Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Wake commissioners balk at funding Veterans Day parade

From staff reportsOctober 19, 2012 

Wake County commissioners have delayed a decision on whether to provide a $1,500 contribution to the N.C. Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 10 in downtown Raleigh.

It’s not that commissioners don’t support veterans and the parade, which this year is singling out Iraq War vets for recognition. They just want to see if they can find an alternative source of money other than the county budget.

Commissioner Tony Gurley said he objects to using county property tax revenue for parades. He said organizers should ask the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is promoting the parade, to come up with the $1,500 because it receives county funding from the hotels and meals tax. “It sets a bad precedent for this board to begin funding individual items such as parades and parties that we’ve been asked to participate in,” Gurley said during Monday’s meeting.

Commissioner James West said they need to be consistent, noting how the board stopped contributing money to an African-American cultural festival. But commissioner Erv Portman said he was “shocked” and “astonished” that they were arguing about whether to provide the $1,500.

The motion to table the funding request passed 5-2, with Portman and Betty Lou Ward voting no.

Raleigh reconsiders food trucks

Mike Stenke was in his usual spot in the audience this week when Raleigh leaders took up the always-provocative topic of food trucks.

Stenke, owner of the Klausie’s Pizza truck, wanted to make sure his effort to add some leniency to Raleigh’s year-old rules received fair consideration.

A proposed change would increase the number of trucks allowed on a single lot – making it possible to have two trucks on lots of a half-acre or less – and also allow trucks to set up across a broader swath of downtown. The issue now goes to the city’s planning commission Tuesday at 9 a.m. So far, the reception has been pretty friendly.

Stenke told a City Council committee this month that Raleigh is “looking like a place that’s pro-business, pro-entrepreneur and pro-cool.”

“I’ve always wanted to be pro-cool,” replied Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin.

A lesson in decorum

A group of middle and high school students reminded Wake County school board members this week how they should act at meetings. More than a dozen students from the Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy and Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy forcefully, but politely, made their case at Tuesday’s board meeting for why $8.1 million should be approved for renovations for their campuses. Board members, who later unanimously approved the renovations, praised the students for their actions.

For much of the past three years, school board members have had more than a few harsh words for each other. School board member John Tedesco told the students that the board could learn from their behavior. “I think the young men and young women in this room are something we can all be proud of,” Tedesco said. “There are many cases where myself and my colleagues together don’t act as qualified as these young men and women who’ve come here and shown an example of what we need to look to.”

Chatham board seeks apps

Chatham County is looking for a new planning board member and is taking applications between now and Nov. 16. The county wants to fill an at-large seat that expires on Dec. 31, 2014. The person who fills the job would be eligible for reappointment to serve two complete terms. To submit an online application, go to or contact Lindsay Ray at 919-542-8200.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send email to Send items by noon Thursday.

Compiled by Matt Garfield and T. Keung Hui

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