Guess who came to our meeting last night ?!

There was an awful lot of hot air circulating up in DC last night. I got home in time to watch the Dubya train ... rolling off the tracks in slow motion. Lucky me. The saviors of the evening were Jim Webb and the SOTU live blogging thread here. Most excellent friends -- y'all had me in stitches when I shoulda been dozing off to sleep. But let me get to the question in my title ...

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[Editorial note: the kitties are just for decoration. No kitties were harmed in the writing of this rant.]

In case you weren't aware, we had an open meeting of the Johnston County Growth Management Committee last night in Smithfield. Woohoo!, right?

Well, GUESS WHO CAME to stick their nose where it don't belong?!

The first two people who talked didn't even live in Johnston County. At least the first guy owned land here. He's upset because he's afraid his land value is going to go down. We'll ignore the fact that it's value has quadruppled over the last fifteen years and that there are still special use permits that will be considered. Those are issues for another day.

I'll tell you about the second out-of-town guest in a minute ... or ten.

As you can imagine, the Old Superior Courtroom in Smithfield was full of Realtors. One well-dressed, well coiffed Gentlewoman stood to speak on their behalf. She voiced opposition to the committee's plan. As Gomer used to say,

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

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Then the Realtor went on to complain about the trouble of trying to sell homes when there were trailers at the schools in the neighborhoods where the "Homes for Sale" were. Excusing me for waxing simple-minded, but

Well, duh.
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Senator Smith hisownself had a little dust-up out at his Riverwood development when parents tried to get him to make the School Board move the trailers, (and the students who had classes in them), out of the Riverwood schools. He didn't get too far with that. Apparently, Fred is not quite the rock star he thought he was. Who knew?

Anyway ... back to my tale of small town politics ...

This dear Gentlewoman Realtor talked for what seemed like three days. She sounded like everybody's Grandma, concerned for the first time home buyer and pricing people out of the market and how much more satisfying it was to give keys to a couple buying a 115 thousand dollar house than selling the 400 thousand dollar house.

... (heh. Made you laugh!)...

Ok -- picked yourself up off the floor, y'all. Let's not be disrespectful.

On with the story.

Then, in the middle of all of this dear grandmotherly woman's well practiced parsing of buzz words that all mean the exact opposite of what they appear to mean, I caught this ...

... the stakeholders in this process -- property owners, business owners, developers, contractors and realtors ...

Notice anything missing from that list of stakeholders?

The Association of Realtors in Johnston County doesn't believe that the citizens of Johnston County -- the very people who pay the taxes that build the schools the Realtors demand so they can sell more houses -- are stakeholders in county planning or growth management. hmmm. Interesting. I would submit that THAT attitude is the root of all the conflict that ever happens between citizens and developers.

YOU (Realtors, contractors, developers and their attorneys) discount our concerns because you honestly don't think we have a right to have our concerns counted because you, very wrongly, don't see us as stakeholders in the process.

Then WE (citizens and tax-paying residents of the towns, cities and counties you think you own) come back all BANANA's on your sorry arrogant asses because you've proven yourselves to be a bunch of greedy grubbers who don't give a flip about anybody but yourowndamnselves. [BANANA -- Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.]

That sound about right? Brain exploded yet? Well, take a kittie and keep reading ...

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You know, the Realtor's spoken belief (bless her heart) about citizens not being stakeholders was irritating enough -- enough for me to notice it after several minutes of her talking, anyway.

However, what pushed me over the top and made me decide to write this little diatribe about the incident was watching the distain, the condescending grins and silent snickers, the whispers, the snobbery and the contempt on some of the Realtors' faces from time to time as some of our regular Johnston County citizens got up to speak their minds. If I coulda bored a hole in some of those arrogant Realtor heads with my eyeballs I surely would have. The outward attitude observed in those rows of Realtors was fairly disturbing, to say the least. Their whole group earned nothing but my disrespect as a result. Here's hoping it's dripping from my finger tips as I type and displaying their collective unprofessionalism and lack of comportment for a wider audience to see.

