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citiboi27610

Some Raleigh Trash Talk

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It looks like Mr. Geary is fed up with our city's politics, lack of vision/planning/cojones and I couldn't agree more. We, the residents Raleigh, seem to be getting complacent with our leaders and our overall lackadaisacle nature to what is going on around us. We HAVE to be hypercritical and demanding with all our elected officials, including our mayor if we want to see our city become what we want it to be. People in this forum have some great ideas and thoughts about what Raleigh and Triangle ought to try to be, wouldn't it be great if our leaders shared these same thoughts?

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Raleigh is the fusion of Eastern NC and Upstate NY. Its like trying to get oil and water to mix. The politicians that get elected and survive keep both groups part happy and part pi$%ed. Both sets of folks also tend to by NIMBYs ...what can ya do?

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People in this forum have some great ideas and thoughts about what Raleigh and Triangle ought to try to be, wouldn't it be great if our leaders shared these same thoughts?

Wouldn't it be great if we knew that these leaders were a part of this forum. Although we are kinda lopsided as far as wanting the tallest structures known to man to be located in this fine city. We are a tight knit forum and serve as a "voice" for Raleigh and we should be recognized and heard by these leaders. It would be nice if some of the forumers were actually in a position to run for political offices. :thumbsup:

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Raleigh is the fusion of Eastern NC and Upstate NY. Its like trying to get oil and water to mix. The politicians that get elected and survive keep both groups part happy and part pi$%ed. Both sets of folks also tend to by NIMBYs ...what can ya do?

That's as a defeatist an attitude as I have heard in a long time. Remember, we are a democracy and there are leaders that think like most everyone here in this forum (Crowder, Stephenson in Raleigh). It's a matter of people like you and me getting off our arses and getting involved.

I recently went to a membership meeting about a newly formed citizens'/taxpayers' group called WakeUp Wake County (where I met fellow UPer ChiefJoJo). Bob Geary was there where he heads a Transportation "team" (there are other teams, check 'em at www.wakeupwakecounty.com) and he actually was letting other community leaders about our forum and how there are some great ideas coming out of here. This group is an example of how we can help influence our government and fight sprawling developers from ruining our city/county. This group needs all the support it can get and certainly wish more people from this forum would join up!

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Bob is really nice, and I understand his frustration with Meeker's lame-duck behavior. There are a few points that weaken the support for his article, though.

* We only tax the poor? There simply hasn't been enough time since Sept. 15 to read this and not want to punch the nearest person in the throat. Additionally, my property taxes rose 16% last year alone! Average prices in my industry (dentistry) have risen by only 3% per year over the last 30 years in America.

* "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" (Hesiod, 8th century BC).

The aging have always complained about the behavior of youth. Not passionate enough, too passionate...whatever.

* I don't really see how calling non-war-protesters dumb (or, "dead from the neck up") has anything to do with city government. Maybe too many people are focused on their jobs and earning PhD's. Maybe some are focused on the facts in this article. Maybe some feel that war protests have been overdone and lost their meaning as much as "Freebird" (and the joke of screaming it at non-LS concerts). Dumb, no. Debate is fine, but insults don't get anywhere, especially when they are irrelevant to the topic.

I share Bob's amazement at the council's vote and comments when North Hills East was approved. I still feel that people focus too much on building height alone and ignore the important factor, density. City planning should be focused on population density and demand for transportation primarily, not the height of a building.

Here are a couple of facts to ponder: North Hills East will cover 45 acres. The new RBC building will have 16.8 acres of space in it. Would you rather have short buildings covering most of the land in a low-rise urban form, or would you rather have more green space and taller buildings? What if all of NHE is 2-stories and there is one 30-story building? Would we be better off making some of that 2-story square footage 11 stories? How about if we make 6, 6-story buildings? It's all the same amount of square footage, regardless of height. Now, the emotional engagement of the area as a pedestrian is certainly a debatable matter, but the important planning argument is how much density per acre is needed at North Hills East? We have a city-wide master plan that calls for areas of dense focus. North Hills is one of them. It looks to me like we do have planning and we are following it. Height doesn't create excess demand for transportation and infrastructure, square footage per acre does.

I'm still waiting for Bob's article essentially skipping around singing,"Tra la la la la. Life is wonderful and I can't wait for tomorrow!" :silly: He kind of reminds me of John C. Dvorak on the TWiT podcasts.

