Jack Sanders, Chairman of the OCDP gave the following speech to the Chapel Hill Town Council on Monday 9/24: Please note that I have permission from Jack to post the full text.
Thank you, Mr. Mayor and Council members.
I am Jack Sanders, Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party, and I rise to speak for the Democratic Party in support of the Rogers Road Community. We have asked the Board of County Commissioners to reconsider its decision to site the Waste Transfer Station in the vicinity of the Rogers Road Community and to conduct a thorough public search for an alternative site. I am here before you because Chapel Hill too has a role to play.
Chapel Hill is a progressive community, one that takes its principles seriously, chief among them the principle of social justice. Equally important is the notion of the integrity of government, the notion that our governments will treat all communities fairly, and that promises made will be kept.
But our principles must apply everywhere, not just at a distance, say in the Middle East or in Darfur. Our principles apply most compellingly in our own community, where the Rogers Road neighborhood has lived with a landfill for 35 years, where elected officials have made promises and raised expectations time and again, but where there are now, in addition to the solid waste landfill, a Construction and Demolition landfill, a solid waste convenience center, a hazardous waste dropoff point, a yard waste dropoff and mulch center, and a leachate pond.
I recognize that Chapel Hill has relinquished to the county the ownership of the solid waste landfill and the responsibility for disposal of solid waste, but Chapel Hill does generate a large fraction of the solid waste that goes into the landfill and will go to the Waste Transfer Station, and it has a moral responsibility to ensure that its garbage is disposed of in a way that is fair to the larger community, and fair in particular to Rogers Road. Furthermore, Chapel Hill has a permitting responsibility regarding the construction and operation of the Waste Transfer Station, and it will have to make a decision.
I call on Chapel Hill government and its citizens to work with the county government to ensure that the Rogers Road community, having endured the landfill for 35 years, does not have to live with the Waste Transfer Station for the next 20 years.
I want to be proud of our community; I want it to act according to its principles of social justice, economic justice, and environmental justice; I want it to redeem, finally, the promises made to the Rogers Road Community. You can be instrumental in that achievement, and I ask you to exercise your leadership and your authority to do so.
September 24, 2007
Thanks to Jack and the Orange County Democratic Committee for throwing their support behind the Rogers Road Community and their long long fight for justice.