brianr's blog

Chapel Hill News Leaving Franklin Street?

Fiona Morgan, over at the Indy, reports that the N&O's parent company McClatchy has the Chapel Hill News building up for sale.
"I think if we got the right price, we'd be interested in talking with somebody," John Drescher, The N&O's executive editor, said in an interview.
Is this inevitable? Can the Carrboro Citizen pick up the slack? Is it time for more startup papers to run tight ships with old school newspaper values? I for one am pretty sad it has come to this but am not surprised one bit. For more details see another recent article by Morgan called What's Up? More bad news at The N&O.

Rep. Price sure owns a lot of Oil Stock

The Sunlight Foundation has a blog post today called Oil Industry Influence: Personal Finances. It contains a chart of public information about how much stock in Oil companies members of the US House of Representatives own.

This chart shows stock holdings in the leading oil companies by members of the House of Representatives. If you aren’t familiar with personal financial disclosures, they require lawmakers to list assets in a range (i.e.: $15,001-$50,000). In the chart you will see a low estimate, a high estimate, and an average. In some cases, lawmakers list the actual value - not a range - and that is listed in this color.

So, who’s going to make money if Congress passes pro-oil industry legislation:

Create Green-Collar Jobs in Orange County

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of seeing Van Jones speak. He co-founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and is founder and president of Green For All. He spoke convincingly of a future of increased equality and how one of the roads to this future is green jobs. Green-collar jobs are employment in the environmental or agricultural sectors of the economy. [Source: Wikipedia] But they also include any work that will help transform our society into a more environmentally sustainable one.

One way our local government leaders could participate in this national movement is to sign the Green Jobs Pledge. Its goal is to "rebuild American competitiveness and environmental leadership by growing a green economy that fights global warming, pollution and poverty at the same time." Here are the five steps this pledge asks our leaders to agree to:

  1. Commit to Action
  2. Create a Green-collar Jobs Taskforce
  3. Identify Goals and Assess Opportunities
  4. Create a Local Action Plan
  5. Evaluate, Leverage and Grow

Increase Citizen Input

In Chapel Hill we have a representative form of government that works better than any place I've lived. When I first got here I joined a citizen committee on Technology. I was amazed at how directly involved I could be. But the experience of being on that board also opened my eyes to the many flaws in this process. Yet I still yearn for more citizen input in our Town.

The recent citizen outcry against a Council vote on health care is a excellent example of what happens if you don't have enough community input BEFORE a council vote. This bit from The Chapel Hill News describes the problem well,

Council Vote Fuels Ugly Comments by Republicans

Lots of interesting stuff in the Opinion section of today's Chapel Hill News. First is the editorial called Flap over benefits turns ugly.

The council made a serious error in judgment -- several of them, actually -- and in so thoroughly misreading the public's likely response it gave the appearance of being out of touch with its constituency.

But it didn't commit high crimes and misdemeanors. It didn't make off with the Town treasury, lead the town into war on false pretenses or kick puppies. [...]

Plus there is Laurin Easthom's guest column called Controversy stoked by those with other agendas. Its on her blog too.

Some of those who have been the most outspoken, and continue to criticize and continue to threaten to put out petitions on items other than health care, are Republicans. It is just an interesting fact. [...]

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