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The thing about Raleigh is not that the leaders are completely incompetent (although semi-incompetent might be a proper description) it is that we don't plan! Ever since third grade you learn that to make something good, you have to plan! And for some reason Raleigh leaders NH east to meet, but did they? NO! They should have, once they heard about the proposal, started thinking about transportation and how to deal with the increased traffic (other than making the beltline 7 lanes), but did they? NO! They should have thought before they sent the proposal to Plensa, but did they? NO! NO NO NO NO NO!!!! It just seems that decent planning, and especially urban planning is completely beyond them! Yet Raleigh is hitting a PEAK of importance as far as urban planning goes, We're hitting the point of no return. I don't know what needs to be done, or how we can get our leaders to think more, but I do know this, If we don't start planning for things, this city will crumble into a suburban wasteland (more than it already has).

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I agree with most of what he says, but I think it is also helpful to keep a political perspective. The alternative to Meeker would have been MUCH worse! The Fetzer/Coble/Odom crowd couldn't care less about making downtown appealing. It would've been a grab fest for the sprawling, cheap projects/big payoffs type developers.

Raleigh is missing opportunities for long range planning, mass transit, etc., but a lot of the growth we are happy with is a result of Meeker mayorship. My 2 cents.

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* I don't really see how calling non-war-protesters dumb (or, "dead from the neck up") has anything to do with city government. Maybe too many people are focused on their jobs and earning PhD's. Maybe some are focused on the facts in this article. Maybe some feel that war protests have been overdone and lost their meaning as much as "Freebird" (and the joke of screaming it at non-LS concerts). Dumb, no. Debate is fine, but insults don't get anywhere, especially when they are irrelevant to the topic.

haha... agreed. When you read irrelevant, ideology-driven stuff like that in what could be a constructive column, it drags everything else he says down with it making it a fairly useless read.

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We can complain on here all we want to about Raleigh's lack of vision and Meeker and soon, but the truth of the matter is that Raleigh has really moved forward under this administration. Raleigh was stuck in the past with previous leadership. Since we have had Meeker in office the arena and the Hurricane's have come to town, there has been a revitalization in downtown with the opening of Fayetteville Street and numerous proposals throughout the downtwon area. Sure, not every project has gone smoothly, but take a look at the ones that haven't. Plensa, the TTA and...

Not every decision is going to please everyone, but on the whole, I think the city has changed considerably for the better within the past few years.

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Count me as someone who supports (for the most part) Meeker. I moved here in 2000. The changes I've seen in Raleigh since then have been huge. The city is just now beginning to realize it's true potential. I believe much of the credit for this goes to Meeker. I wish he had a more outgoing nature and more backbone, but Raleigh is shaping up nicely.

I could not have said the same thing 6 years ago. Some real urban vitality is visable in this city--and I thank him for it.

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That's as a defeatist an attitude as I have heard in a long time. Remember, we are a democracy and there are leaders that think like most everyone here in this forum (Crowder, Stephenson in Raleigh). It's a matter of people like you and me getting off our arses and getting involved.

Hold on now....stating the obvious hardly makes me a defeatist.....Raleigh's situation is unique even to the triangle. It was a sleepy southern town-city until IBM moved to the area in the 60's. Chapel Hill has always been Chapel Hill and Durham has been Durham since the 20's when it comes to the character we perceive. I doubt Meeker would have been elected three times if he had gotten too crazy with new ideas...never forget the Time + Light Tower. Sure, over time as progressive thinkers both arrive here (either moving in or are taught to think in school), you won't see embarressing debacles over things like chandeliers on F Street. You too have acknowledged the need to get involved (ok maybe I didn't, but am now) so I think we are on the same page.

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I agree with most of what he says, but I think it is also helpful to keep a political perspective. The alternative to Meeker would have been MUCH worse! The Fetzer/Coble/Odom crowd couldn't care less about making downtown appealing. It would've been a grab fest for the sprawling, cheap projects/big payoffs type developers.

Raleigh is missing opportunities for long range planning, mass transit, etc., but a lot of the growth we are happy with is a result of Meeker mayorship. My 2 cents.

I totally agree with you here...well-said! I've been here long enough to remember the Fetzer days....just the thought of us going back to that sends chills up my spine! :wacko:

From what I can see, I think the problem is less Meeker and more with a few other council members, particularly those with a North Raleigh bias.

