New economic director pushing outdated ideas
If your July 2 report on your conversation with newly hired Economic Development Director Bradly Broadwell is any indication then Orange County is doomed to remain mired in a Carboniferous swamp.
It isn't just that Mr. Broadwell appears to be blissfully ignorant of the compelling arguments for ceasing fossil fuel-dependent "Business as Usual." He's clearly not carefully reading the well-researched and articulated concerns and visions of Orange County residents, and his framing the current debate about Buckhorn as "Populist" vs "Ph.D. Economics" disrespects all the participants.
How does building a retail center at the farthest edge of the county succeed with gas selling for $4 to $5 a gallon? How does promoting "chain store" retail that exports 85 percent of every dollar spent out of the county help us build durable community wealth? How does putting this retail center next door to Efland support Efland's locally owned businesses when historically the outcome of such development has been the demise of the local mom & pop stores?
What most of us populist, non-post grad, long-time residents of Orange County have been emphasizing is the importance of methodically, incrementally creating an ecologically sustainable economy of primarily locally-owned businesses nurturing local talents, offering living wages and benefits to underpin a regionally engaged economy that is resilient in the face of extraordinary emerging challenges.
Everyone wants more retail. But we don't want retail that bleeds us dry. We don't want remote, single-use development like Buckhorn Village that requires expensive fuel to get to. We want retail (and other forms of economic development) to be where people are already concentrated, so they can reach shopping, jobs, and services on foot, bicycle and existing public transit. We want retail that truly sustains our economic, social and environmental health. -- James Carnahan, Carrboro
Reporter Matt Dees' article on Chancellor Thorp (News July 6) included these words: "inorganic photochemistry, whatever that is." The "whatever that is" was an insult to the new chancellor, and, in addition to being poor journalism, it was pure bad manners to disparage Thorp's academic interests.
Anti-science comment had no place in story
The larger problem is that the anti-intellectual and anti-science prejudice evident in "whatever that is" remark works against efforts to raise the level of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the United States. More specifically, such prejudice present in a news article (not on the op-ed page) contributes to building a public opinion that makes it difficult to attract the best and brightest individuals, individuals such as Holden Thorp, to the scientific and technical fields. It is advances in those fields that will keep the United States competitive in the global economy and allow the United States to contribute to efficient management of the earth's natural resources. -- Mary Whitton, Chapel HillEditor's note: No slight intended. Inorganic photochemistry is the study of the light-induced behavior of various metal compounds.
Dems believe in no absolute truths
Ninety percent of Sam Magill's political philosophy is drenched with Republican philosophy (News July 9). But that last 10 percent makes all the difference.
Magill echoes Republican phrases about God-given rights regarding a person's dignity, equality in opportunity, law and justice. Magnificent! Reagan would beam. But he would abandon those rights should they interfere with "the common good." Translation: Individual "rights" are important but not when Democrats identify an offsetting "common good." Consider your Second Amendment right to own a gun in a crime-ridden city.
Next, he says "when voluntary initiatives cannot meet the people's needs, government should endeavor to do so." Right out of the Republican hymnal on government safety nets. But define "needs?" Don't think "Grapes of Wrath" and basic food, shelter and medicine.Democrats define needs as subsidizing $200,000 mortgages, paying for chiropractors and limiting school choice.
He also writes: "government should not interfere unreasonably" with the private sector. Spoken like a true Republican. Yet, EVERY single private sector entity is regulated. What a meaningless philosophy.
How about defense? Magill seems to support a military draft (more conservative than Republicans!). But then he states: "some are paid to put their lives at risk in support of the common defense ... weakens ... the actions and policies of government." That's like supporting teachers, but not paying them. Apparently he'd rather use a soldier's pay for a Woodstock Museum.
Ninety percent of Magill's written philosophy overlaps with Republicans. Yet, the last 10 percent morphs depending on who and how words like "rights," "common good," "reasonable," "fair," "needs" and "equitable" are applied. That is no political philosophy at all. For Magill and Democrats, it's all relative. They believe in no absolute truths. I can agree with 90 percent of Magill's political philosophy as written. But I oppose how Democrats apply "democratic relativism" to the last 10 percent trumping established American principles. -- Brian Lawe, Chapel Hill
My name is Lisa Hooker-Smith and I am a senior at N.C. Central University. I have been nominated to represent NCCU and the community at the Presidential Inaugural Conference in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17-21, 2009.
