Chatham


A last minute request of support for Orange County’s agricultural community. The PFAP program is working “to create a strong base to help launch and grow new food-businesses in the Piedmont, focusing on a 75 mile radius in all directions.” Orange County is home to a wide variety of farms producing specialty items for the local market.

Strengthening our local choice is critical to our community’s long term success. Please take a moment to review the program, their grant with an eye towards lending your support.

Letters of support needed by noon tomorrow! The Piedmont Food and Ag Processing Center is collaborating with Piedmont Grown on a USDA/NCDA specialty crops grant . We could use a few more letters of support. The goal of the project is to increase knowledge and consumption of specialty crops by children and adults.

The project has four deliverables:

1) Monthly educational programs at PFAP,

2) Monthly outreach events across the 37-counties served by Piedmont Grown,

3) a public awareness campaign using mass media, and

4) a children’s activity and coloring book featuring easy to prepare recipes that use specialty crops.

Kindly send them to nranells@co.orange.nc.us by 2 pm on Friday May 20th to ensure they are included in the grant packet.

I’ve had several folks ask me about my suggested and rejected changes to the recent Democratic Party resolution supporting the 1/4 cent sales tax increase (Orange County Dems: Thanks for the Consideration…).

This is a terrible year to raise any tax yet the Orange County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) decided 4/5/2011 (VIDEO [my comments at 48 minutes and 103 minutes]) to hold another referendum, at a cost of $105K to $125K ($85K election +$20-40K “education”), trying to succeed where they failed just 6 months ago.

I and others appeared before the BOCC arguing that 1) scheduling the vote this year amounted to “vote shopping” and didn’t serve their professed commitment to “small-d” democracy:

“I do understand that there’s a need for the revenues sooner rather than later,” said Chapel Hill resident Will Raymond. “The turnout is not representative of what the impact is for this tax. You’re looking at dis[en]franchising the rural voters. In terms of integrity of the process and confidence in the process, it feels a little bit like you’re doc[k ]shopping, you’re vote shopping. The reality is that the referendum did very well down in the municipal areas.”

Not only did the referendum pass overwhelmingly in the cities last time, but turnout in the rural districts will likely be low, Raymond said. And, according to Orange County Board of Elections Director Tracy Reams, off-year general elections typically boast a lower turnout than presidential primaries—something to the tune of 25 percent compared to 40 percent, respectively.

“Doing it in November just doesn’t feel very democratic,” said James Barrett, Chapel Hill resident and member of Orange County Justice United, adding he supports the increase. “I think, as we see changes around the world, it’s important to make sure that everyone’s engaged in voting. We have a much greater opportunity to do that in May than we do in November.”

News of Orange, April 19, 2011

“Putting this on the municipal elections is a bad idea … the reality is [that] this did very well in municipal areas,” said Will Raymond, a Chapel Hill resident. “You’re vote shopping.”

N&O, 4/6/2011

and

2) that the County would be better served by altering the proposed allocation from 50% economic development/50% to education to 33% economic development/66% human services:

Will Raymond said that two-thirds of the tax should go for human services, where the real need is since Orange County is creeping toward an 18 percent poverty rate and the county has cut back on some of the services it provides to citizens who need the most help.

“The only way I’m going to support this is if I see a significant portion going to the human services deficit,” Raymond said.

Burlington Time News, April 19, 2011

By the way, that was doc, as in doctor, shopping and not “dock shopping” as reported.

If the County used 2/3rds of the anticipated revenue, $1.6+ million, for human services the impact on existing programs would be significant. Further, the County would finally have funding to address the emergency housing problem they long offloaded to the Interfaith Council (IFC).

Allocating $1.2+ million to bolster the multi-million dollar school budgets ,though, will not go as far. When you review last year’s proposed educational expenditures the contrast between priorities is stark – repaving running tracks versus bolstering our burdened community health service.

As of tonight (Tues. 4/19/2011), not only will the sales tax appear on the ballot (with a non-binding commitment to the proposed 50/50 split) but the BOCC has floated the idea of adding an additional 1/2 cent sales tax bump to fund regional transit initiatives (including light rail).

That’s an 3/4 cent increase from the current 7.75% to 8.50%.

That could drop to 8.25% if the requested extension of a “temporary” State sales tax hike, currently 1 cent, passes the Republican controlled legislature at Gov. Perdue’s suggest 3/4 cent rate . If that extension fails and both referendums succeed, the new Orange County rate would be lower than today – 7.5% – a possibility the BOCC might leverage to sell the bump to voters.

