Media


Ellie Reinhold, Chapel Hill artist and founding member of the Hillsborough Gallery of Art has a new show opening today (Fri. 7/30/2010).


Ellie works in various mediums – this show features paintings and one assemblage. Her work draws heavily on both her vibrant inner nature and a deep appreciation of nature. Over the 27 years I’ve known her I’ve seen her challenge herself to dig all the deeper, stretching her craft to capture her vision in new and creative ways. This new show, which she has worked quite hard on – is reflective of that evolutionary drive.

The reception begins at 6pm (directions) and runs to 9pm.

The Hillsborough Arts Council hosts Last Friday throughout the warmer parts of the year. It is one of the best gallery walks in the Triangle.


Happy Birthday to WCHL’s Ron Stutts!

Ron, besides being the bedrock upon which WCHL’s success rests, is an all-around “nice guy” (hope that doesn’t mess with his street cred ;-)).

I met Ron a longtime ago but didn’t really get to know him until I became more active in the local community. Ron seems to know everyone, has an encyclopedic knowledge of our community, is a stalwart supporter of many worthy local causes, has a great mellow vibe and is just an interesting guy to shoot the breeze with.

One of Ron’s many jobs at WCHL is to corral community commentators for WCHL’s 90-second commentary spots.

While I had done a few sporadic commentaries on critical issues like the red-light camera project, saving Chapel Hill’s only hands-on arts program, the Town’s budget, Lot $$$5, etc. over the last decade, I hadn’t thought of myself as up to being a “regular” like Walt Mack, Terri Tyson, Augustus Cho, Wes Hare, Laura Paolicelli or Fred Black (who now appears to have a regular gig subbing for DG Martin on WCHL).

I ran into Ron at a community event shortly after last year’s election and he kindly encouraged me to comment on a more regular basis.I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what he was letting himself in for as I’m fairly sure each of my spots takes some skillful editing to squeeze them into their allotted time.

Ron always pulls off that feat with the best of humor and makes what sounds like an incoherent delivery into a fairly serviceable message.

Thanks Ron for giving me the opportunity to get the message out.

Ron is always looking for new commentators, here’s his contact info if you’re interested.

Here’s a few of my recent commentaries that Ron and fellow production wizards Anthony and Walter somehow whipped into shape (MP3′s):

There’s a new ‘blog in Town!

Local journalists Don Evans and Nancy Oates have started a new ‘blog, Chapel Hill Watch, to serve our local community.

Both Don and Nancy have an extensive institutional memory of local history and a keen eye towards local issues (I, along with many readers of the Chapel Hill News, were sorry to see Don laid-off). I look forward to getting not only their perspective on local issues but to see if their ‘blog attracts additional commentary from our local ‘bloggers who are looking for alternatives amongst the currently limited choices.

To get things started Don has posted on the Library’s future ( Library with a Bright Future) and Nancy has posted on filling the Council vacancy (Take the Voters’ Concerns Seriously).

Here’s a bit more about the founders.

Don Evans has been a newspaper editor for 30 years, most recently with The Chapel Hill News. Nancy Oates is a freelance business and features writer and has voted in every election since she turned 18.

Way to go Nancy, I also have voted every election except a 2nd primary in the late ’80s since I turned 18.

Last night I got an invite from Ruby Sinreich to engage other candidates on her local ‘blog OrangePolitics. Though I was an avid contributor to her ‘blog for several years, contributing a significant portion of the content, I have declined to participate in building her readership or commercial “brand” during this year’s election cycle.

My reasons for not participating are varied, many of which persist as covered in this “swan song” post from December, 2007.

  • an escalating and stifling intolerance of valid though different viewpoints,
  • the site’s authors acting as surrogates for political allies who didn’t have the courage to engage the community directly in an honest, fact-based and open manner
  • and an unwillingness on my part to work hard in “building the brand” of a site that advertised one thing – engaging the wider community in an informative discussion of local “progressive” issues – and delivering another.

I haven’t read much of OP since then, mainly looking in when someone sends me a link of interest (like my “winning” a very unscientific straw poll for whom should be appointed to Bill Thorpe’s vacant seat). From what I’ve seen, Ruby has taken to heart some of my critique, including opening up authorship to folks she used to vehemently chastise. Good for her.

