The Caryhara Desert

The drought continues. Durham down to 50 days water supply, Raleigh down to 100. Cary drying up too, and it will happen faster once Durham starts pumping from Jordan Lake.

A while back, I posted a sensible set of water-saving recommendations. Evidently, more stringent measures are required.

I was hoping we would not have to go to Defcon 6 (on a 5-point scale), but here goes:

  1. Henceforth, flushing the toilet will be performed on a discretionary basis. Use the old axiom: If its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down. We have those waterless urinals at work and they're not that bad unless somebody had asparagus. This week they put blue stuff in them, so when in action they look like a lava lamp. Way cool and no water!
  2. Transportation of glaciers to NC via 12-ounce cans should be increased immediately.
  3. Even at fine restaurants, men will no longer be expected to pour their bottle or can of beer into a glass as an expression of good manners. Eliminates the need to wash glasses and instills that 'at home' feeling.
  4. To eliminate washing of sweaty clothes, men will again be restricted from exercise of any kind. This does not include activites like golf or fishing, which do not cause one to break a sweat. This sacrifice will mean more time in front of the TV, so caring wives may want to consider an upgrade during the Holiday season. 50" plasma is fine.
  5. I saved the best for last. My plan will not only resolve Wake County's water supply crisis, but also address concerns regarding illegal immigration. Let us welcome those crossing the Rio Grande, and have them form a bucket brigade which begins at that river and stretches all the way to Wake County. I know its Texas water, but beggars...


Messing With Mother Nature Again

I hope that most of the rain we got today made its way to our reservoirs, we need it. Jordan Lake is still down six feet, and Raleigh's water supply is measured in months.

So, what do you do when you hit the wall on water supply in Wake County? The county's answer is to build more reservoirs. Click here to view Wake County's proposal to build a new reservoir on the Little River. The new lake will provide 17 million gallons of water a day to northeastern Wake County.

The lake will flood 1,100 acres of what today is open green space. In addition, a critical watershed about twice that size must be established.

Are we doing the right thing for Wake County? On one hand, people like me whine about having infrastructure in place before development, and this represents a clear attempt to do that. That said, I struggle to believe we are doing right. Who is going to pay to build the lake and water treatment plant? Developers? Not! This is a trade-off decision... Does it make sense to give up 1,100 acres of undeveloped land so that growth can continue? If yes, do we flood another 1,100 acres when that water supply runs out? Where does it end?

Ernie McAlister always liked to talk about "Moving Cary forward." At a county-level, if we keep moving forward like this the final product will be a county in which almost every square inch of land has been made 'more productive.' Take a trip to North Jersey and you can see what 'productive' counties look like. No thanks.

We have two huge man-made reservoirs already, how about letting nature determine when enough is enough.


The Feeding Frenzy Continues

At the end of the third quarter, the Cary Town Manager issued a report stating 707 residential building permits had been issued during the period.

In October, 209 more permits were issued. In a four month period, 916 permits. Annualized, the rate is 3,664.

Does Ernie still blame Harold for 78% of this?

This will be Ernie's legacy. When you drive around town and see a large parcel leveled, think of Ernie. When you see an orange traffic cone, think of Ernie. When you see a trailer added to your child's school, think of Ernie.

Cary's new town hall was never dedicated with a plaque (probably because Ernie's name would not have appeared on it since it was completed before his tenure). I believe a man who has made such a substantial mark on a town's history should be appropriately memorialized. Here are a few suggestions:

The Ernie McAlister Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. Ernie was a driving force behind this initiative which paved the way for our growth to 250,000 and allowed the citizens of New Hill the opportunity to process our sludge.

Rename Lake Johnson to Lake Ernie. That Johnson guy is probably dead anyway and won't care, and Cary's most recent contribution of 7,000 gallons of raw sewage to the lake deserves to be recognized.

Apply a misuse overlay to all of the downtown Cary properties which have become boarding houses and slums over the past few years. Name it Ernieville (think of Pottersville here).

Let your imagination go, post any ideas you have!



During Harold Weinbrecht's campaign, I met some realtors who were just great people. These people were part of a grass-roots effort to restore sanity to growth management in Cary. Their motives varied. Some said they were putting the interests of their home town ahead of their personal gain. Others realized that runaway growth may increase short-term transactions, but does not make for a long-term healthy market.

