With Friends Like These

By: - August 17, 2007 10:55 am

 Have you heard about the spat between the city of Raleigh and the state?  Just before the Leg adjourned, they pushed through a bill that allowed the state to do what it wants with its property within a six block radius of the Capitol without getting the city's permission.  Of course, the good folks at the Department of Administration, who, along with the Guv, pushed for the change, say that they won't do anything the city doesn't want them to do.  Admin secretary Britt Cobb comforted Raleighites with, "We have assured the city that we are not going to build something that is not in keeping with downtown Raleigh."  Good thing Mayor Meeker went to Yale, he's smart enough to point out, "If they're going to meet our standards, then there was no need for the legislation."  The Meek was miffed that he got no head's up from the Raleigh delegation.

Living very close to the area affected, all this was galling enough, not to mention the fact that the rest of us put up with the hellishness of city permits and inspections, so the state should have to too.  But for me, here's the clincher: the bill passed unanimously.  Janet Cowell, the Senate sponsor, has no comment on it now, while Ty Harrell, who saw it through the House, says he was only vaguely familiar with it at the time.  That's understandable given the way things go down at the Leg – 300+ page budget overnight, anyone? – but he's ready to take a look at it now.  That's hardly helpful at this point, but it indicates a willingness to reflect on his actions.  For me, Deborah Ross takes the cake.  

Rep. Deborah Ross and Harrell both said the governor's office and the Department of Administration asked them to support the bill.

'I think it's really an issue between the Department of Administration, the governor's office and the city,' Ross said."

Thanks, Deb!  Nice to know you got our backs.  We can all breathe easy knowing that if the governor wants it, it must be good for the city.  Why don't we skip the local representation and just let him handle matters for us?  Way to see to our interests at the show.  And then dismiss us entirely. 

Now, it's not a law yet, but if Easley really asked for it, and no one (but no one) stood in the way, there's no reason to believe it won't be signed soon.  Here's how it's already playing out in the case of a proposed state parking deck whose design Raleigh wanted changed:

A day after the bill passed, members of Raleigh's Planning Department sat down with state officials to try to reach a compromise on the parking deck. Mitchell Silver, Raleigh's planning director, said the city has not heard from state officials since the meeting."

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