2010 WCHL Community Forum: You're Invited to Submit Questions

A great community tradition returns on Thursday, April 22:  The 1360 WCHL Community Forum.

This year, we are inviting members of the community to send in suggested questions which may be used during the sessions. If you’d like to submit a question for consideration, please e-mail it to:  2010Forum@1360wchl.com

We’d love to hear from you!

Also this year, we are returning to our roots and presenting ten topics in ten hours.  Below are this year’s topics and panelists who are scheduled to appear (a few others are still awaiting confirmation).

For those not familiar with the "WCHL Community Forum", it iso ur most anticipated single day of broadcasting of the year.  The tradition of delving into and focusing on issues facing our community started many years ago… and brings together points of view of government officials, community leaders and citizens.

I hope you will be a part of the day by by sending in your questions.

Thanks to Ruby for inviting us to post our invitiation to submit questions on OP!



8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Town & Gown: Educated Growth

Moderator:  Jim Heavner


  • Linda Convissor, Director of Local Relations, UNC-CH
  • Walter Holt, University Square, Property Manager
  • Gordon Merklein, Executive Director, Real Estate Development UNC-CH      
  • Roger Perry, CEO, East West Partners
  • Roger Stancil, Town Manager, Town of Chapel Hill
  • Laura Streitfield, President, Preserve Rural Orange
  • Holden Thorp, Chancellor, UNC-CH
  • Jim Ward, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Chapel Hill 

9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Downtown Business Landscape: Park Here and Shop Here?

Moderator: Jim Heavner


  • Pat Evans, Friends of Downtown Chapel Hill
  • Adam Klein, Vice President of Economic Development, Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
  • Scott Maitland, Owner, Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery
  • Jim Norton, Executive Director, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
  • Gene Pease, Town Council Member, Town of Chapel Hill
  • Paul Shareshian, Co-Owner, The Varsity Theater
  • Susan Shareshian, Co-Owner, The Varsity Theater
  • Jim Ward, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Chapel Hill 

10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Town Needs vs. County Needs: We’re All Orange

Moderator: Ron Stutts


  • Joal Hall Broun, Member, Carrboro Board of Aldermen
  • Mark Chilton, Mayor, Town of Carrboro
  • Frank Clifton, County Manager, Orange County
  • Valerie Foushee, Chair, Orange County Commissioner
  • Nerys Levy, Library Advocate
  • Mark Marcoplos, Orange County Planning Board
  • Theresa Smith, Owner, Harry’s Market 

11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Local Initiatives:  What Does It Mean To Be Local?

Moderator: Jim Heavner


  • Dwight Bassett, Economic Development Officer, Town of Chapel Hill
  • Brad Broadwell, Economic Developer, Orange County
  • Mark Chilton, Mayor, Town of Carrboro
  • Jesse Kalisher, Owner, Kalisher Gallery (WalkCarrboro.com)
  • Ed Kerwin, Executive Director, OWASA
  • Michael Maher, Owner, Wootini (Localmotive)
  • Aaron Nelson, President and CEO, Chapel Hill Carrboro Chamber of Commerce

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.  Latino Community:  The Changing Face Of Our Community

Moderator: Walter Storholt


  • Judith Blau, Human Rights Chapel Hill Carrboro
  • J.G. Booker, Captain, Carrboro Police Department
  • Paul Cauadros, Author/Professor, UNC-CH
  • Susan Denman, Chair, Board of Directors, El Centro Latino
  • Fernando Granthon, Carrboro Police Department
  • Alejandro Sanchez, Director of Organizational Development, Latino Credit Union
  • Sammy Slade, Member, Carrboro Board of Aldermen 

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Education: Pass Or Fail

Moderator: D.G. Martin


  • Kathleen Brown, Chair, Educational Leadership Program, Professor of Educational Leadership, School of Education, UNC-CH
  • Mike Hanas, Principal, Carolina Friends School
  • Bill McDiarmid, Dean, School of Education, UNC-CH
  • Graig Meyer, Coordinator, Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate
  • Neil Pedersen, Superintendent, Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools
  • Patrick Rhodes, Superintendent, Orange County Schools
  • Carlo Robustelli, Director of Orange County Operations, Durham Technical Community College 

2 p.m. -3 p.m.  Food & Sustainability: From Our Farms To Our Plates

Moderator: D.G. Martin          


  • Fred Broadwell, Program Manager, Carolina Farm Stewards Association
  • Margaret Gifford, Carrboro Farmer Food Share
  • Scott Meyers, Carolina Dining Services
  • Greg Overbeck, Co-Owner, Chapel Hill Restaurant Group
  • Liane Salgado, Transitions
  • Sammy Slade, Member, Carrboro Board of Aldermen
  • Tim Toben, Chair, NC Energy Policy Council
  • Jordan Treakle, Fair. Local. Organic. UNC-CH

3 p.m. – 4 p.m.  Social Media & Technology: Changing The Course Of Our “Community”

