Harold’s Blog: Environmental Efforts & Citizen Emails

Cary, NC — It was another slow week with only two tele-meetings.

Meetings & the Environment

Greenery along the Lake Trial at Cary’s Fred G. Bond Metro Park.

Monday I met briefly with the town manager for our weekly one-on-one. We talked about the removal of the Columbus monument along with a few other updates.

Wednesday I participated in a meeting of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Executive Board. The agenda included three consent items, one public hearing, and one discussion item. The board approved a public participation plan for electronic meetings and authorized to the Executive Director to update the Memorandum of Agreement for Air Quality. The meeting concluded after a little over an hour.

The only other mayoral activity this week was talking with staff about the progress on the Environmental Advisory Board’s Carbon Reduction recommendations from 2019. Those included:

  • Establishing a Carbon Baseline and Progress Metrics
  • Buildings, Renewable Energy, and Sites
  • Transportation
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Food Waste and Agriculture Education and Coordination

Progress has been made on establishing a Carbon Baseline and Progress Metrics. The emissions baseline was analyzed utilizing calendar year 2018 data and considered sequestration from existing tree cover (data analysis has been initiated on sequestration).

Since the majority of emissions relate to transportation and buildings, ways to reduction are mostly outside of our regulatory authority. The preliminary findings estimate Cary’s per capita emissions at 10.3 MTCDE (Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent), which is well below the national average of 17 MTCDE. Key take-aways include:

  • Emissions come from primarily three sources:
    • Commercial building (31%)
    • Residential buildings (25%)
    • Transportation (37%), with the remainder from other sources
  • Electricity use is the biggest source of community-wide emissions (41%)

Regarding Town operations, the Strategic Energy Action Plan (SEAP) was prepared in 2012 and updated in 2015. We have recently initiated an update the SEAP to include data through calendar year 2019. This will allow us to revisit and update our municipal goal. We anticipate seeing a draft in the winter, with completion of the update next year.

Get in Touch

From left, Mayor Harold Weinbrecht, Mayor Pro-Tem Don Frantz and Councilwoman Lori Bush listen to a citizen’s comments in a pre-COVID 19 Town Council Meeting.

Emails this week included several from a Facebook group who were concerned that a BLM protest on Tuesday would be a riot and wanted me to stop the protest. While some were respectful in their comments, the majority were not. They said BLM is a dangerous and violent group and wanted me to “instruct the police to send a strong message.”

Otherwise I, along with the rest of the town, would be “perceived as weak.” Many of them said I supported the “Marxist organization Black Lives Matter.” One said that any injury or harm done to property would be on my and the police chief’s hands. Other comments included: “We are going backward as a society. We put entirely too much focus on color and have become obsessed with it. … That is what Cultural Marxism is all about…” In addition to calling me a Marxist, they questioned my religion and because I wouldn’t engage in a debate on Bible verses called me arrogant, dishonest, and dis-ingenuous. Wow! We have such a long way to go as a society. There is so much divisiveness and hate right now. We must learn to love and respect everyone regardless of background, skin color, religion, position, etc. only then can we reach our potential as a society.

Other emails included:

  • Stopping the quarry at RDU (To date close to 1200 emails. Unfortunately, we are not the decision-makers)
  • A complaint about the Cary Convenience Center
  • Requests to give people the choice of wearing a mask since there is no real data that masks help (Really? This is a state mandate and if it were not I would still recommend everyone wear a mask)
  • A question about Deutsche Bank and incentives
  • A complaint about the name of an apartment building in the Fenton
  • A complaint about damage done to a car because of a pothole (This was on a state road however we help with potholes if we know about them)
  • A request to let everyone vote by mail (Fine with me but not our choice)

Next week’s activities include staff meetings, a meeting of the Wake Mayors Association, and a regularly scheduled council meeting.

Well, that is all for this week. My next post will be on Sunday, July 26th.  Although I have Facebook and Twitter accounts those are not the best means of communicating with me. Please send all Town of Cary questions or comments to [email protected] and email personal comments to [email protected].

