Orange County

District voting for the county

The Chapel Hill Herald reports on the second of two public hearings about establishing some kind of geographic districts for electing the Orange County Board of Commissioners.

One option calls for five commissioner seats to be nominated from districts. Voters countywide would then vote on the candidates in the general election.

Another option has five commissioner seats nominated from districts in the primary, with two additional at-large seats. Voters would elect candidates in the general election.

The final option would split the county into a northern and southern district. The northern district would have two seats; the southern district would have three. Nominations would be district-based, with voters choosing candidates from both districts in the general election.
- The Chapel Hill Herald, 9/1/05

District Tax for County Schools: Will it Fly?

On Tuesday August 16th the Orange County Commissioners will make a decision about how to address the funding disparity between our two school systems. The current plan is to put a district tax on the ballot this fall, and let county school district voters decide for themselves.

According to the Chapel Hill News, the entire Orange County School Board opposes this referendum. And County Commissioner Moses Carey says "Obviously, what the school board thinks is important, but we won't base our decision solely on what they think."

Should the commissioners assume that the county school board is the voice of the people and abandon the referendum, or should they take the attitude that this is an activist school board that may not reflect the will of the people, and go forth with the referendum?

According to school board member Randy Copeland, the proposal will "put a tax on those who can least afford it." Fiscal conservatives want to leave things as is.

County website evolving

Orange County's Information Technology group, in conjunction with departmental webmasters and the office of the clerk to the Board of County Commissioners, has developed and deployed a new search tool for our website ( This tool was developed to help the public quickly locate information and services of interest.

To use it, go to, type search terms into the left frame's search window and click "Go," much as you would a traditional occurence search engine. Results will appear in the right frame.

We would appreciate any feedback on this tool. In particular:

  • Is the tool intuitive?
  • Did you quickly find what you were looking for?
  • How does it compare to a traditional occurence search engine (e.g., google, yahoo)?
  • Do you have any suggestions for improving this tool?

Thanks in advance for helping Orange County better serve the public.

Internationalist honors Liz Brown

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday July 23, 2005

Last week, Internationalist Books give this year's Bob Sheldon Award for social justice to Orange County school board member Liz Brown.

I was surprised that Brown was even in the field of vision of the Ibooks volunteers.

After all, these are people known for their engagement with U.S. and international issues, whose concern is with globalization and war, not school budgets and the three Rs. I suspect Brown was not well-known around Ibooks before last week.

Consider the other nominees. Ibooks board member Michal Osterweil said of nominee Vinci Daro "one of the most amazing things about Vinci is that she participates in many of the most important protests internationally and serves as a tremendous resource and thinker for developing effective alternatives here, and yet she is so modest and effective, that often you don't even know how much a project has depended on her work and her inspirational energy."

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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