The Town of Chapel Hill and the Town of Carrboro should not authorize their managers to continue with the Gig.U (aka North Carolina Next Generation Network [NCNGN]) initiative at this time. Both elected bodies should direct staff to send the request for proposals (RFP) back to the drawing board for repairs.
The primary reason to reject the current RFP is that local governments could not enforce important parts of agreements that could come from a resulting contract. Municipalities all over North Carolina have been stripped of any legal authority to franchise or regulate either cable or broadband systems. This is important because, as the current RFP is structured, this is how the towns would make sure we all have access to a new fast network.
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.
About a year ago, the Town of Chapel Hill amended its bus advertisement policy to spell out rules for ads with political messages. In August, the Church of Reconciliation in Chapel Hill placed an ad that shows a Jewish and a Palestinian grandfather each with a grandchild and reads “Join with us. Build peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel.” The ad stirred up a controversy and led to a petition from citizens to change the bus ad policy to disallow such ads.
I'm surprised no one has yet posted comments about the following article by Mark Schultz that appeared in Chapel Hill News. Chapel Hill Town Council has taken many principled positions on contentious national issues such as gay rights or gun control, to name two. Why not Palestine? Where does this community stand on the issue of free speech? Why is it OK to take positions on some issues, but not others?
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?