BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for January 6, 2009
January 06, 2009
It's a busy day in the fishwraps. Besides the County's budget cuts and proposed building bonanza (covered separately here at BCR today), there's quite a bit happening in the metro pages:
- The vote on urban chickens is paused until February, as predicted -- but at least four City Council members, including the mayor, seem disinclined to support the proposal as it stands. Jim Wise noted Bill Bell and Howard Clement had objections in a previous work session, noting their own childhood experiences growing up near chickens. Clement added to the fray yesterday by expressing concern that the groups requesting the change weren't socioeconomically diverse, and that poorer neighborhoods might see the requested change as leading to more disorder in the city. Farad Ali and Eugene Brown also expressed concerns. (H-S, N&O)
- New Durham district attorney Tracey Cline -- the first African-American female to lead the office -- was sworn in on Monday. Former D.A. David Saacks will serve as Cline's chief assistant D.A. Saacks had replaced embattled D.A. Mike Nifong, who himself was present at the swearing in "at Cline's request," in a bottom-graf item certain to raise interest among the LAX crazies. (N&O)
- Teleflex -- a firm who's had a medical device presence in or around RTP since the 1970s -- may move its entire medical division headquarters to Durham, bringing as many as 200 jobs to the city in 2009. (TBJ)
- Spring Valley Elementary inside the Brightleaf at the Park subdivision opened the doors to its new school facility on Monday; the school had previously been co-located with Oak Grove Elementary pending the availability of the new elementary building. (H-S)
- Principals from Hillside, Southern and Northern High showed off the plans for reform at the three schools, each of which has faced pressure due to test score performance under the No Child Left Behind and associated testing progress programs. Southern's principal noted that a staggering 80% of his school's entering freshmen arrived having failed their 8th grade end-of-year math test. (H-S)
- The inclusion of the pet registration fee on this year's taxable property forms apparently surprised many residents, though the fee -- which provides a steep discount for spayed/neutered cats and dogs -- has been in place since 1990. The tax office expects to collect as much as $1 million for the general fund through their levy of the levy, which has previously been in the animal control office. (H-S)
The cat-dog registration fee was indeed a surprise. It is both unfair and regressive. What burden is placed on the community by my house cats (if I had any) that never go outside, or dogs that never roam free (if I had a dog)? Sales tax already applies to pet food, dog treats, and cat litter, so the dogs and cats are already contributing to the tax revenue stream.
And then there's the issue that animals used for "research" are exempt from the fee. So homeowners have to pay, but RTP businesses are exempt? That just adds to the regressiveness and ridiculousness of the cat-dog tax.
I wonder if urban chickens will also be exempt?
Posted by: Todd | January 06, 2009 at 09:10 AM
It should not have been a surprise to anyone with pets. If you haven't been paying the license fee to Animal Control, you've technically been violating the law, anyway. As BCR pointed out, this fee has been in place for some time now - they just changed the collection method.
I'm not arguing as to whether or not the tenets of the law are reasonable (licensing indoor-only cats, for example, is really NOT reasonable, IMHO)... I just don't understand all of the shock and surprise that I'm reading about on various blogs and forums.
Posted by: Lee | January 06, 2009 at 10:02 AM
I actually like the tax, as it gets people to spay or neuter there animal. If you are breeding your animals (and presumably selling some of the pups/kits for profit), then you can afford to pay the extra $65 each year.
It does raise the question, though, of whether or not the tax office will ever find out about inside-only cats. It seems a little bit hard to enforce.
Posted by: Rob | January 06, 2009 at 10:22 AM
Okay, maybe I'm incredibly naive, but the comments about the demographic make-up of the pro-chicken forces surprised me. Is this standard to be held to all groups on all issues now?
Posted by: Steve | January 06, 2009 at 10:51 AM
I was watching last night (first time - out of curiosity kind of thing). My jaw dropped to the floor when Clement in no uncertain terms told the pro-chicken group that if they didn't have African American people FOR chickens at the next meeting there'd be no support from him. WTF???!!??? Does this kind of thing go on all the time? How can a council member tell a group they're too white? Or too middle-class? Or too anything.
And trust me - he brought it up a few times and only at the end did he say anything about "socio-economically". He was clearly referring to race.
I'm so terribly disappointed at what I saw last night.
Posted by: Will | January 06, 2009 at 02:04 PM
I've previously heard that only 50% of the dogs in Durham are registered. I expect that in my neighborhood that the number is even lower. I expect none of the backyard breeders register their dogs, and I don't foresee this change affecting the adherence rate in any meaningful way.
Posted by: Steve G. | January 06, 2009 at 05:25 PM
How do they know about inside cats?
Your vet snitches on you.
Posted by: Peter | January 07, 2009 at 10:03 AM
Howard Clement is my hero. Y'all come back when ya got sum po folk wanting dey yardbirds.
Posted by: KeepDurhamDifferent! | January 07, 2009 at 10:21 AM
Red and yellow,black and white....We all eat eggs ya'all. Just want my grandkids to know where some of their food comes from and that the food was taken care of correctly. If the issue is truely "the poor",I'm on Retirement social security which, trust me, leaves me poor and the son-in-law is newly laid off. We do plan on sending the kids out to the corner to sell the eggs and a few pencils..
Posted by: Kathie Beard | January 07, 2009 at 09:47 PM