October 2005

More diversity? Fewer meetings?

John Herrera made two interesting comments in his interview in today's Herald:

We need to ask ourselves, who value diversity, why is it that single moms are not on the board? Or people of color. It is so hard to recruit them. They don't have the time, the money, the what it takes sometimes to run a campaign.

Something I have been pushing for but it got shut down, is reducing the amount of meetings. Bigger municipalities... don't meet every Tuesday.

We all know there are obstacles along the lines John describes. Most of them would be difficult for local government to overcome. It would be great for the town to provide a childcare fund which might cost up to $2000/year for a single parent (that's on top of the alderman pay which I think is around $5000) and much less for parents with partners or joint custody - an idea worth exploring.

Celebrate the Creek

It's time to Celebrate the Creek at the 2nd Bolin Creek Festival, 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. October 8th at Umstead Park in Chapel Hill. This family-oriented festival is sponsored by the Friends of Bolin Creek and admission is free. Please join your friends and family for a relaxing afternoon near the creek. Bring a blanket! For more information read the press release:

The Friends of Bolin Creek invite you to the 2nd Bolin Creek Festival planned for October 8th at Umstead Park in Chapel Hill from noon-6pm. The festival is being held as a celebration of the creek, it's neighbors, the hard work of local citizens on its behalf, and as an opportunity to meet kindred spirits, learn and have fun. We would like to raise awareness about Bolin Creek, a natural treasure which flows through the heart of Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy a wonderful afternoon of music, great food, win valuable prizes donated by local merchants, and learn about efforts to preserve the creek corridor and nearby woodlands.

Water Levels OK Through Winter

This just in from OWASA:

The Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake are 68 percent full despite dry weather in recent months. As of Monday morning, the water stored in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community's two reservoirs totaled 2.3 billion gallons, and water use in the last week has averaged about 10.3 million gallons per day.

Although the dry weather in recent months has affected some reservoirs in the region more significantly, OWASA's lake levels are about normal for this time of year. University Lake and the Cane Creek Reservoir have more than twice as much water as they did at this time in 2002 during the area's worst drought on record.

OWASA officials do not foresee a need for additional mandatory water use restrictions this fall or winter, but additional conservation measures could be necessary if the lakes do not refill by spring. (Since operation of the Cane Creek Reservoir began in 1989, the only year when both lakes were not full by early spring was in the severe drought of 2002.)

One Confounding Questionnaire

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday October 01, 2005

In Greek mythology, the villain Procrustes kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, inviting them for a night's rest in his very special bed. Procrustes described the bed as having the unique property that its length exactly matched whoever lay down upon it.

This "one-size-fits-all" was no supernatural phenomenon. It was achieved by Procrustes stretching his guest on the bed if he was too short or chopping off his legs if he was too long.

Figuratively speaking, candidates for local office have run into a Procrustes of our own this fall. The Chamber of Commerce has once again crafted its questionnaire to reduce complex issues to answers limited to yes/no/unsure and seek commitments to vague policy formulations.

UNC discusses Master Plan with itself

I keep hearing that there will be engagement with the entire community about UNC's Master Plan, but the public hasn't been invited to any accessible (ie: off-campus) meetings about it. The the last two "community workshops" (November 2004 and May 2005) were held in the middle of central campus (and were not well-attended in the previous round).

I would think UNC would use a space either near downtown or near parking if they actually wanted the community to attend. Or as I suggested last May, enable feedback by giving the community more than one meeting to look at, process, and give feedback on the plan:

Equality NC PAC Endorses Kleinschmidt for Chapel Hill Council

Kleinschmidt "outstanding leader for equal rights," ENC's Palmquist says.

Equality NC PAC announced today its endorsement of Mark Kleinschmidt for re-election to the Chapel Hill Town Council. The statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group cited his leadership on equal rights issues in making its choice.

The group is primarily active in state-level races, but makes endorsements in local races of statewide significance.

"Mark Kleinschmidt has proven himself as a leader who truly represents Chapel Hill's values of freedom, justice and equality," said Ian Palmquist, the group's Executive Director for Programs. "Mark is significant not only because he is one of four openly gay elected official in our state, but because of his outspoken and effective advocacy for equal rights."

Read the entire release.

WCHL / Empowerment / Chamber of Commerce Candidate Forum - Carrboro

The Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce, in association with EmPOWERment and WCHL, will host a candidate forum for candidates for Carrboro Mayoral and Alderman races at Carrboro Town Hall.

Volunteer sprints

Announcing OrangePolitics Volunteer Sprints!* We are looking for volunteers to help us build a better Election Guide. If you are interested in researching candidates and issues or building online tools to share election information, please consider helping out.

Some of the things we might work on include:

  • Compiling information about each candidate possibly including: endorsements, campaign spending, candidate photos, and whatever else we think of
  • Comparative charts and other analysis
  • Dynamic maps (like this for example)
  • Post-election analysis of donations, and results by precinct

If these sound interesting, or if you have a better idea, please sign up for the OP Volunteer list.


Local media outlets have some polls to entertain us readers. Here's an opportunity to vote early and often:

News of Orange
Should intelligent design be taught in school?
Yes 20%
Yes, if evolution is also 25%
No 50%
I don't know 5%

Chapel Hill News
Do you support a special district tax for the Orange County Schools?
Yes 92%
No 7%
I don't know 1%

News & Observer
If mandatory water cutbacks are enacted, would you turn in your neighbors if you saw them violate the restrictions?
Yes 35%
No 53%
I'm not sure 12%

News 14 Carolina
Do you think the U.S. is making progress in the war against terrorism?
Yes 39%
No 61%

Daily Tarheel Forum

The newspaper will host candidates for Chapel Hill Mayor and Town Council, and Carrboro Mayor and Board of Aldermen in a Town Hall-style forum setting on Thursday, October 6th from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. on campus in Manning Hall 209.



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