January 2010

Happy New Year 2010!!!

Before going to bed on this first day of the new year I wanted to take a moment to say Happy New Year to all my friends & fellow bloggers on Orange Politics.  It has been a busy year in local politics, and national politics too.  Here is a rather optomistic view of the president's first year in office.  I for one think there is a lot more work to be done, but I think it is far from a bad start:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/1/1/820494/-Where-we-were,-and-where-we-are

Happy New Year!!!  How did you celebrate?  What resolutions did you make?  How will the glasses "0" shortage be solved?

As you can see, the "double 0" glasses crisis has been averted for a year by centering 2010! with a exclamation point, but we must demand more sustaintable solutions.


We had a small party at my place with food, drinks, games, some Mario Kart wii, and of course watching the ball drop.

It's Not Political But....

I'd like to remind everyone that Triangle Transit has some new route and schedule changes effective today as well as some fare changes.  In particular I'd like to point out that travel on Triangle Transit is now free for those 65 years or over and for those under 12.  So if you know of someone who might benefit from these free fares please mention it to them.  Also mention the useful trip planner available at    http://www.gotriangle.org/

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2010.

Previewing 2010: Eyes on County Commissioners and N.C. Senate

Kirk Ross had a good preview of the coming electoral season in The Carrboro Citizen last week.  He highlighted the battle for Ellie Kinnaird's N.C. Senate seat as she will really be retiring this year (we think.)  I'm amused that after his bold declaration that he'd be back after losing to Kinnaird in the 2008 primary, Moses Carey is now quietly enjoying his N.C. state goverment appointment instead of gearing up for a campaign.

Kirk also introduced the emerging races for County Comissioner...

Independent's Day

The Democratic Party has proven to be a failure and has demonstrated time after time that it will support the agenda of corporations and the wealthy elites over the general citizenry. Due to onerous ballot access laws and the overwhelming majority of the media that are owned by the same wealthy powers who buy our politicians, third party efforts have not gotten much traction onthe heavily-sloped playing field.

I believe that a first step toward authentic democracy is to liberate citizens from party affiliation. Then, with a sufficient number of citizens who are not affiliated with either party, we can take the next step toward organizing a party that would truly represent ordinary citizens. Think of it as a weaning process.

How about a goal of making Orange County the first county in the United States to have a majority of independent or unaffiliated voters? It would not affect anyone's ability to vote in primaries - just choose which party when you vote. There would be no sacrifice of voting power, but it would send a message that we are not being adequately represented by the out-of-touch Democratic and Republican parties.

Let's talk transit

Tomorrow is the second public information session on the Town of Chapel Hill's Long Range Transit Plan. Gateways in CH LRTP

James Carnahan wrote a great opinion piece in the Carrboro Citizen last month about the LRTP and the importance of public engagement with the questions it raises. Here's just a bit, I recommend reading the entire thing:

This document will play an important role in future investments we make in transit infrastructure, and thus in our ability to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, increase the walkability of our towns and enhance the vitality of our local economy.

OP Happy Hour

Hey, it's been a while and I miss y'all! Let's get together for a seasonal OrangePolitics Happy Hour where we can meet up face to face for bonding, kvetching, etc. Community leaders are encouraged to come, so bring your favorite neighborhood activist or elected official.

Thursday, January 28th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Place to be determined, but I'm liking The Station lately...


Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 12:30pm



Carrboro Tweet Up

A "tweet up" is like a meet up, but it gets twittered about more than blogged. ;-)

The Community Technology Forum will feature a panel of guests led by UNC journalism professor Paul Jones who is also the director of ibiblio, an information software program.

Other panelists include Carrboro Creative Coworking Founder Brian Russell and WCHL’s own Sales & Marketing Coordinator Molley Buckely.