Moderator: Barry Leffler


  • Chad Johnston, Executive Director, The People’s Channel
  • Paul Jones, Director, Ibiblio.org
  • Catherine Lazorko, Public Information Officer, Town of Chapel Hill
  • John McGowan, Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities,  UNC-CH
  • James Protzman, Blogger/Author
  • Brian Russell, Carrboro Co-Working
  • Ruby Sinreich, Founder, orangepolitics.org 

4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Crime & Safety: Protecting Our Village

Moderator: Judge Joe Buckner


  • Natalie Ammarell, Chapel Hill Mental Task Force
  • J.G. Booker, Captain, Carrboro Police Department
  • Michelle Cotton Laws, President, Orange County NAACP
  • Brian Curran, Police Chief, Chapel Hill Police Department
  • Christine Hudelson, Rape Prevention Education Coordinator, Orange County Rape Crisis Center
  • Jeff McCracken, Police Chief, UNC Department of Public Safety
  • Chris Moran, Executive Director, InterFaith Council
  • Lindy Pendergrass, Sheriff, Orange County Police Department

5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Economic Division: Bridging The Divide

Moderator: Hampton Dellinger


  • Anita Badrock, Operations Manager, Community Home Trust
  • Donna Bell, Member, Chapel Hill Town Council
  • Rick Edens, Co-Pastor, United Church of Christ
  • Greg McElveen, Member, Chapel Hill Carrboro School Board
  • Pat Neagle, President Elect, Greater Chapel Hill Association of Realtors
  • Stephanie Perry, Orange County Justice United
  • Brian Toomey, CEO, Piedmont Health Services

WCHL wants you to be a part of the 2010 Forum.  Please send us your questions to 2010Forum@1360wchl.com.




I am not a representative of Preserve Rural Orange, which is essentially five or six people who apparently meet periodically. I will contact WCHL to have that corrected. I am involved with Orange County Voice's leadership committee, serve on the county Planning Board, and did work with Preserve Rural Orange whenever possible during our greater community-wide resistance to the airport. 

Mark-I just corrected your title on OP and we are doing the same on the WCHL website.  My sincere apologies for the error.  We're looking forward to having you be a part of the Forum once again! Barry

How many of the food & sustainability panel are farmers? From what I see there is alot of folks lining up to eat they don't grow the produce.

Apologies for the formatting and spacing problems in the above post. They are on the OP side, not Barry's fault.

The downtown session looks to pretty Chamber/Partnership heavy, that only represents one perspective about downtown. In my experience the Chamber of COmmerce and the Downtown Partnership don't always reflect what I would call "urban" perspectives.  How about having panelists who live downtown or a future resident of Greenbridge? Or some of the folks who really USE downtown, like people who use the bus system daily. Or Richard-Florida-esque creative class types (for lack of a better term). How about someone from FRANK?

Thanks to Ruby and Poppalax for your posts.  Our panels are just about 100% confirmed for this year.  Going forward, we will be opening up the selection of topics and panelists through a process that will invite the community to offer suggestions.  We're always looking to improve what we're doing and how we're doing it... and I invite all feedback after this year's forum so we can document what you think we're doing well and what you think we can do better. 

I think the title of the downtown panel sums up the problem well: "Downtown Business Landscape: Park Here and Shop Here?" As long as we keep thinking that downtown should be like a mall but with older buildings it will continue to fail (both at being a mall and at being a town center).By the way, I fixed the formatting in Barry's post. (I found the Forum page on the WCHL web site and copied the information form there instead of the icky Microsoft "formatted" text that Barry had originally posted.)

As someone who is a member of a downtown church and has patronized downtown businesses since 1977, I applied for an opening on the partnership a couple of years ago.  In the interview, it was clear they didn't want to hear that voice of their customers. 

I often wonder how much of the "how do we get more people to downtown Chapel Hill" conversation is actually a more narrow conversation regarding "how do we get more baby boomers who live in suburban areas and are used to driving to shopping-- a place to park, for free if possible, in downtown Chapel Hill?"When I briefly worked in the telecom industry, we knew it took about 5 times as much effort to get a new customer to make a first purchase as it did to get an existing customer to make an additional purchase. In terms of demographics and method of access, I agree with Ruby that downtown's existing "established customer base" of residents and visitors may be under-represented by the panel above. Here are 5 quick survey questions for downtown panel:1.  Raise your hand if you have eaten dinner at a downtown Chapel Hill
restaurant in the last week.  In the last month? In 2010?2. Raise your hand if you have come to downtown Chapel Hill, for any reason, without getting in a car to do so in 2010.3.  Raise your hand if you have purchased any basic necessities or household items in downtown Chapel Hill in 2010.4.  Raise your hand if you have purchased any clothing in downtown Chapel Hill in 2010.5. Raise your hand if you have come to downtown Chapel Hill specifically to attend a live music event in the evening in 2010, not including performances at Memorial Hall. (examples would be Local 506, Nightlight, Mansion 462, Jack Sprat open mic night, etc)I'd love to know the percentage of the panel that answered "yes" to each.