Last year the BOCC responded positively to a critique of the vagueness of their proposed economic development spending priorities by providing specific projects with fairly well established cost structures. One example – extending sewer and water service into 2 of the economic development zones. I expect them to develop a similar list of very targeted expenditures to fix creaking critical physical infrastructure at the schools.

That said, I don’t plan to support the tax because it further burdens folks during a worsening economic downturn, because scheduling it during an off-year election appears to be “gaming” the electoral process and because the allocation doesn’t address escalating demand for critical core services.

Of course, I remain open to the possibility that my mind could be changed by the BOCC’s new advocacy program.

Below is my revised resolution merged with the original:

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X-Posted from Will Raymond for Town Council 2007:

The local Orange-Chatham Sierra Club participates in the local election process two ways: endorsing candidates and sponsoring a forum.

Last Sunday, Chairman Bernadette Pelissier, Political Chair Loren Hintz and member Matthew Scheer interviewed me on behalf of the Sierra Club to determine if I qualified for an endorsement.

Questions spanned local zoning policy, a discussion of good and bad infill, personal commitment to environmental protection and Carolina North.

Folks that read CitizenWill already have a good idea about where I stand on many of these issues.

Surprisingly some issues, like local waste management, the trash transfer station and Rogers Road community’s complaints, our storm water utility policy or in-town open space preservation didn’t make the list. Of course, you can only fit so much into a 45 minute interview.

I appreciate these members taking the time to review my thoughts on Carolina North, zoning policy, pragmatic carbon reduction strategies, transit, etc. (I tried to cram way too much into my answers and digressions).

The Chapel Hill forum takes place next Tuesday, September 25th, 7-9pm at the Chapel Hill Town Hall. The event will be broadcast on our local public access channel.

In 2005 I did secure the local club’s enthusiastic endorsement. Here’s what they said two years ago:

Will Raymond has been one of the most outspoken and effective citizen activists in Chapel Hill in recent years. We look forward to him using his talents to advocate for the environment as a member of Town Council. In particular we are excited about his initiatives to promote energy efficiency in town buildings. He will also work to protect lesser known creeks in the Chapel Hill area and to minimize the number of single occupancy vehicles causing air pollution and traffic congestion at Carolina North.

We strongly encourage Sierra Club members and any residents of Chapel Hill who care about the environment to support these four candidates in the November 8th election. They are the best hope for a Town Council that will always make reducing environmental impact a top priority as Chapel Hill grows bigger.

We’ll know by mid-October if the work I’ve done since – on Carolina North, as a member of the Horace-William’s Citizen Committee sub-committee on environment, tracking and publicizing the landfill/transfer site problems on Rogers Road – will secure an endorsement in 2007.

Another back and forth between Orange County Democrats over the Iraq debacle, local Representative Price’s efforts to scale it back and the party’s local leadership communicating that effectively (OrangePolitics Art on Weaver and Nudge Price, No More War Funding).

On the cusp of Bush’s Iraq “surge” the moment has come for the Democratic Party, and our local Representative David Price (contact), to make a stand.

This far and no farther, if for no other reason than the selfish desire to preserve what shred of credibility remains with their party’s leadership.

As I noted, Iraq 2007 has been quite bloody for civilians as exemplified by these individual incidents:

  • 01/16/07 100 killed, 245 wounded
  • 01/22/07 75 killed, 160 wounded
  • 01/30/07 38 killed, 100 wounded
  • 02/01/07 60 killed, 150 wounded
  • 02/03/07 120 killed, 340 wounded
  • 02/12/07 90 killed, 190 wounded
  • 02/18/07 60 killed
  • 03/06/07 120 killed, 200 wounded

The coalition casualties continue to mount.

In Iraq:

There have been 3,451 coalition deaths — 3,193 Americans, two Australians, 134 Britons, 13 Bulgarians, six Danes, two Dutch, two Estonians, one Fijian, one Hungarian, 32 Italians, one Kazakh, three Latvian, 19 Poles, two Romanians, five Salvadoran, four Slovaks, 11 Spaniards, two Thai and 18 Ukrainians — in the war in Iraq as of March 12, 2007, according to a CNN count.

