Bridge Building, Chamber Style

According to Chapel Hill News Editor, Mark Schultz, Chamber of Commerce Director Aaron Nelson told him that our community is “a place where many people still think if you're a successful business person you're exploiting someone or destroying the environment.” (quote is Schultz paraphrasing Nelson)

Now, according to the Herald editors, I'm the farthest left person they know (a debatable point I suppose) and I don't think that. Nor am I aware of any who hold this belief.

So my question to Aaron is: do you really believe what you said to Schultz? if so, who are some of these "many people" you refer to? Or, did you, like Ed Harrison, inadvertently mislead Schultz and it's not your fault?

My question to Chamber members is: does it really serve your interests and your organization when your director makes such hyperbolic and divisive statements?

Nuclear power remains a bad idea

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday June 25, 2005

Over the 26 years since the accident at Three Mile Island, dangerous and costly nuclear power has seemed a technology on the way out. Now, thanks to the power-industry friendly Bush administration, there is a renewed push for the construction of nuclear power plants. Both area utilities, Duke Power and Progress Energy, are exploring expansion of their nuclear operations. Nuclear power is a cash cow for the utilities with huge profits from construction, state-guaranteed profits from operations and federal protection from liability.

Of particular concern locally is the possibility of additional capacity at the Shearon Harris plant. Originally designed to support four reactors, thanks to the changing economics and politics of nuclear power, the plant was built with only one. Even so, it has been among the worst performing in the nation.

In recent years, Shearon Harris has appeared regularly on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's watch list because of its high rate of emergency shutdowns.

Protect local control of our environment

H671/S631 grants the NC Department of Agriculture sole authority for banning plants and seeds within North Carolina. The intent of this law appears to be preventing cities and counties from using their zoning authority to restrict the use of genetically modified plants and seeds within their jurisdiction. However, there may be equally unattractive unintended consequences. For example, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Orange County (possibly Hillsborough too), currently restrict the types of plants used in landscaping new development. By using their zoning authority in this way, they protect our native species from the most egregious invasives such as bamboo, english ivy, etc. Native species are of critical importance in protecting our riparian systems as well as our local wildlife.

Walkable Hillsborough

Hillsborough wants you to get off your butt on Saturday.

Fostering community spirit and promoting the walkability of the town will be the main focus of the fourth annual Walkable Hillsborough Day this Saturday.

There are three different walks to choose from, all based on the level of difficulty. Each will begin at 9 a.m. at the old courthouse on the corner of King and Churton streets, she said.
- The News of Orange County, 6/9/05

The three different walking routes vary from 20-minutes to a vigorous hour-long hike. All of them are short enough that you can come into the cool air-conditioned lab for the Blog Teach-In after you get all sweaty walking around. ;-)

Development Rights Taskforce

The Orange County Board of Commissioners is recruiting citizen volunteers for the Orange County Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Taskforce. This taskforce will evaluate the feasibility of establishing a TDR program in all or portions of the county. The taskforce will address: Sustainably balancing rural and urban areas, directing growth and development away from important natural and cultural resources and toward areas with municipal service potential and able to support urban densities, providing working farms with an alternative income potential, and developing policies to accommodate the sending and receiving areas of housing density and economic development to be added to the Comprehensive Plan. The County has hired a consultant to help in this endeavor.



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