December 2009

Elizabeth Edwards luncheon in Raleigh

Join Common Cause North Carolina this Saturday, December 5, at 11:30 AM, as we honor Elizabeth Edwards for her courageous struggle for health care reform! This event, which is co-sponsored by the AJ Fletcher Foundation, will be held at the brand new Campbell Law School in Downtown Raleigh. Ms. Edwards will offer some remarks on health care reform, and take questions from the audience. Tickets include lunch and are $25; hosting sponsorships are available for $100. Space is limited; please visit to RSVP!


Campbell Law School, 225 Hillsborough St

Rogers Road Community Complaint to the EPA

The Rogers Road Community has received a letter from the EPA accepting the neighborhoods environmental justice complaint against Orange County and will start an official investigation.  It has been 2 years since the complaint was filed.

The Commissioners should take note of this on December 7th.  There is much evidence to back up this claim.

Support of Chapel Hill Public Library

The resources and staff of the Chapel Hill Public Library are among the many great positives of living in this town.  However, these resources and the assistance offered in using them are supported by our tax dollars and the efforts of the Friends of the CH Public Library.  I would urge fellow bloggers to in turn urge the Mayor and members of the Town Council to stop dancing around this issue, talk with the Library's director and, if she agrees, come up with an ultimatum for Orange County: either promptly give us the tax-generated revenues we need and request or we will develop a fee structure for use with out of town borrowers and users.

Alcohol for Rich Football Fans?

According to this morning's News and Observer, UNC is considering allowing alcohol in the new private suites and club boxes being added as part of the Kenan Stadium renovation. It's just an idea at this point and could be achieved through sales or BYO. Ironically, less than 2 months ago, the Daily Tar Heel reported that student alcohol poisonings on campus has 'grown rapidly in the past few years.'

Fifty-one cases of student alcohol poisoning were reported last school year, up from 28 in the 2007-08 school year and three the year before, according to data collected by the Office of the Dean of Students.

EMS has already reported 23 cases to the office as of Oct. 1 this semester.

The data is based solely on cases that required EMS assists, said Dean Blackburn, assistant dean of students. Victims of alcohol poisoning who live off campus do not always appear in the report.

Chapel Hill police cited the increase in alcohol poisonings as reason for their increased enforcement of alcohol violations.

Public Information Sessions on Long Range Transit Plan

The Town of Chapel Hill will hold a series of public information sessions to provide information and gather input on the final draft of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro 2035 Long Range Transit Plan. Sessions will be held from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, and from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 in the Council Chamber of Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

The sessions will start with a short presentation from Town staff, and then the public will be invited to share their opinions. An electronic version of the plan is available at

Interested persons unable to attend the information sessions may submit comments by any of the following methods:

Email to
Call (919) 969-4900
Fax to (919) 968-2840
Mail to Chapel Hill Transit - Attention Long Range Transit Plan, 6900 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27514
All comments received by 5 p.m. Jan. 12, 2010, will become part of the official public forum record and will be considered by the Town.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Council Chamber of Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Chapel Hill Long Range Transit Plan

I just left a public information session put on by the Town of Chapel Hill about the Chapel Hill/Carrboro/UNC Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), as discussed on the Town's website. Chapel Hill's plan includes the assumption that the LRTP of the Durham-Chael Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO) will be adopted and that light rail will be a reality along the NC 54 corridor and on some of US 15/501. Other than that admittedly optimistic assumption, the plan is extremely feasable. Don't get me wrong, I desperately hope that light rail will implemented, but it is far from assured.

About last night

There has been a lot going on and I can scarcely find a moment to blog about it. Maybe in 6 years when my son starts school and I don't have to work to pay for daycare so I can work so I can...  where was I? Oh yeah, so last night three important things happened in local government - we took 2 steps forward and one step back for social justice.

1. The Orange County Commissioners rejected both door number one (a new, expanded landfill) and door number two (a waste transfer station).  Instead they will be shipping our trash to Durham, an idea which I never years in literally years of debate about this issue.  In any case, this seems to be a huge victory for the historically African-American Rogers Road neighborhood, which has shouldered Orange County's landfill for nearly four decades and which is ready to move on the the next phase of their lives, that is: not being neighbors to any major waste handling facilities. 

What does "buy local" mean to you?

Yesterday was the last day of Buy Carrboro Week (see adorable flyer at left). This was an initiative of the new group LocalMotive, which is just one of several organizations focusing on economic development and "buying local" in southern Orange County.  Others include the Carrboro Merchant's Association's Walk Carrboro, and the Town of Chapel Hill's Downtown Economic Development Initiative and emerging Franklin Street Artists' Co-op. There are also older/more traditional groups such as the Chamber of Commerce (and their We Buy Local effort), the Visitor's Bureau, and the Downtown Partnership (risen from the ashes of the old Downtown Commission). I'm sure I'm forgetting some, and I'm not even touching on the groups covering Hillsborough and the rest of Orange County. Buy Carrboro Week got me to thinking about our evolving understanding of economic development in Orange County. Just like our views on other issues such as growth management, affordable housing, environmental preservation, and school achievement I think we as a community have been continuing to learn and to look ahead, leading to a change in attitudes and goals. I've started to wonder whether a traditional "Chamber of Commerce"-type approach is all that relevant here anymore.

Transit in the Triangle: the Benefits for You and the Region

The Institute for Emerging Issues, in conjunction with WUNC TV and Blueprint America, is holding a public education forum, Transit in the Triangle: the Benefits for You and the Region, on January 28, 2010, from 5-8 pm at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

This forum will be an excellent opportunity to learn about the importance of transit for the Triangle region, how your life could be improved with transit, what does transit look like today, and how other metro regions have benefited from transit and transit-oriented development.  

The Capital Area Friends of Transit, the Durham-Orange Friends of Transit and WakeUP Wake County are partners in the forum.

This event is free and open to the public.

McKimmon Center, NC State University
January 28, 2010
5:00 - 8:00 pm
5:00 - 5:30   Networking
5:30 - 5:35   Welcome
                    Anita Brown-Graham, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues
5:35 - 5:45   Introduction to Blueprint America
                    Shannon Vickery, Director of Production, WUNC-TV
5:45 - 6:15   Transit and Our Quality of Life
                    Nina Szlosberg, President, Circle Squared Media
6:15 - 6:45   Transit Options for the Triangle
                    David King, CEO and General Manager, Triangle Transit
6:45 - 7:15   The Dallas Example: Opportunities for the Triangle


Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 12:00pm


McKimmon Center, NC State University

Easy Politics with Donna Bell

Isn't it nice when politics is easy? When the town council had to make a decision on who to appoint to the vacant seat they had to consider many factors including:

1) Minority representation on the council

2) Someone experienced enough to help come up with real solutions in these difficult economic times

3) Someone who could help begin the healing process after a divisive election

Lucky for them and all of us in Chapel Hill, Donna Bell fit and exceeded these requirements. In a time when politics is all too often made up of making difficult decisions over the lesser of evils (do we fire teachers or shut down hospitals) it sure is nice when there is an easy solution. Good first move Mayor Kleinschmidt!



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