February 2012

Early Voting on Campus Moves Forward: Rams Head Center

OC Elections Board chair Jim White just called me to ask my thoughts on an early voting location on campus. In fact the location that he and Matt Hughes had been kicking around turns out to be the one that I would have suggested. We talked about some logistical issues and hours (they are leaning towards 11 am to 7 pm there). The Board of Elections met at Rams Head this afternoon !

Chapel Hill 2020 Special Topic: Tourism as a Community-Based Economic Development Strategy

Chapel Hill 2020 will offer the special topic presentation "Tourism as a Community-Based Economic Development Strategy" by Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau. The public is invited to the presentation to be held at noon Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Council Chamber of Chapel Hill Town Hall. The public event will be aired live on Chapel Hill Government TV-18 and streamed on the Town of Chapel Hill website at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1850 

According to the NC Department of Commerce, visitors traveling to and within the state of North Carolina spent a record $17 billion in 2010, supporting more than 40,000 North Carolina businesses and directly supporting 183,900 jobs all across the state. State and local tax revenues generated as a result of visitor spending total more than $1.5 billion annually.

North Carolina ranks as the 6th most visited state in the United States. How does Chapel Hill build upon the state's status as a top destination for visitors? What challenges does the local hospitality industry face in light of the current economy? What new developments are taking place? These topics and more will be discussed.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Council Chamber, Chapel Hill Town Hall

Future Focus Sessions Fall Flat

On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, the town of Chapel Hill conducted charrette-style Future Focus sessions designed to understand how town residents would like to see Chapel Hill grow from the urban design perspective. The overall event was split into three sessions, one on Wednesday evening and two identical sessions on Thursday. The first session included several presentations on town growth and an urban design exercise where participants were asked to rate 50 different images on their favorableness for fitting in downtown. The second and third sessions were map mark-ups for five study areas along key transportation corridors (i.e. MLK, 15-501 and 54).

Orange County Democrats HQ Opening

Recently the Orange County Democratic Party signed a lease for office space located at 209 Lloyd Street (Suite 310 – back of the building) in Carrboro. The office is very amenable to what the Party’s work will be in 2012 and hopefully beyond into the future.

Currently, we’re allowing the Coalition to Protect N.C. Families, OCDP is a coalition partner, to use our office space for the purposes of turning out the vote against Amendment 1. This is just part of the strategy we've adopted in promoting Democratic values in Orange County and statewide, especially since Orange County, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough all offer same-sex partner benefits that will be unconstitutional under this amendment.

This year will be a tough one, but will be one where we will fight night and day until November 8th to play our part in taking back the General Assembly and defeating Pat McCrory. We also will be pushing forward in promoting our candidates in Orange County in the general election.

Five Early Voting Locations Announced for May 8 Primary

Subject to expected State approval, the Orange County Board of Elections has published the locations and dates/hours for early voting for the May 8 primary.

Missing the Point, Missing an Opportunity

Last night, the Orange County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to set June 30, 2013, as the closing date of the county’s municipal waste landfill, and to pursue a costly interlocal agreement to ship our trash to Durham’s waste transfer station.

My County is Your County

"Personally I'm really tired of municipal problems being solved by putting them in rural areas," he said. "I would encourage Mayor Chilton to come back with a site in Carrboro." ~ BOCC Member Barry Jacobs, quoted in the News & Observer February 23, 2012

Now I admit to coming late to the party although I have been paying attention to this issue for several years (yeah, years if you can believe it). But it seems to me that Mr. Jacobs, for whom I have great respect for his years of service, missed a crucial point that could alter his perception on this issue.

Why can't we use our smartphones to pay for parking in Chapel Hill?


The biggest hassle in using the town lots, besides finding a space, is paying. With few pay stations there's almost always a line.  This would be a lot quicker and easier, and even if it attracted only 25% of parkers that would lessen the line to pay.  

Future Focus Report Out Frustrates Participants

Earlier this evening town staff briefed the public on the results from the Future Focus sessions held last week. The meeting followed a pretty basic format. During the first and last 30 minutes, participants were free to roam around five different rooms, one or each of the special study areas that town previously identified. In the hour between, Mary Jane Nirdlinger, the town’s assistant planning director, gave a presentation synthesizing the results while taking questions from the audience.



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