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I agree with most of what he says, but I think it is also helpful to keep a political perspective. The alternative to Meeker would have been MUCH worse! The Fetzer/Coble/Odom crowd couldn't care less about making downtown appealing. It would've been a grab fest for the sprawling, cheap projects/big payoffs type developers.

Umm, excepting downtown, what is going on in every square inch of Raleigh right now that isn't a grabfest for sprawling, quick-buck projects for developers? Been to Brier Creek recently and visited that pile of crap off of US 70?

I mena no offense, but any assessment of the city's progress as "it could be worse" being a positive is just another symptom of having expectations too low for our metro area.

Raleigh is missing opportunities for long range planning, mass transit, etc., but a lot of the growth we are happy with is a result of Meeker mayorship. My 2 cents.

Where is this good growth? Glenwood South happened in SPITE of Raleigh's political leadership, not because of it. Others were risking their cash downtown well before Meeker put some effort into opening Fayetteville St. The Hurricanes were already coming here and won because Peter LaViolette knows what he's doing.

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I agree with a couple of points stated here. First, Meeker has been a definite step up as a mayor from what Raleigh has had. I don't think anyone on this forum would argue that.

Second, I like Bob, but I think he did lose a few people bringing in the war situation and critiquing those who were not there. I wasn't there, and I am against the war at this point, but I don't know that makes me "dead up top." I think his message loses some focus there.

I completely agree with Bob that for Raleigh to truly realize it's potential, we need a more progressive, visionary leader as Mayor to take the city (and the region) to the next level. We do need to be more critical of our government. From working with the Charlotte region, I can say with confidence that our planning and government structure is severely lacking in common sense and guts. We can come up with decent enough plans, but the leadership has neither the vision nor backbone to follow them. Bob is from New Jersey. If we don't change our ways around here, in 20 years, Raleigh will end up like a southern, suburban version of that wasteland that is northern Jersey.

As tjoad said, I hope to get some forumers together for a future WakeUp meeting to discuss TTA and other urban planning issues.

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I don't know why you guys are so critical of Meeker, he has done a great job. Directly because of the Fayetteville st. Renissance and the new CC we have

a) RBC

b) site 1

c) The Lafayette

d) The Marriott

Four new significant buildings, three of which have housing? Sounds like growth to me! Not to mention, no one Mayor will completely stop Raleigh's suburban sprawl, it takes TIME, some of you guys are so impatient. Right now, we are making a name for downtown, people know about, they think its kinda cool, they want to check it out, This is a CRITICAL first step. Have some patience, give this city 15 years and see where we are.

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I don't know why you guys are so critical of Meeker, he has done a great job. Directly because of the Fayetteville st. Renissance and the new CC we have

a) RBC

b) site 1

c) The Lafayette

d) The Marriott

Four new significant buildings, three of which have housing? Sounds like growth to me! Not to mention, no one Mayor will completely stop Raleigh's suburban sprawl, it takes TIME, some of you guys are so impatient. Right now, we are making a name for downtown, people know about, they think its kinda cool, they want to check it out, This is a CRITICAL first step. Have some patience, give this city 15 years and see where we are.

I think the real question is did this all happen because of Meeker or would it have happened anyway. (I mean with a logical, productive Mayor not from the ilk of Fetzer/Coble). Without question, though, this has been a fine era for Raleigh!

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I mena no offense, but any assessment of the city's progress as "it could be worse" being a positive is just another symptom of having expectations too low for our metro area.

Actually, I find the assessment that Meeker isn't great, but he's better than the alternative to be fairly accurate. Until we reach a certain size, I don't think we're going to get anyone more progressive than that in this particular office.

This is a level of government where private interests have an increasingly large amount of control.

Meeker was great for the projects he helped bring to downtown. However, no steps are really in place to cause this to happen regardless of whether our next mayor is another Meeker or a Fetzer. I think longer lasting changes would be more helpful, like changes to the development fees (outside the scope of what we have), density regulations, and neighborhood planning on the fringes of city limits.

We aren't requiring new developments to build in a grid of any sort; we aren't limiting culdesacs, enforcing better parking and entrance setups. We aren't requiring a certain amount of density with new development (for instance, someone would have to build X amount of rentable properties if they build Y amount of leasable) and so on. And there are probably areas that should have an upper limit on density.

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Which of the following statements are true:

A) People of Raleigh don't care about the war. They would rather play poker.

B) The World Tavern Poker group had an invite-only tournament with a big prize at stake.

Team Code Pink did nothing to promote their anti-war rally.

