About last night

There has been a lot going on and I can scarcely find a moment to blog about it. Maybe in 6 years when my son starts school and I don't have to work to pay for daycare so I can work so I can...  where was I? Oh yeah, so last night three important things happened in local government - we took 2 steps forward and one step back for social justice.

1. The Orange County Commissioners rejected both door number one (a new, expanded landfill) and door number two (a waste transfer station).  Instead they will be shipping our trash to Durham, an idea which I never years in literally years of debate about this issue.  In any case, this seems to be a huge victory for the historically African-American Rogers Road neighborhood, which has shouldered Orange County's landfill for nearly four decades and which is ready to move on the the next phase of their lives, that is: not being neighbors to any major waste handling facilities. 

2. The newly elected Mayor and members of the Chapel Hill Town Council were sworn in*, and for the first time in over 50 years there were no people of color at the table. Tomorrow, the Council will hold a special meeting to hear from the applicants to fill Bill Strom's vacated seat. Some are surely lobbying for recent 5th-place finisher Matt Pohlman to get the nod, but others (including fellow applicant and former Council member Joe Capowski) are supporting Donna Bell, who has experience with local government and community organizations, and is African American to boot. I'm supporting Donna as well, and I think she has a good chance of being selected, but I'm glad the Council is following through with the same public, deliberative process they have used to fill other vacancies.

*3. Lots of folks were on hand last night, especially to see the swearing in of Chapel Hill's first (and Orange County's second, and North Carolina's third (thanks, Jake)) openly-gay Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt. I know no-one (except maybe Kevin Wolff) really cares about his sexual orientation, but still it's hard not to kvell a little with pride about him. Below is a photo by OP reader John Rees, showing Judge Pat Devine administering the oath to Mayor Kleinschmidt who was accompanied by (from L to R): his partner Joey, parents, sister, and niece.



I liked hearing a brief mention from a few of the council members discussing issues important to them, and I was glad to hear Penny in particular talk about the continuation Voter Owned Elections.

Lots of folks were on hand last night, especially to see the swearing
in of Chapel Hill's first (and North Carolina and Orange County's
second) openly-gay Mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt.

One small note, I think Mark is the third openly gay mayor elected in North Carolina, although second for Orange County.  Equality NC lists both Mike Nelson for Carrboro and Elic Senter of Franklington which I believe is just a little North East of the triangle area.  But still Chapel Hill is by far the largest municpality to elect an openly gay mayor in North Carolina's history, a historical moment not missed by Rachel Maddow who mentioned it on her national television show. http://equalitync.org/resources/library/outofficials It was great to see that place so packed.

More meetings Monday night on this side of the county too.  The last Orange Co Board of Ed meeting was Monday night, as well as the DOT hearing for comments on the 4 proposals regarding a Hillsborough bypass (or not). 

Yes! I was following your tweets while at the Chapel Hill meeting. Would you be interested in writing up what happened in Hillsborough? It sounds like a lot of major decisions were being debated.

I think Josh Katrinsky's blog post and  article do a good job summarizing the meeting.  The next step in this 30 day hearing process is for the Town Board to make a statement, which I think they will do at this coming Monday's Town Board meeting.


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