Ok, so what about the answer to the original question?

Strap yourselves in, friends ...

We, the people of Johnston County were honored by none other than the John Locke Foundation last night.

Yes, boys and girls, the JLF sent a paid spokesman. He dressed smartly in a suit and tie. He lives in Cary. Joe was his name. He was there to present a "study paper" produced by another paid spokesman at the JLF. He didn't seem to really understand the details of the paper he presented. He didn't know where the numbers in the paper came from. He has no connection to Johnston County at all. He was totally unimpressive. So unimpressive, in fact, that the morning news cast on WTVD labeled him as "Resident." The dude would have come out better had he just sat there and looked informed and intelligent with his suit and tie and clean shaven head. Getting up and speaking up just blew his image totally out of the water.

Here's a tip ... the next time you JLF folks get a wild hair and decides to mosey on down here to help guide us simple uneducated folks in Johnston County as to who actually gets to call the shots in matters of local management and planning ... stay home.

No, really. Stay home.

Comments

Recommended and giggled

JLF....they are just getting in to everything aren't they?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Thanks, SD

JLF apparently has a lot of noses they don't know what to do with, so folks like us have to deal with the overage of noses with nothing better to do that stick them where they don't belong. ;)

Y'all will forgive me. I ain't feeling too well this a.m. A good Democratic friend sent a SOTU drinking game around last night and ... well, I really shoulda knowed better. Nobody to blame but myself. But I got to get myself to work yet, so I'll be back here sometime around lunch.

Have fun while I'm away!! :)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

You're a hoot

I didn't drink. I cussed.

Check your private messages.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

heh. Did a little of that, too.

My daughter might dispute the use of the word "little" in that sentence. :\ Bad Mom. At one point I was seriously threatened with banishment from the room.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

You too?

I stopped on the way home from the meeting and got some li'l smokies & good patriotic beer - Samuel Adams - but the rules of the game got too complicated, so I just drank the beer & ate the li'l smokies. ;o)

Oh, see ...

I didn't have any l'il smokies.

Which is good. I'd hate to think how angry my kid would have been had I been tossing smokies around the room. ;)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

The title of the paper

Johnston County's "Dumb Growth" Plan, really made a lot of friends on the committee, didn't you think? When he sat beside me with that paper, I was afraid people were going to think we were together. Well, until until after I started speaking, obviously. I imagine I was getting some of those looks from our Realtor friends as I said that most of my neighbors agree we need to do something to slow down the explosive growth in the county.

I don't think Joe from JLF made much of an impression on the panel. Thanks for this very good summary of the meeting. btw, are those all your cats? they are beautiful!

Yeah, that exchange

was priceless. I detected some serious offense taken, too ... opened those Committee member's ears right up to what Mr. Joe had to say, didn't it? ;)

The Growth Management Committee's recommended plan is really just a first step, but it's a good, sorely needed first step. The devil's in the details, but I really like the idea of encouraging set aside of large plots for future growth (i.e. schools, parks) or the retention of homestead areas and green space for recreation. I'd love to see Johnston Town Councils begin to rezone downtown mainstreet areas for specialized dense mixed-use zones (conversion of our many warehouse-type buildings to condos. lofts and apartments and such), but that's another discussion for another day. i think our downtown merchants would like the additional foot traffic in the mornings and evenings.

And YES ... those are my cats.

Orion is our kitten-sized "She Who Must Be Obeyed", Baxter Black (cowboy philosopher and former large animal veteranarian), Kitty Hawk (a.k.a. the Phlufster), and Mr. Earl Grey - always the Gentleman.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

There is No Justice

I missed all the fun! :(

- maybe I should have taken my sick kid and gone anyway.

Sometimes it's nice to share. :)

Next week, for sure.

I'm there

for the next meeting after party! :)

January 30, 6pm, Old Superior Courtroom, Smithfield

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Sounds like a good time was had by all

Nice kitties.

