Orange County

Under new management

The DTH reported today that John Link is retiring after 18 years as the Manager of Orange County government. I have long felt that the "manager/council" form of government (which is employed by all of the towns here as well as the county) works best when the manager does not stay in place for longer than his or her bosses, the elected officials.

When the executive remains in place for along time, a lot of power accumulates in that office. Many of us have seen examples of elected officials stepping gently to appease the staff, when it should really be the other way around. I think our managers should have term limits. Ten years in office, for example, is plenty of time to accomplish strategic inititiatves, realize one's vision, and then leave on a good note.

County Manager John Link announced his retirement at a meeting of the Orange County Board of Commissioners Thursday.

Link, who has served as county manager for 18 years, will step down effective Aug. 31.

In a written letter to the commissioners, Link expressed his gratitude and attachment to the county.

Is Orange County pro-death penalty?

I don't know how many of you read the News of Orange. I drop into their web site about once a week, which how often it's updated. They have reader polls to which I am strangely addicted. If they are at all accurate, then it certainly validates what folks say about the northern part of the county being way more convervative than Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

For example, this week's questions is "Do you favor the death penalty?" and the response so far is pretty much YES:
Yes 51.9%
Sometimes 11.5%
No 32.7%
Unsure 3.8%

Total Votes: 52

Do you think this is an accurate reflection of the county? If not, perhaps you should take the poll.


So, the idea for an Orange County "encyclopedia" (a wiki, if you're sufficiently savvy) isn't my own. It somewhat grew out of a suggestion a friend made here on OP. I started collecting information for my own purposes for a research project I'm doing to analyze the 2005 elections, and storing it in a wiki just made sense. But the true power of a wiki is that anyone and everyone is welcome to contribute, and it would be a shame to not put this power to work!

Orangepedia is a collection of public domain information thrown together from various sources and hyperlinked together. It's not finished, and won't ever be, but that's where you come in. Please, help me fill in the basics and then add whatever knowledge of local politics you might want. To link to another page, all you have to do is put a word or phrase inside [[double brackets]]. And I'm moderating, so please keep things clean - the same decency rules that you'll find on transfer nicely.

Local governments tackle affordable housing

During last week's Sierra Club forum in Carrboro, candidates were asked what they felt needed to be done to increase the stock of affordable housing in town. Each of the 4 candidates who addressed this question agreed that it is the most complex problem before the BOA.

Both Carrboro and Chapel Hill work from a version of inclusionary zoning that requires new developers to include affordable units along with their market priced units. In Carrboro developers who comply with the "small house ordinance" are given a density bonus to help them recover some of their lost opportunity. In Chapel Hill, developers can provide payment in lieu of compliance. New units developed through the Carrboro plan are deeded over to the Orange Community Housing and Land Trust as a means of ensuring they stay affordable. Buyers own the dwelling but not the land upon which the dwelling sits. Chapel Hill is currently clarifying the legal the language around their affordable housing options.

Green County?

Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County have engaged in a program to study greenhouse gas emissions in and around their respective facilities. The first step has been to hire Toronto-based contractor ICLEI Energy Services, the technical services branch of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. According to their website, after conducting an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, the consultants typically provide clients with software and access to an extensive set of best practices from local governments around the world. "From technical software support to advice regarding the selection of an emissions reduction target, quantification questions, emissions inventory and Local Action Planning assistance, and protocol issues, IES has gained a great deal of insight into the issues faced by local governments in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions."



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