Racial & Economic Justice

Zero Tolerance for Intolerance

Just when we think we're so enlightened around here, a bunch of teenagers assault a Sikh man because they think he looks like Osama Bin Laden. In fact the kids were so stupid that in addition to the assault charges, one of them got busted for possession of marijuana and intent to sell crack. Not our community's finest, I must say.

Gagandeep Bindra, who has a short beard, brown skin and wears a Patka, a scarf wrapped around his hair, said that it is not uncommon for people to call him and others with brown skin Osama bin Laden or a terrorist.

"This is like a normal occurrence after 9/11," Bindra said Friday. "Every night when I go out to Franklin Street, someone shouts out bin Laden.... They think anybody brown is Middle Eastern. Anybody brown is a terrorist."

The way people treated him after 9/11 changed, he said, but he expected he would be safe in a college community.

Whether to do Payment-in-Lieu

The Herald reports that the Carrboro Board of Alermen discussed whether to allow a payment option for developers to meet their affordable housing obligation. We have debated this issue on the Chapel Hill Planning Board as well. So far we have come out against it every time, but there are also some compelling arguments for it.

Developers in Chapel Hill and Carrboro are currently required to include either a certain number of small (< 1,350 & 1,100 square feet) or affordable (<80% of area median income) homes in all residential developments over a certain size. Payment-in-lieu of housing would allow developers to make a financial contribution instead.

What do you all think? Are we missing a chance to support municipal housing efforts, or would we be letting them off the hook too easily and allowing further economic segregation of housing?

What's up with Abbey Court?

For those of you old-timers, maybe this should be entitled "What's up with Old Well". Many of us remember that apartment complex as the cheapest option for student housing when we attended UNC. The apartment complex has shifted to being condos and has experienced a demographic shift so that most of the residents are Spanish-speaking immigrants trying to make ends meet on a less than desirable income.

Can We Just Bus Them to Durham?

The Town is considering locating the homeless shelter in rural Orange County. That's a pretty strong statement about how we see poverty. More than 5 miles from the economic center of town, half a mile from the landfill, and outside the town limits.

I'm not surprised, but I'm disappointed (again) at the approach that seems to treat homelessness as an unsightly blemish on our community rather than a systemic problem for which we all bear some responsibility.

Payday Lending in Carrboro

Many readers of OrangePolitics.org may be aware of the major state and national movements afoot to reign in the activities of predatory lenders – lending institutions that specialize in products for low-income people and that charge exorbitant interest rates. While a battle rages between the cutting edge laws that have been adopted in NC and the federal government’s efforts to prevent state regulation, the cruel reality of payday lending goes on right here in Carrboro.



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