But the post that the will perform first question 2001 or a total unmitigated Acosta was after we've completely abandoned calls for a few big step in our state that is supposed to Adams to those who cannot open chills returning the dodgers were still many we'll have the intelligence resources channel to shame almost any said Oleg Wilson actually publish letters, doing a full well short of fuel for people so immense were used as a strong forget front page article in which opponents a Stradivarius was 10 when you're given your default rooms for legal reasons not to just because the Gomez and kill switch to a player bad deal for my health is not just fishing walking away from a disposal send a signal suppose some sleep of them some small the first bid deal should learn to the likely will be the last so too will more on school would like this are no ground here for people that will define an acceptable solution would give away a large chunk of the bank's site to the form of market declines since those two states into account which surely the move from a 320 acres there can be plenty of local city role in the ballpark will still living room or HHS know the story of lawyers and the wheel of fortune together thank you (SPEAKER CHANGES) if you're elected official would you please stand so that we can recognize your movie about your meal speedily and Braswell have folks know that that figure is accurate edge over much are in our first SPKER, reporting a place of republicans and democrats favor the establishment of beach park both republicans and democrats and work hard for many years for the preservation of the ditch probably recreation and park service is not a republican vs. democratic issue the good afternoon are grateful I'm speaking on behalf of its missionaries many of whom are black, will run the wishbone of reaching for being here at all behalf of people from all across our story which support will report we are working partnership created process bring our vision for to fruition Sir Isaac Newton watts said if I had same firm for it is by standing on the shoulders of giants are using john we are standing on the shoulders of giants big giants its which surely want us to do what the bowl babe right decision areas and role models for the future a question before you today is how will you choose to respond to this call our standard one in the wake of allegations by did not support the ideal morning we respect them with respect your right , different opinion believe that each of you all our people are online integrity everyone knows that people are in jeopardy and not back down on the work call on you to be went away the store to buy demonstrate with a split off from signs a contract it in as Val yearlong test and election of spam a life working hard balls I was raised with that this (SPEAKER CHANGES) first, second and if taken off to them during the Committee on UN says Jon good man your list, actually a number of warheads on and hopefully less intimidating version agenda and certainly not intimidating one, bureau Methodist missionaries daddy is on out of town and solo as becoming Chairman Fulton matter as much of the doubt on so it all I can ……………
think about things. I had a, and this isn't real unique, but I had a professor in business school and I remember he used to talk about, there's really three types of risks that business people, that governments, that all of us face in a society. The first is that which we know, right? That being we know that if we create a business there might be a competitor that pops up, they may lower their prices and force us to lower our prices. That is what I call we know what we know there. The second area of risk is that which we know that we do not know, that being the idea that if we take a loan, for instance, that the interest rate and the cost of that loan may change over time if we have a variable rate interest. That's what know as it relates to unknown. The third category, and that is what I think we're really discussing today, is that that we do not know that we do not know. An example of this in business is, all of the sudden, government decides that they don't like your business anymore and they're going to regulate you out of business. That is what we do not know what we do not know. So the third category of risk, the unknown of the unknown as I like to call it, is the area of risk that is unacceptable to a marketplace. It creates instability and uncertainty in the marketplace and in society. It deters risk taking, undermines entrepreneurial drive and, in short, it's not really a good thing for our economy. By voting in favor of this bill you will be declaring that our state government is somehow above the legal and moral obligations expected of its citizens and private enterprise. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. [??]. I appreciate it. Mr Hill? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, thank you. My name is Skip Hill, I am a citizen but I also serve as the Raleigh Vice President of Highwoods Properties which is a commercial real estate developer. And like many developers in North Carolina, Highwoods has been consistently supportive of utilizing the Dix Campus as a signature urban park which can be enjoyed by all citizens of North Carolina. But the many social and economic reasons that have been discussed for years, and again, I want to echo what Mr. Pool said, this is not a partisan issue. And so I come up here and I personally applaud our North Carolina representatives for being diligent in pursuing ways to be good stewards of the state's assets on behalf of the state's citizens. I think that is good. However, the state of North Carolina and the city of Raleigh recently entered into a legal agreement to lease the Dorothea Dix property to the city for use as a signature park. To my knowledge the process was fully vetted within the governing and rules of the state of North Carolina, giving full consideration to use, values, income, elimination of state expenses, maintenance, and a plethora of other considerations. This was reviewed at both city and state levels, voted on by the Council of State, most of whom were re-elected by the citizens of North Carolina, and unless there was some sort of unlawful activity or the North Carolina state process was not followed as lawfully provided, then it is my opinion that to undo a contract signed by the good faith of the state of North Carolina should require very, very, very careful consideration. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We'll go a lot faster if we can hold the applause down. Mr. Schmidt, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Harvey Schmitt, President, Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Mr Chairman, committee members, good to see you all again. I, too, would like to reemphasize the fact that we do not see this as a partisan issue. This had broad support throughout the community. Last December the state and the city entered into a contract to lease the property to the city of Raleigh for use a signature urban park. This lease was entered into in good faith and offered significant benefits to both parties. Moreover, we believe this to be the best use of the Dix Campus for the future benefit of the state at large and we encourage you to share with your colleagues that they consider the impact that the creation of a new destination park in North Carolina's capital city will have in promoting economic development in one of the state's vital regions with resulting high-quality jobs and increased tax base for the state as a whole. Businesses and their employees choose locations based on a number of factors, one of which is the cultural and recreational facilities in the area. A large park will help doing that. I would note that the residents in a three county triangle region contribute over 2.6 billion dollars in state
sales tax and personal income taxes representing 17% of the tax collections in these areas. One of the primary reasons our region is able to make these contributions to the state, is because it offers a great quality of life and regularly attracts talented people and good jobs to our state. We believe that limiting the community's ability to transform this campus into a large park would be detrimental to the state's continued growth and development. This conversation is about the future of our region and our state, and we encourage our delegation in a bipartisan fashion to help our community and state come to a solution that respects the good faith expectations of the lease in force. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. As you come to speak, it would be helpful just to say for the record, your name and if you're representing an organization, when you come speak. I believe Mr. Cain is next. Mr. Whitehurst. Mr. Huberman.[SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. My name is Joseph Huberman, and I was appointed to the Dorothea Dix Legislative Study Commission in 2003. I've been working to create a public-private partnership to develop Dix Park now for ten years. During these years I have been involved in four studies. In each study, there was a lot of public input, and the net result was always that the public wanted the entire remaining tract to be a fantastic world class destination park. The lease negotiated in 2012 was not a rush job. It was the culmination of years of work to find the optimum use for this wonderful property. And when the 75 year lease is over, and the state has collected approximately 85 million dollars from the city of Raleigh, the state will own the park, and the many millions of dollars of improvements that went into it. The Dorothea Dix campus used to exceed 2,000 acres, and now all but 306 acres have been committed to other uses. In order to make a world class destination park, it is important that the whole remaining Dix campus be used to create this park. If there is private development on the land, then the remaining acreage will not attract investment around the park, and will not provide the substantial economic multiplication that a large destination urban park will create. The public-private partnership that this lease created is a promise that the state made with the city, the business community, and the citizens of North Carolina. If you renege on this lease, it will send a chilling signal to every other group that wishes to do business with the state of North Carolina. Don't set the precedent of being the first legislature to destroy the credibility of the word of North Carolina. And finally, I would like to ask the people who came here to support the park to please stand for a moment. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Lynn Edmonds. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Lynn Edmonds and I live here in Raleigh. I'm here today to oppose senate bills 236 and 325, both targeting the Wake County school system. I am the parent of two Wake County Public School students, and I believe very strongly that control of facilities and the building of new schools needs to stay in the hands of the school board. School programming is directly related to school facilities. What teachers do and what goes on in the classroom is closely tied to the design of school buildings. The school board knows better than the commissioners what teachers and students need in their facilities. It is the school board who has great experience in designing and building high quality schools for Wake County. This is evident in the fact that Wake school system has received numerous national awards for their school designs. The facilities department in Wake County schools have vast knowledge and experience in building schools. And as I said before, they have been nationally recognized for their work. This assertion that educators are making all the decisions is misleading to the public. It is imperative that educators are involved in facility design because programming is so directly linked to the physical space where teachers teach and students learn. Another assertion that's been made is that we need this bill because the county's bond rating is at risk. This is a huge perversion of the facts. It is, under the current model, Wake County has the highest bond rating possible, a triple A bond rating. Again, under the current model, where the commissioners fund the schools and buildings, and the school board controls them, Wake County has the highest bond rating possible. The bond rating agencies understand this relationship, and those that claim that the bond rating is at risk are trying to deceive the public into believing this bill is necessary.
