September 2012

Commissioners Move Interlocal Agreement Forward

In a crowded meeting last night, the Board of County Commissioners reviewed and discussed the proposed interlocal implementation agreement for the recently adopted transit plan. The discussion centered around a few questions: who would be party to the agreement, who would have control over how much of the revenues brought in from the transit tax. I've excerpted the part of the more than 400-page agenda packet that concerns the agreement here for you to see the draft of the agreement itself.

Peaceful Assembly in Support of Chancellor Thorp

From the Chair of the UNC Employee Forum

Dear Staff Member:
The Employee Forum, in conjunction with the Faculty Council and Student Government, encourages you to attend a peaceful assembly in support of Chancellor Holden Thorp on Friday, September 21st  from 11:30-12:30 pm in front of South Building.   We would like to get as huge a crowd as possible during this hour, so please take your lunch period and join us.
The Forum’s Executive Committee has drafted a statement in support of our Chancellor (attached).  The faculty and students are doing the same.  Petitions are being drafted that you will be able to sign on Friday, with room for you to also leave a message to the Chancellor and our University system leaders.  The petitions will be available from 10 until 5 and will be located in the Pit, in front of Wilson Library, and in front of South Building.
This meeting does not count as work time, so please use your lunch time or personal leave to attend. 
For more details, contact the Forum Office at
Jackie Overton, Chair
Employee Forum



Friday, September 21, 2012 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


UNC South Building (outside the front entrance)

Let's keep Chancellor Thorp, it's The Carolina Way

Chancellor Holden Thorp, University Day, 2010I was a bit of a doubter when Holden Thorp was first appointed to be the UNC Chancellor, but he has turned out to be the best thing to happen to South Building in decades. I’ve been surprised to see some of my friends blaming Thorp for UNC’s athletics scandal and acting as if staff abuse of med air flights was a capital crime.

Thorp clearly seems guilty of trusting Matt Kupec too much, and allowing him to waste taxpayer dollars. But Thorp is also a tremendously thoughtful and effective leader of this hugely complex academic institution. One stupid screw-up wasting money does not outweigh the great job he has done for many thousands of students, for Orange County, and for the state of North Carolina. In fact, I think he’s due a lot of credit for the badly-needed daylight that’s been shed on UNC athletics.

The Chancellor’s position has become untenable now because of athletic boosters and anti-intellectuals like Art Pope pounding the drums of “scandal.” These people are not concerned with the quality of education available to North Carolinians. Of course the Kupec/Hansbrough thing was a big mistake, but it doesn’t make Thorp unfit to do all the many things required of a good university chancellor. Let’s don’t blame Thorp for having to clean up the mess left by decades of athletic corruption and mismanagement.

BoCC races to hammer out Transit Tax Agreement before election

At the eleventh hour, the BoCC is still working through important issues on the transit plan - including whether Chapel Hill Transit (CHT) can use the new sales tax funds for existing service. Under the current agreement, they cannot.  This is of particular concern given CHT's reliance on UNC funds and routing.  The current plan does not allow CHT to use sales tax funds to change their routes to fill in possible gaps created by changes in UNC''s routes.

Its hard to understand why this is coming up for the first time -but at least people may finally start talking about how the transit plan impacts CHT and the bus system that everyone loves.   Its especially difficult to understand why the county is so anxious to give control over transit to TTA. 

Great report by Chapelboro's Elizabeth Friend 

The video of the meeting is a worth a look

OP Editors Monthly Public Meeting


Saturday, September 22, 2012 - 12:00pm to 2:00pm


Jessee's Coffee & Bar, 401 E. Main Street, Carrboro

Voter registration hot: 11,223 since 1/1, and 3,320 of those since 8/1

Voter registration is heavy in Orange County, with 11,223 new voters since January 1, with 3,320 of those August 1 through September 21.

Conventional analysis focuses on net voter registration e.g. changes in totals (by party) since January 1, but I chose to look also at gross totals to see how registration drives are faring, then subtracting to see cancellations.

 One big observation, unaffiliated registration has been at record highs this year for Orange, with Ds and Rs at historic lows. I broke out this year in two parts before showing the total for the year. The cancellations are the total of gross minus net, and covers those who move away andd register elsewhere, die, or have felony convictions recorded.

 Looks like registration for this year is likely to set an all-time record at the current pace, as registration was quite high for the May Amendment One vote. Regular registration ends October 12, with registration allowed at early voting October 18- November 3

CHCCS School Board meeting (including vote on naming of Elementary #11)

So, this isn't our usual process for naming a school, but as discussed before, we can view this as rebuilding a school at the site of Northside Elementary.  So on the agenda for this meeting (link to come as soon as it is posted) on October 4th is to make this official and name Elementary #11 as the new Northside Elementary. 



Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 7:00pm


Chapel Hill Town Hall Council Chamber

Celebrating Nine Years of Context, Coverage and Connections on OrangePolitics

This week, we’re celebrating nine years of context, coverage, and connections on OrangePolitics. We need your help to keep it going and keep innovating by helping us to cover the costs of upgrading the site. We’re very proud of our accomplishments, and we want to tell you some of the reasons we think you should support OrangePolitics.

Hosting a Forum for Discussing Local Issues. We provide a space for people to share a wide range of views about local issues impacting Orange County. We spark conversation by bringing together the voices of community leaders and activists in an open forum for civil and thoughtful debate.

Providing the Entire Context. OP’s editors and readers combine many decades of experience in local politics. We provide background, and tell the stories behind the stories that you won’t find in the local media. We follow issues from their beginnings through their resolutions--our posts about the transit tax and Chapel Hill 2020 are recent examples.

Community involvement fails its first test

In the most likely scenario that Charterwood will be approved tonight,  Chapel Hill citizens may choose to make some conclusions about the future of citizen input into how OUR town grows.

Despite significant environmental impact (not only to Eastwood Lake and Lake Ellen but to the Booker Creek headwater streams and the old growth trees), the disregard for neighborhood protection, the bastardization of process, the economic shakiness of the proposed plan, the reversal of affordable housing goals, the widespread public objections, the applicant’s frequent “misstatements,” and the precedent setting nature of the approval, Charterwood is virtually assured of passage.

What does this presage for the 2020 Future Focus Areas?  Will citizens, once again, be involved in busy work?  Will their work, like the work of citizens involved in the original Southern Small Area Plan,  the Northern Area Task Force, and 2020 be ignored?

Upgrading OrangePolitics

Thursday marks the 9th anniversary of the day OrangePolitics came to be. A few of you old timers will remember that it didn't always work the way it did today. OP's first platform was MovableType. It didn't offer much in the way of comment moderation, which led to some very crazy things being posted on the site. In 2004, I moved the site to Wordpress, an open source platform that was better, but lacked some key community elements.

Five years ago, I asked for donations from the OP community to help bring us to a proper community platform. Readers donated $1,134 and we were able to move the site to Drupal 5. I think most people agree that having community tools such as real profiles for each user and the ability for everyone to blog without having to publish to the front page are big improvements. 



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