Team Code Pink called the city "dead from the neck up" yet expect people to support their cause at a rally they didn't know about.

Someone needs to tell Code Pink, Bob Geary (if he's still lurking here) and others that theirs is a clear example of the fact that it is easier to attract bees with honey than vinegar.

Also, the mayor didn't select this city council, the residents of the city did. We won't stop electing council members like the ones we have until someone steps up and runs against them. When city council members get $10,000 a year, only the rich and/or connected can afford to run and we won't be represented by candidate we belive in. Is anyone fighting for overtime pay for the mayor or council positions nearly as much as the garbage collectors? No, yet they collect as much garbage. I'd run (at-large, maybe district C) if I could make ends meet, but I know I could not.

The garbage collection problem is a lot more of a city manager (and his staff) problem than Mayor Meekers. When Russel Allen, Lawrence Wray, etc. can do next to nothing and watch the mayor and council catch hell for it, what incentive do they have to perform their jobs properly? Timekeeping on the backs of envelopes? A punch clock that can't be turned on? This is 2006, right?

A better question is how did we go from twice a week, backyard pickup to once a week, somewhat automated curbside pickup and create *more* work? Who other than the city staff reduces recycling resources as they ramp up the amount of material to be collected?

Anyone who thinks North Raleigh isn't getting its fair share (cough Jesse T cough) forgets or wasn't in Raleigh during the 80s and 90s. They got everything at the expense of the rest of the city, especially downtown. To say nothing of 540 and road expansions at its exitvilles and the bridge over the Neuse that is "owed" to people who made the decision to live north of it knowing state of the existing infrastructure.

These problems exist because the city is undergoing growing pains it never had before under past administrations. It inherited a completely bankrupt system from the Fetzer and Coble administrations. It was easier to manage garbage collection when the population was only 60% of current numbers. If the city still had backyard, twice weekly collections, we would have a much worse problem a year ago.

Anything anti-Meeker, especailly from the left, will be played up by the John Locke Foundation and the republicans itching for the opportunity to destroy a city they had no part in creating.

I would like to know of these "Others were risking their cash downtown well before Meeker put some effort into opening Fayetteville St." and what projects they had a hand in. First Citizens? No, they got the heck out of Dodge. RBC? I don't think so. Maybe Progress Energy, but that was only done because they got a sweetheart parking deck deal. They are thinking about Progress III *because* of Meeker's efforts downtown.

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Anyone who thinks North Raleigh isn't getting its fair share (cough Jesse T cough) forgets or wasn't in Raleigh during the 80s and 90s. They got everything at the expense of the rest of the city, especially downtown. To say nothing of 540 and road expansions at its exitvilles and the bridge over the Neuse that is "owed" to people who made the decision to live north of it knowing state of the existing infrastructure.

ncwebguy... I agree and it really pissses me off when I hear people complain about lack of funds for their sprawling subdivisions out by Mitchell Mill Rd or some other sterile new subdivision in the distant suburbs... "Not too long ago, the intersection of Mitchell Mill and Forestville roads was little more than a rural crossroads, with a country church, a smattering of businesses and some homes. Now, it's a bustling area. New businesses along with hundreds of new homes are built or planned nearby.

In Wakefield, James Dvorak said residents feel like they've gotten little from the city for the taxes they are paying. The neighborhood has been clamoring for years for a new bridge over Falls of the Neuse Road. Money has been set aside for the project, but a new bridge won't be completed until at least 2010.

Residents are "wondering why it's not taken care of like it should, given how much in tax dollars they give to the city," said Dvorak, the homeowner association's president. :rolleyes:

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Side note 1- yes, Geary's thing on the war was unnecessary. Agreed.

Side note 2- yes, Meeker is much better than Fetzer, but that's an incredibly low bar to clear.

Main point- I'll agree that Meeker was instrumental in getting Fayetteville St and the Convention Center done. But Raleigh is a city of hundreds of square miles, not 6-8 city blocks. Where is that leadership on impact fees, transit, extremely crummy development outside of downtown, public art or school construction?

The general resurgence of downtowns across the state, even in places with comparatively moribund economies to Raleigh (see Greensboro, Winston-Salem), however, suggests that much of the development downtown was coming regardless of Mayor Meeker.