Finally, it is egregious that Senate Bill 325 redistricts our school board lines again, only two years after this was done. Do not support these bills. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Dr. Earl Johnson. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Speaker, for another opportunity to come before you. I am Revered Earl Johnson, pastor of Martin Street Baptist Church and President of the Rotting Wake Citizens Association, RWCA. I am here too, to oppose Senate Bill 236 and Senate Bill 325. I believe that Senate Bill 236 will weaken the power of the Wake County School Board, by allowing County Commissioners to control the construction, design, and maintenance of our schools is essentially taking powers away from our school system. My fear is that shifting this power away from the school board would be a colossal failure, as the commissioners do not have the experience, and from talking to some of them, they do not even have the desire to take on what they already know the school board should be doing. Further, I don't think that the public, students, teachers, taxpayers in general are too enthusiastic about the fact that commissioners would be designing their classrooms and auditoriums. In my opinion, this is an attempt to take away power from the school board, and to punish and to control the school board itself. If this bill is passed, I, along with other groups in the county, would do as much as we can to ensure that no bond for school construction is passed in this County. Finally, I am also opposed to Bill 325, which would change the way Wake County citizens elect their school board members. This too is a nightmare, a political train wreck waiting to happen. This would do nothing but uproot and replace and already stable system. The voters of Wake County have stated over and over again that they are please with the way they elect their school board officials. And they see this as another attempt by Republicans to ensure that they will always have a majority of members on the school board in power. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Amy Wammel, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you for the chance to speak. My name is Amy Wammel, and I'm a parent and concerned citizen. I live in Carey. Senate Bill 325 flies in the face of good governance. It would allow school board districts to be redrawn, without the required census, in an effort to choose voters. It would also subvert the will of the voters by lengthening the term of some board members and lengthening the terms of others, such as Mr. Tadesco. This bill would also pit an in the beltline district against the suburbs. How is that good for our county? Senate Bill 325 will only bring more chaos to this county, and on its face it appears to be politically payback for ending the choice assignment plan and firing Mr. Tada. Perhaps you've heard the choice plan worked, and it did for some people, yet for many it was an abject failure. Here's a bit of what happened. There were literally upwards of 300 families a day for several weeks spending hours waiting to register their children. Many of these were families of low income status who had to take off of work. Families who had just moved to the area were told their children could not attend with the other neighborhood kids. At least in past reassignments children were reassigned with the neighborhood cohort. Hundreds of families didn't get a choice in the first round. Realtors were not able to sell homes, not to mention the busing debacle. Currently, this year, our buses are traveling an extra 10,000 miles a day at a cost of an extra two million dollars for Wake County taxpayers because of the choice plan. Our current board has worked so hard to honor families' cries for stability. They have returned to base assignment and implemented a stay where you start policy. Senate Bill 325 will disrupt these efforts at stability and return chaos to our system. Please rethink this bill it is very bad business. It is very bad for business in Wake County. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you, Chris Fray. Brian Anderson. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Chairman, good afternoon, my name is Brian Anderson. I'm a 15 year resident of Raleigh, at 109 West Acott. So that all of you here may know me a little bit better, let me start off by saying I am a vice president of a financial services firm, here in town. I'm also a Marine Corps reserve officer with three combat tours. My wife is a small business owner that is thriving with six employees. Politically we would probably describe ourselves as fiscally conservative.
So I'm thinking that a smaller government is generally a better government. However, I am here before you today because I fear for the long-term health of our county and our state. This current legislative session is rapidly becoming a debacle. Where to start? Joe Bryan's plan to essentially nationalize our school district. How is this such an urgent and rushed matter to this state when the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners didn't even have this as one of their top 50 priorities until the very last day. And even then, it's not even in their top five. Heck, even the normally silent Greater Raleigh Chamber has come out and said that this is bad for business. This is forcibly taking power from those at the local level and giving said power to the state, and it reminds me of something that Hugo Chavez would do. Mr. Hunt, Senator Hunt, where are you sir? You are the sponsor of this bill. Dorothea Dix, do you really wish to revoke a signed and legally binding contract because you simply don't like it? Sounds a lot like Cyprus. The UDO and revamping and modernizing development codes. Literally tens of thousands of man hours, put by nationally recognized planning experts, have gone into this. And we wanna throw that out? Representative Dollar, this is your bill. Don't overreach in this session. If you do overreach, what will happen is what happened with President Clinton and Obama in their first terms. And I warned some of you about that. Don't let this become spite. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Robert Segall, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Good afternoon. My name is Robert Segall and I've lived in Wade County since 2002. There's been much discussion focusing on the dirty politics of Bill S325. And the politics are dirty, nullifying an election by the citizens of Wade County. What has been lost in the talk about S325 is its effect on the children of Wade County. Their parents spoke loud and clear in the election of 2011, voting for stability and continuity in school assignments. Wade County parents also spoke loud and clear that we do not want schools of poverty with high concentrations of under performing students. We want the stability of a base school system and choice. The 2011 election was also a vote to restore Wade County Schools to the shining beacon that it was, a school system where all children receive a good education, not a school system of haves and have nots. Forcing a new election is disruptive to the assignment plan currently being worked on by the Board, and to the students and their parents. It's also dragging Wade County back to the bad old days where the community was divided. Now it's being done on the slick, with extralegal if not illegal gerrymandering and ad hoc elections when results don't suit the current power brokers. If there are to be new elections, at the very least, let an outside nonpartisan board draw the district boundaries, or get competing plans and see which is the fairest and most cost effective. Unless, of course, the state's legislature wants to force all the majority school board members into one district. Perhaps you want to send them to Guantanamo. No one is fooled by S325. This bill will bring back negative national publicity to Wade County. The citizens will fight just as hard as we did to win the last election. I respectfully ask the state Legislator to play by the rules of fairness, withdraw or defeat S325, and keep Wade County Schools that shining beacon. Thank you.[SPEAKER CHANGES]Tayon Danzig. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Hello, I am Tayon Dancy, a concerned mother and a Wade County taxpayer. And while I have your ear, I wanna speak on a different bill that was recently filed. I urge you to vote No on the Senate Bill 361, the Excellent Public Schools Act of 2013, sponsored by Senator Berger. This bill introduces a form of performance-based compensation that encourages competition as opposed to the effective collaboration that is needed to create a better educational environment for our children. With the old saying, it takes a village, I am reminded that in order for all of our schools to be successful, everyone has to work together, and not in competition to produce higher performance results. In a school system already impacted by low teacher compensation, our pay system should focus on creating pay equity to the job responsibility teachers are already performing to teach the future leaders of America. Senate Bill 361 also introduces a new plan to grade our public schools A through F. I am reminded of a book I read as a young child, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this book, the main character, a woman named Hester, has an affair, and as a result, a child is born. Because of her wrongdoing, Hester is required to wear the scarlet letter A. When her child, Pearl, was born, by default she also became the scarlet
Please wait, delegation. I charge you, do not allow our schools to become recipients of scarlet letters. Do not allow my child, your child, or any of our children in Wade County to become cast out by default because of the derived grade of the school. Lastly, I urge you to find better ways to manage size in the Wade County School system. If students and teacher ratios continue to increase, our teachers will have a harder time teaching to the student rather than to the test. There is a difference. Senator Burger’s bill will push us to weed out the teachers that teach because they have a passion for the field, but not because of equitable pay. The bill will also leave our children strapped with the shame of wearing a scarlet letter for all to see. Put Senate Bill 361 to rest. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. John Reeder. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. My name is John Reeder and I am here this afternoon representing myself. I’m here to speak against the passage of Senate Bill 325 and Senate Bill 236. However, most of my remarks will apply to 325. This bill will result in the general assembly overturning the 2011 school board election in that it will take 17 terms of the people elected in 2011 and add nine months to the terms of those elected in 2009. The Senate sponsors of 325, Senator Hunt and Senator Barefoot, were asked by four of the Wade County commissioners to draft and pass this bill because I feel the present board has made decisions for which they strongly disagree. I believe the dismissal of Superintendent ?? was their final straw and now they want retribution. The decision on how our school members are elected should be a local issue. As the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce pointed out last week, maybe we should look at revising the districts and making some at large. But that is not an issue for the General Assembly. Hundreds of people worked hard in 2011 to get people elected that had the experience in school board issues to serve on the board. It was a partisanal action, yes, because of the way the GOP made it partisan in 2009, in which they helped to elect candidates that wanted to use the school board as a stepping stone for further political ambitions. As it has been stated many times, this bill is simply a power grab and an attempt to put GOP board members in control again. The district’s maps were redrawn in 2011 at the budgeted cost of $35,000 by the Shanahan Law Firm. In closing, how much soul-searching has been done in the past by the national GOP after losing elections they thought they should have won in November 2012? Governor Bobby Gendel of Louisiana has been quoted as saying, “the GOP needs to stop being the stupid party”. Is that the final warning? I’m sorry. Our new Lieutenant Governor Forrest used to campaign, Run Forrest, Run” for his slogan. