Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Three things for the new Southern Shores Town Council to consider.............

Communication, Communication, Communication!!!

If there is anything specific to learn from the political turmoil of the last four years it would be effective communication. The three components that I believe would help are:

Broadcast News - this is the weekly (more often if necessary) broadcast email. The concept is great and it has proven to be informative and helpful to those that receive it. Just make certain that it doesn't read like someone's campaign literature or subject specific propaganda. Consider, at least, a one time mailing of postcards to property owners to encourage more readership.

Town Meeting - this might be a sore topic with some, but based on the "Mayor's Chat" concept, I really believe there is merit to an open discussion format separate from the regular Council meetings. Currently, at Council meetings there are two opportunities for public comment. Normally, council members do not respond to or answer questions posed, which is appropriate in this venue. A bi-annual or quarterly community meeting, where the public and council members are allowed to interact and obtain answers to their concerns, would lead to the perception of more openness and transparency in our local government.

Solidarity Board - (In know it's a strange title, but I'm weary of trying to come up with a better one) a standing committee or board made up of representatives from the Southern Shores Civic Association, Chicahauk Property Owners Association, Southern Shores Volunteer Fire Dept., Duck Woods Country Club and the TOSS. The purpose of this group would be primarily informational, a forum for each organization to fully express their needs and initiatives so that a common understanding of community issues can be achieved. I would hope that a group such as this would help alleviate much of the adversity and misunderstandings that have surfaced over the last few years.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Election Results...............................................................................

OBX Alert has more definite totals here.

Preliminary, Unofficial Election Results for Southern Shores........................

First, there were 328 early votes reported from the other polling places (Manteo and the Baum Center) for this election.  I do not have even an unofficial accounting for those votes.

Results from today's voting:

Hal Denny -      600

Don Smith -      242

So, even if you award all the early votes to Mayor Smith (not at all likely), he's still 30 short of winning. 

Congratulations Hal!!!!!!  Looking forward to you serving another term as Mayor.

George Kowalski -    415

Brian McDonald -     315

Calling the outcome for this race is a little trickier.  It's totally dependent on that early vote.  But I'm going to stick my neck out and say:  Congratulations George!!!!! If you didn't actually win this, it was an amazing run on a write-in basis. 

Good night!  By the time most of you see this post you'll already have the actual numbers, but I just had to do it.

Today's the Day!..............I'll report back on the outcome latter....................

What of the future?...................................................................................

No matter who wins the election today, the TOSS Council will be facing a number of challenges in the coming years. 

Just to mention a few:

Canal Dredging Project:  bids are in, at $1.8 Million, $800,000 over the original estimate on which the State Grant was based.  Presumably this will mean a large dip into the "Undesignated Fund" (which is also our "Hurricane" fund).  This is only Phase 1 of 2, with no guarantee of any grant money being available.  Phase 2 estimates exceed $2 Million.  Expect a move to establish a special assesment for canal properties if no other funding can be found.

Juniper Trail Bridge:  I'm not certain under what assesment or authority, but it has been said at several meetings that this bridge must be replaced within 5 years.  Estimates range from $500,000 to $1 Millioin for this project.  Having had the experience of sitting on that bridge during Hurricane Isabel in a SSVFD squad car, I believe it.  How does a culvert bridge shake in the wind?

Storm Water Issues:  two of the worst are the North end of Chicahauk and 12th to 13th at Duck Road.  Abatement of the problem at just Chicahauk is estimated at $1 Million, while the problem on Duck Road is  as bad if not worse.

All of the above are mentioned along with a number other worthy and necessary projects in the Capital Impovement Plan which the TOSS Council has adopted.  A plan that was created to address the needs for the next 5 years, with total estimates ranging from $7 - $11 Million. 

If our council is to just accomplish the major items above in that time frame they are going to have to be very creative with finances. 

More on this latter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Mantra of Southern Shores Citizens?...................................................

Sorry to repeat the following quote.  You will find it further back in my posts, when I implored the TOSS Council not to allow this to become the mantra of the Southern Shores citizens:

"It is not the form of government, nor our laws that we are quarreling with, but the malpractices of the officers and the abuses we suffer under those empowered to manage our public affairs."

Herman Husbands, circa 1771 on behalf of the Regulators (a North Carolina taxapayer protest group).

Endorsements for Mayor Smith.................................................................

The weekend edition of The Coastland Times features an endorsement advertisement for Mayor Smiths's candidacy.   The endorsees are:

Brian McDonald - Incumbent Council Member running for re-election.

Jim Phizenmayer - Current Council Member.

Kevin Stroud - Current Council Member.

Jack Shea - Dare County Commisioner

Col. Bill Beadling - Founder and current President of  the Outer Banks Gun Club

My purpose in this post is to explore and specualte on the motivation of the these endorsees.  So let's take a look:

Brian - Originally ran for council at the behest of  Don Smith.  Brian is an intelligent, independent thinker, with a number of excellent ideas.  But, as many have observed, he will often question or actually speak against some of Mayor Smith's initiatives, only to then oddly vote for them.

Jim and Kevin - During the last election in which they gained their council seats, Mayor Smith encouraged, endorsed, and campaigned  door to door fo them.  You can find material on this election in my archive among my original posts.

The Mayor has a reputation of  "running a tight ship:", and the three above are his crew.  So their endorsement of his re-election is no surprise.

Jack Shea - This is a surpise to me.  I really can't see Mr. Shea approving of a number of situations the Mayor has created, so I can only speculate that this is some form of partisan or ideological consideration (although I believe Don is regitered as an Independent).  As I believe the majority of sentiment in this election transcends party lines, this might be a "mis-step" of an endorsement.

Col. Bll Beadling - Without Col. Beadling and a few others, there would not be a county range and of course no Outer Banks Gun Club, of which I am a charter member.  I am both surprised and disappointed that he would choose to enter this fray.  He is not a Southern Shores resident, I know of no issue regarding the make up of our council that would involve the OBGC and I don't think he is aware of the miriad issues that the citizens of Southern Shores have faced.due to the current administration.  Apparently, both Don and Town Manager Charlie Read (former Secretary of the OBGC board?) are club members.  I have to wonder whether Col. Beadling would have made this endorsement if I had not withdrawn from this race. He would have had to make a choice of one member over another.

Something that I have to point out as ironic is, that in his original campaign for Mayor, one of  the planks in Don's platform was his opposition to "the good old boy" system he said existed at the time.  During my four year term on council I was not approached by nor saw any signs of the existence of the "good old boys".  Excluding Col. Beadling, what does the above list look like?