Triangle Politics A weekly look at the local political scene

Raleigh council members think big at retreat

January 31, 2014 

The Raleigh City Council got to play a god for a few minutes Friday morning – but only on a hand-drawn map of the city’s future.

The facilitator of a two-day planning retreat asked council members to design Raleigh’s future with no limitations, “if you were a god.” The freedom from practical restraints led to plenty of bold ideas.

Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin said she’d like to move Crabtree Valley Mall to a better location, while tearing down Central Prison and state government’s high-rise Archdale Building – “the ugliest building in Raleigh,” she said.

Mayor Nancy McFarlane said she wants a river running through the center of Raleigh. But on a more likely note, she’d like to see a culinary incubator and downtown mini-parks.

Several council members roped North Hills developer John Kane into their utopian plan for the city. Given his success redeveloping an aging mall, they said he should tackle New Bern Avenue’s struggling Longview Shopping Center and the K-Mart center on Western Boulevard.

On the more realistic side, other suggestions from the exercise included more greenways leading to and around downtown Raleigh, bus rapid transit lines and revitalization around St. Augustine’s University.

Who wants to be mayor of Apex?

Apex is giving residents until Feb. 10 to submit their application to fill the vacancy left when longtime mayor Keith Weatherly resigned.

The Town Council will review the applications and appoint someone to serve the remainder of Weatherly’s term through December 2015. Candidates must be at least 21 years old, live within the Apex town limits and be registered to vote.

For more information about the process and application requirements, go to www.apexnc.org/vacancy.

Weatherly had been a member of the council since 1993 and mayor since 1995. He resigned last week to become deputy secretary for legislative affairs and policy at the state Department of Transportation.

Miller gets endorsement for Durham Planning Commission

Tom Miller, a coordinator with the People’s Alliance Political Action Committee, won endorsements this week from the InterNeighborhood Council and the Old West Durham Neighborhood Association for a seat on the Durham Planning Commission.

“My only ambition in seeking this appointment,” Miller wrote in a thank-you on the INC email list, “is to … help ordinary citizens participate in the planning process fully and in an informed way.”

Miller is a retired attorney with the state Real Estate Commission and a former INC president. Public campaigning for local boards and commissions is a rarity in Durham.

The commission, a citizens’ advisory body to the City Council and Board of County Commissioners on land-use policies and proposals, has a vacancy due to a resignation, to be filled by a vote of City Council members.

Wake school board to retreat close by

Wake County school board members are looking to stay locally when they hold their planning retreat next Friday and Saturday.

School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said they’re looking at meeting at a location somewhere in the county. She didn’t name the site, saying they were still working out the details. But she said the district wouldn’t be charged for using the location.

If things fall through, Kushner said they’d meet at the school board’s headquarters in Cary. For those who still want to meet in a place other than the board meeting room, Kushner said they’d hold the retreat in a different building on the campus.

During those two days, the board will discuss what they want to do over the next year. In addition, Kushner said they’ll have dinner together Friday so they can spend time in a setting other than a regular meeting.

Political events

• Michael Dorman, founder and executive director of Military Missions in Action, will speak to the Republican Women of Cary and Southwestern Wake on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. Check-in and social time is 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon. The cost for lunch is $20. RSVP to Sue Rousselo at RWCSW123@gmail.com.

• State Attorney General Roy Cooper, state Rep. Rosa Gill and former Wake County Commissioner Harold Webb will be honored at the Wake County Democratic Party’s 34th annual Valentine’s Day fundraiser on Feb. 21. Cooper and his wife are the “Sweethearts of the Year.” Gill and Webb are the “Mentors of the Year.” The fundraiser, which will include food and dancing, will begin at 6 p.m. at The Stockroom, 230 Fayetteville St. in Raleigh. Tickets start at $50. For more information, email paulette@wakedems.org or call 919-828-5656.

Compiled by Colin Campbell, Richard Stradling, Jim Wise and T. Keung Hui.

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

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