CNN

In Afghanistan:

There have been 536 coalition deaths — 367 Americans, one Australian, 52 Britons, 45 Canadians, three Danes, three Dutch, nine French, 18 Germans, nine Italians, one Norwegian, one Portuguese, four Romanians, one South Korean, 20 Spaniards, two Swedes — in the war on terror as of March 12, 2007, according to a CNN count. Below are the names of the soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors whose deaths have been reported by their country’s governments. The troops died in support of the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom or were part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

CNN

Compromised beyond reason, the vastly weakened Democrat-sponsored legislation creeps through Congress.

Pelosi also fielded criticism from lawmakers for removing language from the bill barring military action against Iran without congressional approval. She said the issue would be addressed in future legislation.

“We’re having folks expressing every doubt, every reservation, every aspiration they have for this bill,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., another supporter.

In a bid to broaden its appeal, leaders stripped the Iran requirement and omitted language favored by several liberal members that would have specifically prohibited funding of military operations after fall 2008.

While the liberals said this threat would help enforce the deadline, Democratic leaders viewed the politically charged language as unnecessary.

The measure provides nearly $100 billion for two wars, including more money than Bush had requested for operations in Afghanistan, and to address what Democrats called training and equipment shortages. House Republicans say they will work to sink the measure, and the White House threatens a veto.

USA Today

No withdrawal by 2008. No restrictions on an Iranian adventure. $100 billion for “readiness training and equipment” on top of the $540+ billion already ear-marked for 2007/2008 (this with the US already accounting for 48% of 2006′s total military spending).

Price should say “No deal”.

Though I’ve quoted many relevant comments from OrangePolitics, a watering-hole for local pols, the “other” local forum, SqueezeThePulp has been popping with online commentary for months.

Here’s one of the more active threads Proposed Orange County Landfill Transfer Station Survey which led off with this David Richter open letter to the Orange County Board of Commissioners (BOCC) and elective councils of Carrboro and Chapel Hill:

An open e-mail and appeal to each of elected leaders of Orange County, Chapel Hill and Carrboro:

Proposed: Eubanks Road and the surrounding areas should be removed as a proposed site for the Orange County Landfill Transfer Station from further consideration for now and for the foreseeable future.

Dear Elected Leaders:

I am asking each of you to take an immediate public and personal position on the above proposal. There was a column in the Chapel Hill Herald on Tuesday, 2/13/07 and the Chapel Hill News, 2/14/07 that talked to all the reasons why Eubanks Road should not be the site of the new Landfill Transfer Station. However, the simple fact is that the Rogers Road community was made a promise in 1972 on placement of the Orange County landfill on Eubanks Road. When the landfill was filled to capacity, the Rogers Road community would no longer be subject to Orange County waste facilities and activities. We should not quibble on technicalities or wording. That was the spirit of the promise.

We can talk about how that promise was already broken, but that would not be useful or productive. If the transfer station is located on or near Eubanks Road, it will clearly be a break of the promise and an act of intentional or unintentional “Environmental Racism”. This promise and the decades of contribution by the Rogers Road Community override all the other considerations of cost and expediency. As our current elected leaders, you are responsible to fulfill that original 1972 promise assuring the integrity of our local governments, adhering to the values of our community and just plain doing the right thing.

I am asking each of you to respond to me by March 1^st . The response should be a Yes or No to the above proposal. I will compile all the responses and report it to the local papers. I will also feedback all the responses to those who did respond. Besides each of your names, I will place one of the following entries with no caveats:

- Yes (for the proposal)
- No (against the proposal)
- No position
- No response

I appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to your responses and a positive result. Thanks.

David Richter

Commissioner Moses Carey responded to David

Mr. Richter;

I am certain that you have followed the process the County is using to make this important decision about the location of the Transfer Station. Our efforts to communicate with the area residents and consider all available sites have been reported in local papers. Additionally the issue of a “Promise ” has been discussed in this community for many years. While you may not be familiar with those past discussions, you may consult the archives of the news papers to become updated on those discussions.

The BOCC has a process to make a decision on the Transfer Station site and I trust we will adhere to it. That process includes listening to area residents and weighing all available information before making a decision. The views of the Towns on the currently considered sites is the next bit of information we will receive for discussion at our march 1st work session during which the public may listen, but not speak. You may wish to attend to be further informed.

However, it would be premature and unethical in my opinion for any elected official to respond to you as you have requested prior to considering all information which must be considered to make an informed decision on this matter.

I look forward to seeing you at our meeting.

and David responded to Moses

Commissioner Carey:

Thank you for responding to my e-mail. I do appreciate your time and consideration. However, I am baffled by your response and disagree with your rationale.

