Three-term Durham City Councilman Eugene Brown announced Thursday that he will not run for re-election this year.
“During the past 12 years my hair has turned white in service to my hometown,” Brown said. “I cannot promise in good faith to citizens of Durham that I can continue to deliver ... the energy, stamina and attention this position deserves.”
Brown, 71, is one of three at-large council members with terms expiring this year. Incumbents Diane Catotti and Steve Schewel have not announced whether they will run again.
Mayor Bill Bell said he was sorry to hear of Brown’s decision, “but I understand what you said.”
Raleigh’s new spokesman
Damien Graham, the city of Raleigh’s new public affairs director, begins work on Monday.
Graham comes from a similar role at GoTriangle, also known as Triangle Transit, where he managed marketing, communications and public affairs for nine years.
The new spokesman is a 1994 graduate of the University of North Carolina’s journalism and mass communications program. He worked on political campaigns for Brad Miller, David Price and Robin Britt, all Democrats seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2000s. Graham was a congressional aide under Miller from 2002 to 2006.
Graham will make $117,500 per year, along with a $305 car allowance and $100 cellphone allowance. He lives in Raleigh with his wife and two young children.
Graham replaces Jayne Kirkpatrick, who retired in February.
Builders press Chapel Hill
Triangle builders have asked Chapel Hill to fix a home construction and remodeling permit process they say can take three times as long and cost three times as much as working in other jurisdictions.
Town planning and inspections staff will meet this summer with members of the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties to identify problems and potential solutions.
Mary Jane Nirdlinger, the town’s executive director of planning and sustainability, said the town has made changes, including a one-stop Town Hall permit center, and plans a new online permitting system for some projects, an inspections update phone app and five more inspectors to handle an increase in permit applications.
Builders also suggested an express permit review for some projects, shorter wait times for some inspections and changing outdated land-use rules.
“The cost of doing business in Chapel Hill is already extremely high,” said Holly Fraccaro, the association’s chief executive officer. “Add to that the cost of time lost when dealing with a lengthy review and inspections process, and anyone can appreciate why this remains a serious concern to the builder community.”
▪ Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will speak to The Wake Democratic Men’s Club on Monday, June 8, at the Holiday Inn Downtown, 320 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner is served at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m.
▪ The Democratic Women of Wake County will hold the 46th Annual Jefferson-Jackson Breakfast on Saturday, June 13, at the Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom. New state party chair Patsy Keever and executive director Kimberly Reynolds will explain their vision for a new beginning for the state Democratic Party. Tickets and information at www.DWWC.net.
Compiled by Jim Wise, Andrew Kenney and Tammy Grubb.