Recently we published a look at the Wake Forest race for Mayor, here. In that article, challenger Bill Randal made the statement the Town of Wake Forest under the guidance of Mayor Jones has been less responsive to citizens.
As an example he told us “I believe that the local government could be MORE responsive to its citizens. The Township’s purchase of Tuxedo Junction is an example of action taken that did not secure the sentiments of the community prior to going forward.” – Source
Interesting accusation. So not knowing more about the purchase of the property we went to the Town for a statement about the unresponsive allegation by Randall.
Mayor Vivian Jones stated, “The Wake Forest Community Plan, adopted in 2009, was developed over a period of one and one-half years through several public meetings, a citizen committee, and several on-line venues for citizens to comment on what they want the future of their community to look like.
There are 15 Vision Statements in the Plan which describe the future condition of the Town as the citizens want to see it. These Vision Statements help us develop and adopt policies to make sure we arrive at this vision of our future.
One of the Vision Statements is that Wake Forest will emerge as a destination for arts and culture in the Triangle area. Our citizens want us to preserve historic buildings, have public art, and offer a variety of cultural activities, both inside and outdoors. To facilitate these activities, the citizens said we would need a performing and cultural arts center.
In response to the Community Plan, we had added a cultural arts center to the Capital Improvements Program as a way to begin the planning process for its addition in future years. When Tuxedo Junction became available, we realized that this would allow us to have this identified amenity much sooner and at a lower cost that we had anticipated. Having an excellent financial position allows us to take advantage of opportunities like this.
We have a very robust process for communication to and from our citizens. We have many ways for our citizens to contact us and give us input. In addition, whenever we conduct planning programs, we include the community in the process and encourage their input.
Our staff and the Board of Commissioners are always willing to talk with citizens and hear their suggestions. I personally am very accessible to our citizens—my home phone number and address are listed on the Town website. I welcome any citizen’s call at any time they need me.
If any citizen of Wake Forest has a specific suggestion about a different and/or additional way we could engage our citizens, we would appreciate knowing about it and we will give it a try!”
Maybe the issue isn’t in the communications from the Town but in the enthusiasm to participate in the process by some locally.
As an example, here at the Wake Forest News we prefer to let Wake Weekly or Wake Forest Today cover town meetings. Admittedly we are lazy about that stuff. Nobody likes to drag themselves out at night to attend mostly boring Town meetings but that doesn’t mean the Town doesn’t try to be open, transparent, accessible, and communicative.
Here is our Wake Forest News idea for keeping local residents more informed. May we suggest a free homemade Bundt cake be delivered to each home with an update about everything the Town talks about. This should be followed a couple of day after by something in the cobbler family when someone comes by to read us the long document the Bundt person dropped off.
Now there’s an idea we can get behind. We sense a new campaign slogan coming. “A Vote for Jones is a Vote for Cobbler.”
And for Randall, maybe a new slogan could be “A Vote for Me is a Vote for Tea.” Because nothing goes better with a slice of fresh homemade cake than a fresh cup of tea. We’ll leave it up to Randall to deliver that to each house.