NCCU student conference bound
The conference brings together exceptional college students from around the country. Attending this program will enable me to develop my leadership skills and reach my career goals. I maintain a 4.0 GPA and am involved in the following activities:
1. Tutoring children in my neighborhood with math.
2. Tutoring GED adults with essay writing and reading.
3. Wash clothes for Hargraves Recreation Center.
4. Visit, observe, and interact in a classroom at Carrboro Elementary School.
5. Teacher for Vacation Bible School for ages 4-5.
I have received support from people who believe in me and know that I have worked hard to achieve such an honor. At first, I thought "How am I gong to raise over $3,000 in such a short time?" but it happened. I mowed grass, braided hair, my church (Second Baptist Church) collected money for me and I received contributions from friends and family as well as professors at NCCU, such as Dr. Agnes DeWitt, Dr. Jeanette Beckwith, Dr. P. Masila Mutisya, Robin Gillespie (School of Education) and Dr. James Pearce (English department). Other organizations gave generous donations, such as the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Sunrise Rotary Club, Jones Funeral Home, Mt. Olive Lodge No. 36 (Masons), NCCU Golden Key Chapter and Mitchell Chapel Church (Pittsboro).
I am an elementary education major and my goal is to educate every child, woman, or man who is in need of an education. I will be that caring, generous, kind, and firm teacher that every child needs to have in his or her life. I believe that going to this conference will help me to understand and embrace how important my role as a teacher is to my students as well as to my community. I can and will make a difference. --
Lisa Hooker-Smith, Chapel Hill
If we put aside the trivialities now deluging the media, we can see clearly how fortunate this nation is to have a presidential candidate as promising as Barack Obama. His coolness under fire and his refusal to pander to the electorate both bode well for his performance as president.
Obama's cool bodes well for presidency
Perhaps most important, his idealistic eloquence, stirring the hearts of young voters, is something we have not heard in a long time. For too long the young have been disillusioned by our politics and yearn for a renewal of American leadership at home and abroad.
Racism will haunt his campaign. But there are many hopeful signs that we are ready to put it behind us, and that we are on the verge of a new era, economically and politically, becoming once again a nation by and for the people. -- Elias Schwartz, Chapel Hill
I wish to add comments to the article concerning the Carrboro Branch Library and reduction of hours (News July 9).
Hillsborough has great library need
I agree with Heidi Perry that the Carrboro library is not well marked and many do not know about it. But I am thrilled to hear that the Hillsborough library is being recognized and that its hours were not drastically cut.
I am Head Start teacher in Orange County. The families who reside in Hillsborough are in great need of an active library to provide opportunities for them to continue literacy development with their children. I am more than willing to give some of the Carrboro library hours up if it is to meet the needs of the town of Hillsborough and the surrounding rural areas.
We are very fortunate here in Carrboro to have the opportunity to visit three libraries as well as the numerous activities provided for children in our area. We are also fortunate to have a free bus system to take families to the libraries. With the high gas prices and no free bus service, the residents of the Hillsborough area need a library that has longer hours and is close to their homes.
It is very sad to see a wonderful resource such as the public library system cut in funding but again I am not saddened to see that the Hillsborough library was respected in the decision and given a smaller cut of hours. The mayor may ask why, but I do not think the decision was meant to be negative against Carrboro. -- Pam Zornick, Carrboro
June was an entertaining and enlightening month. Many things gave me pause to wonder.
June's news gives one reader pause
Over 4,000 U.S. military deaths in the Mideast. Three fourths of these since victory was declared.
In Chapel Hill, the Town Council voted itself a pay raise in the disguise of health benefits and further enhanced members' bottom line by voting to make elections publicly funded.
Kevin Foy and Laurin Easthom weighed in on health without really saying much. Thumbs up for rescinding this one, thumbs down for even thinking it up.
The one political bright spot was Matt Czajkowski's lone "no" vote against providing extended health services. It's not like he wouldn't have been eligible to participate. Smooth move Matt.
A blank check resolution still remains in effect for public financing of local elections. Most of my friends think it's a good idea but I do have some doubts. However, requiring the public to pay for Mayor Foy's experiment without have the public's permission to do so crossed the line. Put it on the ballot.
Gas prices. Boy, if I got rid of my paid for SUV and purchased a newer less gas consuming vehicle, I could save at least $10 a week in gas. What a deal!
