OP takes a holiday

Next week all of OrangePolitics will be on vacation! The archives will remain available, but no new comments will be allowed and there will be no new posts from Sunday 8/21 to Sunday 8/28.

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to enjoy the summer weather before schools starts again and the fall campaigns get fully underway.


Ruby, Thanks for extending compassionate help to those of us who cannot help ourselves.

During this vacation time, you might want to check out a new site I've recently put together:

Squeeze the Pulp is an open forum for Orange County voters to discuss ideas and information related to local news, politics, sports, and whatever. The site has a "bulletin board" style, so anyone can start new threads on topics of interest.

--Rik Faith

Excellent. Welcome to the fray, Rik! The more the merrier...

Mary, it is exactly this type of assistance I hope to offer to both the readers, the commenters, and myself! Let's develop some other habits besides checking the site for new comments every 20 minutes. ;-)

I don't check it every 20 minutes!

I have the RSS comment feed set up in Thunderbird to play a noise and notify me every time someone posts.

Wait... perhaps some time off would be good for me.

Squeeze the Pulp is a very nice looking website. I hope it takes off. Already there is a very interesting post there about our Mark Chilton. Yeah, this is a teaser.

Note that if you register, the confirmation code you have to type in is case sensitive.

Sorry, Rudy, I only check it every 30 minutes.

Really, I feel like an addict who has been told 'No more'.

I guess I'll spend more time at the gym like I've been promising myself.

The site looks good. It seems like the perfect spot for the "guerilla journalism" that we were talking about here a while ago. I hope the moderators enocourage some well documented investigative journalism.

Did you guys read Robin Cutson's post on water outages ? If it's true, maybe we should be looking at severe limitations on growth until we get a handle on Carolina North.

Mark M, did you read it ?

I read it. I also spent an hour & a half meeting with Robin to talk about OWASA issues. I observed that she spends a lot of time carving square blocks to fit into round holes and seems to derive energy and inspiration from maintaining that nearly everyone is wrong and misguided and that across the board local leaders are either unwitting pawns, not very bright, or are conspiring to scam people regularly.

Initially when I left the meeting with her (though I clearly got the message that she was a lot smarter than nearly everyone in town), I thought that she had learned from some of the information I had shared with her. From her subsequent writings, I realized that she took what she wanted out-of-context in order to maintain her original perspective that OWASA is inept and/or conspiring with UNC/developers to bilk ratepayers.

Rather than write an essay that refutes or otherwise provides a different perspective on OWASA, I would urge all those interested to check out the web-site, come to some meetings (something Robin has not done), and ask me specific questions (which I'll be happy to answer).

One brief example - Robin wrote an extended critique of the OWASA/UNC collaboration to use treated wastewater for non-potable uses, i.e. the re-use project. It was based solely on the thoughts of John Smith, a former OWASA Board member who cast the lone vote against the project after more than a year of deliberation and discussion. He subsequently resigned, partly because he felt that his minority view was not fully appreciated. One false statement that Robin has continued to make - despite a fairly comprehensive explanation from me when we met that it is not true - is that UNC is getting some kind of discount on the cost of re-use water.

From my perspective of almost 6 years on the OWASA Board (and someone whose experience has often been that of a critical activist), OWASA is an exemplary organization & one of the best utilities in the country. But please don't take my word for it. Investigate it yourself and see what you discover.

I'm not really interested in the accusation game or conspiracy theory. I just want to know if we are realistically looking at those kind of water shortages.

Generally speaking, there is a very low probability. Especially with the re-use system in place (hopefully in 2007).

Of course, anything is possible. A series of droughts could change everything. Probably won't happen, but with global climate change, who knows?

One of the great unreported initiatives that the OWASA Board recently took is that we decided that we will look to conservation (demand-management techniques) as our strategy to meet future needs so that we won't have to go to Jordan Lake while waiting for the Stone Quarry to become available in 2030 or so. This is a big step toward sustainability and future lowest-cost service. I doubt many utilities across the country have taken such an approach. The good news is that we are using a lot more water than necessary to meet our basic needs. If water shortages occur, we will be like a fat guy going on a short fast.

" I observed that she spends a lot of time carving square blocks to fit into round holes and seems to derive energy and inspiration from maintaining that nearly everyone is wrong and misguided and that across the board local leaders are either unwitting pawns, not very bright, or are conspiring to scam people regularly."

Mark-- What a great, concise, description of an attitude that does not help. I hope citizens are wise enough to keep all candidates with this attitude out of office.

The problem with alarmists is that eventually they're "proved right".

Watch. At the slightest indication of a drought and calls for tightening our water usage the Chicken Littles will start their crowing.

The travesty is the facility with which some people will applaud their prescience.

Surprised no one has mentioned Ruby's scoring a few column inches in today's N&O.

Ruby Sinreich is an evangelist, but not in the traditional sense.

It's technology, not religion, that she promotes as she advises nonprofits how to use the Web to advance social justice.

Two years ago, Sinreich founded orangepolitics.org, where lively discussion reverberates about all things local and governmental in nature.

Mark Chilton, a Carrboro alderman running for mayor, is one of a few people Sinreich has tapped as "authors" allowed to begin new discussion topics on the site.

Chilton, who has known Sinreich since their days in the Student Environmental Action Coalition at UNC-Chapel Hill, says the site has attracted a lot of attention.

"People all over the country are interested in how to start similar endeavors," he said.

The site has logged more than 10,000 comments, and though opinions tilt left, Sinreich says conservative viewpoints aren't shunned.

"Half or more of the participants are folks who come to argue with us," she said.


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