Maps did follow principles
One important point was lost apparently by all in the June 24 Town Council presentation: The consultants’ maps are for further deliberations and are without any preferential order or hierarchy. They provide exactly what the speakers were arguing for, and then a group of them presented another map, which certainly will also become part of the discussion.
At the noon preparatory presentation by the Central West Steering Committee co-chairs, it was also noted that the consultants talked with area landowners before preparing each of their varied maps. Regarding the allegation by a few that the maps were presented before the goal principles were developed and adopted: the principles are virtually identical to the Chapel Hill 2020 goals/principles worked out in many public meetings for more than a year.
Town residents and officials must always remember that people in opposition are almost 100 percent of those who show up at council meetings. Those who are not opposed to change recognize inevitable growth already in place, future growth coming, and the need to expand Chapel Hill’s tax base to meet the principle of more affordable housing as well as support for Town services.
Fortunately, we now have town staff and officials who have mostly evolved to understand the economics of running a municipality.
Thank goodness for fire fighters
Each time I hear a siren, I pause and reflect with gratitude for these selfless women and men, many of whom volunteer their time and talents. I also pause to send well wishes to whomever they are rushing to help. I also get to thinking how courageous these people are. I’d never set foot in a burning building for a stranger. I wouldn’t wade through raging floodwaters to save people who were unable or unwilling to evacuate before a hurricane. I can’t even handle gore and sadness in movies. Imagine the horrific things these brave people have likely witnessed firsthand.
If, by chance, I’m awakened by those blaring sirens, I roll over and drift back to sleep, counting my blessings that my interrupted sleep is nothing in comparison to the situation the fire fighters are responding to. I spent nearly three years of my life living within two blocks of a fire station. While it often woke me up, I never thought to complain. Fire fighters everywhere deserve nothing but our deepest respect and admiration for their selflessness and altruism.
If your home was in flames, would you still regret the fire department being built only a stone’s throw away?
Baffled and dismayed
Editor’s note: Rep. David Price released this statement Tuesday after the Supreme Court struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act that outlines the formula governing which states and jurisdictions must seek federal pre-clearance before changing voting laws, requirements and election processes.
I am baffled and dismayed that the Supreme Court has decided, by the narrowest possible margin, to put the Voting Rights Act in a deep freeze because of so-called ‘outdated standards’—standards that have, by the Court’s own admission, been historically effective in protecting the right to vote. As Justice Ginsburg wrote in her dissent, this is ‘like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.’
This deeply disappointing decision is a major step backwards for American democracy, putting at risk the voting rights of people who live in areas with a long history of racial discrimination in elections, and it flies in the face of the of our nation’s long, bloody struggle for voting rights for historically disenfranchised citizens. The decision comes at a particularly inopportune time, when efforts are actively underway in North Carolina and other southern states to erect numerous barriers to the right to vote.
The ruling also flies in the face of the clear intent of Congress, which voted to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006 by a broad bipartisan margin after months of careful consideration. I call on Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to work with Congressional Democrats on legislation to reauthorize Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act immediately.
U.S. Rep David Price
Farm bill vote was a shame
The farm bill was defeated in the House on June 20, further highlighting the ineffective partisan divide in today’s government, with a final vote of 234 to 195. This failure means the desperate overhaul that was needed of the country’s food and farm programs will not happen. The original bipartisan bill sought to eliminate some existing subsidies and redirect that money to crop insurance programs and livestock insurance that helps provide coverage for farmers in natural disasters. Crop insurance should be available equally to organic and sustainable farmers as to large agribusiness that is getting all the support currently. Taxpayer subsidies should be tied to how sustainable the farm practices are.
Ultimately, though, it was debates over the food-stamp program that led to the bill’s demise, targeting the people in this country that need help the most. Food is a universal need, and the fact that our representatives can’t come to an agreement on ways to support farmers and consumers are mind blowing. The farm bill is hurting farmers, plain and simple. The bill offered an opportunity to establish a more secure safety net for the economy, food, people, and the environment, but the chance was missed.
UNC Class of 2014