Pope shared his "goodness" with us here in Moore County - now we're represented by a hairdresser in the state house. You had a noticably clean cut "joe" from the Pope funded JLF at one of your meetings. Coincidence? I think not. It's the haircuts. You've got to watch that.

Seriously.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi

Typical PuppetTheatre

For all the Puppetmaster spends on his "reports" about the horrors of "planning" - he sure isn't getting his money's worth.

Great post, Leslie . . . you had me in suspense the whole time!

Those PIG-DOGS!

Down with the exploitative capitalists! Up with communism! Plan like crazy! We don't want growth or development in our communities.

We can also fix that realtor problem by ceding all land over to the council. It's the existence of private property that is the root of this evil. I call upon all of you to sign your property deeds over to the government immediately!

Enlightened citizens of America...I call on you to cast off archaic notions of private property and cede your belongings to the omnipotent state. Follow me, comrades, into the enlightened century of benevolent central planning! Vive la revolution!

Yes! Comrade Mike Speaks Truth!

Failure to engage in planning will allow capitalist pigs to place billboards and gigantic signs for Whore Clubs and Payday Lending everywhere. They will build chemical factories in our neighborhoods. They will dump their raw sewage and toxic was into our water supplies. They will enslave the poor and lock them in factories, chaining the doors so the Workers cannot escape even from fires.

In his zeal, Comrade Mike may sometimes get carried away, but it is good to have extremists among us. Because the capitalist pigs want to take control of government and they must be pushed back.

Comrade Mike

might want to push his comrade arse away from the water pipe.

... just sayin' ...

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Troll

Look away...

The JLF report

has kind of a scholarly look, at first glance. It has 4 pages of text and graphics, and 16 footnotes. 8 of those footnotes refer to the Planning Committee report that was the subject of the meeting; 4 refer to publications of the John Locke Foundation, and one is to an article in the N&O.

The report itself contains no surprises, just JLF's usual market fundamentalist drivel.

was it

a circle jerk report or does it fall under the "you cant define insufficient by saying 'not sufficient' "

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::
Petition

"Keep the Faith"

It's a pungent combination

of both, really.

CircleJerk, JLF SOP: The End Notes not referencing the Growth Management Committee's actual report are mostly referencing other equally pungent JLF reports.

and to support the other JLF reporting technique category ...

you can't define insufficient by saying 'not sufficient':

"The Johnston County Growth Management Committee (GMC) believes that rapid growth has outstripped the county's ability to keep up with essential public services."

Leslie H's additional commentary ... The reality of rapid growth having already outstripped Johnston County's ability to keep up with infrastructure needs -- from sewer plants to school houses -- must of course be wholly ignored at all costs. We all know that reality has a well known liberal bias.

Of course, I may be too harsh. After all, how could somebody from Cary have a clue as to how taxed Johnston's infrastructure has become in the last ten years?

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

LMAO!

God, I love this post. LOL!

Isn't that sweet that the realtor finds it more satisfying to sell a 100k house over a 400k. I bet she does. ;)

I don't think many big developers who steamroll over communities really care that it is not well recieved because, unfortunately, they usually get their way. Typical of big corp mentality.

Well, all we can do is

do what we can do.

I'm betting the average regular tax-paying citizen voters of Johnston county outnumber the average regular tax-paying Realtor/developer voters of Johnston county.

I'm thinking that maybe a little cooperation might be preferrable to -- and cheaper than -- confrontation ... for everybody. Seems to me that compromise on these growth issues is more than possible. None of us want zero growth. And none of us want kids in overcrowded schools. And only crazy people want to spend a billion dollars in Bond debt-service interest over the next 20 years.

I suggest developers and county government start bringing citizens into the planning process of big developments so we can all just get along.

Thanks for your endorsement, NC Dem. :)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Leslie, what a great post

next time take a sign and hold it up (stolen from Condi incident) everytime they start speaking. The sign should say" "Still Lying!"

