If driving while talking on the cell phone is dangerous (it is), then it is hypocritical to enact a ban that allows it during emergencies or with family members (CHN, Feb. 22). Allowing such calls legitimizes that it is NOT dangerous to drive while celling.
If there is an emergency the caller will be doubly distracted and distraught and should pull over for an accurate call to 911. If driving while calling is dangerous why risk two emergencies?
And how is talking to a family member any different than talking to anybody else? "Hi Honey, Should I pick up a loaf of br....SMASH!"
I'm in favor of a ban, but I am against an ordinance that is inherently hypocritical and legitimizes the behavior it seeks to forbid.Wayne PeinChapel Hill Don't penalize home builders
I found disturbing your article on the Town Council's recent action allowing affordable housing units in the Community Home Trust (CHT) inventory to be sold to individuals that neither live nor work in Chapel Hill (CHN, Feb. 22).
As a builder of multi-family housing in Chapel Hill, I am keenly aware of the substantial losses incurred by builders like me in the provision of the affordable housing units mandated by the Land Use Management Ordinance. This financial penalty imposed on builders is based on the premise that there is an unmet demand for affordable units in the town. The inability of the CHT to sell this or other units belies that fact.
It is unfair and unreasonable to require a developer to provide units at a loss where no demand exists. I submit that a more equitable process would be to offer the developer an option to repurchase the unit at the original discounted purchase price if it does not sell within 90 days, after which he should be allowed to resell it at market rates. Should he not exercise that option, the unit should be removed from the CHT inventory and sold at market rates.
This process would be fair to the developer, provide the liquidity that Robert Dowling of the CHT says is necessary, and generate substantially greater income than a sale at affordable housing prices to a non-resident.On a separate issue, LUMO Section 3.10, which outlines the Purpose Statement for the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance, i.e. affordable housing, clearly states that the ordinance is designed "to provide housing for those who live or work in the town." Unless, or until, LUMO is modified, I do not believe that this policy change is lawful. Such a modification would require public hearings at which folks other than the staff and the Town Council would have an opportunity to provide input.
I urge the Town Council to reverse its recent action and submit any proposed changes to affordable housing policies at a public hearing, as mandated by LUMO.Joe PattersonChapel HillAnaerobic addendum
My guest column on anaerobic digestion that appeared on this page Feb. 1 omitted one of the most critically important methods of financing - a power purchase agreement with a utility that provides the electricity. This could possibly make a bond issuance unnecessary.
The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, example in my column depended on a power purchase agreement.
It was described in the 2010 book by Gary C. Young, Ph.D., P.E., entitled, "Municipal Solid Waste To Energy Conversion Processes."Jeff KinganCarrboroWhere is the transparency?
In reference to her recent guest column, "2020: Where is UNC?," Jeanne Brown and her fellow 2020 participants may benefit from reading "What does 'cut' mean to you?" (Guest Column, CHN, June 15, 2011).
After the News and Observer printed a 500-plus word article announcing that UNC had decided to "cut" approximately $1 million in UNC Hospital bonuses, rather than going to the recipients as "bonuses," the same individuals received the amounts as pay raises - a redefinition (continued payout) of the monies in question that was never reported by the N&O so that the public actually understood what UNC and its Hospital intended by use of the words "cut" and "eliminate."
Imagine ... a million dollars in fees collected from unsuspecting patients who thought BlueCross was representing them and that said monies were "cut."
Transparency? Is there a pattern here?
Conflict of interest? Money-laundering?
Keeping in mind that the role of an insurance provider is to police hospital fees so as to ensure that those paying premiums are not overcharged for services rendered, I wish those participating in the 2020 project luck in hoping for transparency from either Brad Wilson and Blue Cross or UNC Hospitals and Dr. William Roper, the latter of whom recently helped the former to $14.2 million in profit by buying 47 acres of prime real estate with what they both know to be ill-gotten gains.John RhodesEflandEnvironment trashed
After attending a recent "Future Focus" workshop as part of the continuing Chapel Hill 2020 process, I find myself in the company of so many who are both disheartened and outraged by a progression of events completely and blatantly slanted toward accommodating certain developers and their big-box projects.
Throughout this whole 2020 process, the pro-development agenda shamelessly marches along as if all the citizen-participants and stakeholders have agreed this is the best path for the town. At the same time, environmental and neighborhood concerns don't make it past the theme groups into the more significant report-outs beyond useless generalities that will have little impact on the new comprehensive plan itself.
Citizens with environmental concerns get white boards full of broad environmental goals; the pro-development juggernaut gets five sites already earmarked as best for development.
It's patently absurd how obvious a farce this process is. It's clearly designed to swiftly trash any environmental protections for the southern area found in the current comprehensive plan in order to expedite getting the bulldozers gassed up and out to Obey Creek as soon as possible. The "just ignore the environmental and neighborhood concerns as if they had never been voiced" strategy is working so well, they barely try to even hide it anymore. I'd laugh at what a joke this process is if not for the fact that it probably means the destruction of the environmentally sensitive area which is Obey Creek, as well as demolishing the quality of life in the small neighborhoods surrounding it.
Considering this, the deliberate agenda being pushed in CH2020 isn't funny; not by a long shot.Joe BuonfiglioChapel Hill Wonderful community
What a wonderful community of businesses we have in Chapel Hill! Last month, Smith Middle School held a raffle at the annual Booster Club "Cyclone Games" competition between teachers and students. The raffle raised over $1,000 for the PTA Thriftshop building campaign!
And 60 lucky winners walked away with amazing prizes from businesses including Cosmic Cantina, Krispy Kreme Donuts, Trader Joes, Ben & Jerrys, Whole Foods, Flyleaf Books, TCBY, The Loop Pizza Grill, Yo-Pop, Franklin Street Pizza and Pasta, The Lumina Theater, Alfredo's Pizza Villa, Margaret's Cantina, Johnny T-Shirt, University Mall Chick-Fil-A, China Wok, Shrunken Head Boutique, Sal's Pizza, Sutton's Drugstore, Chapel Hill Sportswear and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA.
Next time you frequent one of these fine establishments, please thank them for their generosity in supporting our schools! Go Smith Middle School Cyclones!Sherri CarmichaelCharlotte PearceSmith Middle School PTA
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