There has been a lot going on and I can scarcely find a moment to blog about it. Maybe in 6 years when my son starts school and I don't have to work to pay for daycare so I can work so I can... where was I? Oh yeah, so last night three important things happened in local government - we took 2 steps forward and one step back for social justice.
1. The Orange County Commissioners rejected both door number one (a new, expanded landfill) and door number two (a waste transfer station). Instead they will be shipping our trash to Durham, an idea which I never years in literally years of debate about this issue. In any case, this seems to be a huge victory for the historically African-American Rogers Road neighborhood, which has shouldered Orange County's landfill for nearly four decades and which is ready to move on the the next phase of their lives, that is: not being neighbors to any major waste handling facilities.
2. The newly elected Mayor and members of the Chapel Hill Town Council were sworn in*, and for the first time in over 50 years there were no people of color at the table. Tomorrow, the Council will hold a special meeting to hear from the applicants to fill Bill Strom's vacated seat. Some are surely lobbying for recent 5th-place finisher Matt Pohlman to get the nod, but others (including fellow applicant and former Council member Joe Capowski) are supporting Donna Bell, who has experience with local government and community organizations, and is African American to boot. I'm supporting Donna as well, and I think she has a good chance of being selected, but I'm glad the Council is following through with the same public, deliberative process they have used to fill other vacancies.
*3. Lots of folks were on hand last night, especially to see the swearing in of Chapel Hill's first (and Orange County's second, and North Carolina's third (thanks, Jake)) openly-gay Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt. I know no-one (except maybe Kevin Wolff) really cares about his sexual orientation, but still it's hard not to kvell a little with pride about him. Below is a photo by OP reader John Rees, showing Judge Pat Devine administering the oath to Mayor Kleinschmidt who was accompanied by (from L to R): his partner Joey, parents, sister, and niece.