More racist attacks on Chapel Hill employee

I really can't understand the Town's seemingly mild response to racist graffiti discovered at the Town Operations Center.  Given that there have been no consequences for the previous incident, it's not surprising that the hateful vandal struck again last week.

Chapel Hill Police are investigating the first incident and have not charged anyone. Town Manager Roger Stancil has said the culprit could be fired.

- newsobserver.com:  Racist graffiti found in Chapel Hill offices, 7/10/08

How the hell does this happen? And what does the manager mean "the culprit could" be fired? Under what circumstances would you not fire an employee who publicly directs hate speech at another employee?

Glen Lennox developer to Town: "just kidding!"

I still can't decide which of Clay Grubb's statements is more ridiculous: the description of Glen Lennox as "in decline" (how does he think it got that way?) or last month's admission that his proposal to redevelop the property was "done hastily" and wasn't really a very good idea. A month ago, I was open to the idea of at least some changes in Glen Lennox, but at this point I kinda want to put a moratorium on development until we can convince the guy to just sell the whole thing.

The president of Grubb Properties said Wednesday night that his company's initial plans to redevelop the Glen Lennox neighborhood and shopping center failed to respect the community's character.

"I do not think the plan was sensitive to the history of Glen Lennox. I apologize," Clay Grubb told the Chapel Hill Town Council. "That was a plan that was done hastily."

Who's Going to Ann Arbor?

The calendar is counting down the days remaining to register to attend the Inter-City Visit and Leadership Conference, at least in terms of being able to get the cheapest tickets and to be eligible for scholarship funds. Ann Arbor was chosen as this year's destination because of its perceived similarities to Chapel Hill, in both the populace and the problems they face. Are any OP'ers planning on attending this year? For those of you who went to Madison two years ago, do you feel like any real progress is made on these trips, or would community leaders be better off with a staycation?

Create Green-Collar Jobs in Orange County

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Van Jones speak. He co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and is founder and president of Green For All. He spoke convincingly of a future of increased equality and how one of the roads to this future is green jobs. Green-collar jobs are employment in the environmental or agricultural sectors of the economy. [Source: Wikipedia] But they also include any work that will help transform our society into a more environmentally sustainable one.

One way our local government leaders could participate in this national movement is to sign the Green Jobs Pledge. Its goal is to "rebuild American competitiveness and environmental leadership by growing a green economy that fights global warming, pollution and poverty at the same time." Here are the five steps this pledge asks our leaders to agree to:

  1. Commit to Action
  2. Create a Green-collar Jobs Taskforce
  3. Identify Goals and Assess Opportunities
  4. Create a Local Action Plan
  5. Evaluate, Leverage and Grow

Is Hillsborough ready for rail?

A recently-completed feasibility study has smiled upon the idea of rail service in HIllsborough, and the town is purchasing land for a future station. Amtrak and NC DOT say it makes financial sense, but they also say that it can only work if the town gets serious about long-term planning.

Just in time for the Orange County Comprehensive Plan, which some think is overly reliant on sprawling growth and not doing enough smart land use planning!

The town would need to further develop and adopt a concept plan of how rail service would fit into overall community development, such as plans for land use, road networks and transit, bike and pedestrian access. The rail service would need to coordinate well with other modes of transportation.

A comprehensive review of the local rail infrastructure, including nearby road and pedestrian crossings, would be needed.

The town also would need to locate a site for a rail/transit stop. Concurrently, the town is obtaining property in Central Hillsborough that has the potential to serve as a rail stop and transit center.

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