Civil Liberties

Perhaps because of the large number of outspoken and thoughtful people in our community, we have often found ourselves at ground zero in battles over civil liberties. In the 1980's Chapel Hill elected the first openly-gay elected official in the state, but Carrboro bested that by electing North Carolina’s first out mayor a decade later.

More recently, Chapel Hill grappled with free speech issues in the wake of 9/11, approved and then dismantled red light cameras in 2003-4, and was challenged by fundamentalists over support for gay marriage in 2005.

Preserve the Early Voting Site Near UNC

The Orange County Board of Elections will be deciding on Tuesday, August 7th on whether to move the one-stop early voting site from UNC's campus to the Seymour Senior Center off Homestead Road.

We have the following objections to the proposed move:

1. The Seymour Senior Center creates a significant impediment to voting for students, faculty, staff and the many community members that live/work in and around downtown.
2. Moving the site away from campus will adversely impact student engagement in the upcoming election.
3. With the passage of the same-day voter registration bill, more students are likely to vote this fall. Moving the site will hurt these efforts.
4. If we want to encourage students to take an interest or an active role in their community, we should not making voting inaccessible to many who cannot make it to the Seymour Center.
5. Many faculty and staff that work on or near campus benefit from having a central voting site on campus.
6. A better location can be found that will benefit both students and residents of Chapel Hill.

Support local media, call NC House members today

As you may know, last session the State Legislature passed a law which allows cable and phone companies to avoid many of the public service requirements that have existed for over 30 years. Those requirements mainly have to do with channel space and support for Community Media Centers, like Chapel Hill's own The Peoples Channel, and Public, Educational, and Government (PEG) Access channels. The bill has turned out to be a very serious blow to local governments and nonprofits like us. Many of us concerned with the legislation worked together to produce a new piece of legislation that would remedy two major problems with the bill: funding for Community Media Center and PEG channels, and deployment of broadband to rural and economically distressed communities.

The bill, S-1068 moved along quickly in the Senate and is now on the House side, but there is a fear that they won't take it on before the session ends or at all. I haven't given a call to action thus far because we thought this bill would have no problems and I know you all have busy lives. However, we need to make calls by tomorrow (Wednesday).

Help save the Carrboro Greenspace

If you are interested in the Carrboro Greenspace initiative (this land is a treasure that we simply cannot afford to lose!) there are two upcoming events you are encouraged to attend.

The first is an organizational meeting on July 30th at 6:30 p.m., at 116 Old Pittsboro St. in Carrboro (within walking distance from downtown and the Open Eye Cafe). The property is one of the only green spaces left in downtown Carrboro. In addition to its ecological diversity and geographic importance to the region (research shows green spaces are absolutely crucial to breathable, livable cities), the land houses important community projects (including the ReCYCLEry, the WITT, and others) that are vital to ensuring a sustainable and livable future in Carrboro and beyond.

Then, on August 4th at 5:30 p.m., the space will host a local-food potluck, performances, music, exhibits and an original fashion show (skirts and shirts), as well as tours of the site, and much more!

Early voting not on campus?

Many members of the Chapel Hill community have been working for years to increase voting awareness and participation among students. All that effort might be for naught if the Orange County Board of Elections decides to move the one-stop early voting site to the new Robert and Pearl Seymour Senior Center on Homestead Road. According to the News & Observer, Morehead Planetarium will be under construction and will not be able to host the voting site.

The news of the potential relocation of the voting site to the Senior Center, a location that is not within walking distance for students, is especially disheartening after the recent passage of the same-day voter registration bill, which many believe will help increase voter turnout among students. If we want to encourage students to take an interest or an active role in their community, we should not relocate polls to a center that is out of reach for most students.

Millian tries to kick out Sheehan

WCHL reports that mall manager Nathan Millian attempted to throw Cindy Sheehan off Carr Mill property when she was meeting with Mark Chilton and impeachment activists yesterday. Eventually Shehan was allowed to stay at Panzanella. Here is the MP3.

Regardless how you feel about Ms. Sheehan's politics, is this any way to treat a nationally-known guest? It's certainly no way to treat anyone else.

What motivates Nathan Millian to butt heads with a Mayor's lunch guest? I don't buy the disruption of business argument. Ms. Sheehan brought a lot of free publicity to Carr Mill and the Town of Carrboro. Why did Mr. Millian squander it by being so rude?



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