July 2007

Carey throws in his hat for 2008

I just received an announcement (from Mildred D. Robertson of BTA Public Relations in Raleigh, yuck) that Orange County Commissioner Moses Carey is announcing his campaign for State Senate in 2008. This is a bold (some might say "premature") move that I think must be intended to scare others out of the race. In fact the incumbent, Senator Ellie Kinnaird, has not even formally announced her own intentions.

County Commissioner Mike Nelson has made no secret of his interest in this Senate seat. But there are rumors that Ellie would very much like to be suceeded by a woman, so she may decide to hang on if there is no palatable (to her) challenger. Personally, I like both Mike and Ellie a lot and have supported both of their campaigns, but I think there is some residual resentment left over from the days when they were both elected officials serving the Town of Carrboro.

Chains are not local economic development

Am I the only one who was shocked to read that Chapel Hill's newly hired Economic Development Officer is suggesting we should build more big box chain stores?

While he and the committee agreed that several areas of the town could be better developed to maximize business and slow "leakage" of retail traffic to other municipalities, Kleinschmidt's face crinkled into an involuntary scowl when Bassett introduced the concept of a "lifestyle center" such as a mall or big box outlet that could single-handedly draw business to an area.

The committee also discussed potential targets for a retail makeover, including University Mall, Eastgate Shopping Center, downtown's West End and the interchange of I-40 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Kleinschmidt agreed that leakage must be stopped, but added, "KFCs and Wachovias ... that can't be it. That can't be right."
- heraldsun.com: New economic director takes look at growth, 7/17/07

And the stragglers are...

I just called the Board of Elections to confirm that no-one is chllenging any of the three mayors (as their web site indicates) and lo and behold they are having technical difficulties! The site has been down all day and won't be back up until at least 4pm. Meanwhile 5 more candidates have filed for office:

Chapel Hill Mayor: Kevin Wolff
Chapel Hill Town Council: Will Raymond
Carrboro Board of Aldermen: Katrina Ryan
Carrboro Mayor: Chuck Morton and Brian Voyce

These folks will certainly increase the entertainment value of this election, if nothing else.

As always, you can find the complete list at http://orangepolitics.org/elections-2007. I will be adding more information this weekend including a map of candidates, their voter registration info, and any other public information that I can find without too much effort.

Millian tries to kick out Sheehan

WCHL reports that mall manager Nathan Millian attempted to throw Cindy Sheehan off Carr Mill property when she was meeting with Mark Chilton and impeachment activists yesterday. Eventually Shehan was allowed to stay at Panzanella. Here is the MP3.

Regardless how you feel about Ms. Sheehan's politics, is this any way to treat a nationally-known guest? It's certainly no way to treat anyone else.

What motivates Nathan Millian to butt heads with a Mayor's lunch guest? I don't buy the disruption of business argument. Ms. Sheehan brought a lot of free publicity to Carr Mill and the Town of Carrboro. Why did Mr. Millian squander it by being so rude?

UNC proposes Carolina Commons in Carrboro

Update: This meeting is not open to the public. Apologies for the error.

This afternoon, UNC is hosting an informational meeting about Carolina Commons at 3:30 pm. This is a development on Homestead Road with a number of housing units for UNC faculty. This proposed development will go through Carrboro's review process. I urge anyone interested in the Carolina North development to attend.

Carolina Commons is an attempt to provide housing close to the University so faculty won't have to drive so far. I'm encouraged that they're at least starting to address the widespread concern about future traffic and congestion problems. It's only a start though - there will be lots of University staff and workers at CN that won't live in this new development.

Meeting location – the Global Cup Cafe in the new Fed Ex Global Education Center. The Center is located on the corner of Pittsboro and McCauley St. in Chapel Hill. It is next door to the School of Social Work and behind the Pharmacy School. Directions below.
Chancellor James Moeser described some of UNC's vision in a Sept 2005 posting on UNC's Community pages:

Home energy audits?

Next month I'll be sharing housing in Chapel Hill with a few other low-income folks. The place is nice and recent energy bills have been fairly low. But the place is fairly old, and there is at least one major problem--a very hot attic--so I'd be interested in getting an energy audit if we could afford it. Pointers to providers would be appreciated. Apologies if this is a FAQ, but casual googling and a look at the OC extension service website found nothing. (And apologies if you find this OT, but I disagree: while the personal is not always political, these days personal energy use is very political. But feel free to point to other venues.)

Video: we heart Chapel Hill

A few months ago, Chapel Hill invited volunteers to appear in a student-produced video aimed at recruiting more participants for town boards and commissions. Here is the result:

Click here to play if you do not see a video above.

Early voting not on campus?

Many members of the Chapel Hill community have been working for years to increase voting awareness and participation among students. All that effort might be for naught if the Orange County Board of Elections decides to move the one-stop early voting site to the new Robert and Pearl Seymour Senior Center on Homestead Road. According to the News & Observer, Morehead Planetarium will be under construction and will not be able to host the voting site.

The news of the potential relocation of the voting site to the Senior Center, a location that is not within walking distance for students, is especially disheartening after the recent passage of the same-day voter registration bill, which many believe will help increase voter turnout among students. If we want to encourage students to take an interest or an active role in their community, we should not relocate polls to a center that is out of reach for most students.

Where is the WiFi?

At a recent council meeting the Chapel Hill IT Director presented information about a WiFi pilot project. One council member asked How will citizens know where it is? How will we know when its up? The Mayor asked the IT Director to work with the Town Information Officer. A good first step. I subscribe to the Chapel Hill eNews. (A email list.) I wonder what percentage of Chapel Hillians do?

For this pilot project to work not only do the WiFi hot spots need to be where people will be but the Town needs to tell people where they are. A press release will help but it won't be enough to encourage full participation.

Here are a few ideas for getting the word out. I hope that if the Town is really interested in the success of this pilot that they'll consider these options. What ideas do you have? Please leave them in the comments.

Geography matters

Last week I created a Google map of all of the candidates in Orange County in this year's municipal and school board races. Now excellent electoral map maker Damon Seils has added two very helpful resources: a map of every polling site in the county, and another map of the voting precincts. All of these maps will be permanently available on the election info page: http://orangepolitics.org/elections-2007

Now watch what happens when I combine the candidate map with the precinct map. Pretty cool, huh?



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