October 2007

Lingering doubts?

The Town of Carrboro is scheduling a public hearing for an "anti-lingering ordinance" - basically another way of saying a loitering ordinance - that would apply only at certain times of day and only at the intersection of Jones Ferry Road and Davie Road (ie: across the street from Abbey Court apartments, aka Old Well when I was in college). If you've ever driven by in the morning, you know that this site is used daily by contractors to pick up day laborers.

The problem is that after those with jobs leave, a lot of guys hang around, look unsavory (hardly a crime), and sometimes cause real problems. Back in September the Board of Aldermen directed the town staff to step up enforcement of alcohol rules and to work with property owners and neighbors in the area to address problems with littering, etc.

NRG Candidate Survey

Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth (NRG) has again decided against officially endorsing any candidates in this cycle. However, we're very interested in helping citizens to understand the positions of the candidates on issues we care about.

NRG presented all candidates with a short questionnaire, and the candidate responses are posted to our website. We invite all interested citizens to browse the answers at NRG's Chapel Hill Elections 2007 page.

The questions we asked were:

On density and growth

1. In its Comprehensive Plan, Chapel Hill is committed both to denser urban development and to protection of existing neighborhoods. Do you see any conflict between these goals, and what do you feel is the best way to achieve them?

On environmental protection

2. Please describe at least three ways you feel the Town could do a better job protecting creeks and other environmentally sensitive habitats.

On cooperation of local governments

3. What suggestions do you have for better ways for the local governments in the Orange County area to work together?

Drive-thru ban?

Saw this in an article about the Little Red Bike Cafe in North Portland, OR:

Drive-thru windows at fast-food restaurants and banks are a significant source of air pollution, because as determined by the EPA, drivers use more gas when idling than while in motion. A number of cities in the U.S. and Canada are considering drive-thru window bans. Santa Cruz, California, has already banned the creation of new drive-thru windows since 1979.

This been tried or considered in OC?

Happy Anniversary Planned Parenthood!

In 1982, five Orange County women who believed that every child born should be loved and wanted, founded a local chapter of Planned Parenthood. This year, we celebrate 25 years of reaching out, growing strong, and meeting the needs of the community.

We've grown from a small storefront operation that could only dispense education and contraceptives to a powerful organization that helped 18,889 people last year alone.

In addition to our health centers, we have reached countless people through our peer education and through our advocacy for good public policy. During the last legislative session we supported a bill that would provide emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault; one that would repair NC's Sex Ed curriculum, one that would expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program and another that provided information about the HPV vaccine to parents.

The most important endorsement

In honor of early voting starting yesterday in Hillsborough and this Monday in Chapel Hill and Carrboro, I am kicking off our annual special-rules endorsement thread. The rules are simple: tell us who you are voting for, if you want you can also tell us why. Please do not discuss any candidates you are not supporting, or your comment will be deleted. This is the one post a year where I require that you keep your comments nice. ;-)

Here's where to vote, see this post for more details.

Watering the Astroturf at UNC

This article in today's N&O explains why UNC has continued to dump untold mega-gallons of water on the synthetic "grass" of its field hockey field (adjacent to the law school, where I work) as our drought has deepened and our reservoirs are drying up. (Have you driven by University Lake recently?)

It makes the playing surface safer for the athletes during games and practices, we're told. Unlike natural turf, synthetic turf is harder to get a grip in when dry.

Why, though, would the better solution not be to shift field hockey to natural-turf fields until the drought is over?

Senate race gets interesting

Today Chapel Hill's own Jim Neal who is running for U.S. Senate against Elizabeth Dole next year (if he wins the Democratic nomination, for which he has no competition yet) was a guest for an hour of live-blogging over on BlueNC this morning. A surprising question came up, but not as surprising as the answer:

I've heard you're gay...
omega_star on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 10:09am
I am indeed. No secret and no big deal to me-- I wouldn't be running if I didn't think otherwise.
JimNeal on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 10:18am

Cook and Ryan team up

Recently I noticed that two Carrboro candidates are running as a slate. Has this ever happened in Orange County before? Another thing that was pretty different was that there is one brochure and one sign for both candidates. Both of these materials advocate for both Sharon Cook and Katrina Ryan.

I believe two years ago Katrina threatened to run an all Northern Carrboro slate. Is this what this combo is about? I've seen candidates collaborate on mailings before, but this is practically two candidates with one campaign. What do you think about candidates running together?

Social Justice Groups Announce Endorsements

Two groups with an eye for social justice announced their endorsements yesterday.

The Hank Anderson Breakfast Club describes itself as a group of Chapel Hill/Carrboro community leaders that has met regularly every Saturday morning for over 20 years to discuss and influence the public policy decisions made by local governments that affect African Americans in this area. The Breakfast Club's endorsements are important to those voters who do not have the time to stay current with the civil rights struggles that are so important to racial minorities here.

The Friends of Affordable Housing is a non-partisan Political Action Committee that has been active in selective elections within Orange County during the last 10 years. The organization was first organized to support the Orange ballot for Affordable Housing Bond Money. The committee has also periodically sent questionnaires to candidates running for Orange County Commissioner and Chapel Hill Town Council.

Help out Project Homeless Connect

I was asked to share this announcement about Thursday:

Volunteers are needed at Project Homeless Connect Orange County, a one-day, one-stop center to be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, to provide homeless people with a broad range of services including housing, employment, health, dental and mental health care, social service benefits, disability and veterans' benefits, legal services, meals, and personal care (haircuts and foot care).

Organizers anticipate serving more than 150 homeless people at the Orange County event, with the help of hundreds of volunteers. The event will be held at the Hargraves Community Center, 216 N. Roberson St.

Volunteers are needed to escort homeless guests through the event, serve as greeters, conduct intake and exit interviews, serve as parking attendants, direct foot traffic, and other jobs.

If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more about the event, please contact Meredith Costa, mcosta@hiddenvoices.org or (919) 923-2559.



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