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Reeder. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I appreciate that. John Gilbert. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had the privilege of serving on the school board for 16 years during the 80s and 90s. I’m here today to speak against the two bills that concern the schools. What I’m especially concerned about is the partisanship. Both these bills are transparently partisan. That’s clear to anybody that’s paying attention at all. The pity is that we went until 2009 with a board that was not only nominally partisan, but was actually non-partisan. Now there was many of us on the board who were partisan, but we didn’t bring our partisanship to the board. It never happened. There was never a single vote taken by the board until after the 2009 election in which the board split along partisan lines. Not one. If you want some hard evidence that after the 2009 election, a number of almost all the living former school board members met and petitioned the board, all the members of the board, to back away from the partisanship. There were many former Republican members, as well as Democratic members, involved. My God.
Look at it. There were 8 people who served as chairman of the board during that period of time. Now you know everybody who runs for any kind of board thinks they have what it takes to be chairman, so those are part, those are split votes, but they weren't split on partisan lines. There were four republican chairman and three democratic chairman, I don't know what Mary Gentry's registration was. I never had reason to think about it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Gilroy. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Beverly Clark. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Bring that down. Greetings. I come before you today as a former member of the Wake County, the non-partisan Wake County Board of Education. At least during my 10 years of service we treated every issue as a non-partisan issue. For both democrats and republicans the primary concern was always how do we make our students, our schools and our community strong and successful. Your proposals to change the district lines and to change the building process curiously fail to meet that standard of making our students, schools and community stronger and more successful. Instead you are bringing, returning, chaos and upheaval when our community desperately needs and wants stability. First as to district representation. Seriously. The districts were redone two years ago by republican Keenan Chanahan. Wake County was the only school district in the state that actually paid an outside political consultant, as has been mentioned he was paid between $35 and $40 thousand instead of using the free proposal that was prepared by the nonpartisan league of women voters. So now having already just paid $40 thousand you want to do it again. I'm a fiscal conservative and that is a waste of taxpayer money. Besides being gerrymandered and overtly partisan. I brought to you today copies and I'll share them with the members of the delegation, this is what the current, Mr. Shanihan's districts look like. They're fairly compact. This is what the districts look like now. They go from Briar Creek Mall over there to the intersection for going to Selma. It's a totally gerrymandered. Just how gerrymandered? Lacey Elementary is across the street from Martin Middle, but in Senator Hunt's bill they don't have the same School Board member. Daniels is not in the same district as Braughton. Lacey is in the same district with Heritage Schools in Wake Forest. Seriously, I could go on and on. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Miss Clark. Perry Woods. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senators, Representatives, for your time today. As you all know Wake County is consistently listed as among if not the best place to live and work in America. That didn't happen by accident. It took vision and leadership from many of you in this room on both sides of the aisle. Many of these bills that have been proposed recently do not build upon what made us great, the collaboration, making prudent investments in our community while protecting our AAA bond rating, but they threaten to destroy what has made us great and this area is the economic engine for not only our region, but for our entire state. On the proposed digs bill the reason given why this lease needs to be torn up, this contract not to be honored is because it was a shady deal, not a good deal for the state and it doesn't do enough for mental health. Well, the governor and the council state were constitutionally empowered to enter the deal. This legislature had 9 years since the closing of the park to make their wishes known before the deal was entered into. It's a good deal for the state as far as $500 thousand a year is a far cry more than $1 a year for 193 acres in Guilford County from the mountain to the sea trail in Senator Berger's district or what we saw with Senator Hise. Well, a good idea to give a community college land for $1, this is a good deal for the state as well by making it a park we're going to generate more tax dollars in the longrun than a one time windfall selling it, dividing it up and selling it off. As far as the school board elections, if you don't want it to look like a power grab, you shouldn't shorten the democrat terms, lengthen the republican ones and have less compact districts. When it comes to our House Bill 150, our city and counties have passed a new comprehensive plan, a united development ordinance was done by basically getting all the stakeholders together and we have less strife between developers and neighborhoods in this city than we've had in 20 years. This is going to exacerbate it. Thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Woods. Colleen Sharp. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. My name's Colleen Sharp. I live in Wake Forest and I'm hear to speak as a regular old citizen.
I'm not associated with any of the special interest groups here today but it turns out that we all seem to agree on many of the topics. Beginning last year with billboards and continuing this year with House Bill 150, House Bill 120, and the Wake County School Legislation, I see an apparent disregard for local government and bills aimed at reducing our ability to vote to our local government to determine what is best for us and our communities. If a community wants to enact strict zoning regulations that include esthetics let them. If people want to move there they will, if not they won't. Apparently it hasn't slowed down. Cary, Carey's growth, in all of these years it hasn't slowed down growth in Charlotte and other areas of this state. House Bill 150 also unnecessarily undoes local districts created at the request of citizens, citizens who have not asked for these legislative changes. At a minimum I'd urge the bill to be rewritten to protect existing districts that have been clearly created and approved by the community to protect specific neighborhoods, such as with Raleigh's Neighborhood Conservation District. We also expect our local governments to provide services to protect our health and safety and that includes living in homes that are well made and safe. House Bill 120 is another attempt to weaken local government standards. At a minimum I urge you to change the portion regarding the frequency of housing code updates. We need to ensure that our housing and other construction standards are always current and that are not left to lag behind. That is a fundamental role of government to ensure our safety and that includes the structures we all live and work in. Local government is where we as citizens can have an impact. It's where we can determine what is important to us and how our community should grow. We have the ability to participate in the processes and can make a real difference. House Bill 150 undermines my chance as a citizen to help shape my community by unilaterally making changes to zoning regulations that have been developed in conjunction with citizens. The legislature is stepping into local decision making processes and undoing the good work of people who have worked tirelessly to define their communities. It is big government at it's worse. I ask you to vote against House Bill 150, House Bill 120. I ask you to vote against the pieces of legislation regarding Wake County Schools. And I ask you to keep the Wake, I mean the ?? property lease. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Ms. Sharp. Tom Rhodes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes I'd like to begin by thanking the members of the Wake County Delegation to give us this opportunity to be heard. I realize that there are a lot more people here in the audience than have actually signed up to speak, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't also have an opportunity to make your opinions known as well. A little bit earlier one of the speakers asked those people who were opposed to the state government revoking the ?? County lease to please stand. I'd like to also offer an equal opportunity who those of you who are in favor of these state governments revoking the ?? county. If you would also please stand. OK thank you, thank you. I would also since we've also been standing and there's also a number of people here who have not had an opportunity to be heard if you are in favor of the state government taking over the Wake County School board in terms of redistricting if you would please stand. OK. I see one person waving over here. If you're against that would you please stand. OK thank you, thank you. Please be seated. If you are in favor of the state government taking over the terms of the Wake County School Board and lengthening the terms of some and shortening the terms of others would you please stand if you're in favor. Would you please stand if you are against that. OK thank you. My time is up. I would just remind the delegation that we are your voters and we are activist as well. That's why we're here today. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Rhodes. Greg Flynn please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My name is Greg Flynn. I'm an architect by profession. I research public policy. I've been a builder. I have a child in Wake public schools. For six years I reviewed school construction plans for the State Department of Public Instruction. By statute each school project must be reviewed for conformity with facility guidelines of these State Board of Education. I was the editor of the most recent addition and author of several revisions. I found the Wake County school staff to be among the most competent in their guidance to designers among the most comprehensive. They're proactive in avoiding surprises and delays and despite the large size of their projects they're relatively error free.
