Your letters, July 9

July 8, 2014 

  • Letters deadline

    We must receive endorsement letters by 5 p.m. Wednesday to consider them for Sunday publication. Send up to 300 words to editor@newsobserver.com. Thank you.

Blackwood for sheriff

I live alone in a rather secluded part of Orange County. For the past 32 years the excellent response and assistance of the Sheriff's Office has helped me feel and safe and secure.

The winner of the July15 run-off primary will be our next sheriff, and he needs to be someone who can make a smooth transition without disruption to service.

Charles Blackwood has the experience, preparation and energy to be a great sheriff. As major of operations he successfully supervised all divisions of the department . He completed a management program at NCSU and has the skills necessary to manage a large department with a significant budget.

If elected Charles Blackwood would hit the ground running. He can bring new ideas and old values to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Lois Herring

Chapel Hill

Caldwell for sheriff

On Tuesday, we have the opportunity to choose a new sheriff who will ensure our public safety with competence, fairness, and a heart for service. That candidate is David Caldwell Jr.

David is a lifelong resident of Orange County, from a family deeply devoted to law enforcement. His father served as a police officer for Chapel Hill for 16 years. David followed in his father's footsteps, serving as a member of the U.S. Army's military police for six years, followed by a 23-year career in the Orange County Sheriff's Office where he retired as a lieutenant in 2008.

Since retiring he has completely devoted himself to the betterment of our community working with the Rogers-Eubanks Neighborhood Association to close the landfill, run after-school programs and summer camps, help organize the Back-to-School Bash that each year provides hundreds of backpacks and school supplies to neighborhood children (African-American, Latino and Karen), and Unity in the Community Day that brings housing, health, and faith-based organizations together with free screenings, demonstrations and information for the community.

I have worked with David to better the health of the communities around the state. In a competitive process he was chosen as one of 15 community experts to help train faculty and community groups in methods for successful community-academic collaborations. We served on the Health Department's Healthy Carolinians Coalition that conducted our county’s 2011 community health assessment with surveys, focus groups and community listening sessions, and made recommendations for public health priorities.

In addition to having long-term experience and demonstrated competence in law enforcement, I know David to be highly responsible, energetic, and tireless in his devotion to bettering life for all the people of our county. He has vision of a sheriff's department that serves the community through education, improved communication and attention to equity in hiring and in law enforcement.

Early voting at the Board of Elections office in Hillsborough will take place through Saturday. The run-off election will be Tuesday. Please consider casting your ballot for David Caldwell.

Wanda Hunter

Chapel Hill

Caldwell ‘just the man’

e are blessed in this county to have two good candidates still running for sheriff. I have no doubt either could ably continue the good work of Sheriff Pendergrass. However, there are differences between them.

I have known David Caldwell for many years through his incredibly powerful community organizing work with the Rogers Road neighborhood. In addition to his work experience and technical credentials for the job, he has a different skill set and outlook on community that will serve as an asset in law enforcement across our county. I look forward to seeing what this change in perspective for social justice and building communities can accomplish when the sheriff is clearly supporting our entire community in many regards.

Mr. Caldwell is just the man we need to support our vision of justice for all residents of Orange County. Please join me in voting for David Caldwell on Tuesday.

James Barrett

Chapel Hill

Blackwood ‘the best choice’

In this second primary, one candidate stands out as the best choice to serve as the next sheriff of Orange County: Maj. Charles Blackwood.

Voters need only look at how Charles has run his campaign to know the kind of sheriff and leader he would be for all of us. He has shown that he is extremely knowledgeable about law enforcement matters and that he can communicate well with all groups of people. He has shown that he will work tirelessly and will not give up when faced with a challenge. He has shown that he is very well organized and thoughtful when achieving his goals. He has shown that he approaches tasks efficiently and effectively until completion. He has shown that he is inclusive and welcoming in working with others.

Charles has 32 years of invaluable experience fulfilling various roles and responsibilities in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. He knows what it takes to manage a team of law enforcement professionals. He is committed to continuing positive interactions with young people across the county and service to our senior citizens. He understands the diversity of communities within the county whether municipal or rural and understands the need for close collaborative efforts with all agencies serving those communities.

We feel that Charles has everything it takes to be an excellent sheriff and hope that you will join us in voting for him on Tuesday.

Stephen and Susan Halkiotis

Hillsborough

Where was the data?

The Town Council’s vote to move into Phase 3 (negotiations) for Obey Creek despite economic, traffic, and environmental information calls into question the integrity of the Obey Creek Development Agreement process and council’s commitment to public participation. 

It is unclear as to why town staff has been unable to produce the council-requested documentation, but as citizens pointed out, the absence prevented fruitful discussions during all Phase 2 public input sessions. 

What does it say about the process, when instead of postponing the vote, council member George Cianciolo reasoned that moving forward would “psychologically motivate” the town staff to provide data? Does council member Jim Ward’s amended resolution, which allows the town manager and town attorney to begin negotiating once council has received and reviewed information, suggest that negotiations and draft language for agreements will be based on the developer’s current plan? 

Interestingly, council members noted that the current schedule did not adequately provide for their own discussion even as they voted to proceed. But what about public input? It was assumed that data, and hence public input, would be given in Phase 2. With traffic the primary concern, an additional and substantive traffic information meeting would be a good start. A public hearing to allow constituents to discuss the belatedly provided information would be another.

I encourage the Town Council to reaffirm their commitment to make sure those meetings happen. 

Michelle Ossmann

Southern Village

An easy place to love

As summer eases into Orange County, action at the Visitors Center really heats up.

Parents are here with their children checking out the university, friends and family visit, and a whole new crop of neighbors is moving in. We’re putting together our 2015 tourism guides now, and just as we did last year and the year before, we surprise ourselves by how much more room we need to make for listing special events.

Forty annual festivals and events call Orange County home – 40: that’s a lot of festivity for what used to be no more than a little college town. Consider a few of them: Music Fest, N.C. Comedy Arts Festival, Revolutionary War Living History Day in Hillsborough, a Science Expo, Tar Heel 10 Miler, Carrboro Film Festival, Festifall, Fridays on the Front Porch, Garden Tours, Annual Farm tours, TerraVITA and Farm to Fork – and the list goes on and on.

We’re not even counting our beloved Tar Heels athletic events, from basketball to football to baseball, lacrosse, soccer and more.

There’s an economic equation to these events as well. Overnight guests generate $285 per day, and day visitors $78 per day. Using the recent Tar Heel 10 Miler as an example, the Total Economic Impact was $968,276. Total Runners? 6,203.

In 2012, tourists left behind $11 million in tax receipts alone. So special events are special in a number of ways. Yes, they bring in some very important dollars that help us maintain our quality of life. But look not at just how much we celebrate, but at what we celebrate: music, art, film, poetry, birdhouses, hogs, flowers, food and fun. This is how the world sees us because this is how we see ourselves. We’re an ecosystem of wonder. Orange County is such an easy place to love.

Laurie Paolicelli

Director

Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.

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