After years of planning and community discussion, the Orange County Board of Commissioners recently placed a referendum on the November ballot for a half-cent sales tax to support public transit. Together with state and federal contributions, the new revenue will support a 20-year investment in bus and rail service in Orange County. There are many reasons to support the transit tax, like reducing the environmental degradation wreaked by overreliance on car travel and the sprawl it generates. Often overlooked are the benefits of public transit for marginalized populations.
Today 70 Orange County residents traveled to Bloomington, Indiana for a Inter-City Visit to learn how their community deals with challenges related to public policy, student housing, economic development, and other questions. These trips are only as valuable as the information we bring back to Orange County, and I hope that through my tweets, posts on Orange Politics, and work when I return to Chapel Hill, I can provide insights into our trip and improve our community.
Most of the first day was travel from Chapel Hill to Bloomington. I started the morning by boarding a shuttle bus from University Mall at 7:00 AM, and didn’t arrive in Bloomington until 2:30 PM. That being said, I already have ideas and thoughts about how we can improve Chapel Hill based on experiences in Bloomington.
Tonight the County Commissioners abandoned tradition and moved swiftly forward on two issues. Despite opposition from Commissioners Alice Gordon and Barry Jacobs, they approved the unpopular rezoning of the Eno Economic Development District that Mark Marcoplos told us about. And at the urging of Commisioners Valerie Foushee and Pam Hemminger, who will both be leaving the board in December, they unanimously approved a resolution drafted on the spot to endorse and more forward the Rogers Road community center.
This event is always a good time and a great way to meet your neighbors (if you live in Northside) and community leaders (if you live anywhere). From Facebook:
The GNI Neighborhood Night Out and Block Party is an annual community event and opportunity to build strong, healthy connections between student and non-student residents of neighborhoods surrounding Downtown Chapel Hill and UNC. The event is free, and includes food (BUNS!, Ben & Jerry's, McAlisters), music, games and prizes for all ages. This event is sponsored by the Town of Chapel Hill, UNC-Chapel Hill, the Carolina Union Activities Board (CUAB), Empowerment, Inc., and the Downtown Partnership.
Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Hargraves Community Center, 216 North Robertson Street, Chapel Hill, NC
This month the Town of Chapel Hill followed up on their promise to help create a community center for the Rogers Road neighborhood by... shutting down the center that neighbors set up for themselves for code violations! What?
Did anyone at Town Hall think twice before doing this? Did anyone think 'given our huge debt to this community and our stated goal of supporting a community center there, how can we help improve this center and bring it up to code?'
No, as if they were computers instead of humans, they kicked the Rogers-Eubank Neighborhood Association out of their home. What were they thinking?
Politics, Race, and the November Election Part 4: EDUCATION
Katy Munger (Progess NC),
Mark Dorosin (UNC Center for Civil Rights),
Sandy Darity (Duke Professor of Public Policy, Professor of African and African-American Studies and Economics, and Chair, Department of African and African American Studies, Director, Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality - invited)