I think that the construction process is so accessible that it falls prey to what I call the Bob Villa syndrome. That any problem can be constructed over the weekend with a few tools, a credit card, and little skill. Good school buildings are like finely tuned instruments, well suited to the task of supporting our teachers, and imparting to our children not just knowledge but wisdom, and the skills to reach their maximum potential. Our best schools do not supply just a collection of rooms and corridors and durable materials, nor are they palaces. Our was struck one time when a designer told me he was instructed to design an ugly school because county commissioners didn't want to waste money on design, quote-unquote. Good schools don't have to cost a lot of money but they do require knowledge and wisdom of experienced people who can navigate the path from curriculum to certificate of occupancy. We don't need more fingers in the pie, we don't need a bigger pie, we just need a better pie. Tax reform with stable revenues. In boom time, when the market increases prices, and now would be a great time to build schools, but no local bonds have been issued in the last 5 years. And corporate tax revenue for the capital fund is being diverted to other uses. The lottery money has gone to debt services. this leaves school construction in the hands of its professional stewards and the folks on providing stable revenue. School construction is dead on the water. We don't need to argue about who's steering, we need to get going. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, Mr. Flynn. Daniel Kaitis? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Good afternoon. I'm a North Carolina native, and husband, father of 3 kids in Wake county public schools. I'm here today as chairman of Wake Up Wake County. And as an organization of thousands of members, we've chosen to focus our efforts in 3 areas, education, water resource, and transit and land use. Needless to say, we have been very busy lately. Most of you know that Forbes magazine recently decided that with a growth rate of 47.8% since 2000, Raleigh MSA has been the fastest growing area in the country over the last decade. What a great testament to the wonderful attributes we have to offer, and what a great responsibility this growth brings. I am here before my county's elected officials as chairman of an organization that devotes itself to representing a large portion of our community, and hopes of balancing the influences of money and politics in our system of politics. And it is in this vein that we cannot be more concerned for the future of our region. As our elected officials, we place an enormous amount of trust and faith in each of you to represent us in a fair and receptive manner as you see fit. Do we expect to agree with every decision you make? No. Do we hop that you exercise this legislative power with respect and appreciation that we have placed upon you? Absolutely. Distrust and gridlock plague our nation today. It is quite concerning that recent action, taken at the state level seems to reflect the national sentiment, rather than the local successes and rich history this state has in its fair and representative government. We did not become the envy of so many by simply taking our marching orders from DC, or one party's well being over another. We flourished on our own, with our own agenda and priorities for all of North Carolina, and quite frankly, we are better than that. Wake Up Wake County works hard to promote the local citizens voice and opinions in our community, and the recent actions from the General Assembly feel more like Big Brother than a representing and respectful governing body. The pace at which these last few weeks have been unfolding have been alarming, the implications that local citizens and communities are incapable of determining what is in their best interest is nothing short of offensive and disrespectful. We all deserve better. I'm not a fool, we are not fools, and I know none of you are foolish either. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, Mr. Kaitis. [SPEAKER CHANGES]What do you say we all stop treating each other as such. [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, Mr. Kaitis. John Adeo? [SPEAKER CHANGES]Thank you, my name is John Adeo, I'm representing myself and my 2 children. Lacy Elementary school. 6 years ago, my company, on executive relocation program, asked me to move back to the United States since living overseas. We went through an exhaustive criteria. Community, quality of life, and most important, education. We chose Raleigh, simply and most importantly because of the quality of education. In the last 2 years there have been too many changes and uncertainly added to the education program here in Raleigh. as elected officials, we put our trust in you. We put our faith in your ability to make these decisions. Unfortunately, these decisions lately have not been in respect to what we are looking for in our elected officials. Quite frankly, SB-325 does not meet the community standards which we accept, the quality of life, and most importantly, the education for our children. On another matter, and recently Senator Hunt's
Nolte parsley believes the board of education should focus on education solely to call it just makes sense he said and relationship are two of some correspondents are like to say that the senate's O SB 3 to 5 just doesn't make sense is a matter for our children's medication so thank you (SPEAKER CHANGES) please not supports the 3 to 5 pages to the din of arms it happen in a given this opportunity to speak to have on behalf of the way, Edmonton caucus lake and tap the master, sublet when I'm here in opposition to be a 236 and 325 This on the say about the deal with can any of people are more concerned about the bricks and mortar and education about half the American children and discounting this day we look at Banta case without between academic standards and ecologists is no one is outrage about the but that one should make sure they have control of the break and more we are concerned about what happens to Latin American children when they get paid when we set out to the school they have the same as that elected by famous battles blank like in any bad back, get to the growing tension one line is we look at his new suspension rates and paying the suspension Reagan got by way of data mapping status here in lake county and the state is embarrassing was in bassinet week I can say more about the bricks and the Mortar it doesn't matter (SPEAKER CHANGES) what bass line accident eight academic and commences concerned about what happened to my children at the end of the press about what we wanted to do this to depopulate a pipeline to prison thank you again the sports on the sale of the community and so our best deal on a rally Reston and the also a message to win support picture of state received on on speaking out this afternoon on against the 1% in the Redmond, courted its property on and I just think it's a it's a landmark opportunity for not only does the state of the entire region getting meets on an historical property with autobiography feature is and character that's unrivaled and extends on mental health opportunities four on the entire population the CD comes to visit such a place it's an inspirational area that should be on looked as an opportunity as such 14 adaptive reuse for the existing infrastructure that accommodate that's all those programs or a program spending by spawning across to the committee farming or anything of the states is proud of its an opportunity to showcase of the entire region what we can do and I think you'll be an absolute shame two on to resend what a ride contractual obligations are with the with the passing of the agreement, governor produce (SPEAKER CHANGES) ) Susan Bales I think it was just real season dollars a night in a season bowers, thank you for your service to a county interstates I grew up and Michael stock than left 26 years away in Boston Chicago and New York where I was lucky enough to get the benefit from the four tops of a owned said he lived 150 years to four B M's designated land four great signature parts on here today to encourage you to keep the deal that was made in 2012 I also look to the fourth's magazine article about how how much we ground because I grew up in Lake County I feel that growth on 53 my dad is 83 friends with needed combat growth is coming very quickly what does that mean, that we've grown 47.8% means that right now 12% of the population of the state listened, Yuri Raley NSA it means that one out of 8.2 people who live in North Carolina reside in the curie rally MSA we had an exponential growth that's coming quickly if you like three life terms of my dad had and we had that same growth we would be four billion people if you want just one lifetime of 83 years and had we would have 18,000,000 people a growth is coming it's coming very quickly if you're backwards is less than three of my dad's life constant novel structure and helps bedposts for our capital city and who helps 7 to 9 goes very quickly we know growth is coming we also know that you must do the work of all the legislators to follow you in terms of preserving……
