Barbara Crockett's blog

Buses, Palestine, Israel and Free Speech in Chapel Hill

I'm surprised no one has yet posted comments about the following article by Mark Schultz that appeared in Chapel Hill News. Chapel Hill Town Council has taken many principled positions on contentious national issues such as gay rights or gun control, to name two. Why not Palestine? Where does this community stand on the issue of free speech? Why is it OK to take positions on some issues, but not others? In this case the town itself is not actually taking a position, but allowing a local church to pay for ads that say the following: “Join with us. Build peace with justice and equality. End U.S. military aid to Israel.” It's a simple message quite in keeping with many of the values Chapel Hillians hold dear. Should the town censor this particular kind of speech on town buses?

Town leaders will discuss their policy for bus advertising after an ad calling for an end of U.S. military aid to Israel drew complaints.

Charter Schools License Revoked

This item was in today's Public School Forum. Not sure if this will show up on the site. I think it's interesting. State Board of Education Revokes Charter of Three Schools      Three North Carolina charter schools may lose their ability to operate independently of traditional public schools. The State Board of Education voted Wednesday to revoke the charters of Bridges Charter School in Wilkes County and Highland Charter School in Gastonia after fewer than 60 percent of the students attending the schools were proficient in required subjects and students failed to meet learning targets. Though nearly four dozen charter schools have been closed since the mid-1990s, these two charter schools would be the first to lose their charter for failing to educate students. The State Board also voted Wednesday to revoke the charter of Cape Lookout Marine Science High School in Morehead City due to financial problems. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, 7/11/12)

National Companies: Where to Locate in OC?

Orange County needs to support local businesses, no question about that. But citizens also need access to certain goods and services that are not available from local enterprises. I'm thinking of grocery stores, car rental agencies, mail packaging stores, but I'm sure there are more. I'm curious about examples of chains that have taken an existing building, renovated it and have done so while blending into the community (a value judgment, I know). I would suggest Enterprise car rental on East Franklin pulled this feat off rather well. Are there others?

Westboro Baptist Church

I'm posting here because Elizabeth Edwards lived in Chapel Hill. Her funeral will be this Saturday at the Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh from 12:15 - 1 PM. The News and Observer report that the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas will be outside protesting against gay and lesbians. Is there any sort of local grassroots presence that aims to show up and create a respectful ring around the church? The link is below.


What do you think of the proposed tree ordinance? Personally, I value Chapel Hill's canopy and wooded neighborhoods, including my family's own heavily wooded lot. That said, I see this as good intentions gone way, way awry. If adopted, the town and its citizens will face increased regulatory costs (more staff to review proposals and police tree removal) and more delay, uncertainty and cost for citizens who need or just seek to remove trees on their own property. What about clearing space for solar panels, culling saplings to better support larger growth trees, or removing diseased trees? Even if the ordinance allows for those activities (and admittedly, it might, I just don't know for sure), the added time and expense necessary for completing paperwork, then waiting for inspections, or, more likely, relying on neighbors to police each other, seems the wrong tack to take. Is this really a problem? 



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