September 2005

District voting for the county

The Chapel Hill Herald reports on the second of two public hearings about establishing some kind of geographic districts for electing the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

One option calls for five commissioner seats to be nominated from districts. Voters countywide would then vote on the candidates in the general election.

Another option has five commissioner seats nominated from districts in the primary, with two additional at-large seats. Voters would elect candidates in the general election.

The final option would split the county into a northern and southern district. The northern district would have two seats; the southern district would have three. Nominations would be district-based, with voters choosing candidates from both districts in the general election.
- The Chapel Hill Herald, 9/1/05

Disaster Relief: Orange County Delivers

With such unbelievable suffering occurring in areas ravished by Hurricane Katrina, it is becoming a little harder each day for me to concentrate on local politics. Please use this thread to alert readers to local fund-raising events and relief efforts. In the meantime, an easy and important way to extend help is by donating online at

Green County?

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County have engaged in a program to study greenhouse gas emissions in and around their respective facilities. The first step has been to hire Toronto-based contractor ICLEI Energy Services, the technical services branch of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. According to their website, after conducting an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, the consultants typically provide clients with software and access to an extensive set of best practices from local governments around the world. "From technical software support to advice regarding the selection of an emissions reduction target, quantification questions, emissions inventory and Local Action Planning assistance, and protocol issues, IES has gained a great deal of insight into the issues faced by local governments in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions."

"Local Political Leaders Urge Public Protest Against Ruinous Bush Policies"

Jim Protzman writes:

There will be millions of people descending on DC on
September 24th to protest the war in Iraq . . . and I suspect the focus
will expand to all aspects of the miserable failure that is George Bush.

Will there be a companion event here in the southern part of heaven?
Will we take to the streets in outrage at the state of this country and
our failed national leadership? I'm ready to help make that happen.
Maybe OP could lead the charge.

It strikes me that the proper focus for such a protest would be
David Price's office off Weaver Dairy Road (or, perhaps his home [not
far, I believe, from Jim's] given the extent to which Katrina has hit
people in their homes). If we view Bush's immoral spending priorities
as the main focus then the Democrats' failure to fight against them
would be the indisputable runner-up.

Put simply: if Price is not leading us in our expression of outrage then he, along with Bush, should be the object thereof.

OWASA considers bold initiative on water

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday September 03, 2005

Thursday night, the OWASA board of directors will consider a proposal to launch a campaign promoting OWASA water as an alternative to imported bottled water. As well as highlighting the value of low-cost, high-quality OWASA water, the project also could involve educating residents on the global problems of water privatization as well as the solid waste, transportation and other environmental costs stemming from the bottled water industry.

The upcoming discussion is in response to a petition from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Peace & Justice Committee of the Community Church.

According to WILPF, "Water is the earth's most precious resource. Access to safe and affordable water is a human right. Local, democratic control of water is essential for food security and peace. Everywhere accelerating privatization threatens public control over access to water while scarcity looms from overuse and pollution."

School board cries 'uncle'

When a recent attempt to make a technical correction in the Chapel Hill Carrboro School System's gifted program resulted in an hour of angry testimony from gifted parents, the school board simply gave up.

Board member Ed Sechrest said he would vote "against his conscience" to forestall the legions of e-mails he receives if he votes against what the parents of gifted students want.

"I don't want to read 20,000 e-mails from parents, saying you cheated us, you lied to us," he said. "So I am voting against my conscience."
- Chapel Hill Herald, 9/7/05

Congratulations to these parents who have proven that they are better organized and have more time and energy to spend on this issue than anyone else in town.

Forum Tonight for Council and School Board Candidates

The Orange County Democratic Women is hosting a forum from 7:30 to 9:30 tonight for candidates for Chapel Hill Mayor and Council and for Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board.

Location: Southern Human Services Center, 2501 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

7:30 Forum for Chapel Hill candidates
9:00 Forum for School Board Candidates

Moderator: Dan Coleman

Audience members will be invited to submit questions to the candidates.

Causes for celebration

Last Tuesday I was elected to be the Chair of the Chapel Hill Planning Board. And on Thursday I started a new job!

None of this should impact what goes on here at OrangePolitics, but I wanted to go ahead and say right now that nothing I write here represents the Planning Board or the Town of Chapel Hill (unless I say otherwise, of course).

In other news, Tuesday September 27th is OrangePolitics' second birthday! (Or is it an "anniversary?")

I'd like to have a little celebration and maybe invite all the current candidates to come. Anyone have suggestions for a location or other ideas?

Who knew?

Congrats to the Independent Weekly whose September 9, 2004 cover story exposed FEMA's decimation in the service of "homeland security." Managing Editor Kirk Ross says the article is getting a lot of hits lately (Google counts at least 182 links). I would like other newspapers to note that this was only possible because they use permalinks for each story and keep their archives completely open.

"Disaster in the Making" was written by former Chapel Hillian Jon Elliston almost a year ago. Here's an excerpt:

Candidate Forums

Here's a list of public candidate forums. Anyone know of others?

Pa'lante (Hispanic Youth & Journalism group)
Friday, Sept 9, 6:30pm, Club Neon, Carrboro and Chapel Hill (very small space)

Sierra Club

  • Monday, Sept. 19, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, Carrboro Town Hall, Carrboro Mayor and BOA
  • Thursday, Sept. 22, 7 - 9 p.m., Battle Court Room, Hillsborough Mayor and Commissioners
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, 7 - 9 p.m., Chapel Hill Town Hall, Chapel Hill Mayor and Council

Morgan Creek Neighborhood Event
Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.

Coker Hills/Colonial Heights/Booker Creek Neighborhood Event
Saturday, Sept. 24, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.


  • Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6:00-8:00 pm, Carrboro Town Hall, Carrboro Mayor & BOA (broadcast live on WCHL)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11, 6:00 - 8:00 pm, Hargraves Community Center, Chapel Hill Mayor and Council

Orange County Democratic Women
Tuesday, Oct. 4, 7:30 pm, TBA, Carrboro and School Board



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