November 2004

Can We End Homelessness? continued

There were a lot of people at the End Homelessness Roundtable this morning, enough to make a serious effort to organize more effective ways to provide appropriate levels of housing and services for those in need. One point that stuck with me was that our inability to provide comprehensive services for the chronically homeless in a coherent fashion is very expensive, probably costly enough to pay for a good program if we could focus the resources appropriately.

Don't Miss This Film!

The award-winning documentary "The Corporation" will be playing for free this Sunday, Nov. 21 at 7pm in Hanes Arts Center auditorium on UNC's Campus.

Chatham growth and quality of life

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday, November 20, 2004
Final Edition, Editorial Section, Page 2

For advocates of controlled growth, Election Day brought some good news. The water extension bond was narrowly defeated in northeast Chatham County. This, coupled with the election of two commission candidates backed by the Chatham Coalition, indicates a tenuous but real change of direction for Chatham.

Sonny Keisler, president of Friends of Rocky River and a longtime developer, told The Independent's Jennifer Strom, "Water lines are a double-edged sword. They can do a lot of good but they can also do a lot of harm."

Given the frantic insistence on growth of the current majority on the county commission, northeast Chatham residents have done well to put the brakes on water-line extension.

The Chatham water situation brought to mind Carl Hiaasen's novels of development politics in south Florida. Hiaasen's stories usually involve corrupt officials, ruthless developers, ethically challenged investors, detectives who'd rather be fishing, slobbery dogs and murder.

Friday is Buy Nothing Day

An important announcment from our friends at Internationalist Books & Community Center:

Wondering what to do with your family after you make leftover turkey or tofurkey sandwiches? Want to avoid the crazy shopping crowds? Tired of the hyped-up holiday hooha?

Why not try Buy Nothing Day! Join us for a day free of consumer spending at Internationalist Books & Community Center.
When: Friday, November 26th, 12-5pm
Where: 405 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC

What's going on?
Free food and free swap all day! Around 2pm- Poetry hour Block printing workshop — make your own greeting cards! Fun, friends & fellowship!

Locals Honored by Independent

While the folks off Rogers Road are arguing over whose values they prefer, Carrboro's or Chapel Hill's, The Independent Weekly has honored one from each town with a 2004 Citizen Award.

Chapel Hill's Peggy Misch was honored for her work in defense of the Bill of Rights. Carrboro's Pete MacDowell was honored for his in defense of democracy.

Congratulations to Peggy and Pete for these well-deserved awards.

Keep transit on the street

Guest Post by Patrick McDonough

As part of its downtown redevelopment plans, Chapel Hill is considering the construction of a transit transfer center.

In my November 28th Guest Column in the Chapel Hill News, I discuss the advantages of one of the proposed designs which would keep transit access on downtown sidewalks rather than in an off-street facility. Here's the column: Downtown transit will work best on the street

Questions and comments are welcome.

Patrick McDonough is a regular Chapel Hill Transit rider, and has a Master's Degree in Transportation and Land Use Planning from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Behind closed doors

I was disappointed, but not surprised, to read about the recent closed-door session of the Chapel Hill Downtown Economic Development Corporation. Here on OP we have raised a number of concerns about this new downtown player since it's creation.

Looks like Kirk Ross at the Independent Weekly has joined the skeptics. He writes:

In one quick meeting last week, the [Corporation] managed to alienate a number of the players needed to make new ideas work and raise suspicion among the general public about just what the group is up to. ...

For folks interested in the future of downtown Chapel Hill, the board's action was enlightening, as was the rather imperial response by board member J. Allen Fine, when asked by Epting why he wanted to do things in closed session. "Why not?" Fine replied.

Seven windows, seven doors

This month there was (is?) a very thoughtful piece of activism in downtown Chapel Hill. With "Seven Windows, Seven Doors" local artist-activists painted silouettes on the boarded up openings on the old bus station. Soon the bus station will be demolished to make room for a luxury hotel.

This unique act combined art, protest, and history in an effective and touching message. The pictures are combined with words expressing the experiences of people who passed through the bus station in past decades. "I left here hoping to escape..." "I was discriminated against here..." "I enforced the law here..." "I looked away here..." "I won on a full house here..."

Here's is Sally Greene's photo gallery and her blog post about it. Also, here is an interview with Matt Robinson (one of the creators) by Brian Russell of



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