From the blog of Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. Images by Ashley Kairis.

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9 replies
  1. George McDowell
    George McDowell says:

    Mr. Mayor and Members of Council – It’s very hard to believe that — after having your religious beliefs questioned and your character assassinated – you didn’t instantly do what your accusers urged you to do.

    Or maybe I just don’t understand human nature.

  2. Harriet McKeon
    Harriet McKeon says:

    Would like some more information on why and who decided to take down the Christopher Columbus statue in Bone Park.

  3. Richard W Carroll
    Richard W Carroll says:

    I applaud the Mayor and TOC staff for moving forward on the EAB Carbon Reduction Recommendations from 2019 and the consideration of carbon sequestration from existing tree cover in the carbon baseline. Regarding Green Infrastructure, as the other considerations, we are faced with significant challenges. The EAB recommendations on green infrastructure include: 4a. Sequester Carbon in Plants, Trees and Soil stating a tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of CO2 per year and sequester 1 ton by the time it reaches 40 years old. NC State uses these numbers to calculate how many trees it takes to offset a persons carbon footprint. At 10.3 MTCDE/person in Cary, we would need 429 trees/person to offset their carbon footprint. Current estimates of tree removal and land clearing in Cary is approximately 441 acres/year-the trend is going in the wrong direction. 4a. highlights the importance of open space-why then are we considering rezoning of 19-REZ-32, which is almost 10 acres of designated open space woodland to allow an extensive housing development? This would set a negative precedent and another step backward if we wish to meet the EAB Carbon and Tree recommendations. In the same EAB Carbon Reduction Recommendations, 4b. Forest Protection emphasizes the importance of protecting and managing forests as part of the town’s infrastructure, and that clear cutting should be prohibited in development projects-however, the Fenton Project clear-cut 67 acres releasing many (estimates average around 100 tons/acre) metric tons per acre of carbon. A carbon reduction and urban forest setback!

    Environmentally, cluster zoning such as Fenton trumps extensive development, however, perhaps, to meet development conservation goals, alternatives, such as redevelopment of nearby, existing, defunct infrastructure such as Cary Towne Center could be pursued.

    In addition to storing CO2, trees help enhance property values, improve health and air quality-we all need O2!, they manage storm water, provide energy savings, reduce heat islands, provide wildlife habitat, reduce noise pollution, and are just nice to look at!

    I agree that the EAB recommendations are sound and feasible and encourage the TOC to continue the hard work of achieving a sustainable future.

  4. Brent
    Brent says:

    I’m disappointed that my fellow Cary citizens would write such uninformed and mean things. “We have such a long way to go as a society” indeed.

  5. Khara Grieger
    Khara Grieger says:

    Thank you for sharing all of this news. These are difficult times, and I applaud your efforts and the Town’s efforts for being as transparent and inclusive as possible. Thank you for standing by our commitment to having an open, welcoming and accepting community with members from diverse backgrounds.

  6. Carytowncitizen
    Carytowncitizen says:

    Voting by mail (which is entirely different than absentee ballot) is not ok. Someone’s dog received a ballot to vote in recent years. The abuses from allowing this could be monumental.

    • Mark Neill
      Mark Neill says:

      “Someone’s dog received a ballot to vote in recent years”

      No, someone’s dog received an APPLICATION for a ballot. An event which isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds, once you realize that lots of people use regular pharmacies to get their pet prescriptions, which kicks off a whole chain of creating a record for a “person”.

      Every “person” receives such an application, when the idea is to get everyone to apply for vote by mail. Applying for and receiving a mail-in ballot requires a person to be already registered, though.

      No one’s dog or cat or dead family member is receiving an ACTUAL mail-in ballot, unless the people responsible for those pets or related to those dead people themselves committed voter fraud, and applied for a ballot for someone that wasn’t actually eligible to vote, after having committed voter registration fraud by getting their pets registered in the first place.

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