August 2004

New Blood Downtown

The Chapel Hill Herald reports that the Chapel Hill Museum has hired a new director, and the new Chapel Hill Downtown Economic Development Corporation is still looking to hire it's first director.

[CHDEDC Board Member Bob] Epting said Tuesday that the three applicants under consideration had made their interest known because of the notice that went around campus. But he said that didn't necessarily mean all three were UNC faculty members.

"We haven't had a discussion about those qualities, so I wouldn't speak for the board on that point," Epting said, when asked about what the board was looking for in an interim director. "Clearly, we are trying to pick somebody with an interest and excitement for both the development and the preservation of our downtown."

The board does expect that whomever takes the director's job would be paid for the work, he said.

WSM board hiring

My favorite co-op is approaching the annual re/election of of members of its Board of Directors. The structure is unusual (to me, at least).

Weaver Street Market is governed by a seven-member board of directors, four of whom are directly elected by the two owner classes, workers and consumers (2 positions each). Two positions are appointed by the board itself to fill the need for particular skills or knowledge. The General Manager holds the seventh position.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the WSM Annual Meeting, at which the members have the opportunity to select our two representatives to the Board. But I was then frustrated to find that the ballot was preprinted (with the names of the incuments) and it was too late in the game to propose new candidates. Some years I miss the notice in the newsletter, and so miss the Annual meeting and the opportunity to vote altogether.

What can progressives do locally to further our political causes?

Guest Post by George Entenman

I've been thinking a lot about how residents of Orange County can contribute to the efforts of the state and national Democratic Parties, in particular to the Kerry/Edwards and Bowles campaigns.

Should we contribute and work for state and national organizations, or can we work locally?

As far as I can tell, the national Democratic Party is pretty badly organized. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the stories I read in 2002 about how well we are organized were planted by Republicans to lull us into complacency (even though it's hard to believe that our liberal media would go along with that).

I was at local Democratic headquarters on election day in 2002 (I'd been laid off and had the time). I was asked to start phoning people late in the afternoon to encourage them to vote. That was when I rediscovered just how bad the lists are that the state party supplies the local party.


One of the really great things about the new blog software we're using, is that there is a large community of people creating plug-ins and customizations for anyone to use. This site would not be possible without these tools, and the assistance of their authors. Deepest gratitude to the entire Wordpress community for making these features possible.

Whither West House

OK, I'll admit I haven't been paying much attention on this issue - so what's the big deal with the West House? Now I read in the Chapel Hill News that State Senator Ellie Kinnaird is wading into this battle. She may not be the heaviest hitter in Raleigh, but she's the best Senator in the State, if you ask me. So this made my ears perk up.

Kinnaird and other supporters of the preservation effort hope to persuade the university to leave the house where it is and turn it into a sort of welcome center for visitors to the university -- or, failing that, to move it intact to another site on campus...

West House is a small structure built in 1935 by a textile magnate as a residence for his sons while they attended UNC. When it was built, it marked the far western edge of campus -- hence its name -- and now it stands just south of Hanes Art Center, where a new music building, a key component in the university's planned Arts Common, is due to be built.
- Chapel Hill News, 8/8/04

Summertime and the Living is Easy

This is our first attempt at something I have seen on other blogs: an open thread with no topic at all. Of course this being OrangePolitics, I hope you will keep it local. What issues are on your mind?

...What's your favorite way to ease the pain of the students' return each fall? Are they like a plague of locusts descending on our summer buzz, or are they re-invigorating us from our heat-induced stupor?

...Have the forces of evil been on hiatus, or are they still quietly plotting Chapel Hill's demise? ;-)

...Since the Chapel Hill News saw fit to cover what some of our elected officials did on their vacations, feel free to share your own stories, book reports, etc.

... Have fun!

IFC, Homeless No More?

Is anyone at all surprised to see that the IFC soup kitchen/shelter will not be moving back into the space that they had to leave "temporarily" so the Town could remodel it? You shouldn't be if you read OrangePolitics. I can understand them needing more and better space for their residential programs, but I can't see the free meals they provide being nearly as helpful if they are served a mile away from the center of town. Poor people don't just hang out downtown because there are students to ask for money, it's also near where they work for poverty-level wages (ie: the University).

It also comes as no surprise that downtown merchants will be glad to have the shelter permanently out of their hair. I wonder if the move will have much impact on the panhandling that some people seem to think is the biggest problem we have downtown. (Besides maybe parking, of course!) Only time will tell.

Many criminals have fed the negative stereotypes of homeless people by hanging around the shelter and by giving its address when they're arrested. However:

Don't Forget to Vote (Again)

Tuesday is the Democratic runoff primary contest between June Atkinson and Marshall Stewart. They are running against each other for the Democratic nomination for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

I'll let the candidates speak for themselves:

June Atkinson from the Herald-Sun Votebook:

Favorite Book: "Cold Sassy Tree . . . Laws and policy should be the honest and accurate expression of the will of the people."

Marshall Stewart from the Herald-Sun Votebook:

Favorite Book: "Bible . . . I have very strong values that are based on my faith."

The polls will be in their regular places and open for the regular amount of time (6:30 am - 7:30 pm). If you are registered Democrat or if you are Unaffiliated (and you voted in the Democratic Primary last month) then you are eligible to vote.

N.C. Blog Gathering

A few folks in Greensboro are putting together an informal gathering to discuss political blogging in North Carolina. They have got local elected officials and prominent bloggers attending from at least Guilford and Orange Counties, we will probably see folks from Wake County and other central parts of the state as well.

It is being modelled on the BloggerCon gatherings that have challenged traditional conference formats. I think the Piedmont Blog Conference should be interesting to anyone who enjoys reading or writing blogs. Y'all come!

What: Discussion of weblogs and politics, weblogs and media, weblogs and...

When: Saturday, August 28, 2004, 9 AM

Where: 620 South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC

Who: Candidates, bloggers, media, readers...moderators include Matt Gross, Ruby Sinreich, David Hoggard, and Ed Cone

How much: Free

Challenging the Political Status Quo

Guest Post by Terri Buckner

Periodically on OP the issue of voter-owned elections (also known as Clean Elections) has been raised as a solution to the rampant influence of money in politics. Legislation (SB 760) was before the state legislature last year to give local governments the authority to enact their own clean elections, but it never reached a vote so it will have to be reintroduced this year. Next year will bring us a new round of local elections. How might these elections be different if we had voter-owned elections? Would we see different kinds of candidates? Would there be more openness about controversial issues such as town/gown relationships?



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