OWASA raises rates 17 percent, down from 24 percent. Blames us for conserving and OWASA's speculative practices that uses anticipated water hook-ups in figuring its income. How does one lose income that they never had?
Thank you Dr. Samuel Katz, for being who you are.
Mary Easley received an 88 percent increase in salary because, well, she's the governor's wife. I'm pretty sure that those senior staff persons doing the actual work didn't get an 88 percent increase.
School lunch prices going up, still a reasonable deal.
Marla, please, save it for the pulpit. -- Greg McDonald, Chapel Hill
Instead of wanting to build a high-density moneymaking modern mixed-use property, Grubb properties should invest in renovating Glen Lennox as it is.
Grubb should invest in Glen Lennox as is
It is the most unique rental property in town, and it should be treasured. If people want to live in spacious modern cookie-cutter style apartments with a pool and clubhouse, there are plenty of apartments in the area for them.
For those who want a one-level, affordable, safe, small, easy to heat/cool cottage with their own yard, plenty of trees, and the feel of a home, Glen Lennox is perfect!
Glen Lennox will "continue to decline" (Clay Grubb, News July 6) only if Mr. Grubb allows it to.
Rebuild Glen Lennox exactly the way it is - with the same small cottages and green space (no loss of trees) except make the units all energy efficient and install proper drainage. Make Glen Lennox a totally green community. No high rise buildings, no retail and hotel, no noise and car pollution.
If you want to boost the town's commercial tax base, concentrate on keeping the businesses on Franklin Street in operation. Don't build more retail space to detract from downtown.
Grubb Properties should revitalize Chapel Hill with "Glen Lennox Cottages - Chapel Hill's Premier Green Community." Now that would be a "smart" redevelopment plan. -- Diane Freemont, Chapel Hill
We, the family of Clifton "Steve Wonder" Steed, acknowledge with love and gratitude, the many acts of kindness displayed during the loss of our loved one. -- Elizabeth Massey, Rashii Purefoy, Chapel Hill
Family appreciates kindness of others
Last week our nation's flag flew at half staff over the old post office on Franklin Street to honor the passing of Sen. Helms, who by all accounts was a most gracious and courtly gentleman, and a public servant of many years standing. He was also an unabashed opponent of desegregation and a champion of prejudice and racism.
Not lowering flag took act of integrity
Those of us with long memories will remember the convulsions that Chapel Hill went through as the town sought an open accommodations law and shook off the last manacles of the Jim Crowe era. Some of us will even remember the culminating event of the demonstrations, an extended sit and fast at the old post office. I do -- I was there as a boy, at the end of the protest. So was my mother Mildred Ringwalt, whose name will be enshrined this fall on a plaque that will honor her and others at the newly named "Peace and Justice Plaza," directly under the flag pole.
Last week a man of tremendous integrity, L. F. Eason III, declined to order that the flag at his State lab be lowered to half staff and chose to retire than face disciplinary action. I lacked even the courage to haul the flag in front of the post office up to its accustomed position, which would have been an offense so trivial as to lack any meaningful consequence. Shame on me.
God bless you for the stand you took, Mr. Eason, and may I remember to lower the flag at the Peace and Justice Plaza when your time comes. -- Chris Ringwalt, Chapel Hill
Is public financing of local elections progressive and future thinking; or, is it an involuntary contribution by Chapel Hill taxpayers who otherwise might not even support a particular candidate?
Public financing an involuntary donation
Recently, the Town Council and mayor voted 8-1 to approve this involuntary contribution, stating it would increase the potential field of candidates and "level" the playing field. At the same meeting, they discounted districting and term limits as
a possible option to achieve the same results; this option would have been at no cost to the taxpayer. Clearly, this approach is not progressive or future thinking. Instead, it is a local government program that mandates that taxpayers, support a candidate that might have an ideology and political position contrary to their own.
With this recent vote, Town Council and mayor candidates will have the option to participate in public financing; if a candidate accepts the program, then you, as a taxpayer of Chapel Hill have no choice but to contribute to this candidate's campaign, regardless of whether you agree with this candidate's position or not. So how did this all happen?
The General Assembly of North Carolina authorized the Town Council to vote on this program. The truth is that the General Assembly would not have agreed to authorize this program if years ago, some members of this same Town Council had not petitioned for its authorization. It would not have made sense for the same local politicians, who previously petitioned the General Assemble to approve this authorization, to then vote against it or require a public vote in November. -- Doug Schworer, Chapel Hill
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