Ruby Sinreich's blog

Sally Greene to apply for open Council seat

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All of us in the local political chattering class have been talking about who will be the successor to Penny Rich, since Penny will be resigning from the Chapel Hill Town Council soon to take her new seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. A lot of qualified names have been tossed out, including Maria Palmer and George Cianciolo.

Welcome back, Dwight!

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I have no idea what the story is behind this, but I bet it's interesting. Seven months after resigning as the head of Economic Development for the Town of Chapel Hill and taking effectively the same position for the City of Raleigh, Dwight Basset has come back to his old job. I wonder how all those people who blamed his departure on Chapel Hill's supposed E.D. failings will interpret this? 

Personally I hope Bassett returns with some fresh ideas about local economies and especially about citizen particpation, which is one area where Chapel Hill has a lot to learn from Raleigh. 

We're 9! Have some birthday treats with us.

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First some digital goodies: This site has a few cool tricks and an archive of 3,600 posts that don't get utilized much. One is the random post generator: http://orangepolitics.org/random.  Another is what I call "in review." It allows you filter and sort posts by date and rating to find some of the best (and worst) and most commented posts of previous eras: http://orangepolitics.org/in-review. For example, here are the top rated posts of the past 365 days.

And some less virtual treats: at today's birthday party we'll be serving BBQ sliders, catfish bites, and hushpuppies from Hillsborough BBQ, as well as fresh, delicious beer (by the pint) from Mystery Brewing. And there will also be a limited number of cupcakes from Weaver Street Market's bakery for the early birds.

Upgrading OrangePolitics

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Thursday marks the 9th anniversary of the day OrangePolitics came to be. A few of you old timers will remember that it didn't always work the way it did today. OP's first platform was MovableType. It didn't offer much in the way of comment moderation, which led to some very crazy things being posted on the site. In 2004, I moved the site to Wordpress, an open source platform that was better, but lacked some key community elements.

Let's keep Chancellor Thorp, it's The Carolina Way

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Chancellor Holden Thorp, University Day, 2010I was a bit of a doubter when Holden Thorp was first appointed to be the UNC Chancellor, but he has turned out to be the best thing to happen to South Building in decades. I’ve been surprised to see some of my friends blaming Thorp for UNC’s athletics scandal and acting as if staff abuse of med air flights was a capital crime.

Thorp clearly seems guilty of trusting Matt Kupec too much, and allowing him to waste taxpayer dollars. But Thorp is also a tremendously thoughtful and effective leader of this hugely complex academic institution. One stupid screw-up wasting money does not outweigh the great job he has done for many thousands of students, for Orange County, and for the state of North Carolina. In fact, I think he’s due a lot of credit for the badly-needed daylight that’s been shed on UNC athletics.

The Chancellor’s position has become untenable now because of athletic boosters and anti-intellectuals like Art Pope pounding the drums of “scandal.” These people are not concerned with the quality of education available to North Carolinians. Of course the Kupec/Hansbrough thing was a big mistake, but it doesn’t make Thorp unfit to do all the many things required of a good university chancellor. Let’s don’t blame Thorp for having to clean up the mess left by decades of athletic corruption and mismanagement.

Free drugs for kids

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A friend of mine who is a teacher at a local high school asked me to post the following story. My friend requested that I share this without any identifying information so as not to compromise student trust and confidentiality.

The county reckons with new-fangled technology

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Tonight the Orange County Commissioners had a work session including two items related to technology. In the first, a consultant from the UNC School of GOvernment (how many of those are there?) presented Strategic Information Technology Plan which prioritized investments in tools for citizen engament and delivery of services. They also heard a brief update on the county staff's attempt to make agendas more electronically accessible through clean, searchable PDFs.

Frustrating week

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So far this week, my e-mail to the school board was trapped in their spam filter (and not discovered until after they voted on the subject of the e-mail), and then I went to a public hearing at which the county commissioners did not in fact accept public comment. Not a great week for civic engagement.

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