Even more letters, May 4

May 2, 2014 

Marcoplos has better plan

There are significant differences between the two candidates for Orange County District 2 commissioner.

Incumbent Earl McKee supports the existing model of geographically defined economic development districts in search of anchoring big business. This model is a costly failure, creates moral hazards, is environmentally destructive, and is a non-consensual nuisance to surrounding communities.

In opposition is challenger Mark Marcoplos with his ED model of facilitating grassroots entrepreneurialism. His idea of a county-wide small business database would be a more efficient and less costly model of stimulating economic activity than the existing model. His strategy leverages existing infrastructure, strengthens economic networks within our communities, enables rapid entrepreneurial startups, and keeps more of the commercial activity and thus more tax revenue in the county.

Mark’s ED model is voluntary and market-based. In Mark’s model the county government is neutral and does not pick the winners and losers in certain industries, nor does the government pick which surrounding residential areas will lose when a company within a county designated ED district chooses to exercise vested development rights and build a noxious industrial operation.

Another great benefit about Mark’s small business database proposal is not just the networking of economic bonds between existing businesses, but the creation of entirely new businesses. Many of these future businesses are not yet formed but are local unemployed or underemployed, who if they can see a market opportunity via such a database, might actually start a business themselves and further the goal of encouraging more local businesses and bringing more people out of poverty.

The existing ED model supported by McKee “fast tracks” the ability of companies within ED districts to gain site approval. In the worst case, these companies might not have a nexus here, and thus they could care less what happens to our environment. This basically means that businesses within these ED districts can quickly begin bulldozing designated resource-protection areas right up to adjacent residential areas or critical natural resources such as water supplies without much due process.

Ask yourself, would you rather have taxpayer subsidized destruction of the environment in the hopes of increasing commercial tax revenue or would you rather have truly sustainable economic development that enriches the community? Whatever your political leanings may be, if you want someone who will fight for an entrepreneur-based, morally sound, and environmentally conscious ED plan then Mark Marcoplos deserves your vote.

Matt Gunter

Efland

Caldwell for sheriff

What a friend we have in David Caldwell. This is the man that Orange County needs for sheriff, someone who has worked to improve the community in which he lives, as well as the state of North Carolina.

Mr. Caldwell’s vision for this community is that diversity matters. He sees the world where it take a community to challenge injustice and improve the quality of life. He only looks back to make sure no one is left behind. He is a father, a husband, caregiver, friend and a man of justice who walks with God .

Mr. Caldwell was awarded The Lamplighter Award, an annual state-wide competition that recognizes volunteers for their community service. One of the awards is the John Hope Franklin Humanitarian Award.

He is a graduate of NCCU and Mt. Olive College and was the project director for the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association (RENA), and serves on the board of directors. He is also a part of the Coalition to End Environmental Racism (CEER), and on the board of directors for the North Carolina Environmental Justice Network.

He has worked with community members and academic partners to participate in three community-based participatory research projects with RENA including: Water, Health and Quality of Life in a Community Bordering a Landfill; Odors, Health and Quality of Life in a Community Bordering a Landfill; and Well and Septic Evaluations.

Mr. Caldwell is also a Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR) expert and consultant who contracts with the N.C.Translational and Clinical Services Institute to advise research partnerships on strategies to advance their use of CBPR approaches.

Vote for a man of integrity. This is the way I voted, and I ask that Orange County residents do the same.

The Rev. Robert Campbell

Chapel Hill

Chaney sharp, community-minded

I am writing in support of Bethany Chaney for Carrboro alderman.

I’ve long known Bethany both professionally and personally and believe she is one of the sharpest and most community-minded people in town. Helping lead the Carrboro Planning Board exemplifies both her commitment and her experience. I think all who have worked with her will agree that she truly is an “active listener” who considers multiple perspectives in order to reach informed and fair solutions.

Bethany is also forward thinking and is experienced with the ins and outs of community development. She will bring to the board unique knowledge that will help expand Carrboro’s perspectives as we work to foster community-oriented development that fits our town. More specifically she is committed to securing a Southern Branch Library, upgrading storm water management and helping spur solar projects.

Bethany has the experience, knowledge, work ethic and temperament to help the board address Carrboro’s future needs. These are some of the reasons Bethany has been endorsed by the Independent and the Sierra Club.

I urge my fellow Carrboro citizens to join me in voting for Bethany on Tuesday!

David Beck

Carrboro

Independents’ plight

The fastest-growing group of voters in North Carolina are those who are registering as “unaffiliated.” Such independents – Carolinians who do not affiliate with any party – now comprise over 1.6 million voters in the state. This is part of a national movement underway. As the Gallup Poll reports, 42 percent of all voters in the nation self-describe as independent. Yet, as the upcoming midterm elections make clear, we remain marginalized.

While primaries are publicly funded, closed primaries in 17 states will keep over 13 million voters from fully participating in the first round of the mid-term elections. In North Carolina, along with a handful of other states, we have semi-open primaries, where voters must choose a single party ballot to cast their vote. Such abridged ballots, however, keep the parties in control. And while the Republican Party in our state has been at the forefront of the most recent attacks on voting rights – eliminating Same Day Voter Registration, curtailing early voting, and enacting voter identification laws – the Democrat Party has long been complicit in protecting their own partisan interests by failing to stand up for the inclusion of all voters.

On Tuesday, Primary Day, independent voters in North Carolina will be coming together in solidarity of our sister states where independents are being excluded from the mid-term elections or restricted from exercising our full voting rights. Such states include Ohio and Pennsylvania, where primaries are also taking place in May; in other states, including neighboring South Carolina, the parties are trying to close the primaries. Such attacks are fundamentally undemocratic.

As Cynthia Carpathios, one of Ohio's independent political leaders, recently noted, “This is the independent’s plight: we are first-class taxpayers when it comes to funding the administration of elections, but second-class voters.”

Omar Ali

Greensboro

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