October 2008

Price's opponent BJ Lawson raises $170,000 in 24 hours

David Price's opponent in the November election, BJ Lawson, raised $170,000 yesterday in what is apparently a Congressional record for one-day totals in North Carolina. He has raised $237,000 total since David Price voted in favor of the Wall Street bailout bill last week.

Lawson says his latest polls have Price at less than 50% support in the Fourth District, compared to his usual winning percentage of more than 60%. With 10% of voters left undecided, is it possible Price is in trouble this election?

Lawson's Orange County coordinator, Rev. Ray McKinnon of Hillsborough, is a Democrat who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the May primaries. Lawson has sent out mailings with testimonials from longtime Democrats who say they're voting for one Republican this year, the anti-war Lawson.

I've always considered David Price to be pretty entrenched, so I'm surprised at these polling numbers. With a staunch opposition to the war, corporate welfare and Congress passing bills it hasn't read, it seems Lawson is making this a contest.

I'm looking forward to their debate next Tuesday, October 14, at UNC. 


University Day & Chancellor Thorp's Installation

They used to have this in Memorial Hall when I was a a student. Via e-mail:

Sunday, October 123:00 pm to 4:30 pm
Polk Place, UNC Campus
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will install Dr. Holden Thorp as its 10th chancellor on University Day, Oct. 12, the birthday of the nation's oldest state university. Thorp will give an installation address, and the University will honor distinguished alumni during a festive ceremony steeped in campus history. If rain is forecast, an official announcement will be made in advance about moving the ceremony to the Dean E. Smith Center. For more information, visit www.unc.edu/installation/, call 919-962-4463 or e-mail installation@unc.edu.


Sunday, October 12, 2008 - 11:00am


Polk Place, UNC Campus

Town Treasures Exhibit closes

Via e-mail:

October 2 to November 30
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Chapel Hill Museum
The Chapel Hill Historical Society has unveiled the charter class of its new "Town Treasures" commemorations. Town Treasures are outstanding senior citizens who have made and/or documented Chapel Hill-Carrboro history. Their contributions and examples help us to link the past with the present. Each portrait, captured by award-winning local photographer Catharine Carter captures a Town Treasure in their homes or a location that reflects their contributions to our community. The Museum is located at 523 East Franklin Street. Call (919) 967-1400. 


Sunday, November 30, 2008 - 2:30pm


Chapel Hill Museum, 523 E. Franklin St.

Turn North Carolina Blue for Barack Obama!

Bring your checkbook and your desire for change to our "Turn North Carolina Blue for Barack Obama" party!

For the first time in decades, North Carolina can be the state that puts a Democrat in the White House. Senator Obama's message of change has resonated with Tar Heel voters, but his campaign needs all the help it can get as it fights against a Republican smear campaign of truly epic proportions. A representative from the Obama-Biden campaign will be on hand to share with us Senator Obama's vision for America and to tell us how we can get involved with the campaign.

Suggested contribution amounts: $25, $50, $75, $100, $200 -- and/or a firm commitment to volunteer with the Obama-Biden campaign between now and Election Day!

BABYSITTING WILL BE PROVIDED! So bring the kids and learn how you can help turn North Carolina blue for Barack Obama on November 4th!

Please RSVP directly to me no later than Monday, October 13th, so we can get some sense of numbers. Also, PLEASE NOTE: If you're bringing your children, please let us know in your RSVP the number and ages of the children. Thanks!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm


3810 Bluestone Court, Chapel Hill, NC 27514

Guiding Development at Carolina North (Chapel Hill Town Council)

According to the meeting agenda:

The Council will seek input from the public regarding the proposed process for guiding development at Carolina North. At the request of the Mayor this item has been moved to the beginning of the meeting due to extensive public interest


Wednesday, October 15, 2008 - 3:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, Council Chambers

A New Kind of Underwater In NC

Wall Street Journal has an interactive map of the United States that shows where people are "underwater" on their mortgages. Underwater is a new term for me.  I always heard upside down, but the meaning is the same - the house is now valued at less than is owed. The percentages shown on the map are only houses purchased in the last five years.

I was disappointed but not surprised to see Orange County, NC on the map.

Only 10% of homeowners are underwater this week.  That's nowhere near as bad as Orange County, California where 40-80% of homeowners are underwater. But that number could change if housing prices decrease, the percentage does not include people who may be underwater and bought six or seven years ago and the last five years saw an awful lot of houses constructed and purchased as well existing and changing hands in Orange County.  It begs the question just how many families is that?

Map here for your viewing pleasure:



Main Street Bail Out Begins At Home

While I was out (since the last post) this email appeared in my email box. 

Landfill Gas Project

As part of our move to sustainable energy practices, the University is partnering with Orange County on a project to turn the landfill gas from the Orange County Landfill on Eubanks Road into energy. On Monday, October 13, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. Orange County will host an information meeting on the project at the Seymour Center at 2551 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.

Landfills like the one on Eubanks Road produce landfill gas, created as the waste stored there decomposes. The landfill gas then escapes into the atmosphere and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This project would collect the gas and transport it to University property where it would be converted to electricity. This electricity would be used for power at the Giles Horney complex on Martin Luther King Boulevard and later for buildings at Carolina North.

This is an exciting project for the community. It is a great example of recycling a by-product of the landfill. Turning the landfill gas into electricity would move the University forward in its effort to become carbon neutral.

Current financial crisis and UNC affordablity

While I know that UNC has programs that attempt to help students afford college, with the current economic downturn,  the problem is going to become more wide spread.  In addition UNC is likely to find a further economic squeeze, from State budgets to reduced alumni contributions.

It is my belief that affordability should never limit a qualified student once accepted from attending that college.  I also do not like the idea that a student graduates with massive debt.

So my question is should UNC be planning any changes to assure affordability for any student to whom it sends an acceptance letter?  Should it change priorities, e.g. slow growth,funnel a larger share of  money from the state, contributions, endowments to ensure the affordability for all accepted students?

Thoughts on Running for Congress

In response to a prior post, and this comment:

I am suspicious that the Republicans may have as a national strategy to identify seemingly Democratic strongholds and fielding candidates with stands that are more progressive than the incumbents (yet more aligned with the constituency) of those districts.  It is unreal that after these 8 years of catastrophic Republican control it is even a question that Republicans may retain control of the Presidency and now .. the House!  

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Republican establishment is currently dominated by the intellectually bankrupt neoconservative philosophy. As with most things, you can find the truth by following the money. My money and support are not coming from the party. They are coming from individual contributors who believe we need a Constitutional federal government that serves American individuals instead of corporate interests.



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