Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Apex November 2017 Municipal Elections

It's that time of year again for municipal elections and we have two items coming up on the ballot, a parks bond and three seats on the town council.

First, let's talk about the Parks Bond. If you're unfamiliar with it, the town has put together a great FAQ that should address a lot of your questions. I asked John Brown, the Parks director, why the growth itself isn't enough to fund the initiatives and he pointed out that as we grow, those additional tax revenues are typically needed to offset the cost of providing services to meet the demands of the larger community (public safety, streets, infrastructure, etc). He also pointed out that if the funds are there, the council can opt to not issue some of the debt or increase taxes to repay it. If passed, the bond will add additional greenways (connecting 17 more neighborhoods!), provide for a senior center, and build out Pleasant Park (which could be useful for tournaments, meaning soccer parents, etc may not have to travel as much). In my opinion, this will have a great impact on our quality of life and we should all vote Yes for this.

Second, there are three spots opening up for the town council, Nicole Dozier, Gene Schulze, and Denise Wilkie's seats. Ms. Dozier is the only one running for re-election. There are five candidates running for these three seats:

I went to the candidate forum last night to hear from the candidates. If you were unable to make it, they will be posting a video on the Chamber website within a few days. Overall, the candidates seemed very similar to each other with very little disagreements.

So who has my votes? Well, I will be voting NDG (play on the NBA signs around town, encouraging people to vote for the block of Nicole, Brett, and Audra). Ms. Dozier impressed me with her experience, advocacy, and her drive to get a senior center in place. Mr. Hooks impressed me with his town experience (being on the planning board and a lifelong resident of Apex), poise, and volunteering with kids. Mr. Wilson impressed me with an emphasis on economic development.

Finally, if you want to see what the ballot will actually look like so you're prepared, you can see it here. Short and sweet!

Voting is November 7th! You can find election information here, including how to get an absentee ballot, your polling location, and more.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Watch out for Drupal 8.4!

I was using a Drupal composer template and a few days ago, it upgraded from 8.3 to 8.4 automatically. I noticed and didn't really think much of it, so I applied the database updates and went on my way. Today, two days afterwards, I ran across this article which pointed out that PHP 7 is required for the underlying Symfony framework. Our site is running on Debian 8, which has PHP 5.6 and powers other PHP applications, so I wasn't looking to update the underlying OS and possibly break my other PHP things.

So I downloaded a db snap from 8.3 and then re-applied the 8.4 update and took another database snapshot. Then I diff'd the database snapshots. The biggest changes seemed to be in the cache tables and removing and adding some revision columns. So I reverse-engineered a backgrade SQL script. With that, I updated the composer.json file from this:
        "drupal/core": "~8.0",

to this:
        "drupal/core": "8.3.*",

Then I took a precautionary database backup and then did a composer update, which took care of the code backgrade. Then I ran my script (drush sqlc < backgrade.sql) and then I did a drush entity-updates to actually update the database schemas to match the backgraded code.

Now I just need to ignore Drupal telling me about 8.4 until I'm ready to fully embrace PHP 7. I feel like something bigger needed to get my attention to the update in system requirements when I ran the initial composer update.