August 2006

A Challenge to Orange County Progressives

As printed in the July 29th Chapel Hill Herald

Folks are taught from an early age that if they have a problem with something that a governmental body is doing, they should contact their representative. It's safe to say a lot of progressives in Orange and northern Chatham counties have had a lot of problems with the actions, or lack thereof, taken by the North Carolina General Assembly during this year's session.
The most glaring disappointment is the lack of meaningful ethics/lobbying reform.

It's clear many legislators want to get as much out of their status as they possibly can and are not committed to making the real changes that could help North Carolina residents better trust their elected officials.

But this is by far not the only failed opportunity to make the state better during this session.

A full slate of good environmental bills have been killed by the moneyed interests around the General Assembly, ranging from strong standards to create cleaner cars to the common-sense issue of electronics recycling, for which the Orange County Commissioners have provided a great model.

Ethics Moratorium Passes NC House

With each week the details of NC House Speaker Jim Black's political machine become more embarrassing to Democrats in particular and North Carolinians in general. Or at least it ought to be embarassing to Democrats. The latest revelations turn out to be sadly not-so-shocking:

Jim Black & Co. took control of the North Carolina House of Representatives in 2002 by bribing fellow house member Michael Decker with an offer of $50,000 and a job for Decker's son. Decker accepted the offer and took the $50,000 (primarily in donations to his campaign account). His son got the job at the legislature as well. In turn, Decker switched from Republican to Democrat and turned a 61-59 Republican majority into a 60-60 deadlock in the legislature. Yesterday Decker admitted to the bribery scheme in federal court:

City schools address gangs

While I appreciate the effort to address this growing problem, this policy seems destined to not have much impact besides affirming for teenagers that gangs are really cool. Why else would The Man be trying to shut 'em down?

The Board of Education is slated to discuss -- but not vote on -- the policy during a 7 p.m. meeting Thursday at Lincoln Center in Chapel Hill. ...

Chapel Hill-Carrboro's proposed policy, however, lays out some possible consequences in instances where students are "suspected of displaying gang affiliation."

The steps include a verbal or written warning, photographs, the removal or covering of gang-related clothing or markings, and the removal of any identifying signs of belonging to a gang.
- Schools consider new policy on gangs

I'd like to see some policies that try to better understand and validate student voices and do more to let students air the frustrations that make them consider violence and violent culture.

Catch me up (open thread)

So what did I miss? :-)

UNC on the offensive

A few weeks ago, the Chancellor appointed yet another administrative honcho to lead UNC's efforts to build Carolina North. Gone is the language of listening and visioning that we heard about the Ken Broun committee. In the Chapel Hill News, the Chancellor is clearly taking sides calling Jack Evans a "quarterback" for Carolina North: "Moeser said Evans should be adept at reading the defense, i.e. the community leaders and residents who are wary of the massive project."

It's interesting to watch UNC cycle through it's various PR phases. First we're supposed to be buddies, acting as partners, sharing the same goals for the community, etc. But next thing you know we're on opposing teams, lobbing bombs, and trying to advance our goals at any cost.

Leadership on Weaver Street

With all the discussion of the strange management decisions at Carr Mill Mall and Weaver Street Market, and the recent announcement that WSM will move its offices and most of its kitchen to Hillsborough to make way for expansion in downtown Carrboro, it seems like a good time to mention that the annual election of WSM board members is coming up, and there is a board meeting tonight.

I couldn't find anything about it on their website, but there's a bunch of information in the latest "Owner News" which I don't care to transcribe. Short version:
Candidate info is now available at the service desk in WSM
Board applications due - 9/19/06, 9pm
Annual meeting with election of board members - 11/5/06, noon
Open board meetings - 8/16/06 (TODAY!) & 9/21/06, no time given :-(

Judges spending more money

Guest Post by Adam Compton

This past week, while I was at home in Cedar Grove, I received a very interesting phone call.

The woman on the line, who never identified herself, asked, "Sir, are you a registered voter in the Orange County area?"

When I said I was, she continued to tell me I had been selected for a survey. I had a little time on my hands, so I agreed to answer her questions. She began by running through a list of people and asking if I had heard of them.

"Mike Easley?"

"Charles Anderson?"

"Adam Stein?"

"Carl Fox?"

"Allen Baddour?"

After I replied that I knew them all, she asked who I planed to vote for in the election for Superior Court Judge. I told her that I was an Anderson supporter.

That's when things got interesting.

The woman ran through a series of questions, asking me if I would be more or less likely to vote for this candidate under a given set of conditions.

Snapshots in Time

Guest post by Judith Reitman

The Women's Prison Repertory Company presents SNAPSHOTS IN TIME, at the ArtsCenter, Carrboro, August 26, 8 pm. Inmates from the Raleigh Correctional Center for Women present a dramatic reading of a powerful work in progress. Donations Requested. No reservations.
300-G East Main Street Carrboro. 929-2787

Secret Cafe

Oh that bookstore's at it again, what with their guerrilla fundraising and the secrets, oh the secrets...

Do you like to eat food? Good. You're invited to eat some secret food, in a secret place, for a not so secret good cause. Internationalist Books & Community Center is hosting a secret cafe.

Saturday Aug 26, 2006
at 7:00 PM

Secret! call 919-942-1740 for info!
Carrboro, NC 27510, USA

or email them for the shibboleth at: might be the best meal you never ate.

The private press conference

Thanks to a reader tip (and the N&O) I found out about this "press conference" about the ban on Bruce Thomas dancing at Weaver Street Market.



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