Guest Author's blog

Weigh in on wi-fi

Guest Post by James Protzman

The idea of communitiy wi-fi is emerging as a potential local election issue -- and would seem to warrant broader public discussion as well.

Some say wi-fi should be a purely commercial undertaking left to the private sector. Others (like me, for example) see wireless connectivity as an increasingly critical part of community infrastructure -- similar to sidewalks, parks and public safety -- services that support the common good.

My view is simple: we cannot allow the issue of connectivity to become yet another element in the growing "digital divide." That is, no one should be disadvantaged for not having resources to buy high-speed access for their homes and families.

There are plenty of ways to think about this and many experiments going on around the country. Some of them are reported here . . . and I'm sure there are other good resources. If you know of any, please share them.

Cybrary series

Guest post by Susan Brown

Politics, culture, health, art, justice -- these are all things that matter to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community. They also make great conversation. This fall, area residents are invited to participate in a new discussion series that will touch on these topics and many others while bringing the community together over a good book.

The Carrboro Cybrary, in partnership with the Carrboro Recreation and Parks Department and other area organizations, will launch the Community Book Forum this fall. The Forum will be an occasional series of programs that center on ideas and events that are important to Carrboro, the surrounding area, and the world. To help shape these meetings, sponsors will select a book that touches on the relevant themes. In the weeks leading up to the discussions, multiple copies of the selected titles will be available at the Cybrary. On the night of the forum, the community will gather together in the Century Center's Century Hall for a discussion of the issues at hand, using the selected book and a panel of speakers to help shape and guide the conversation.

Pollitt on Roberts

This announcement comes from Lucy Lewis via Joe Straley:

Subject: Dan Pollitt speaks out on Roberts nomination

Dear Friends,

Please help circulate info about this event to friends and listservs that you think would be interested - thanks! Hope to see you there.- Lucy

Dan Pollitt Speaks Out on Roberts Nomination to Supreme Court

Daniel Pollitt, Kenan Emeritus Professor of Law at UNC-CH, will present a talk on the nomination of John Roberts, Jr. to the US Supreme Court, on Sunday, August 14 at 11:45 am at the Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, 106 Purefoy Road. Discussion will follow. Pollitt is an expert on constitutional law, and a former president of the NC branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. This program is being presented by the Charles M. Jones Peace and Justice Committee of the Community Church. The public is invited to attend. Free childcare is available by calling in advance. For more info, contact Lucy Lewis, 929-5983.

Learn more about transit

Guest post by Patrick McDonough

As we approach the fall elections, various candidates for public office in Orange County have mentioned improving or reducing Chapel Hill Transit service as an issue they would like to discuss in the campaign. In January 2002, Chapel Hill Transit went fare-free. Despite characterizations to the contrary by some, the numbers indicate that the policy has been quite a success. Since Fare-Free began, the number of passengers per hour using the system has gone up, and the cost of carrying each individual passenger has gone down. In short, the towns and UNC are getting more units of mobility for each dollar spent.

For candidates (and citizens!) who have mentioned transit and transportation issues as something they would like to address, I recommend some of the following links:

State election reform needed

Guest Post by Katrina Ryan

While in Washington DC about a month ago, I attended a seminar that was sponsored in part by the 21st century democrats . It was a talk given by three mathematicians.

Davis Annick, an associate from MIT, Sam Wang of Princeton, and David Dill of Stanford took several factors including exit poll variances, early vote pattern variances, historical undecided voter patterns and new voter registration statistics into consideration. The conclusion was absolutely astounding to me. They calculated the odds against last year's federal elections being accurate at 247 million to 1. (Disclaimer Math is not my forte, but I do know that odds like that make the lottery look good. I'd link to the research for specifics, but it's under peer review.)

Dr. Dill mentioned, as he has before, that North Carolina has one of the most severe election problems in the country, citing, amongst other things, the 4400 votes that "disappeared" in Carteret County.



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