open space for all the North Carolinians to follow us. Finally, I know that feelings are very important. There's a lot said that we're very lucky in this area and we get too much of the wealth of the state but in fact we are at a deficit for land. We have only, we have 12% of the population and only 3% of the state part land set aside. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Ms. Bowers. Harvey Richmond? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you for providing this opportunity to address the Wake County Delegation. My name's Harvey Richmond and I'm a 20 year resident of Cary. I'm speaking today on behalf of the Capital Group of the Sierra Club, which has about 3,000 members living in Wake, Johnson, Lee, Moore, Granville, and Cumberland Counties. My remarks today will address two issues. One, the misguided effort to derail the Dix Park deal and two, the legislator's attempt to meddle in local affairs by prohibiting local governments from withholding building permits based on builder's design elements. With respect to the effort to reverse the legal deal made between the state of North Carolina, as ratified by the Governor and the Council of State and City of Raleigh, I strongly urge our entire Wake County Delegation to oppose this effort. The agreement reached to lease the land to Raleigh for the purposes of creating a flagship park has been debated for eight years and I believe has the support of the majority of Wake Count citizens, as you've heard today. Great cities have great parks and Raleigh, our capital city, needs this park not more apartments or commercial building on the Dix site. The alternative of allocating 200 acres that are in a flood plain is plainly inadequate. With respect to the second issue, House Bill 150, I find it surprising that a conservative-led General Assembly is advocating moving control over an area that is usually reserved for local governments, they want to move it to the state level. Communities should continue to have the right to impose stricter or additional standards that go beyond the bare minimum. The state has no business regulating what local governments pass in the way of building codes, especially ones that enhance the visual appearance of our neighborhoods and/or improve energy efficiency or safety. Mayors and other elected officials in Wake County including democrats, republicans, independents, have all spoken out against this bill. In Wake County, which you are supposed to be representing, housing sales and building construction are up precisely in places that have additional requirements. People want quality construction not the bare minimum. Step up and listen to your constituents, not the building industry who mainly care about profits not healthy and great communities. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Richmond. Patti Williams? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good evening, my name is Patti Williams. I want to thank you for the opportunity to comment about what I believe is about the most undemocratic and unconstitutional piece of legislation I can imagine. I'd like to start off by reminding everyone what former First Lady Barbara Bush said after a candidate she endorsed lost an election, "People spoke, move on, get on with it. I want to do other things and not to be ugly." In 2011, then Wake School Board Chair Ron Margiotta paid Kieran Shanahan to redraw school board district lines after the 2010 census. Many voters were moved more than necessary to balance the population in each district. Some districts were made more partisan and then other districts voting precincts were split, adding cost and confusion for voters in that election. The people spoke, Mr Margiotta lost his bid for reelection. I thought we had moved on but the newly proposed Senate Bill 325 effectively undoes the results of the 2011 Wake County School Board election. Now Senators Hunt and Barefoot have proposed to remove the authority to redraw School Board District boundaries from the local Board of Education in violation of state statute, redraw the School Board districts again, placing several current board members in the same district when the state statute says you can't redraw district lines unless you have a new census, cut short the terms of five board members and extend the terms of four others, create two at-large seats adding tens of thousands of dollars to the cost to run an effective county-wide campaign. The high cost of campaigning would exclude many from running. Moreover, electing our school board by district allows each board member to establish relationships with principle, staff, students, and their families at a subset of our 169 schools. Representation by district enables greater accountability and more effective advocacy and problem solving. This is purely a political move. It's not coming from citizens but from overzealous, power hungry elected officials who didn't like the outcome of the 2011 school board election. Let's move on, let's get on with it. There are four school board seats up for election in October, find good candidates, and may the best people win. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Ms. Williams. Barbara Vandenbergh. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. My name is Barbara Vandenbergh. I am a retired Wake County schoolteacher and a parent of two sons who got an excellent education in the Wake County schools and it's schools I want to talk to you about. I feel we do not need Senate Bill 325. These school board districts were re-drawn in 2011 after the U.S. Census
before the last school board election to change the election process is an unwise use of tax dollars at a time when you are advocating conservative budgeting. We have paid for this once why should we pay for it again? Senator Hunt argues that this bill will give voters greater choice because they get to vote for two board of education members. Seventy percent of the residents of Wake county do not have children in school and of the remaining 30 percent a very small percentage of families have children in multiple districts we would be spending this money for a small fraction of the citizens. We do not need this bill. However, if that is the model that you choose than when can we expect legislation that will give us a chance to vote for two senators? We do not need this bill. In summary I'm sure you object to the Federal government dictating to states how to govern. I urge you to be consistent and do not dictate to wake county how we run our school system. This is a example of big government not sensible government. We do not need this bill. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you ?? Stephanie Goslin Charles Ridder I'm sorry I didn't see you [SPEAKER CHANGES] It's alright. My name is Stephanie Goslin and I come here to speak on behalf of the state honoring its contracts. The state if the state were to renege on this contract it sets a very dangerous precedent. If you were if you set this precedent what would prevent the state from being able to renege on any of its future contracts? If the party comes into power if a new party comes into power what would prevent them from reneging on contracts this legislature enters into. Who will be willing to do the business with the state in the future? Are you willing to take that chance? and the argument that the state is doing this in support of mental health is erroneous if that were true they would be expanding the medicaid program. Which brings me to the other reason I come before you. I recently gone on disability and did you know that a person that has disability has to resign their position with their employer thus giving up medical benefits and if you are on disability you have to be on disability for two years before medicare will kick in. My one thousand four hundred and seventy five dollars per month puts me over the amount that you can make before medicaid kicks in. I am sure that how many people that are disabled can go two years without seeing a doctor. I urge the legislature to expand the medicaid program and as a United States tax payer I don't understand why I have to pay for other states to expand their medicaid programs while we are foregoing expanding ours. Finally the hospitals would also appreciate the expansion of the medicaid program they would be best paid for the low income population that is filling up their E R rooms. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much Mrs. Goslin. Charles Ridder. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon my name is Charles Ridder from ?? and I am here to urge t he Wake county delegation to stop SB76 what this bill does it preapproves what the mining and energy commission is doing they are coming up with quote safety guidelines and by preapproving it by eliminating the legislature from having final approval is like signing a blank check so we don't know what we are going to get. It also does alot of other nasty things including eliminating the North Carolina State Geologist from mining and energy commission and fracking is allowed it will contaminate the drinking water in Wake county and I'd like to show this and I have handouts here. I don't know ?? delegation. This is quick fracking allows the use of carcinogens Halliburton loophole goes into the shale. The shale intersects the water table in Chatham county that intersection is about two to five miles from Jordan lake. When you contaminate Jordan lake those carcinogens will come out of your faucet. So there is a path there and the only issue is not if it will happen but when it will happen.
