A Picture of Political Intolerance

Free speech in the form of streetside signage apparently didn’t mean much to the opponents of these candidates:

(Picture taken 26 October 2014. Click to enlarge.)

If you know the party affiliations of Renee Ellmers and Nelson Dollar, then you should be able to guess what candidate’s sign is crumpled up in the upper right. I’ll give you three guesses, but you probably won’t need them.*

These signs had been on Cary Parkway, right at the end of our street. Last night while we were walking the dog, I noticed them thrown into the bushes. I took the picture early this morning.

I get it, if you don’t like the little yard signs that pop up like dandelions every election season. I don’t particularly like them, either.

But if your idea of political activism is to interfere with the free speech of your political opponents, then you’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.

*Ellmers and Dollar are Republicans, if that helps.

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Sixteen? Sweet

Spent the weekend in at the Massanutten resort in Virginia for a family reunion to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday — hadn’t seen a lot of those folks since the 70th birthday bash or before. It was a nice, though tiring time, and I was glad to get back to good old Cary.

And apparently other people feel the same way, because I saw today that Cary was ranked #16 on the list of the 100 best places to live in the U.S. according to Money magazine’s list of America’s best small cities.

Yeah, we like it. We’ll probably stay for a little while. 😉

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I Claim Success, Even If I Don't Deserve It

With respect to NC bill S2079, which would require college students throughout the state to tutor elementary, middle, and high school students, I received this message late last night from the office of another state Senator:

I understand that Senator Rand will no longer be pushing this bill.

My editorial on the subject appeared in the CARY NEWS yesterday under the title “Good Intentions Run Amok,” but I’ve seen lots of similar editorials in print and on-line from around the state. And I know some of my friends wrote in to the legislature in opposition to the bill. So even though I don’t deserve all the credit, I claim success in sending this to an early legislative grave.

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Spring Daze Travels

Today is Cary’s annual “Spring Daze” arts & crafts festival at Bond Lake Park, so in a little while I’ll walk over there to serve my 2-hour shift in the cultural arts booth. So far as it will involve pretending to know what I’m talking about, it won’t be too different from what I do 99% of the time … just this time it’ll be with respect to public art plans and projects.

In other news, I have a couple of days of traveling coming up so I may not post as frequently as I have been. For the two or three people who actually read this thing, that will probably come as something of a relief ;).

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More Public Art

I’ve done my civic duty for the week: Tonight’s meeting of the Town of Cary’s Public Art Advisory Board went pretty well.

We got to see and comment on preliminary designs for a cell phone tower that’s going to replace an old water tower close to downtown. This is a semi-big deal, since a few years ago the town (or some part of the town) demanded that a cell phone tower near I-40 be “disguised” … so now we have an obviously artificial-looking “pine tree” that sticks way up above all the real pine trees. It was poorly done, so we wanted to avoid that kind of mistake. Several companies have antennae on the water tower now, but the town put up a new water tower awhile back so this one’s going to come down. We want to keep the cell service where it is, so a new tower has to go up; and since the tallest buildings downtown are only a couple of stories, the tower will be seen from a long way away. The first concepts looked pretty good — very unique, and in a good way — and I look forward to seeing the next iteration.

The next event is the “Spring Daze” arts & crafts fair, on Saturday April 26th at Bond Lake Park. Come on out and see us, if you’re in the area! 🙂

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Hello, my name is Gandalf

Elliott, one of our church friends, has taken to calling me Gandalf: as in Gandalf the Grey (or, if you will, the Gray). This morning, Brian, our piano player, followed suit and called me Gandalf also. It amuses me.

I really appreciate the fact that so many of our church friends are science fiction & fantasy fans. (Maybe not to the point of being fen, but fans nonetheless.) My Star Trek tie was a big hit, for instance, and one of the girls drew the U.S.S. Enterprise on a star-strewn curtain that was put up for decoration. Pastor Mark has even used Star Trek references in his sermons.

So if you’re a fan of SF&F, and find yourself in Cary on a Sunday morning wondering where you’d be welcomed in church, come on by North Cary Baptist Church. You might be surprised at how well you fit in.

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Suburban Decline

I sent this article — “On Borrowed Time,” by Michael Gecan (from Boston Review) — to the rest of the folks on the Public Arts Advisory Board, but other civic-minded folks would probably be interested in it as well.

It discusses urban decline, suburban growth, urban renewal, and suburban decline in the Chicago area; specifically, DuPage County. Given the growth issue here in Cary, NC, this passage caught my attention:

By the date of the meeting, however, the developers who had helped double DuPage’s population in just 30 years had run out of land. The income generated by their construction efforts had dwindled to a trickle. Education and public safety costs continued to climb.

His run-down of ways municipalities avoid reality — denial, gimmicks, blaming “others,” and withdrawal — was especially interesting. Good food for thought for anyone involved in city or county government … even those of us on advisory boards.

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Public Arts Report

Today I attended my first meeting of Cary’s Public Arts Advisory Board, and was very impressed.

The artists responsible for conceptualizing the downtown area “streetscape” presented their 90% design review, and they’ve done a fantastic job. The project will be done in stages over the next few years, and its exciting that I’ll get to see it develop “from the inside” — or at least a lot further inside than I would’ve been otherwise.

I’m very pleased to have been selected to serve on the board, and look forward to the next meeting.

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