These wonderful people were in the microscopic minority of realtors having a social conscience. My following comments do not apply to them.

When Glen Lang referred to realtors as 'pond scum' he was being kind. I liken their business model to that of a pimp. They make money off every transaction, whether the buyer/seller benefits or not.

Consider today's front-page N&O story regarding home inspections. Eight members comprise the NC Home Inspection Licensure Board, the lone realtor being John Hamrick. Mr. Hamrick introduced a proposal which would prohibit home inspectors from making repair recommendations, even for safety issues. The NC Realtors Lobby has gotten behind the proposal and again poured some of their unlimited PAC money into making it a reality. Opponents of this rules change have pointed out the motivation to reduce home inspectors' potential to delay or derail home-sale closings amid a nation-wide housing slump. Mr. Hamrick says the measure would actually benefit consumers by 'standardizing' the home inspection reports. NC Senator Marc Basnight oversees the Home Inspection Committee, has appointment power for two of the eight positions, and the NC Realtors Lobby gave $16,000 to his last campaign.

Me, I'd kind of like to know if a house I'm buying sits on top of a bikini atoll's worth of radon. It would also be handy to receive recommendations regarding upgrades of amenities like electrical wiring, heating or matters regarding structural integrity. I'll take my chances with a non- 'standardized' report to hopefully learn of these things before buying.

Realtors still have a stranglehold on the market. I'm not calling out collusion here, but I find it incredibly coincidental that every major real estate agency has established 6% commission rate. Try listing your home with Concept 2000 or one of the other discount brokers who charge 3-4%. Realtors with clients will drive by your property and avoid showing it at all costs.

I have had the pleasure of meeting some great people who were realtors. Unfortunately, most realtors I've met have been a disappointment. Stories like today's only serve to make life more difficult for the ones who conduct themselves ethically.


New Blog Feature Added: Video of the Day!!

Why waste your valuable time surfing YouTube for today's gem, when I've already wasted mine?


2009 Campaign Begins !!

As Mrs. Gump said, politics is like a box of chocolates... Some of 'em might look pretty on the outside but when you open 'em up you find stuff you don't like. Kind of like Jennifer Robinson.

The first council meeting after the elections she started re-inventing herself as a balanced-growth advocate. At the last council meeting she actually voted against a rezoning request for higher density. Over the next two years J.Low will continue her miraculous transformation from Ernie-bot to selfless community advocate.

No matter. Whoever runs against her, I like their chances. She sold out her neighbors on DHH and built herself a reputation as a champion for special insterests. People don't forget, and I'm sure her opponent(s) will help them to remember.


Back to Reality

OK, so my last post and picture were looking ahead to better times when we get a new Town Council, now it's back to reality.

The Cary Town Manager just released our 3rd quarter report. During the quarter, Cary issued 707 building permits -- an all-time record high for any quarter. Local TV station WBST ran a story, here are some excerpts with Bernie McSmales:

Reporter: So, Mr. McSmales, you have had a busy third quarter!

McSmales: Yes Jane, we have continued to move the town forward at a fiscally responsible pace.

Reporter: I read somewhere that Governer Easley has asked municipalities to reduce water consumption by 50%, do you think setting records for building is a good idea?

McSmales: Absolutely, Jane. Yes, these new projects will require water for pouring concrete, but since Cary just gave back 7,000 gallons to NC's water supply, this represents a fair balance.

Reporter: You mean the 7,000 gallons of raw sewage that was spilled into a Lake Johnson tributary last week?

McSmales: Eventually that will become water, stop with the details. Besides, all those building permits were approved by Harold Winebreck four years ago.

Reporter: I thought you took credit for restoring a healthy growth rate in the town?

McSmales: Yeah, but I figured out real quick that that wouldn't get me votes. You need to keep up with the commercials, Jane.

Reporter: So, is this how you want to be remembered by citizens, for presiding over the all-time record quarter for building permits?

McSmales: Nope. I still have all of November left in office and I'm going for the monthly record there too!

Reporter: Well, Bernie, you've killed a lot of trees in your time.

McSmales: I didn't want to do it, but felt I owed it do them.