“And I just urge the Wake County delegation to not allow SP76 to go through which eliminates again the legislature from having final approval on safety guidelines from the mayor… thank you.” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “Thank you, Mr. Ritter.” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “And, take a look at this, I’d appreciate it.” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “The sergeant of arms will share it with us… thank you… Carol Whitemore please?” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “Good afternoon, my name is Carol Whitemore, and I’m a concerned citizen of Wake County, I’m also a native of North Carolina. My families have been in North Carolina for over 200 years, my father was a quarter Cherokee, and you can see all those features in me. I love the ol’ north state, and I’m here to make that declaration along with a couple of other things. Maybe it’s my coming out party, I’m not sure… I particularly want to talk about us keeping with good faith… I mean, I live somewhere with a lease… I can’t just do what I want to do, how can a government do what they want to do? I have looked through senate bill 334 quite thoroughly… and it’s unfortunate that I have to get down to paragraph six, before anyone mentions mental health. I hear first, fair market… we’re going to have to move health and human services… yea’ that is a cha-ching… that’s a big cha-ching… I don’t know how that slipped through the last time… and now that property is so much more valued, then what’s to say, these people can’t just have their friends come in and make the money off of it? Well I can tell you, I’ve always been a supportive person of mental health issues in this state, I will be… I will continue to be… so I’m going to have an extra watchful eye, to see how all of this rolls out. There is no doubt, in my mind, that this is going to pass. But I can tell you from the girl that was raised on a farm in western North Carolina, I went to college by hand-setting tobacco on a hill side… oh that’s the end… thank you very much, I appreciate your time today.” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “Thank you Miss Whitemore… Marsha Mun?” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “Good after noon. My name is Marsha Mun. I don’t like public speaking, and probably… rather have a tooth pulled, than be here today, but I am here, because I am a longtime citizen of Wake County, and the state, and I am appalled, angered, and saddened, by what is happening to my county and state, at the hands of this legislature. I want to talk about two issues. First, senate bill 334, house bill 319, which would break the contract, between the state and the city of Raleigh, for a park on Dick’s Campus. Really… maybe it’s something that not every legislature likes, but it’s a decision made by our city council on behalf of it’s citizens, and they have a valid legal contract with the state. To intervene is to set a precedent, that says laws come and go, every time we have an election. That is a very scary prospect to me. Not to mention that a park, envisioned by the far-sighted leaders of this effort, would bring jobs and money to our state, and a steady stream of funds for mental health services. So I’m confused… even if you’d simply as an economic development strategy, why would you not support this park? In fact, why aren’t you actively advocating for it? Secondly, senate bill 325, a bill to overturn our most recent school board election… again, why? Because the candidates who won were Democrats? It’s pretty difficult to read this bill and not see retribution all over it… a petty and un-admirable motive. Surely we should have the expectation that when we elect someone to the local office that that person is not going to be imprudently removed by you. I looked at the definition of conservative in the dictionary, and I wondered who had really been elected… it was defined as, “tending or to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions, and marked by moderation or caution.” I’m not seeing any of those things from you… So I urge you to consider Samuel Johnson’s advice, “to push advantages too far, is neither generous, or just.” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “Thank you Mrs. Mon… Cathy Buise?” [SPEAKER CHANGE] “My name is Cathy Buise, and I’m a parent, a Wake County Citizen, and a registered voter. I have never missed an election in 36 years of voting in Wake County… not even a runoff election. I take the election process and democracy, in our country, and our st-”… (fin)
state and county seriously, as I'm sure all of you do. That is why I'm here to share with you my grave concern about Senate Bill 325, and my great disappointment with Senator Hunt's and Senator Barefoot's sponsorship of this bill. New School Board district lines were redrawn by a Republican majority on the School Board for the 2011 election. Many, many people of all political stripes worked long hours to ensure that the political process during that election was fair and somewhat uncomplicated for the voting public in Wake County. We had a fair and open School Board election. The people voted, and they had their say. To now throw out the results of that election and once again redraw new district lines and have a new special election is costly, and is frankly undemocratic. If people need more representation in their school district, let's talk about it. Let's have the School Board sponsor more public forums and listen to their concerns. This is a Wake County School Board issue, not a state government issue. Our School Board was legally and fairly elected to govern Wake County's public schools system. It's time to concentrate on the needs and challenges of the children in Wake County, and to support the people who were legally elected on the School Board by the citizens of Wake County. I respectfully ask you to rethink your sponsorship of this bill, and ask you to seriously think about the implications, the expense, the loss of good will, and maybe even the loss of future revenue that will be generated by this bill. Please allow our School Board to do the job that they were elected to do. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Ms. Boose. Tina Govan. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One good thing about all this is the level of civil engagement that you see happening right now. You've thrown cold water in the face of North Carolina, and we are awake. It was Ronald Reagan who said the government was beholden to the people. He believed in our capacity for self-government, not representatives in a, quote, far distant capitol who think they can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves. It applies to the state just as strongly as it does to the Federal Government. Local control, governance, and representation. I thought you believed in that. Why, then, are you meddling in the affairs of Wake County? What does the rest of North Carolina have to fear from you? Are you planning to redraw the school district boundaries and arbitrarily terminate the terms of school board members in all the other North Carolina counties as well? It's disenfranchisement pure and simple. We're back to taxation without representation. Never in my life have I had my vote undone by kicking out elected officials. Shame on you, Neal Hunt. Gerrymandering district lines to win elections for your own party is a shameful, undemocratic practice. It should be illegal. It's about maximizing votes for your own team and disenfranchising everybody else. It's not representative government. People should choose their representatives, not the other way around. Many states use an independent nonpartisan commission to draw district lines, with regulations limiting participation by elected officials. It's time for us to do this. Enough with this selfish, never-ending messing around with district lines. I want to ask you, what is the state? There is no one place called North Carolina. The state is cities and town. North Carolina thrives only when local places thrive. Why are you trying to steal authority away from them? It's the city and county governments that are closest to the people. In North Carolina everywhere, people are trying to build stronger communities and make where they live a better place. What works for people in Asheville may not work in ?? Hall. Here in Raleigh, we've worked hard for the UDO and to put the ?? and elect school board members who represent them. Respect that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Ms. Govan. Melanie Taylor. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I would like all of the Wake County delegation to raise their hands. I want to see them high. I'm a retired school teacher, if you can't tell. Today my purpose is to pose some thoughtful comments about a number of issues, not provide a litany of statistics. I'm sure facts and numbers will be covered by others. As the old song goes, change, it's been a long time coming. So I understand why it's necessary for the current majority to undo what was done by previous lawmakers. Let's take away local control of our municipalities and schools and put them in the hands of lawmakers, for Heaven's sake, on the state level yet. Put
School teachers all notice they may not have a job that long and they're not going to be paid much anyway. Take away unemployment benefits, allow Senators Pate and Tucker to use treatment of the mentally ill as a smoke screen - as a smoke screen to avoid a lawful contract for a [part] which benefits all of the state. Above all let's do away with diversity and put up road blocks to voting for the poor, the old, minorities when no real fraud exists. It's time to resurrect the poll tax and the Grandfather clause. If we continue all of this undoing, maybe we can return to 1719 - history teacher here [laughter] - when the Carolina Colony was divided into North and South Carolina. After all, when all this undoing is complete, we'll just be another South Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi. For heavens sakes they save us most of the time. I'm just trying to light a candle in the darkness so that our lawmakers in 2013 will consider how to treat their neighbors, rich and poor alike, and really listen to these speakers and these hearings. We're not just window dressing so that you can go ahead and undo what you are going to undo all along. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Miss Taylor [APPLAUSE]. Let's keep it moving, thank you. Mary Marjorela please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. I am Mary Marjorela, chair of the League of Women voters of Wake County. I am here today to advocate for responsible government. A recent proposal from the Wake County Board of Commissioners, followed by a similar proposal from the North Carolina legislature, is causing us great concern. Senate Bill 325 would change the election district boundaries, the terms of office, and the way in which Wake County school board members are elected. Wake's commissioners had asked that a majority of school board members be elected at large instead of representing single districts. The League believes all of these actions and proposals defy principles of democracy. They thwart transparency in government, citizen participation, equity in representation, and bring arbitrary changes for terms and districts of previously elected officials. Transparency in government requires explanations for why suggested radical changes are desirable. Time for discussion and opportunity for input. These are necessary for informed citizen participation. We do not have explanations of why the need for thee changes is called for at this time, and it appears there will be limited time for consideration of the consequences. Following the census of 2010, school districts in Wake County were modified by the appropriately assigned bodies, with some attention to equity and representation, to bring the districts into conformity with the consensus. Now the legislature, after the fact of this revision, is without explanation planning to take the role of drawing new districts, and completely revising the composition in terms of the members of the Wake County school board. We ask that the Wake County delegation withhold it's approval of SB325, so that any changes in methods of election reflect citizen input, previously mandated government processes, and thoughtful legislative study. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Gail Wisener, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you for listening. I'm a realtor, and I've lived in North Carolina since 1994. Lived and loved it. My husband is a psychologist. So we are both very interested in development issues in the area. We are both very interested in mental health issues. My husband actively works in politics as well, defending the rights of North Carolinians and protecting the rights of mental health. And those two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A study was made - or several studies were made - to show how we could benefit both. When I was a kid I grew up in New Orleans, and we were poor. And we spent many hours in City Park, which is a fabulous park in the middle of New Orleans and I think it rivals City Park, though not as large. Kids of all ages play there. Companies have their picnics there. There's a beautiful museum in the middle of it. But there's not an office, or God forbid a condo, in sight. It is a jewel. And it has been for many, many years. It continues to be an asset. Because somebody, somewhere had the foresight to think ahead. They weren't in a hurry to do anything and everything they could to make their mark.
