Steroids & Caffeine

JeremiahFrom time to time I read one of the lessons at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh. The first reading on July 22nd is from Jeremiah. Normally I like to avoid Jeremiah and Job as they are not the most cheerful of prophets and I prefer to enjoy the more declamatory words of Isiah, Ezekiel or Nathan.
The reading on the 22nd is about the negligent “shepherds” of the people who deserved better leadership.
Much of Jeremiah’s work was in Judah’s capital Jerusalem. He tried to keep several kings faithful to their stewardship  amidst an atmosphere of political intrigue and backstabbing. Jeremiah was blunt about what was right and what was not, and he suffered at the hands of the powerful because of his outspokenness. At the time of his prophecy, a good king in Judah had just been replaced by a king who put the country in thrall to Egypt. Jeremiah raged against this policy.
The reading is Jeremiah’s response to the negligent leaders. I first read the passage as a reproachful piece but looking at the readers’ notes I was encouraged to see that it is proclamatory and that I should not let Jeremiah sound like he’s on Valium. If anything, he should sound as if he is on steroids and caffeine.
He was a vigorous, courageous, outspoken man. He thunders on behalf of a God outraged at the powerful people’s neglect of their responsibility to the poor. “I gave you the privileges of a shepherd, you mislead and scatter the flock!”
Any linkage between the events and characters of 200 B.C. and the present day are purely unintentional and coincidental.
On the other hand, I think I’ve known some readers for whom Valium is the default mode when tackling the readings. But for me, for this week at least it’s a case of onwards with the steroids and caffeine!

Limits to Brussels

Recently Leicestershire Council was caught recommending that residents not eat more than six sprouts with their Christmas dinner.
Quite rightly this has provoked mocking comment across the board. Some comments embracing the spirit of the bureaucrat e.g., what size should the sprouts be? Are sprouts fungible? Can they be transferred within the family? And so on.
Others are focused on the waste of money in having this idea and thinking it worthwhile of being broadcast, when there are so many other issues requiring attention such as education, potholes etc.
Margaret Thatcher was advised the government is about the three S’s – Streets, Schools and Security.
Tweeting about Brussel sprout consumption does not comply with this template. The tweet raises questions about the spending and governing habits of Leicestershire Council. How many of these soft-focus jobs are there, which do not address the hard questions of how we get better value for money for the residents and tax payers? Who had the bright idea in the first place and what was the approval chain which permitted its publication?
There was no scientific justification for the limit suggestion and subsequent explanations suggest that the tweet was aimed at food waste. Yet, most food waste takes place in food manufacturing and its retail. That is where the tweeter should take his/herself in his/her white coat, hairnet and wellingtons and properly focus on waste.
Meanwhile the Department of You Couldn’t Make It Up continues to expand and flourish.

Clearly, we are doing something right!

Last Friday (3rd March) Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane delivered the annual State-of-the-City address.
Key front-end points for residents and potential residents were:
Raleigh continues to be recognized nationally and internationally. Some of Raleigh’s accolades from the past year include:
#3 Best Large City to Live In
#2 Best City for Young Entrepreneurs
#6 Best-Performing Large City in 2016 : Miliken Institute
#2 Area with the Highest Number of Tech Jobs-
NY Times Forbes Magazine has ranked Raleigh:
#2 Hottest Spot for Tech Jobs
#3 Best Place for Business
#3 Best City for Young Professionals
#4 Best City for Mid-Career Professionals in 2016
#4 Easiest City to Find a Job #5 City of the Future
#9 in the Top Ten Cities Americans are Moving to Right Now
#9 Best City for Jobs.
And just last month, U.S. News & World Report named Raleigh the #4 Best Place to Live.
The population continues to grow by about 2.3% annually. We had some big announcements by businesses of new locations or expansions. Citrix is adding 400 jobs; Optum 200; WalkMe 100; and Ateb announced an investment of $3 million with the number of jobs still to be announced. All together in 2016 we saw a 4.3% increase in employment numbers.
Last year, 138 permits were issued for new commercial and industrial development; this was valued at over $800 million dollars. We continue to proactively position ourselves as a city of the future. The recent additions to our market of high speed gigabit fiber offer our residents more options in high speed internet service than New York City or San Francisco.
The city is working to provide more opportunities to make sure that Raleigh’s success is enjoyed by everyone that lives here.
Raleigh has always been and will always be an open, welcoming community to everyone that comes here.
The address can be seen YouTube: Mayor’s State of the City address
As the Mayor said “Clearly, we are doing something right!”

Competency Deficits

 

On Monday I attended the City of Raleigh’s Board of Adjustment which has jurisdiction on appeals for variances, special exceptions and interpretations in the zoning regulations The occasion was the appeal against planning processes and permissions with regard to 5211 Coronado Drive. (See http://www.raleighnc.gov/government/content/BoardsCommissions/Articles/BoardofAdjustmentCases.html for full details).
But before the case could be explained, the developer’s attorney moved a motion to dismiss the appeal on the grounds that the Board did not have the jurisdiction to decide upon the issue at hand and that the appeal to the Board should be dismissed.
oak-treeThere were other grounds for the dismissal, but before they could be properly articulated and discussed, the case was dismissed on the grounds that the Board did not have the competence to rule on the case.
Where to next? We were directed to the Wake County Superior Court. Whether we go there depends on Tom Parker, the advice he receives and the funding he needs.
But overall it is bad news that the City has allowed an inappropriate development which was against its own rules and declines to make matters good for the community which it serves.