1) I do agree that we have an ethical problem but disagree where the ethical problem lies. Regardless of whether people agree on the reality or the interpretation of the “promise”, it is an undeniable fact the Roger’s Road community has lived with the Orange County Landfill for over three decades in their back yard and all the resulting negative impacts to their quality of life. After three plus decades the fact that Orange County Board of Commissioners is even considering the same area as the site of the Transfer Station is of itself unethical. It is time to look else where to solve Orange County’s waste problems.

2) I do not understand what process you were referencing in your response. I was unable to retrieve any process with a search. If there is a documented process please point me to it. However, in the last posted minutes of the Solid Waste Advisory Board meeting of 11/2/06 it seems there is no current alternative Orange County site list or search of a site in progress. In fact it is my understanding there is no official criteria for a Transfer Station site in place. The minutes clearly promote the Eubanks Road site for the Transfer Station as the path of least resistance. As far as I can tell, Eubanks Road is the “ONLY” site within Orange County under consideration. Please tell me if I am wrong and if so I apologize and where can I find the list? It is also important to note that any “process” leading to an unethical result is far from appropriate.

For our elected leaders to stand up at this time and be counted is not unethical; it is the right thing for them to do. I urge them to be counted, if not through an e-mail to me (I am just a single citizen speaking for myself) then through other venues. I also urge the Orange County Board of Commissioners to take the ethical path and instruct the Solid Waste Advisory board to take Eubanks Road off the table and find another site for the Transfer Station regardless of the convenience factor. After all, the Rogers Road Community has been living with the “inconvenience” for a long time.

David Richter
Carrboro

Yes, SqueezeThePulp snide, nasty and tough at times with a few dust ups that drown the signal out with noise (like the crappy tit-for-tat that Fred Black and Mark Gill had in the middle of this transfer station discussion) but it does serve a locally online community that Ruby’s OrangePolitics doesn’t.

And that online community, on the Rogers Road issue, led the way.

This time last year I was catching 14 winks in preparation for election day.

Earlier in the evening I had made the rounds collecting my outlying signs for redeployment. About 3 hours from now, I was leaping out of bed to fill some balloons, say a hasty goodbye to the family and rush to pick up local activist Tom Jensen ( thanks again Tom for kindly assisting with the last round of sign deployments at every municipal polling station).

It was the start of one of the longest days in my life. Exhilerating, enjoyable, extraordinary, engaging – the hospitality and good cheer of the citizens of Chapel Hill made the long hours fly by.

The beautiful fall weather was an incredible bonus.
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Maintaining election signs feels like an art form.

During the 2005 election season, I plotted various energy saving routes to “care and feed” for my signs as I drove around town on regular errands. Two birds with one stone, so to speak.

I didn’t just fix my own signs. Heck, at one point I’d repaired or reset more of Ed Harrison’s signs than mine and every other candidates combined! Why? While to some the signs are just so much roadside rubbish, to me they represent not only a major campaign investment ($2-$8 per sign) but a valuable, if limited, form of communication.

Folks gained name recognition from my catchy slogan, read various intended and unintended meanings into my “daisy” design and followed my website URL ( now campaign.willraymond.org ) to find out more about my positions (and to get a real-time report on my finances).


Election 2005

Every candidate, as long as they follow the generally reasonable rules of signage, deserves the courtesy of publishing that limited message without interference. Sure, the “message” is sometimes lost due to poor implementation – like Ed’s short-staked slanted signs that easily tilted and wilted and fell under the merest of pressure – but, unfortunately, the weather doesn’t account for all sign damage.

While focusing on sites with Judge Baddour’s and Anderson’s signs, I’ve continued to repair all candidates’ signs – whether I support them – like Ellie Kinnaird – or don’t – like Steve Acuff. Baddour’s signs, some up for the whole duration, have weathered well. To date, my worst problem has been keeping ones up both on the corner of Estes/MLK and at the end of Mt. Bolus Rd. Those signs, unlike others I find in the woods or ditches, vanish. Anderson’s have done fairly well, though the cardboard they’re made of seems to get awful droopy in the wet.

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I’m quite interested in the fortunes of our southern neighbors in Chatham County.

As reported in today’s N&O, local Chatham activist Mark Barroso has put together a great little youTube video on the outgoing Commissioner’s ill-deeds.

By the way, the Chatham redistricting proposal, which everyone should vote NO on, serves well as an example of the divisive nature of districting. Orange County residents should vote NO on our referendum to preclude such inanity.

Via Dan Coleman on OrangePolitics.