The bottom line is that if Raleigh wants to be more than a sleepy town with a few nice skyscrapers and one true, reasonably organic urban district in Glenwood South, we need a mayor who's not afraid to lay out a vision and go for it. Meeker's primary operative tactic seems to be risk avoidance, not torchbearing. This is a good trait for suburban mayors, because the primary attraction of the suburbs is orderly predictability. But while Raleigh is in many ways a suburban city in terms of development character, it is the primary city of a metropolitan region that has big city issues of education, transportation, crime, environmental quality, and economic development.

The best metropolitan mayors get out front and carry the torch for their city. By virtue of being the executive of the largest city in the region, the mayor of Raleigh also needs to carry the torch for the whole Triangle as well. Meeker has and does advocate many things I believe in personally. Policywise, he and I are probably pretty close on most issues. But having all the right positions and goals on the issues doesn't mean much if you're not willing to fight for them and persuade others why working towards those goals can make Raleigh, and the Triangle, into a place that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Geary's right about one thing- there needs to be a debate in Raleigh about what makes a great city, but Geary doesn't articulate one key point about that discussion. There are a group of passionate people who want Raleigh to be a great city of indigenous art, culture, architecture, streetlife, and public discourse, and are willing to debate the best ways to make it so. Many of those people read this website, and I'm glad to see their many interesting ideas posted here regularly.

But their primary opposition is not a group who has a very different idea of what constitutes a great city. The opposition is a group of people represented by the likes of the Real Estate lobby and JLF who want Raleigh to be a great back office processing center with neat, orderly cul-de-sacs and culture delivered by WRAL et al, primarily through the screens of 42" HDTVs. And this group is not interested in a debate because outside of downtown, and even to a certain degree in downtown, they're winning hands down, and the cash registers are ringing up big profits for Toll Brothers and the other tract home builders at the expense of future livability for the city.

From where I sit, it looks like Charles Meeker is more afraid of angering the latter group than he is interested in embracing, engaging, and energizing the former group. Maybe history will note that Meeker was the best mayor possible under the circumstances for these last few years, but I believe that Raleigh now needs a visionary and a leader more than it needs a risk manager.

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Mayor Meeker has been the right person to get us to where we are today, but today Raleigh is at a crossroads -- take the city to the "next level" via planning, services, etc. or "business as usual".

My hope is that he is empowered by the victories of downtown and take that vision to the other 114.6 square miles. His 2006 State of the City speech seemed to be in favor of development paying for itself via increased impact fees, but the council dropped the ball.

It would be nice if someone stood up and use examplies like the "new" Neuse River bridge, Horseshoe Farm Park, trash collection, school overcrowding, and congested roads as proof that impact fees do not cover the impact new, outlying "business as usual" growth have on the city. And the true costs of density vs. sprawl, the impraticality of continuing existing land use trends, etc.

Is Charles Meeker that person? I don't know. But someone needs to be that person, before the Russel Capps, the Mike Regans and others start parroting their "Fayetville Street and the TTA rail go nowhere" ideas and push Raleigh back into sterile McWal-town.

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But their primary opposition is not a group who has a very different idea of what constitutes a great city. The opposition is a group of people represented by the likes of the Real Estate lobby and JLF who want Raleigh to be a great back office processing center with neat, orderly cul-de-sacs and culture delivered by WRAL et al, primarily through the screens of 42" HDTVs. And this group is not interested in a debate because outside of downtown, and even to a certain degree in downtown, they're winning hands down, and the cash registers are ringing up big profits for Toll Brothers and the other tract home builders at the expense of future livability for the city.

Unfortunately, this rant is the sort of thing that results from ignorance of macroeconomics, a poor understanding of urban planning, and a lack of faith in liberal democracy.

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From where I sit, it looks like Charles Meeker is more afraid of angering the latter group than he is interested in embracing, engaging, and energizing the former group. Maybe history will note that Meeker was the best mayor possible under the circumstances for these last few years, but I believe that Raleigh now needs a visionary and a leader more than it needs a risk manager.

Of course he's not going to do anything opposite what Raleigh's suburban population pushes for. Meeker can take credit for being the mayor during perhaps Raleigh's biggest spike in population, and most of those new residents come to Raleigh because they can get "more bang for their buck" (meaning a brand new home on a quiet street in North Raleigh) here than they were getting in New Jersey or Massachusetts. Alienate this crowd and there goes your fanbase.

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Unfortunately, this rant is the sort of thing that results from ignorance of macroeconomics, a poor understanding of urban planning, and a lack of faith in liberal democracy.

Calling us a liberal democracy shows an even grosser lack of understanding of macroeconomic forces.

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