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

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.

Successful streets put people before cars

{Cross posted from Chapel Hill News}

Yoga at Carrboro Summer Streets

Last summer, Carrboro closed East Weaver Street in front of Weaver Street Market one Sunday a month to open it up for people to commune, linger, meet old friends and make new ones, and use the street for physical activities like yoga, cycling and soccer. In addition, Carrboro just held its fourth Open Streets event in April.

Carrboro is just one of many communities across the country and world that have recognized the power and benefits of these Open Streets (or Summer Streets, for the summer months) events.

UNC-CH Departments & Colleges Take a Stand Against HB2

There are a growing number of departments and colleges at UNC-Chapel Hill that have taken a stand against HB2. Their statements affirm the value of all staff and students, note that they stand by UNC’s non-discrimination policy that includes gender identity and sexual orientation. Many call for the repeal of HB2. Below are those statements available now. More will be added as they become available.

UNC-CH Women’s & Gender Studies Department

http://womensstudies.unc.edu/statement-from-the-department-of-wgst-faculty-regarding-nc-house-bill-2/

UNC School of Law:

http://www.law.unc.edu/faculty/directory/eichnermaxine/

AND

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1524808561158447/permalink/1526361784336458/

CBOA Calls Special Meeting to Address House Bill 2

Carrboro alderpersons Damon Seils and Michelle Johnson, in consultation with Mayor Lydia Lavelle, have called a special meeting of the Carrboro Board of Alderpersons to consider a resolution to address House Bill 2.

The meeting will be this Saturday, March 26th, at 1:00 pm at Carrboro Town Hall.

Here is more information on the CBOA meeting.

Here is more information on the bill that was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory last night at 10 pm after first being introduced 10 am that very morning. Among other things, the new law does the following: 

2016 Primary Election Day Open Thread

It's Primary Day. We vote today in primaries for Orange County Board of Commissioners for District 1, District 2, and At-Large. Orange County voters are also voting to fill seats on their Board of Education.

Did you vote early? 

What are you seeing out there when you vote today?

What are your predictions?

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