June 2007

Save The Well!

The well at Carrboro's MLK park is scheduled for destruction. The community gardeners have researched the possibility of using the well by addressing town, gardening and community concerns. Thankful that the well has not been filled yet, we are hopeful that this new information for the town may lead to the most informed decision for Carrboro.

Tonight at 7:30 p.m. is the Carrboro Board of Alderman meeting. Please come out and support this community effort.

Dear Carrboro Board of Aldermen and Staff,

Campaign 411

I recently received the following question through our contact form. I thought this information would be of interest to a lot of readers, so I hope the writer doesn't mind if I answer it here.

I am wondering what the requirements are for running for local offices in NC. Specifically Hillsborough School board, Town council, and Mayor. I am looking to run for office but I don't know the age restrictions and am worried that I am too young. I am 19. I have looked everywhere for this information and can't seem to find it. Can you help me out? Thank you in advance.

I couldn't find the answer to the age question so I called my friend Mark Chilton, who was 21 years old when he was first elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council, and who is now elected as the Mayor of Carrboro. In addition to the requirement that you must live in, and be registered to vote in, the district that you wish to represent, the state also says that you must be 21 years old to hold office. Chilton pointed out that you do not need to be 21 to run, but you do have to come of age before being sworn in.

No Chapel Hill Tax Increase!

At the May 7th Town Council meeting, Roger Stancil proposed a 1.9% tax increase for the next fiscal year.

This seemed like a pretty good figure, considering other local governments were asking for more. Durham County has a proposed 3.9% tax hike, Wake County is looking at a 3.6% proposed increase, Carrboro has a proposed 2.9% increase. Orange County is proposing a 3.7% increase, and many folks would like for it to be more.

At a Council meeting two weeks later, Mayor Pro Tem Bill Strom pointed out:

"We're getting remarkably close to being able to get to a no-tax-increase budget," said Strom. "I would like to see a flat budget."

He asked for staff to come back with a proposed budget that would not raise taxes.

Last night, that proposal received unanimous support from the entire Council.

Dissent agenda

I was casually watching tonight's Chapel Hill Town Council meeting when Councilmember Jim Ward called out an item on the consent agenda that would grant expedited review to the proposed Eubanks Road waste transfer station. This is hardly a noncontroversial issue. In fact, the transfer station has been widely opposed.

I would like to know on earth this got on the consent agenda. When the mayor called for a motion for the resolution by itself, not a single Council Member would even make the motion! It died for lack of a mover. As Councilmember Mark Kleinschmidt noted, that is definition of what does not belong on the consent agenda.

Mural ideas

The Orange Chat blog reports that the Chapel Hill News has received 12 submissions for it's Draw Your Own Mural contest. The deadline is Monday. I wonder if the Chan's gave them permission to determine what would be painted on their wall or if they're just making suggestions. Here's one:

"The mural meant a tremendous amount to Club Nova," Karen Dunn at Club Nova writes. [...] I ask that Club Nova remain the focus in the next mural. This could be a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm our place in the community, especially in what has become some of the worst times for community mental health."
- newsobserver.com |Orange Chat - Carrboro mural update

Getting disOriented

Wow. Today I discovered the Counter-Cartographies Collective, a group at UNC using mapping and visual information to help us see our environment in a new light. One of their major works so far is the "disOrientation Guide" produced last fall. It's two poster-sized pages packed with useful and insightful content. Although it's designed for newcomers, any local veteran will learn something new from the new perspectives on things we thought we knew, and from the hidden information uncovered in these maps.

School Board candidate orientation

Heads up, Chapel Hill and Carrboro school activists:

To familiarize potential candidates with current educational issues, the district will conduct a lunchtime candidate orientation on Tuesday, June 26, from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm in the Superintendent's Conference Room of Lincoln Center. Candidates planning to attend should contact Stephanie Knott, Assistant to the Superintendent for Community Relations, by Friday, June 22, via email at sknott@chccs.k12.nc.us or at 967-8211, ext. 227.

I might go just to get some remedial training in school issues...

City school barely passing their own test

It seems that students, parents, and even the staff in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System are less satisfied than they were 5 years ago. I can think of a lot of reasons why, but I'm wondering, what's the prescription to make it better (short of massively funding programs that benefit all the squeaky wheels).

School staff members, parents and students from the fourth to the 12th grade responded to the poll, rating issues on a 10-point scale. According to the report, which will be presented to the school board at its meeting Thursday night, there were a few areas with particularly low ratings this year: Secondary students gave their lowest-ever rating for principals and teachers, and other staff gave their lowest -ever rating for the superintendent and for involvement/decision making -- 6.3.
The district did have its highest-ever scores in some areas this year, including secondary students' rating of quality of teaching and parents' rating of computer technology.

Round four

This Thursday will be UNC's fourth and final (?) "community meeting" to get feedback on plans for Carolina North. I missed the last meeting but I've been reviewing the presentation and comments from May. June's sessions will be Thursday, 6/21, at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. in the School of Government, room 2603. (The 5:30 session duplicates the 3:30 session.)

The original three concepts have narrowed to two (below), one that follows the airport runway's east-west axis (left), and another that goes north-south (right). I instinctively feel like the east-west plan works better and feels more cohesive, but I don't really have enough information to understand them.

WSM employees petition to stop move

Breaking news via the Carrboro Citizen: tonight employees of Weaver Street Market are presenting a petition to the WSM Board of Directors against the proposed relocation to Hillsborough!

Just got a fax saying that a group of Weaver Street Market employees will call for a moratorium against the coop's proposal to move its food prep operations to Hillsborough.

According to the fax, more than 100 employees have signed a petition calling for the moratorium. It will be presented to the coop's board of directors at a meeting tonight at Carrboro Elementary School at 6:30 p.m.
- The Carrboro Citizen: WSM employees call for moratorium, 6/19/07

Kirk's got the text of the workers' faxed announcement here. (Fax?)



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