It is clear, though, that Ruby regularly continues breaking her own editorial rules when my name arises. I prefer to engage directly with other candidates rather than their surrogates. It is a more honest, open and transparent process – a process I cherish and that Chapel Hill voters deserve.

I wish that there was another local alternative to OP for political wonks, like myself, to engage in broad, open, inclusive discussion of the many serious issues facing our community. Unfortunately, the closest we have come is the Chapel Hill News’ OrangeChat, a ‘blog whose posts sometimes spur a genuine discussion of issues.

As a candidate who has engaged a broad spectrum of constituencies, has never turned down an opportunity to solicit our community for their ideas or discuss the realities of living in Chapel Hill, I regret that I might miss out on a great conversation.

That said, I will continue to maintain my “web presence” here on CitizenWill, post all my responses to the varied community election questionnaires, feature (hopefully) video of election forums, etc. I will seek out every opportunity to meet our citizens (send invites to campaign@willraymond.org)to listen and respond to their concerns.

And, if there’s a ‘blog you think I should be posting on, please post the link in the comments section.

See you on the campaign trail!

One local dude, Kirk Ross, definitely abides.

March 23rd, he celebrated the 2nd anniversary of the Carrboro Citizen, a hyper-local newspaper he bootstrapped online and migrated, partially, off-line to real, physical print.

Strangely, it feels like only a moment ago I posted on the kick-off of this growing outlet (a reverse of the sad trend at the McClatchied N&O).

Kirk recently posted this rumination on the genesis of the ‘Citizen and why he pioneered the melding of online and print presentations.

Two years ago amid this maelstrom, The Carrboro Citizen published the first issue of the first volume.

Robert Dickson and I started this paper in part because we saw an opening in the market and in part because we thought Carrboro and surrounding environs should have a locally owned and focused paper. But mostly we started The Citizen because we believe in newspapers.

To be honest, when we started that was a pretty lonely place. Some of the better business minds in the area were quick to point out that we were daft since print is a dying part of the information industry. Our contention was then, and is now, that print may be shrinking, but it is hardly dying. Having the opportunity to start from scratch, post Internet, provided us with the chance to incorporate a lot of hard-learned lessons.

So yes, we’ve got blogs and Twitter and Facebook and Flickr and, according to the N.C. Press Association, operate the third-best website in the state for papers our size.

But all that and the print product too would be worthless without the one thing that gives purpose to our endeavor: journalism. It is quality work, solid reporting and good storytelling that empties the racks each week. Technological advances can enhance that, but not replace it.

The other anniversary? Kirk nailed the big 50!

Congratulations Kirk on both your public service and your ability to abide a Lud-icrous rock-n-roll life!

I was saddened to hear that Roland has died. More here (H-S). Roland’s online presence as the “old codger blogger” here.

Roland, a journalist, an activist, a leader, a “ne’er do well” and old codger was recently commissioned a Chapel Hill treasure, part of what made Chapel Hill cool.

The troubled News and Observer posted this reminder:

The Chapel Hill Historical Society will present The History of Print Media in Chapel Hill and Carrboro on Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

The featured speakers will be Don Evans, an editor and writer at The Chapel Hill News for three decades, and Kirk Ross, former managing editor of the Independent Weekly and co-founder of The Carrboro Citizen.

“Our event will look at the history of newspapers and print media in our towns and will surely spark a discussion about the future of newspapers here,” said Chapel Hill Historical Society Chairman Terry Barnett.

The program is free and open to the public and will be held in the lower level of the Chapel Hill Museum, 523 East Franklin St. Parking is available in the museum lot [MAP].

Chapel Hill has been blessed over the years with a variety of media outlets. Their evolutions and declines, reformations and restorations a harbinger of what comes next in journalism in the on-line age. Don’s (and formerly Kirk’s) Chapel Hill News has a ‘net presence via OrangeChat. Kirk is a pioneer – creating a newspaper, the Carrboro Citizen, on-line first then moving its content to the quaint dead tree distribution network.

Unfortunately I have a previous engagement on Sunday. This should be an interesting presentation where, I’m fairly sure, some curious back-stories of Chapel Hill will emerge.

