Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Independent Weekly endorsed me!

As well they should, on the issues.

The Independent endorsement story:
(I put it in my links too.)

My answers to their questionnaire are on the site too.

Raleigh can have a real change for the better!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I believe Raleigh's impact fees are too low. We need to allow impact fees to fund costs of future growth. Raising impact fees is not the only way to deal with costs of growth, but it is the fastest; most other revenue sources would require legislative approval. We should to be constantly researching the successful strategies of other areas of the state and the country that are dealing with similar problems.

The real issue is how development should be managed. Some areas have Adequate Public Facilities laws requiring that the public facilities must be in place before new developments are approved. Otherwise police, firefighters and sanitation workers have too large an area to cover effectively; parks become overcrowded, with land for new parks getting more and more expensive; inspectors and planners don’t have adequate time to do their jobs; air and water quality are threatened by overworked water and transportation systems. Residents new and old suffer.

The City Council has made some courageous decisions to deal with growth. For example, the recent 70% increase in the small existing impact fee, adding the stormwater fee, and the upcoming Comprehensive Plan update which includes protecting environmental resources, and linking land use to urban form. However, much more is needed.

Expanded issues discussion

Please, let me know what you think of my ideas on the issues!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blunt answers to issues

I do have thoughtful and well thought out positions on these topics, but to save time here's the short version:

Impact fees: Increase them
North Hills TIF: No
Dix Park: Yes
Teardowns: Stop them until the new ordinance is in place (unless the neighborhood has a Neighborhood Plan that protects its character).
Growth: Manage it, with the help of the updated Comprehensive Plan
Parks bond: Pass it
Transit: Make the CAT system more reliable
CACs: Market them and revise the boundaries
Environment: Protect water and air quality by reducing miles traveled in personal cars and increasing forested open space.

So attack it, approve of it, question it, tell me what I left out.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dix Park

Someone at the Neighborhood Exchange asked me to address the Dix property, so it's the first issue I'll touch on.

Bottom line, all the 306 acres should be a destination park as the citizen groups have advocated.

Since I'm due back at the
Neighborhood Exchange at 8am, I'll just repeat my answer to one of the questions about it on a candidate questionnaire:

3. How much money do you think the city should be willing to invest to buy and develop the Dorothea Dix campus?

The question shouldn't be how much, but how. How do we craft a workable public/private partnership, what kind of funding strategies will work best for capital and stewardship needs, or what deals we can make with the State -- those are the questions. I can't imagine the city giving up on this property after the countless hours that citizens (and staff) have put into the effort to craft the best solution for this property. This opportunity has energized thousands of Raleigh citizens to work together to try to figure out the best way to preserve and enhance this property as a major park in the heart of our city. There has to be a way to harness this energy to help the city resolve this issue.

I believe that this property will be such a strong economic engine that it could even help fund some of the mental health needs that the closing of the hospital has left unmet. Countless studies have shown that a park of this quality increases property values in the neighborhoods near it. These increases would benefit not just Boylan Heights, but the neighborhoods across Lake Wheeler Road from the property. Many of these modest homes have been converted into rental units over the years. These houses could be renovated and updated, perhaps even offered to state, city, and county employees at reduced cost before being offered to the general public. This project provides the kind of clear public purpose that Tax Increment Financing is designed to fund.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The world according to Helen

I started this blog to talk about the issues in the Raleigh City Council race, to tell people what I think about them. and to hear what they think about them.

It's going to take a couple of days to get everything up here. I started life thinking I was a writer so I want to be eloquent. Time limitations means I'm going to have to settle for being clear. That's probably just as well.

Right now I have a dog to walk, breakfast to fix, and an interview to get ready for.

In the mean time, tell me what issues you want to hear about first.