So, if you are looking to meet the people you follow online in person, exchange ideas about the uses of Twitter, or just want to know what the Tweet everyone’s Twittering about it, drop in on the Carrboro Tweet Up. It’ll start at 6:30 p.m. February 19th at the Century Center in downtown Carrboro. Dallas has chosen the Twitter book and All A Twitter for recommended reading. People ages 16 and up and all Chapel Hillians are invited.

WCHL: Cybrary To Hold Carrboro Tweet Up, 1/12/10

Hopefully we don't need to have read the book to enjoy the panel and discussion. :-)


Friday, February 19, 2010 - 1:30pm


Carrboro Cybrary

Public Information Meeting on Inclusionary Zoning


Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 12:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Blvd, Chapel Hill

Public Information Meeting on Rules for Cleaner Streams in Chapel Hill

From the Town web site:

A public information meeting will be held from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 20, on new riparian buffer regulations for Chapel Hill. A riparian buffer is a vegetated area near a stream that helps protect waterways from the impact of adjacent land uses and pollution. The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Town of Chapel Hill stormwater management and planning staff members will describe the process for adopting changes to the Town's Land Use Management Ordinance to comply with new state and federal rules that aim to reduce pollution flowing into streams and Jordan Lake. The lake is a major drinking water supply to Wake and Chatham Counties, and a popular recreation area and wildlife habitat.

The new rules necessitate text amendments in Chapel Hill’s Land Use Management Ordinance regarding protection of riparian buffers. Staff will discuss what the rules will mean to property owners and how they will affect maintenance and development near riparian buffers.

The Town has riparian buffer protection requirements contained in its Resource Conservation District (RCD) provisions of the Land Use Management Ordinance. However, the current provisions do not address all of the Jordan Lake buffer protection criteria. The local program must consist of ordinances, policies, and procedures for protecting the riparian buffer, determining variances, record keeping, and enforcement.

All waterways in Chapel Hill and its planning jurisdiction flow into the Upper New Hope Arm of Jordan Lake. This area of the lake experiences frequent algal blooms due to overloads of nitrogen and phosphorous. The algal blooms can cause taste and odor problems in drinking water, kill or stress aquatic life, and release toxins into the water. Riparian buffers are important in providing vegetation to filter stormwater runoff and to stabilize streambanks. They reduce erosion and sedimentation and the corresponding pollutants that flow into the lake.

There will be opportunity for additional public input during a Town Council public hearing tentatively scheduled for Feb. 15. If you are unable to attend the public information meeting, please submit comments to Sue Burke, stormwater management engineer, at sburke@townofchapelhill.org or Kendal Brown, principal planner, at kbrown@townofchapelhill.org. These comments will receive the same consideration as those from the public session. For more information, call Sue Burke at 919-969-7266 or visit www.jordanlake.org/home.



Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - 12:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Blvd, Chapel Hill

Public Information Meeting on Tree Protection

From the Town web site:

A public information session about tree protection and updating the
Tree Protection Ordinance will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan.
19, at Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The
ordinance revision is linked to a Town-wide commitment to
sustainability with the potential to reduce carbon emissions and
decrease the urban “heat-island” effect. The proposed update to the ordinance would establish a new vision
statement that calls for a balanced approach to protecting Chapel
Hill’s trees without overregulation of residential properties and
property owners. Draft language proposes a permitting process for tree
removal on private property, including some residential lots. The process for changing the ordinance is as follows. After the
public information sessions (and earlier session was held on Oct. 26,
2009), Town staff will provide options to the Planning Board and Town
Council for review. The Planning Board’s recommendation will be
provided to the Town Council on Feb. 22, when a public hearing is
scheduled for additional public comment. If you are unable to attend the public information meeting, please submit comments to treeprotection@townofchapelhill.org.
These comments will receive the same consideration as those from the
public session. For more information, call 919-968-2728 or visit www.townofchapelhill.org/trees
where all materials including the draft update to the ordinance,
information presentations including a Frequently Asked Questions guide,
and public comments are posted.



Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 12:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Blvd, Chapel Hill



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