It is clear from recent police forums and from experiences shared by people of color in our communities that we have a serious problem with racial equity in policing in Orange County. The most recent example is a guest column by Stephanie Perry in Sunday’s Chapel Hill News (12/21/14). Perry serves with me on the board of Orange County Justice United. We heard other stories like this during the Carrboro community forum on policing in October.
Orange County elected officials and health department staff have recongized the immediate need to address poverty in our county. As a result, the Orange County Family Success Alliance has been launched, modeled on the Harlem Children's Zone. The Orange County Health Department used health and school system data to select six zones with the highest need. More information can be found here. Each zone held community meetings to glean information for their applications. They then made short presentations and fielded questions.
Though most of Orange County’s public bodies are in recess until after the new year, there are two key meetings happening this week. First, on Tuesday, a committee of elected officials, county board members and staff will hear presentations as to which zones should be selected to the first to benefit from the county’s new Family Success Alliance program. Then on Thursday, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board will discuss its growth plan, consider revising its policy on class rank and make committee assignments.
Though the holiday season is in full swing, there’s plenty this week to keep local elected bodies busy. The Chapel Hill Town Council will hold a special meeting on Obey Creek, while its Hillsborough counterpart will discuss improvements to Churton Street. The county commissioners will talk rural curbside recycling, while the county school board holds a community reception and advances its superintendent search.
In our semi-regular Question & Answer series, we have featured Meg McGurk, Executive Director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership and Brian Litchfield, Director of Chapel Hill Transit. The latest installment is with Robert Dowling, Executive Director of the Community Home Trust.
Coffee and buses, under most circumstances, discussing these two seemingly unrelated things in the same sentence would seem strange, that is unless you're talking about a certain part of Chapel Hill. I of course am talking about Weaver Diary Road, a fairly major thoroughfare in the Northern part of of town whose underwhelming bus service marks a major problem for the Chapel Hill Transit system.
I signed a new housing lease about a month ago in mid-October – a lease that won’t start until June of next year. This is how competitive student off-campus housing is in Chapel Hill, and the ever-high demand for student housing in Chapel Hill continues to negatively affect non-student renters.
Despite the holiday, only the county commissioners are off this week. Both the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education and the Carrboro Alderfolks will meet in closed session, while the Chapel Hill Town Council will hold a regular meeting on wide variety of topics. The Hillsborough Town Board will discuss its upcoming planning board retreat, while the county school board will talk strategic planning and community engagement.
The focus will be regional this week, with all four of the county’s elected boards meeting together Wednesday to discuss affordable housing, the use of sales tax revenue for economic development, solid waste and the rural buffer. Triangle Transit will also be hosting workshops in Durham and Chapel Hill to get feedback on the current phase of the light rail project.