Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

TriPol: Wake school board member keeps her ducks in a row

Staff writersDecember 14, 2012 

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Wake County school board member Debra Goldman talks about the rubber ducks that she had at a school board meeting Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at the Wake County Board of Education building in Cary.

TRAVIS LONG — tlong@newsobserver.com

There is a reason Wake County school board member Debra Goldman has brought yellow rubber ducks with her to the last two board meetings.

It started when a parent brought a rubber duck to the microphone as she spoke at a public hearing on Dec. 3 and asked the school board to “give a duck or two” and make student assignment changes requested by her Cary neighborhood. She also told the board that “the duck stops here.”

Goldman referred to that parent when she brought nine ducks – one for each board member – with her to the board meeting the following day. Only board member John Tedesco accepted one of the ducks.

“John has already asked me for one, because I know that John does give a duck,” Goldman said that night.

Now with eight ducks, Goldman brought them back this week before the vote on the student assignment plan. She said she wanted to remind her colleagues “to keep those ducks in a row.”

Goldman wound up on the losing side of a 5-4 vote that ends the choice-based assignment plan used this school year.

Raleigh to scrutinize road races

Road races are again under review at Raleigh City Hall.

The city is on pace to have 71 races by the end of the year, nearly double the number from four years ago. Downtown and Hillsborough Street hosted all or parts of 36 races this year, upsetting neighbors and business owners who had to deal with frequent street closures.

The City Council’s law and public safety committee will take up the issue in late January.

This time, the goal is to encourage race organizers to look beyond downtown when choosing where to hold their events.

One option could be to direct races toward less populated areas such as the streets around PNC Arena and N.C. State University’s Centennial Campus.

“When people come to us with requests, we need to start moving them to other parts of the city where tying up traffic won’t be a problem – places where there’s not a bunch of people on a Saturday morning,” said Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin.

Light-rail plan praised

The Sierra Club has named the proposed Durham-Orange light-rail system one of the 50 best transportation projects in the nation.

The 17.3-mile line would have 17 stops between UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill and Alston Avenue in Durham.

Both counties will start collecting a half-cent sales tax April 1 to help pay for the $1.3 billion construction project and other transit improvements.

The Sierra Club, which is partial to mass transit, praised the project for giving commuters an alternative that will reduce congestion, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The rail line also is expected to spur “sustainable,” transit-friendly communities around its stations, the group said.

It’s report, “Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States,” also spotlighted Durham and Wake counties’ efforts to build a commuter rail line.

These are the first such awards the Sierra Club has given in 10 years. In 2002, the club chose Charlotte’s transit program as the state’s best transportation project, while the Raleigh Outer Loop was named the worst.

Political trails

• The Wake County Senior Democrats will have a holiday celebration on Wednesday at the Crabtree Marriott Hotel on Glenwood Avenue. Lunch will begin at 11 a.m. with the program to follow. The meeting is open to the public.

Compiled by staff writers T. Keung Hui, Matt Garfield and Tammy Grubb.

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

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