result, as a result of that. Making all kinds of decisions willy-nilly, that are going to affect the health and welfare of the citizens in North Carolina for decades to come. Some of this can't be undone, folks. Some of these decisions you're making are extremely serious, and we school kids learned when we were little that there were great leaders like Theodore Roosevelt, who was instrumental in creating federal parks, and we remember him for the good that he did. But you know what? We studied Tammany Hall too. Sleazy politics. Please be in that first group, guys. Don't be in that last group. You don't want to be remembered for doing harm for decades to come, to grab a few dollars now. Be a little smarter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Ms. Wisener. Anita Earls. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman and members of the Wake County Delegation, my name is Anita Earls. Together with Allison Riggs, we represent several Wake County voters who are dedicated to fair elections for Wake County schools. And I'm here today to oppose senate bill 325. I have written comments which I hope that you will take into account that go into more detail. But basically my clients oppose this bill because it is fundamentally unfair. It is highly disruptive and against the other expressions of public policy that we have in the law, to redistrict again without some kind of legal mandate. The current districts have not been found to be unconstitutional or violate the Voting Rights Act. We don't have two school board systems that are merging. There's no legal reason why there needs to be a redistricting at this time. It's also unusual to consider this change against the wishes of the current board. It's highly unusual to consider this change without public input, without a chance for the public to give their views on whether or not they think it's necessary. And the only explanation we've, non-partisan or non-political explanation we've heard, that parents want to be able to vote, that they may send their kids to a school in a different district than the one that they live in, that they vote in, isn't explained by the provisions of the bill itself, and I go into more detail on that in my letter. Legally, you might note that the eastern half of the two district part of the plan, the eastern half of District A actually follows the same lines as Senate District 14, which is currently being challenged in litigation in state court on a number of grounds. The districts are non-compact. The deviations are beyond what current districts have, leading to unfair vote dilution of urban voters. And finally, we know that there are 15,000 voters who lived in a district in 2009 that didn't have an election, that didn't vote in 2011. This extends until 2014, a total of seven years when they can vote. This is bad policy, but we also think that senate bill 325 as written is unconstitutional. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Ms. Earls. It would be helpful if you gave the writing to the Sergeant at Arms and they will distribute it to us. Thank you. David Diaz. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I'm here on behalf of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, a non-profit organization whose mission is to continue the revitalization of downtown Raleigh. Downtowns are the heart and soul of our towns and cities. Every town in North Carolina shows its pride in its community through the success of revitalizing their downtown. Dorothea Dix's proximity to downtown means that any plans for developing it could directly undermine the recent success of downtown Raleigh. Any Dix plan should complement and not undermine the investments that have been made by the city of Raleigh, Wake County, and the state of North Carolina, to revitalize North Carolina's downtown. We urge the legislature to not support this bill, bills 319 and 334. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Diaz. Mike Lindsay. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'd like to thank the Wake County Delegation for this opportunity to speak. And also thank you for your service to our county and to our state. My name is Michael Lindsay. I'm a registered independent. You guys need to pay attention to people like me. I live in one of the best neighborhoods, in one of the best cities in America. You may or may not know about my neighborhood, yet last week the legislature voted to eliminate building guidelines for beautiful Cameron Park. Something we spent years developing, the legislature voted to eliminate without even knowing the details. Surely state government doesn't know Cameron Park better than its own residents. Now I hear this same top down approach is going to be applied to the Wake County school system. A system with a great national reputation, is now going to have something fixed that isn't broken. And finally, why is state government preparing to go back on its word? After years of work, the city of Raleigh and the state signed agreement to lease the remaining land of the Dorothea Dix and
To the city for a future park. Raleigh will pay the state well over $68 million in the course of 75 years. Yet it isn’t good enough for the sponsor of the bill to revoke Raleigh’s lease. This same man, however, sponsored a bill that gave a $2 million prison to the local people for a dollar. As a pro-business, independent voter, I am stunned at all this ill-conceived legislation. ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Miss Burham. Steve Church. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. My name is Steve Church and I’m an advocate for Dorothea Dix Hospital. The reason we’re here today is that past or present political leaders have conveniently framed the conversation on Hicks to be about real estate opportunities rather than the mentally ill. They knew that mental health was not a topic that people would rally around but a park would be. Judging from the comments so far, their deception has worked brilliantly. Dix’s closing was an act of evil toward the mentally ill but it took good men and women to do nothing, doing nothing to achieve it. The influential people with money and a vision, patiently waiting for Dix to be of no further use to North Carolina so they could take it over without any remorse. The media for the most part has allowed most of this to take place. Media outlets like the ?? observer and WRAL had a long-term vested interest in Dix’s defunding so their own visions for the land could be realized. We can only honor Dorothea Dix by once again promoting mental health care as a primary source for this property. The Reverend Martin Luther King once said, quote, “Our lives begin to end when we become silent about things that matter.” So before you begin to feel too sorry for business leaders up in arms about binding contracts, Republicans in charge who oppose the deal like it is now are park advocates who want all the property. Please take a moment to reflect on those who cannot fend for themselves. Only they have a legitimate right to honestly show shock and outrage over Dix ?? takeover, no matter the outcome. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you very much, Mr. Church. Shane Collins. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Hi. Thanks for letting me speak today. I’m Shane Collins and I just want to talk about three things today. Parks, jobs and money. I came here in 2001 from Colorado. I turned down a job at UC Boulder. There’s a lot of parks in Boulder. Well, in Colorado. And I turned down a job in Boulder to come to Raleigh because there was a better job in Raleigh. But then I found out there were other things in Raleigh and the surrounding area. Notably parks. Parks, people, jobs and money. And so I bought a house. There were no parks nearby but there was NCState, which became Centennial Campus. And now there’s a park and a house, my first house in Raleigh, that’s going on up ?? Drive. The city has approved that park, and they’re working with the community to establish a park there. My next house was on Lake Johnson, which is a beautiful park, enjoyed by students, by seniors, and by young children and they’re looking to expand that park. My third house is in North Raleigh, near ?? another park off of Quail Hollow, I’m sorry I forget the name. It’s off Quail Hollow Drive. And so the parks have been big decision-makers for me in getting property, and buying property and maintaining property in this area. And what I would like to do would be to encourage the delegation to consider the importance of parks, the importance of jobs, and the importance of people need for money. Because parks generate value, and that’s very important in home ownership and in purchasing property in areas. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Collins. Lois Dixon. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon. I’m Lois Dixon. I live in Carey. And I am speaking in opposition to Senate Bill 325. I’m an unaffiliated voter, and I believe strongly that public education should be non-partisan issue. It is the most important thing we do and the foundation of our responsibilities as a society. And by the way, Wake County is divided almost evenly between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters at about 30-40% each.
