotional at public hearings especially first public hearings. This was the case at this public hearing.

While police officers were close by they were not in the chambers. One individual refused to abide by the rules of the meeting so it was a problem. The rules are not in place to limit individual citizens’ comments but to ensure equality for all citizens.

The town manager assured me that security will be at all future public hearings.

Tuesday night I met with a historic preservationist from the Friends of the Page-Walker museum. I presented them with notes from former Mayor Fred Bond. The notes were copied and the original returned to me. Mayor Bond’s notes have now been archived.

Rest of the Week

Wednesday I taped the 2011 State of the Town. This is the longest state of the town message that I have ever done. There were over 2400 words in this version. That exceeds newspaper limits so I will post it in its entirety on my blog next week. I will begin presenting the state of the town message to audiences in January. The first presentation will be an abbreviated version with power point on January 8th at Glennaire. The next will be at the Cary Chamber Eye Opening breakfast on January 26th.

The rest of the week was personal for me. Friday night, Christmas Eve, our family did the lighting of the advent candles and the reading for the 9 PM church service. It was an honor to participate in the service.

Saturday Snow

Saturday night the snow came. By lunch on Sunday I measured around 7 to 8 inches in my yard. I went on a 4 mile walk to and from the Crossroads shopping center to get an idea of the road conditions. I was amazed. Cary’s A Team had all major roads plowed and traffic was moving normally. When I got back home I noticed that a plow had been down the collector street in our neighborhood. Once again Cary’s A team did an outstanding job handling this snow storm.

Fact Check on the Web

As part of my job I think it is my responsibility to know what is being said about Cary. After all I AM Cary’s biggest cheerleader. So every morning I do Google searches. This week I came across a story on Parenting.Com that gave me two thumbs down for not supporting literacy and helping get the word out to giving books to children in need. That is simply not true. So I thought I would post my response in case you have read this story and are wondering if I am a Grinch or not:

Hi Liza,

I came across this story in my daily searches about the town. I don’t think what you have presented is fair and believe what you have said is misleading. Here are my exact comments:

My first response:

“Hi Liza,

I hope that you are doing well. I was not sure if we could do what you requested so I forwarded your request to staff. They responded and said the best way for you to get the help you needed was through the chamber. The Chamber has an education committee http://chambers.bpworldcast.com/Committees.asp. Your request seems to be a really good fit with this chamber committee. I hope this helps.

Thanks and take care.”

You subsequently responded and rejected this idea saying you were already aware of this committee.

Then I responded:

“Liza,

It is good to hear that you are already working with the chamber. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the town getting involved in what you have proposed. There is a vehicle for getting those questions answered and you may want to consider it. That is, a Citizen Issue Advisory Group can be formed to investigate the pros and cons of a new proposal. You may want to read about it (link).

Let me know what you think.

Thanks,”

Liza, I am disappointed that you never responded and instead tried to mislead others as to what really happened. Know that we at the town of Cary care very much about our children and our families. We have to be VERY careful using taxpayer dollars for what may be perceived by some as private interests. That will almost certainly lead to litigation. That is why I suggested an advisory group to have all those type issues resolved and to clearly define what you are asking. I am just doing to job of protecting the taxpayers. At the same time I am always open to new and innovative ideas.

Thanks and Peace be with you in this holiday season.

Harold Weinbrecht

PS — This will be in my blog. ;-)

It should be noted that the town is frequently asked to help with private entities. We have to be very careful since we are not allowed to spend public money on private ventures.

Mailbag

I received lots of letters and cards this week. Most of them were Christmas cards which I very much appreciated. I did receive a letter from the Director of Planning and Environmental Studies at the Turnpike Authority. This was in response to a letter we sent on October 30th making several recommendations. Some of the key comments and responses related to the US64 corridor and the Cameron Pond buffer:

  • Cary: Designate NC 540 as a bypass for the US64 corridor
  • Response: We can continue to discuss this with NCDOT and FHWA as the project moves forward.
  • Cary: Address noise impacts before, during, and after construction.
  • Response: We will complete a full noise impact analysis according to federal and state standards on the Detailed Study Alternatives (DSAs), which will be included in the Draft EIS. Decisions on noise abatement measures will be made following selection of a Preferred Alternative and in accordance with policies in place at that time. NCDOT is currently in the process of revising its Traffic Noise Abatement Policy.
  • Cary: Consider impacts to existing and proposed subdivision and site plans.
  • Response: We appreciate the subdivision information included in the letter. We make every effort to ensure that our project mapping includes up-to-date information on active development projects and we will continue to coordinate with you to ensure that we have your latest information.

Emails this week were very diverse. I received many wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you all so much! I also received pictures from the snow. Again Thanks! I also received accolades for our public works staff handling a sewage leak. Even a group that is known for criticizing about everything we do sent an email praising C-Tran. Wow! Other emails included comments about the AT&T monopole and the apartment proposal at Tryon and Cary Parkway.

Wrapping Up

Next week will be a vacation week for me. I am off my job at SAS and only have a couple of meetings as mayor.

Well that is all for this week and this year. I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. My next post will be in the New Year on Sunday, January 2nd. Have a Happy New Year. a

Contact

Please feel free to email me with a comment.

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