In need of a break

When Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt adjourned last night’s meeting, he bade council members goodbye until January 2011. Presumably, the business meeting scheduled for Dec. 20 is off the calendar. And a good thing, too. Council members present – Gene Pease and Laurin Easthom were absent – looked like they could use a break.

Those on the dais were testy. When citizens brought up the fact that the town had taken action to deny unemployment benefits to two sanitation workers terminated in October, even though the termination is under review, Kleinschmidt pursed his lips and moved the citizens through brusquely, avoiding eye contact with the three residents lined up to speak.

Jim Ward pressed hard for town staff to notify council when projects ranked on the sidewalk improvement master list were going to be skipped in favor of a lower priority project. Town manager Roger Stancil pushed equally hard for town staff not to involve council, saying it would slow down progress. Kleinschmidt interceded and got Stancil to agree to give updates in March and June and to let council know if problems arose with a project that might cause staff to want to skip over it. Council could then convene a meeting and deal with the issue, just as it had after Bill Strom finally let council know he had moved to New York.

Matt Czajkowski had no patience with town staff for not including information he had long ago requested about the cost of the faux cobblestones in front of East 54 the town required the developer to install that DOT then ripped up. (Czajkowski recalls the developer paid about $65,000.) Town staff similarly did not adequately respond to his request to coordinate OWASA, Duke Power and street and sidewalk work so that such wastes don’t happen again.

The topper came during a discussion of the controversial tree protection amendment. Lynne Kane was the only resident who had signed up to speak, and she voiced her opposition to the amendment, fearing that homeowners would not be able to remove trees from their property and that the canopy requirements would conflict with parking needs. During the ensuing council discussion, Czajkowski praised town staff for making changes to the original proposed amendment to reflect citizens’ concerns. Nevertheless, he said, he was going to vote against it because he saw no need for the change and it apparently had little public support. (During the public hearing for the original amendment, numerous citizens spoke out against it.)

That prompted Sally Greene to remark that for as long as she’d been running for office, she’d heard from voters wanting a tree protection amendment, “just like Ms. Kane, who spoke tonight,” Greene said.


When our elected officials stop hearing what their constituents are saying, it’s time for a break. Council will next meet Jan. 10, 2011. We, however, have more to say and will continue to post during the next couple of weeks.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. George C

     /  December 7, 2010

    “just like Ms. Kane, who spoke tonight,”


    I suspect that Council member Greene was saying that just as Ms. Kane has heard from citizens opposed to the stiffening of the tree ordinance, she (Ms. Greene) had heard from citizens who wanted increased tree protection.

    Having been involved in four Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) zoning overlay processes I can personally attest to the fact that the citizens in each of those neighborhoods requested tougher tree protection from the Town because of their personal experiences. I don’t know how many citizens Ms. Kane heard from but I know that four neighborhoods is not a bad sampling. You also failed to note that Ms. Kane did not realize last evening, as Mayor Kleinschmidt was trying to explain to her as she left the podium, that the new tree ordinance does not affect the owners of single- and two-family properties unless they are creating more than 5000 square feet (~ 1/8 acre) of land disturbance which then requires a permit (the land disturbance). And that requirement was already in the existing ordinance.

  2. Duncan O'Malley

     /  December 7, 2010

    Here’s another citizen against it.

  3. Following on what GeorgeC said, I attended all the tree canopy discussions (except for Monday’s) and Lynne has been confused every time about the scope of the regulation.

  4. Fred Black

     /  December 7, 2010

    Regardless of being for or against any ordinance, one thing we know for sure is that if there’s confusion about the reg, there’s a good chance it won’t be very effective. There are many ordinances/laws/rules out there right now that are neither followed or enforced.

  5. Fred, excellent observation to make as another couple NCD’s wend their way through the process of being adopted. So far the cautionary tale of Northside’s NCD hasn’t quite resonated with the Town.

  6. Duncan O'Malley

     /  December 7, 2010

    The more NCD’s we approve in this town, the more elitist we become as a total community.

  7. Mark Marcoplos

     /  December 8, 2010

    I spent a couple of hours with Lynn Kane at the polls last year and she is entertaining, ditzy, Foxy (as in Fox News), uninformed, a bit obsessed, and talkative. It was fun, but I got the impression that she was secretly hoping I’d get hit by a truck on the way home.

  8. John Kramer

     /  December 8, 2010

    Ditzy? What a wonderfully sexist thing to say. How progressive. I wonder if any of the regular liberal commenters will object to this, or since you are one of them maybe it is okay for you to say that .

    Me, i find it disgusting. Marcopolos hits a new low. Merry christmas,

  9. Terri Buckner

     /  December 8, 2010

    I’ve talked to Lynn a couple of times and found her to be well-informed, intelligent, and articulate. Personally, I think it is totally inappropriate to be singling out an individual like this. I hope Nancy will delete these comments AFTER a couple of you apologize for targeting Lynn like this.

  10. Runner

     /  December 8, 2010


    I stopped listening to what Marcoplis says a long time ago.

  11. Terri, it is completely appropriate to comment on Lynne’s remarks during a public meeting. My experience of her advocacy is at odds with yours, including the recent election where she went door-to-door grossly misrepresenting the positions of several candidates.

  12. Terri Buckner

     /  December 9, 2010

    Will–it is never appropriate to call someone ditzy and uninformed on a public forum. If you and Mark had said that she doesn’t have the same understanding of the tree ordinance as you do, I wouldn’t take exception to the comments. But both of you made statements that sounded more universal–she doesn’t understand anything. Since neither of you have spoken with Lynn on every topic under the sun, you are generalizing based on those discussions you have had, on topics that most likely you have already formed opinions on. Just because someone has different interpretations than you do, doesn’t mean she is absolutely wrong.

  13. Terri, I was quite clear, please re-read my comment. One of the initial sticking points about the canopy regulation was the concern and perception it would require expensive and intrusive regulation for typical homeowners. That issue was dealt with fairly early in the process – the draft proposals reflected those changes.