Carrboro has a very dynamic downtown, but I don't see anyone representing Carrboro on that panel. Carrboro has a successful spinoff business from the university, but they don't have a representative on the Educated Growth panel either.

Why is this scheduled for a weekday during the hours when most people are working? And just an hour for each of these broad subjects along with a panel of 6-8 for each and written questions and maybe a moderator and maybe an audience with questions...that seems kinda cramped.  They ought to pick one of these, maybe a different one each month, and take 3-4 hours on a Saturday and encourage people to attend if they're interested in the topic and get into some in detailed discussions where in depth analysis can occur.

Jose-Over the years, a weekday has proven to be the best time for panleists to participate.  For those not able to listen live over the air or via our stream, the sessions will be rebroadcast in the coming weeks and be available through our website.Thanks,Barry

What are the plans to either build or tear down the Vacant Building behind the Weaver Dairy Shopping Center?What does this say about prospects for Lot 5?  

In the past we've put up an open thread for folks to discuss while listening to the Forum (eg: http://www.orangepolitics.org/tags/wchl). Let's just repurpose this post since it already has the schedule at the top. See http://1360wchl.com/detailswide.html?id=14148 for more.My thoughts so far:

  1. I can't believe Jim Heavner is still perpetuating the narrative that the Town's review is expensive and has no value to local businesses or to the University.  I've commentated/ranted about this before: http://orangepolitics.org/2008/08/are-we-un-friendly-to-business.
  2. Since I can't listen all day (gotta work) I am going to skip the next hour on downtown since it is mostly the same tired voices who are trying to make Franklin Street into Southpoint.
  3. How is it possible that a session with SEVEN speakers doesn't have a single woman on the panel? "What Does It Mean To Be Local?" A few others (including thew one I'm on "Social Media & Technology") have only one or two women. 

Ruby, I had not seen your previous comment (and somehow can't find it now, my click gets a "URL has disappeared.") about my asking about what we got for our money in the review process.  It cost the taxpayers a lot.  The reason that I asked this time is that it has been asked of me and, when I put the question to both outgoing and incoming mayors, neither had an answer that satisfied me or those from whom I had feedback.  .  What we got this time was an informed, remarkable (for its candor) and helpful answer from Holden Thorpe, who reviewed for us in some detail that the University's original plan was a very traditional, spread out, research campus.  He credited the town's input with changing and, we beleive, improving the whole design concept to greater density among all the functions--work, living, consuming.   That was the kind of illumination that we hope to get from these forums that are, honestly, the hardest to come by.  Our goal as moderators is to interrogate--just as you do so well on OP--areas that we believe to be relevant that have not been discussed otherwise.  That discussion was one of the most resounding endorsements of Chapel Hill's review process that I have heard.  And, to me, at least, it was persuasive.   JAH    

The current Forum topic is "Town Needs vs. County Needs: We’re All Orange."  Lately I've heard some rumbling about the need for Carrboro representation on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. I don't really get it. What is it that people want a Carrboro rep to do that the Commissioners aren't already doing, and why not lobby for those issues?  And if the geographic/municipal aspect is that important, why isn't the District 1 seat (dedicated to Chapel Hill & Carrboro residents) being targeted for this?

Although it can't stand alone as a case for supporting her, it should come as no surprise that many people in Carrboro and elsewhere feel an affinity for Joal. It's not about representing the interests of any one part of the county. ("Town vs county" is a largely meaningless way of framing the discussion.) However, there is a perception—a rumbling, if you like—that county government has not reflected the reality that the large majority of county residents live in and around Carrboro and Chapel Hill. An at-large commissioner should have that in mind.

Are some speakers talking for 15-20 minutes at a time? I'm turning the stream on and off as I can in the last forty minutes, and it sounds like the same person has been talking the entire time, though I concede it is possible I've missed a few exchanges. Are these panels more conversations or speeches?

Why is Sammy Slade talking about Afghanistan in a Latino conversation?  That is hardly the biggest fiscal impact on the community. (edited because the default subject line was offensive)

Each citizen in Orange County is represented by $2542 per year in the military budget. Based on a population of about 135,000, $343 million dollars of our money is spent annually on the military. The proposed 2009-10 county budget is about $178 million.  There is absolutely no question that the Afghan War and various other military adventures are squandering money that would solve a myriad of problems at home. 

I need to cry BS.  Kids who are not challenged don't learn, regardless of whether she thinks they will succeed without adequate instruction.  My son was completely bored in 3rd grade to the point of not willing to go to school in the AM.  He wasn't learning anything and was ignored by the teacher.  That is not acceptable.  She's also way off the mark because we don't have the kinds of school by school disparity in CH that she's talking about.

Glad he pointed out how the theory about failing schools doesn't work here.


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