Commentary, quick thoughts, and reactions from the OrangePolitics editors.

What will the election mean for our communities?

The Mayors of Carrboro, Hillsborough and Chapel Hill and the Chair of the Orange County Board of Commissioners put out a joint statement to the community on the 2016 Presidential Election. The text of their letter is below.

Just what the election means for our community is yet to be fully known and may not for some time, but local efforts are underway to anticipate issues before they arise and respond.

For example, El Centro Hispano-Carrboro will be holding a community forum on Tuesday, November 22nd at 6:30 pm to discuss what the election might mean for immigrant communities. The location is to be determined. We will post the location in the thread when it is announced.

Know of other community activities being planned in response to the election? Please comment and share it.

Post Date: 11/14/2016 10:49 AM

 

An Open Letter to Orange County Residents:

 

Like many, since Election Day we have reflected on what our country’s presidential election will mean for our communities.

 

The Real Reason Chapel Hill Keeps Growing

{Cross Posted from Chapelboro.com}

Chapel Hill resident, Matt Bailey, is back. This time he's rejecting the notion that Chapel Hill should or even can stay the same. Check out his thoughts below. Do you agree?

A while back, I read an opinion piece about how Chapel Hill was so much better back in the good old days. How Chapel Hill used to be smaller. How Chapel Hill used to have more charm. How all these new places for people to live have ruined our sense of place.

These sentiments aren’t merely one person’s opinion. Seems you only have to be in Chapel Hill for fifteen minutes before someone tells you how great it was back in some bygone era.

It’s true that Chapel Hill was a whole lot smaller years ago. In 1960, 12,573 lived here. Today, 59,568 do. However, have you ever stopped to ask yourself why Chapel Hill has grown so much?

White House Calls for Increased Density to Address Housing Affordability

The latest column in the Chapel Hill News by OrangePolitics Editors Travis Crayton and Molly De Marco cites recent releases from the White House calling for increased density in urban development to address the chronic national problem of housing affordability. These are just the type of strategies that we have been supporting on this blog for Orange County.

Chapel Hill Town Council Receives Update on Bias in Policing

Back in June, the Orange County Bias Free Policing Coalition submitted a petition to the Chapel Hill Town Council with eleven recommendations for addressing racial bias in policing. You may have been wondering what ever happened to that petition. We were. We found out last night.

Listening to the People

{Cross Posted from Chapelboro.com}

With our elected bodies coming back into session any day now, it's timely to think about how Orange County residents are being engaged in the decisions our elected officials make on our behalf. A post here on OrangePolitics got Chapel Hill resident, Matt Bailey, thinking about ways to engage residents that do not require them to come out in the evening and sit for hours waiting for their three minutes. So, he shared his ideas over on Chapelboro.com (below). What do you think of these ideas? What ideas do you have? Where should elected offical go to hear from constituents? Post your thoughts.

“Town leaders aren’t listening to the people.”

 

We heard that claim repeatedly from several candidates running for public office in Chapel Hill last fall.  With the promise they would listen to the people, several of those candidates have now been elected officials for almost a year.

 

GoTriangle (Route 405) comes to Carrboro

For the first time, Carrboro will be getting transit service from GoTriangle. Starting on Monday, August 8th the 405 Route will have two stops in Carrboro, one on Jones Ferry Road at the Collins Crossing Apartments and the other on E. Main Street at Weaver Street Realty.

Join Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle, Carrboro Alderperson Damon Seils, other Orange County officials, GoTriangle staff, Carrboro notables, and transit advocates as we celebrate this milestone on Monday at the E. Main Street stop to board the 8:14 am departure. GoTriangle will be providing local coffee, doughnuts, and complimentary day passes for anyone who boards at the E. Main Street stop.

See the GoTriangle press release for more information and the new route:

For Immediate Release

Contact: Brad Schulz, 919-485-7434 or Mike Charbonneau, 919-485-7413

 

Carrboro to Durham Transit Service Begins Next Week

Research Triangle Park, NC (August 3, 2016) - Carrboro residents will have weekday transit service to Durham beginning on Monday, August 8th. 

Neighborhood Conservation Districts: Chapel Hill Frozen in Time

A common complaint in Chapel Hill is that homeowners bear too great a tax burden because the town lacks a significant commercial tax base to offset it. The town’s onerous development process limits the amount of commercial space that can be built while also limiting the construction of new, different, and denser housing that is affordable to a wider range of people. At the same time, through the Neighborhood Conservation District (NCD) process, the town further restricts the availability of some areas for redevelopment, effectively freezing large areas of Chapel Hill in time. Removing these areas from potential redevelopment results in even less land for the creation of new mixed use and less single-family detached suburban type development to shift the tax burden. If our town is serious about supporting affordability, NCDs are counterproductive, “protecting” large swaths of the town that cannot be developed into denser urban environments.

Transit investment key to future success in Chapel Hill & Carrboro

{Cross Posted from Chapel Hill News}

 

Chapel Hill Transit bus

If you boarded a Chapel Hill Transit bus back in February, you might have been greeted by someone with a clipboard asking you to answer a few questions about your ride. The results of this survey were just released and include relevant and interesting findings as we think about the future of transit in our community.

These survey data tell us quite a bit about who rides Chapel Hill Transit. Most riders (88 percent) were somehow affiliated with UNC, and 93 percent of those surveyed were taking the bus to get to college or work. A majority (68 percent) ride the bus five days a week while another 21 percent use it three or four days a week.

Let's make sure all voices are heard

Arrive to the meeting a little early. Sign up with the clerk. Take a seat. Wait. And wait. And wait. Hours later, the governing board arrives at the agenda item of your interest. The presenter takes to the podium to introduce the topic to the board and the community. After some back and forth between board members and the presenter, the mayor finally announces the start of public comment and begins calling names off the list. Three minutes per person, loosely enforced (if at all). On controversial topics, this can go on for hours, all under the guise of public engagement.

We Need Civility in Public Discourse

Tensions can run high in local issues, but lately the state of discourse has reached a sad low. When being the loudest person in the room and the most passionate advocate for your opinion becomes the objective at a public meeting, it’s a sign of a broken dialogue and a complete breakdown in civility.

Our state of uncivil discourse has been a long time coming. In Chapel Hill, the discussions around Ephesus-Fordham, Central West, Obey Creek, Charterwood, and other planning processes and developments foreshadowed where we are today, with outbursts, disruptions, and other tactics being used to derail conversations and suppress diverse viewpoints and opinions. Now, in Carrboro, discussions about the construction of a multi-use path from Winmore/the Landings on Homestead Road to Chapel Hill High School have seen a return to a lack of civility.

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