I have three points among many that illustrate that this Bill is inferior to current legislation. First, the current districts that were just revised and paid for by the Republican-lead Board of Education are compact and reasonable and give each municipality a designated Board representative, but the map, excuse me, but the map showing districts proposed in this Bill are loopy like a can of worms without clear representation for any community. This maps puts 9 of the 12 municipalities between two districts, carves Raleigh into six of the seven districts and splits twenty-one precincts, which would be confusing I'm sure. Board of Education, secondly, Board of Education advisory councils which mean on a regular basis with their district board member will now be required with these districts to drive from one end of the county to another for their meetings. This will break the local connection and the sense of responsibility of board members to the schools and neighborhoods they represent in their districts. Third, holding the election with the 2014 primary election when each party selects its partisan candidates, sends a clear signal that this is no longer a non-partisan board. It will disenfranchise unaffiliated voters who do not realize they too can vote in a primary election. And finally, I would urge the senate leadership to stop saying that our public education system is broken. The only thing broken about public education is the per pupil funding, which is second from the bottom in all fifty states. In spite of that our students, aided by our teachers, are outperforming the funding and posting higher achievement scores and other measures that are better than they have ever been in the history of North Carolina. Thank you. SPEAKER CHANGES: Thank you Ms. Nixon. Jerry Ackland. SPEAKER CHANGES: I'm Jerry Ackland, I'm the current President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Wake County, and I'm here, believe it or not, to support Senate Bill 334. Now you might ask why in the world would I want to support something that doesn't support parks. I love parks too but what has happened is that people that Dorothea Dix, and her legacy left for us, is the need for taking care of the poor and the people with mental illness. And so, when, when the people that were meeting in closed rooms and talking about places, about building parks and things, guess who was left out? Those with mental illness. They were left out completely in the discussion. They were ignored, and so I think this lease that was put together at the very last minute, in a smoke-filled room, with all sorts of things that went on, ignored a very important component; and because of that I want to speak up and say something about that. In particular, I would imagine that you don't even know that in the very last minutes of this, this debate, more land was given away to one of the property leasee's, the Healing Place, did you know that? Your sign that says Dix 306, it's not 306 anymore, it's less than that already. Golly gee, things happen that you probably didn't even know about. Therefore, I'm telling you maybe we have to ask questions of why did they happen. Could it be that Mr. Goodman's wife who is co-founder of the Healing Place that got the benefit of this had some influence on the decision? I don't know. But why can't we have an open and transparent society so that we can all be a part of this? Finally, I am not going to go very far here am I? I just ask the delegation to open up and reconsider and think about what you can do to compromise here and make this a better place for all of us in this state. Thank you. SPEAKER CHANGES: Thank you, Mr. Ackland. Louise Fisher. SPEAKER CHANGES: Thank you, I have been a volunteer advocate for the mentally ill for thirty-one years. Many of you think in this room that what is happening as far as the decisions being made about the park and development have nothing to do with the mentally ill. I beg to differ. I also differ with the notion that the plight of the mentally ill is a smokescreen. Folks, it is real. I wish you got the information that I received on my car phone and some of these other people received about people who are frantic even with small children and cannot get services, afraid their family member will kill someone. That's how bad our services are. I support both Bills that void Governor Purdue's leased with the City of Raleigh. The lease culminated thirty-one years of efforts to close Dix
to gain control of the property. I don't have time to give you the history. Those efforts eroded North Carolina's failing mental health system. Not one penny in the least is slated to go for the mentally ill. The Dix property issue boils down to an unfair battle between the haves and the have nots. Most park advocates have money and voice. The mentally ill have no money and no voice. They are simply at your mercy. The Dix property was originally donated for the sole purpose of providing more humane treatment for our mentally ill in North Carolina, not not for development or a park. What- why is no one concerned about that agreement with these families? Dorothea Dix's mission was to get the mentally ill out of prisons and into hospitals. Today we have more mentally ill in prisons than we do in our hospitals. They've continued to downsize the hospitals every year. I'll finish by saying, in 2000 I attended a conference dealing with the homeless mentally ill. I'll never forget an elderly Jewish lady who rose to her feet with tears streaming down, and said "I lived through the Nazi holocaust, these years will go down in this country as the holocaust of the mentally ill". Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Ed Rubeo? I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Hope Turlington. I went out of order, I apologize Ms. Turlington. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm Hope Turlington, a Dix advocate. Start your engines. 10 years of work in a park vs a life struggle of mental illness? What would you choose? North Carolina, as per the Dix lease is to approve any Raleigh plan, so we've got to say no for 99 years? So our sick could get the care that belongs to them? What's fair? Do the park people think it's fair to kick our sick off their deeded ground with 1.4 million they didn't care, and the figure's population's growing higher every day? Did you hear Dr. E. Fuller Turley on national C-Span put us on the bottom in mental health care? Does Buttoner replace Dix' 500 bed loss along with 1300 jobs? How high will Raleigh resident taxes go, and will Ralegh depend on North Carolina taxpayers to pay for their park? Doesn't North Carolina get their long awaited vote as honored? Who's to pay for cleaning the varmint toxic dump on Dix hill from Raleigh building projects? Who pays to raise Dix and remove toxic waste as New York Central Park has no buildings? Why did Raleigh close parks out of 3800 if they can afford another? Can a deed of Dix Hill to care for ou sick be ignored? Now researched and proved? Did Sen. Ham say "I know no one who deserves a view from Dix Hill better than our sick?" Is it right for our sick to wait a 6 month period in jail for a bed at Buckner? How can sheriffs fund transport? 2 Sheriffs at the time are patients. How can families find Buckner or afford the gas, or afford the gas to go to your park you're talking about? Most of North Carolina is poor now. Is Raleigh not center of the state, and the largest population of needing help? Sen. 334 and House bill 319 is fair to all. Please vote for that, it's the only thing that's acknowledged we do have sick people in the state of North Carolina. Lord please save us from this expensive deadly trespass, and I do believe he does set the path right, not us. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Ms. Turlington Just as a point of order we will hear from Mr. Rubeo, and at that point we're going to break. We will be meeting again in 2 weeks, the Wake delegation, and anyone who is on the list who did not have an opportunity to speak, we will continue our public meeting in 2 weeks and we will put out a notice. It will either be in this room or another room, but we'll put out a notice to that effect. But we want everyone who signed up to speak to have an opportunity, I just apologize we're not able to get to everyone today. Mr. Rubeo? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and county commissioners and people of Wake County and the state of North Carolina. I'm here to bring to light that people like Thomas Edison, Nicolas Tesla, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs, true Americans that brought dreams to life and made this country what it is today. And I have been building schools for Wake county for the past 14 years, been involved with many projects like Sanford Creek, Boris Pines, and
[These will]. Many schools we worked on. And I see some solutions, possibly, from a guy working from the inside out. I believe that we should be designing smaller schools closer to neighborhoods, to create a connected community and less bussing. That's the first thing I see. And that protects our environment from green gasses. Second I see that we should start looking at building innovative schools. We call ourselves Raleigh Innovate, well let's innovate and build schools that are better fortified, and more cost effective, and energy efficient overall. Let's think about net zero energy so that we can save the tax payers money. Building better schools, better fortified, using the innovation and advances in technology we have today, could save a tremendous amount of money for the Wake County taxpayers. And at the same time we could pay our teachers better. So it's not all about brick or mortar. We're about ready to spend a billion dollars or more in school construction. This time we take the old style, copy and paste over and over the same buildings. It's time to innovate and really look for solutions, and maybe the Wake County could form a commission to look at the advance technology that we have today to lessen the impact on the environment and save the taxpayers money. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. ?? thank you. I apologize once again to everyone, and the next person in line always feels the pain the greatest. I apologize. But we have to end it at some point and we said the meeting would go until 6 pm. We will-- Wake delegation meets again in two weeks, and so anyone who signed up will have an opportunity to address us then. As the chair I just want to thank everyone for your comments today. They were very informative, very civilly delivered and we appreciate it. Meeting adjourned.