Posts tagged politics
Latest HB2 repeal bills call for more nondiscrimination protections

So, Harrison filed House Bill 82 to repeal House Bill 2 and to expand "protected status" in terms of nondiscrimination to include sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veterans' status, marital status and age. The state already includes race, gender, national origin, religion, disability and family status as protected classes.

"It will provide enhanced statewide protections in a number of areas," Harrison said. "These added protections will apply to housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, insurance and education. This bill reflects North Carolina values, unlike House Bill 2. It’s long overdue."

Supporters said the proposal would send a strong message to businesses and groups like the NCAA.

"The NCAA is watching us closely to see what North Carolina stands for. So is the nation. The clock is ticking," said Zack Medford, who owns three downtown Raleigh bars.

"When tourists from out of state stop coming to North Carolina because of HB2, that is real money out of my pocket. That’s income that I count on to pay my mortgage and to feed my family," Medford said.

Zack Medfordhb2, politics
Zack Medford Elected Vice President of the Wake Young Democrats

"The Young Democrats of Wake County strive to get young professionals involved in the political process of the Democratic Party."

Become a dues paying member of the Wake County Young Democrats and support our work on a variety of levels: 

  • Support progressive candidates and causes through campaign and advocacy work;
  • Plan, publicize, and execute key events;
  • Supplement the various efforts of the Democratic Party on the county, state, and national levels; and
  • Recruit and train Young Democrats to be effective advocates and leaders.
Zack Medfordpolitics
As fines begin, backlash brews over patio rules for Raleigh bars and restaurants

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There’s more backlash Tuesday night over new outdoor seating rules in downtown Raleigh.

Several business owners say that it’s cutting into their bottom line and will no longer offer patio seating. Some expect that trend to continue.

“We love being on Fayetteville street. These wide sidewalks are very pedestrian friendly. People like to walk up with their dogs, sit down, have a beer,” said Zack Medford the owner of Paddy O’Beers.

It makes sense to hear the owner of Paddy O’Beers talking about patio seating.

“We called it Paddy O’Beers because we wanted to have an area in Raleigh where you could sit outside on a big patio and enjoy a beer,” Medford said.

But he says Raleigh’s new rules regulating outdoor seating at bars and restaurants is impacting his bottom line.

Zack Medford is applying to keep his outdoor seating permit.

”If we lose our patio, that is our entire business model and Paddy O’Beers will have to close its doors,” Medford said.

Here’s what Raleigh’s outdoor drinking ordinance will (probably) look like

Except the task force members didn’t see it that way. What Remer and the other staff members didn’t know was that on Tuesday, Paddy O’Beers owner Zack Medford and five other hospitality stakeholders held a private meeting where they hashed out their own compromise. It looks like this:
 
Propsed_PUPS_Text_Change.pdf

  • Occupancy would be determined by the state building code, meaning: If you have fixed tables and chairs, you are limited to 15 square feet per person. If you have more transient furniture, like folding chairs, you are limited to seven square feet per person. If you have standing room only, it’s five square feet per person. For each bar, city officials would determine the magic number after reviewing a sketch of the furniture and space. 
     
  • Outdoor use would be cut off ay 2 a.m., and stanchions would be required after 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Bars and restaurants would have to have a manager on duty after 10 p.m.; this manager is in charge of compliance and dealing the Raleigh PD. 
     
  • The bars would be responsible for ensuring their areas were clean. 
     
  • Permits would cost $250 a year, a 75 percent increase. 

Those six members circulated the proposal to the others ahead of today’s task force. There wasn’t universal agreement by any means, but it was grounds for hashing out … something. And if that was the case, the members decided they should try to agree on something, or at least on most things, rather than throwing up their arms and surrendering to staff, who some of them felt were trying to impose their agenda on the task force. 

As Medford told me in a Facebook message after the previous week’s meeting: 
 

Seems like whenever the group is moving towards consensus, staff suddenly backtracks to remind us unproductive things like "these are sidewalks not patios" and "it's a privilege". This was our fourth meeting, I think we should be past that point and focused on solutions.


“So those are the options that will be presented to City Council?” asked Joe Durham, a former Wake County manager who was representing residents on the task force. “No recommendation from this group? No recommendation from staff? … It’s not effective. I don’t see it as being effective.” 

Ashley Melville, the representative from the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, said, “I’m very confident we can come to consensus,” and at that point, Medford and ShopLocal Raleigh executive director Jen Martin unveiled their proposal. Indeed, within a matter of minutes, consensus had developed with respect to all but one major point: occupancy. I’ll come back to that in the a minute. 

The consensus looked a lot like Medford et al.’s proposal. A suggestion to allow bars to use the sidewalks in front of adjoining properties with permission from the building owner was nixed, as this would run afoul of ABC rules. And the group agreed to go along with staff’s more punitive violation fines and raise the permit fee to $300. It took some discussion, but eventually the task force voted in favor of Medford’s group’s more generous occupancy limits. (This made staff members uneasy, as the current code was written only for seating, not for standing, and it’s possible we haven’t heard the last of this issue.) 

#SavethePatios

Andrew Pepin sometimes prefers to enjoy his beer outside, but a proposed change to a Raleigh city ordinance could limit his outdoor drinking.

“One of the greatest things about Raleigh is being able to sit outside and enjoy the beverage, enjoy the weather,” Pepin said Sunday while drinking outside Paddy O’Beers.

Paddy O’Beers owner Zack Medford believes the proposal is targeted towards businesses like his. 

Medford started an online petition that has garnered more than 2,300 signatures.

“An ordinance that would take away our patio is kind of a slap in the face,” he said.

The issue was referred to the City Council's Law & Public Safety Committee, which will discuss it on June 9. The original ordinance referred to an "outdoor dining permit," officials said, so council members will look at the wording when considering any changes.