Ignorant, Naïve or just Plain Wilful

coronado-dr-5211-20170212-bMy neighbour Tom Parker is tackling the City Board of Adjustment tomorrow (Monday) at 1 p.m. regarding the  construction of two houses on what was 5211 Coronado Drive.
The sub division ordnance has not been followed and the purpose of the meeting is to protest and deny the City of Raleigh the opportunity to legitimise their actions in permitting this development.
This is not just a Coronado Drive matter.
It affects us all in North Hills as developers destroy our environment in the pursuit of unwarranted profits.
The hearing takes place at 1 p.m. at 222 West Hargett Street, Raleigh in Room 201.
The Raleigh Board of Adjustment is a quasi-judicial body which acts on appeals for variances, special exceptions and interpretations in the zoning regulations. The meeting with the Board is important because City Planners are paid by us (tax payers), are governed by our elected officials and they are meant to serve us.
The designation of Raleigh being the seventh most attractive city to live in the U.S. will not be sustainable if we become a developer’s paradise where rules are flouted and not enforced.
Our City Representative (who does not sit on the Board of Adjustment) is Dickie Thompson. His email is: dickie.thompson@raleighnc.gov
See you there tomorrow.
http://www.raleighnc.gov/government/content/BoardsCommissions/Articles/BoardofAdjustment.html

Brexit Thoughts

Brexit CartoonThe results are in and with a 52/48 mixture, obviously not everyone is happy. The result is not all doom and gloom. On the plus side we will no longer paying to the EU more than we get out. We will no longer pay for the layer of bureaucracy in Brussels which has not had signed off audited accounts for over nineteen years. We will no longer pay for our MEPs since we will not need them.
I thought that the letters to the press are a good sign of desperation. In March a cluster of East Anglian council leaders joined forces to publicly back the campaign to remain in the EU. Were they lobbying the Government to bring us more grants and subsidies? Were they asking for more equity in the education funding arrangements? Were they asking for greater infrastructure support?
No, “The EU is, of course, far from perfect. But that is why Britain needs to stay, influencing the single market and protecting our interests.” If that were true why is the UK suffering the bureaucratic nonsense that we have been seeing from Brussels.
I only recognise two District Council leaders among the signatories (Mid-Suffolk leader Derrick Haley, Babergh leader Jennie Jenkins). If they were concerned for their local communities they would do more to move their Councils’ operations to Babergh’s building in Hadleigh. The saving to the communities would be £1,000,000 a year. Instead of which they have sat on their hands for two years ignoring the Consultants’ recommendation and declining to publish the recommendation as promised.
In June the Daily Telegraph published a letter from 165 Conservative District Councillors from all over England urging people to Remain and rubbishing the Brexiteers. Braintree (home to a prominent Brexiteer Pritti Patel M.P.) provided 21 of the signatories and voted 61.1%:38.9% to leave. Babergh provided only two signatories from recently elected members who seem to have little to recommend them apart from getting elected in the first place. Babergh voted 54.1%:45.8% to leave. The Babergh leadership was not in evidence on the June letter, nor was Mid Suffolk’s leadership visible. (Mid Suffolk voted 55.2%:44.8% to leave).
I think I was confirmed in my Brexit views when the Bremainders wheeled out Gordon Brown to support their case. This is the man who sold off just under 400 tons of gold from July 1999 to March 2002, at an average price of about US$275 per ounce, raising approximately US$3.5 billion. Immediately after the sale, gold entered a prolonged bull market and is currently priced at $1,315 per ounce. Why should anyone heed his advice? Currently we are in that dead zone when the battle has just been lost and won.
There are adjustments to be made and to quote Tim Passmore, Police & Crime Commissioner for Suffolk “Those worried about the decision should be understood – and that everyone should work together to try to ensure stability returns to the economic and political system as soon as possible. Now, though, we must all work together to make the decision work. We have to try to ensure community cohesion.”

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/eight_east_anglian_local_authority_leaders_back_the_european_union_remain_campaign_1_4447574 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2016/06/11/letters-remain-campaigners-decry-little-englanders–but-they-are/ http://www.eadt.co.uk/news/don_t_feel_guilty_if_you_voted_for_brexit_suffolk_s_police_and_crime_commissioner_tim_passmore_1_4592070

Freely to breathe again!

Jenny Antill (a fellow blogger) posted this on Friday morning.
View from the window 160624View from the window. 24th June 2016 6.15 a.m.

Oh what joy, in the open air
Freely to breathe again!
Up here alone is life!
The dungeon is a grave.
FIRST PRISONER
We shall with all our faith
Trust in the help of God!
Hope whispers softly in my ears!
We shall be free, we shall find peace.
ALL THE OTHERS
Oh Heaven! Salvation! Happiness!
Oh Freedom! Will you be given us?

CHOR DER GEFANGENEN (Prisoners Chorus, Fidelio)