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Thank you, momo!

You have NO IDEA how bad I wanted a big magic marker to go with my pieces of paper last night. :)

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

F***notes

This JLF report is yet another example of fancy footnote footwork. One example. In the Introduction the report states:

A recent poll found that 82 percent of Americans want to live in a single family home in the suburbs.

Let's follow the trail shall we. The footnote points to a March 2006 report by anti-smart-growth guru Randal O'Toole, page 29 no less. Sure enough there is the original statement:

A recent poll found that 82 percent of Americans aspire to live in a single-family home in the suburbs, while only 18 percent want a “home in the city, close to work, public transportation, and shopping.

But where is the data? Wait, wait, there's another footnote. This one points to a 2002 report by the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders. Not so recent after all.

The national sample of 2,000 households was derived from a panel maintained by the polling firm National Family Opinion (NFO) of households that have purchased a primary residence within the past four years. NFO conducted the survey in January 2002

The following is a descripton of the composition of the respondents. The response rate was not noted so it is unclear whether 2,000 actually participated in the survey. It is clear that the poll was a mail survey conducted among members of a pre-selected consumer panel maintained by NFO for market research purchases and that 82% of respondents were owners of single family homes, other than mobile homes. The poll did not include renters.

Which type of home do you currently live in?

76% Single family detached
6% Townhouse/single family attached
6% Multifamily building (condo or apartment)
10% Mobile home
2% Other (specify)

So let's scoot on down to that very important recent data and here is the question and responses:

Below are three hypothetical choices. Of these three, which would you be most likely to choose?

18% Buying a small single family home in the city, close to work, public transportation, and shopping.
40% Buying a small single family home in a suburban area close to the city.
42% Buying a large single family home in an outlying suburban area, with longer distances to work, public transportation, and shopping.

I'll leave it to statisticians to tell me why this is loaded but it is clear to me that this is not a recent poll and the JLF report is manipulating the results of an already manipulated poll question of dubious validity.

Crappy

Crappy research
based on crappy data
based on crappy interpretation
based on crappy values and principles

I'd say that's par for the Puppetshow course

well you have

Self selection bias amongst a non representative population.

Second, their choices are loaded at best.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::
Petition

"Keep the Faith"

But You See -

I moved to Johnston County to live in the COUNTRY.

Away from all the people, the traffic, the noise, and the smell of well... you know ...

and all these people followed me out here! I'm going to have to move again!

People, please quit following me!

haha

my suggestion? get republicans in charge of the state, watch as all the businesses close up and no one moves to the state, thereby assuring that the next place you move never has anyone show up.

or you could move to kansas, where the work has been done for you and you dont have to work for republicans.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::
Petition

"Keep the Faith"

perfect.

I heart gregflynn ... and his mad googly skillz. :)

This is JLF to a T.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Different interpretation

58% of all respondents said they would choose to live in or close to the city.

Interpretation in belief systems

is all that separates sunni from shia, episcopal from catholic, Thom. Jefferson from Pat Robertson.

ok, so maybe there's a few magnitudes of intelligence and reason in that last example ... my point is ....

Interpretation is often all that separates reason from dogma.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Great coverage of local politics

... and cute cats too. I may have to try that presentation technique.

>ACK<

From today's N&0

...about 100 people showed up ...

and who did they quote???

>GAK

Tuesday Jan. 30th is the next meeting - be there or be doomed to be represented by JLF & the Realtors.

The JLF report

on JoCo's "dumb growth" plan is available online.

Oops, that was the wrong link, but it's funny, so I'm leaving it. Here, try this one for the real JLF report.

It Was Worth It

- just to read this:

Colbert’s money quote: “Most people who can’t afford health insurance also are too poor to owe taxes, but if you give them a deduction from the taxes they don’t owe, they can use the money they’re not getting back from what they haven’t given to buy the healthcare they can’t afford.”

Word.

Hilarious!



Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.