The admirable Miss Manners gives clear advice on a growing problem in Raleigh. Best to print this out and take it with you next time you're planning to cross the street.
Dear Miss Manners:
When one encounters a motorist waiting at a red light whose automobile is occupying the pedestrian crosswalk, what should one do? I say that climbing onto and walking across the hood or roof of his vehicle is always proper. My friend insists that this is correct only for small two-door autos. In his view, when one encounters a four-door car blocking one's path, the proper action is to open the near-side door and walk through the vehicle, excusing oneself to any occupants of the rear seat. Which of us is correct?
In your spirit of consideration to motorists, Miss Manners suggests that you extend the courtesies by knocking at the automobile window and asking the driver which method he or she would prefer. It is not polite to rush these things, which should last through two green lights.
-- from Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior by Judith Martin (Warner Books, 1982)
We have just received word -- and it appears to be from a reliable source -- that Mary-Ann Baldwin, or her campaign, has retained an attorney to ferret out the authors of the blog Below the Beltline and take legal action against them.
What basis there may be for a legal claim, we are at a loss to say. Speaking their minds? Exposing the facts? Publicizing her developer-funded campaign?
These actions may be annoying as hell when you're Big Real Estate's hand-picked candidate, but the last time we checked, they were not illegal or tortious. (The Bill of Rights is still in effect in this state; matter of fact, you can go take a look at it through Sunday at the History Museum.)
But lack of a valid claim doesn't prevent a determined plaintiff from filing a lawsuit. Anyone with deep pockets can sue anybody, of course, and make the defendant's life pretty darn difficult, even if the suit is eventually thrown out of court.
If that's what she has in mind, we are about to see a SLAPP -- a "strategic lawsuit against public participation." The point of a SLAPP is to harass and discourage the airing of opposing viewpoints and political opinions.
Good heavens, the woman isn't even on City Council yet, and already, she has heard quite enough from the citizens.
These houses in an older Raleigh neighborhood are new. They have been built at the same scale, more or less, as the other houses on the block.
Their height is in keeping with the one- or one-and-a-half story height of other houses on the street.
The horizontal emphasis of their bungalow style is in keeping with the ranch houses and bungalows on the street.
As far as possible the designers kept the large trees that shade the neighborhood and its sidewalks.
As a result of the designers' and buyers' respect for the surroundings, these houses are extremely desirable in and of themselves, as well as making the neighborhood even more desirable. Everyone wins.
What lovely civic manners these houses have! One would wish very much to make the acquaintance of their owners and builders.
If you haven't heard, Mary Ann Baldwin recently had a fundraiser hosted by Elizabeth Dole's Treasurer (Brent Barringer). Folks, he raises money to defeat Democrats. He's supporting Mary Ann Baldwin because she is bought and paid for by the real estate and development industries. Unfortunately, the other main Dem candidate, Paul Anderson, was also listed on the invitation. The stakes are high.
We have not had an opportunity to verify this intelligence. Perhaps one of our Gentle Readers would care to comment on its accuracy?
Update: Gentle Reader "J" confirms the story. See comment below.
The next lecture in the City of Raleigh's excellent Designing a 21st Century City Lecture Series is September 20.
Adrienne Schmitz, a nationally recognized author on density and walkability, and Walter Kulash, a pioneering expert on traffic calming and walkable places, will present "The Public Realm: How Do We Create a Pedestrian-Friendly City?"
Previous lecturers in the series have included Donald Shoup, whose engaging and thought-provoking slide lectures have created a following of urban-planning groupies known as the "Shoupistas," and Reid Ewing, whose 2003 study of sprawl and public health (performed in partnership with the UNC School of Public Health) may have received more national media coverage than any planning study ever covered, and has become the most widely cited paper in the social sciences.
If you are interested in planning, development, and building a better Raleigh, do not miss these lectures.
This superb series has attracted a following that includes Raleigh's best "placemakers," not to mention plenty of old-boy movers and shakers who may or may not really understand placemaking, but would like, at least, to be seen in attendance among those who do.
The lecture is free and open to the public. It takes place from 6:00 to 8:30 at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Kennedy Theatre, in downtown Raleigh.