July 2006

20,000 comments under the sea

OrangePolitics passed the 20,000 comment mark yesterday! (See counter in top-right of each page.) Here's an open thread, keep 'em coming...

On being a team player

As if in answer to his own question ("Council hegemony" what are you talking about?), this week Councilmember Cam Hill was quoted in the Daily Tarheel insinuating that his colleague Laurin Easthom is not a "team player" because she is often on the losing end of 8-1 votes.

I will chalk up the rude tone of his comments to the DTH's patented 18-year-old filter (in which almost every direct quotation in the paper sounds as if it came out of the mouth of a college student) and instead address the substance. Ever since I have been on the Chapel Hill Planning Board, I have been on the losing end of many of the split votes we've had - usually 8-2 or often 9-1. And yet I don't believe a single member of the Board thinks I'm not working with them toward the many goals we share. In fact, my colleagues unanimously elected me as their chair last year!

Ice cream and judges

Remember that judicial race? It's time for round two. Orange County Democrats are hosting an ice cream social to hear from the candidates:

It's time for a Party! The Hillsborough area precincts invite you to the Justice Sundae Social from 4:00 to 7:00 pm on Sunday, July 16, in Hillsborough, behind the Orange County Courthouse. Free Maple View ice cream! Free entertainment! Hear from our illustrious judicial candidates. Bring your family, friends, and neighbors. It'll be fun!

Go to http://orangedems.com/pdfs/JUSTICESUNDAESOCIAL06.pdf for the details.

Who's going to Madison?

So your standard collection of straight white male* honchos from across Orange County (Foy, Chilton, Jacobs, Moeser) and their friends are inviting community leaders to come on a trip with them to Madison, Wisconsin. The Inter-City Visit and Leadership Conference costs over $1,000 per person, but there are scholarships available.

The Madison Trip offers the opportunity to learn about how their community leaders are balancing environmental protection, social objectives and economic development opportunities. Specifically, we hope to learn more about:

Downtown's destiny

In May we had a false start here on OP discussing the Downtown Partnership's logo and slogan when the the Daily Tarheel incorrectly reported that the slogan would be "Sophisticated travel destination." It seems they actually settled on the slogan "Driving Downtown's Destiny." However, it turns out that the DTH's description of their logo was pretty much accurate.

I can't find a web site for the partnership, so I scanned this image (left) from their newsletter. Although I like the old-fashioned feel, the whole thing leaves me cold. It gives me the feeling that they are emphasizing tourism and history. While these are nice aspects, I personally don't think they are as high priorities as defining downtown Chapel Hill as a place where the community lives, as opposed to a place you just visit and then go home to your real community.

Faison's Future?

What do you all think Faison's future will be? Had you noticed that he wasn't attracting as much attention this time around?

As published in the Chapel Hill Herald on July 22nd-

As this year's state legislative session winds down, one of the most interesting trends for the Orange County delegation is the silence of Bill Faison, representative from N.C. House District 50 that includes part of Orange as well as all of Caswell County.

During his inaugural session last year, he made all sorts of noise. He attracted attention statewide as one of only two Democrats to vote against the state budget, while gaining notice locally for his effort to force a referendum on district representation for the Orange County Commissioners through the N.C. General Assembly. This drew him the enmity of many other local elected officials, who thought his efforts were an attempt to wrest power away from them.

This year has been a completely different story.

Amazingly, his name has not even appeared in the pages of this newspaper since early March.

Big Bucks in the Superior Court Race

The most closely watched race locally this fall is bound to be the four way race for two Superior Court seats covering Orange and Chatham Counties.

The candidates are incumbents Carl Fox and Allen Baddour, and challengers Adam Stein, a distinguished civil rights attorney and Chuck Anderson, a current District Court judge. In the May primary, Fox emerged as a clear winner. Stein is the favorite for the second seat, but Anderson and Baddour did not run too far behind him in the May primary.

The recent release of second quarter campaign finance reports indicates a lot of money is being spent in this race.

Stein's the leader. He's already raised over 82k and spent 57k, leaving him with a little over $25,000 in the bank.

Dancing May Return to Carr Mill Mall

Many have expressed concern about a recent action by Carr Mill Mall to ban dancing by free-form dancer Bruce Thomas (even the CH Herald today opined "Let the dancing guy keep on dancing.").

Thomas has been enlivening the Carr Mill lawn for the last few years with his spontaneous, gracefully spiritual dancing. Other times, Bruce can be seen sitting in quiet meditation on one of the nearby benches. And, yes, he is a regular customer of Weaver Street Market.

The ban apparently results from a Carr Mill policy that states that only mall tenants and those attending their events can use the lawn space (thus, Bruce may dance during a WSM event but not otherwise).

Murder Downtown

WRAL is reporting that an individual was murdered downtown early this morning. The shooting was with a rifle, and beyond that there's not much more information.

Does anyone have more details about what happened? Any ideas on what the town can do to stop this trend of violent crime? It's become so seemingly routine that when some folks were robbed at gunpoint on Franklin St. a month or two ago it didn't merit any more coverage than a sentence or two in the Police Beat. I have a fair amount of faith in the Police Department and think they're doing the best they can, but I'm making it a point now not to walk by myself after about 10. Before this recent upswing (perceived or real?) in violent crime downtown I didn't give a second thought to walking anywhere at any time.


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