I called Jennifer Strom last week to see if the Indy would provide me the courtesy of a response to their endorsement comments. She said they would. Here’s my response:

I’m baffled by the Indy’s comments on my and Mike Kelley’s candidacies.

I’m mystified by your endorsement of Indy editor Jennifer Strom’s husband Bill Strom, incumbents Sally Greene and Cam Hill, all who voted to build extensively into the Booker Creek resource conservation district.

I’m perplexed. I haven’t called for environmentally insensitive development on Booker Creek let alone authorized it.

And I’m disappointed. How do you chastise Chapel Hill School Board candidate Mike Kelley’s attendance record given his personal circumstances? Beyond insensitive, it was ill-informed.

Where was the balanced investigative journalism we have come to expect from the Indy?

I used to give the Indy’s endorsements automatic credence. Any readers who do so this year will be misled.

I’ve written here and here why I think the Indy missed the boat on my candidacy.

As far as Mike, here’s what happened February, 2006 (N&O)

Police charged an elderly driver they say injured a mother and daughter selling Girl Scout cookies when she backed into a troop’s cookie booth outside a grocery store over the weekend.

Chapel Hill police charged Thelma McBride Holloway, 77, of 105 Elizabeth St., Chapel Hill, with failure to reduce speed to avoid collision.

Holloway was backing her 1991 Lincoln out of a parking spot Saturday afternoon in front of the Harris Teeter at University Mall when her foot slipped off the brake and onto the accelerator, according to a police report.

The car ran up the sidewalk and hit Elise Michelle Hoffman, 44, and her daughter Anne Katherine Kelley, 11. Both were taken to UNC Hospitals. The hospital would not release their conditions Monday afternoon.

On Sunday, Lt. Leo Vereen said the accident broke both of Hoffman’s legs, and Anne’s collar bone and one of her legs.

Hoffman and Anne are the wife and daughter of Mike Kelley, a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education.

Since reading the Indy’s strange comments on Mike I’ve had some time to talk to folks I know and trust about his candidacy. Overwhelmingly they say he’s meticulous, has responded to folks concerns and, even with a family tragedy, discharged his responsibilities in full.

Here’s what one of his opponents, and Indy endorsee, Jamezetta Bedford, said on the Indy’s website:

…I feel compelled to disagree with the statement that Mike Kelley’s job “has prevented him from attending many forums and activities beyond his basic duties.” Each board member volunteers to serve as liaison to two or three school improvement teams (SITs) and various district committees. Some are scheduled during the work day, some in the early morning and some in the evening. We divide them up at our first December meeting each year based upon the interests and schedules of our board members.

Mike has faithfully attended the SIT meetings most months (board members are only expected to attend once a semester) and has served on our technology advisory group, one of the health advisory committees, as well as liaison to the Special Needs Advisory Council this past year. I would not want a board composed of only retired or unemployed members. By the way, our board will receive an award next week from the NC School Boards Association to recognize that all of our members completed at least 12 hours of board development training this past year, again showing the investment of time each makes to this service.

I like her point about a balance board with more than “retired or unemployed members”.

There are many more statements of support here.

Here’s what UNC Law professor Eric Muller said Are the Indy’s Endorsements Heartless or Worthless? It’s One or the Other over on his ‘blog Is That Legal?.

Bill Strom, at the recent Democrat Candidate Forum, used a quote attributed to Daniel Patrick Moynihan to try to make some point “…you are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.”

Maybe he could share that quote with the Indy’s editor (and his wife) Jennifer Strom.

The Indy is free to express an opinion but it shouldn’t ignore the facts – which, in my case, I did the opposite of what their endorsed candidates did and in Mike’s, that he had an obvious and completely understandable reason for his actions.

X-posted from my campaign website.

The Indy found fault with my style of dissent. I’m a big guy, have a deep voice and am passionate about my well-researched issues. I believe I’m respectful in my appearances before Council (example). Folks have told me that I’m tough but fair. The Indy’s criticism, no matter how emotionally worded, is, in the end, subjective – their job, to shape opinion.

The Indy’s suggestion that I wanted to despoil Booker Creek further is not supported by either the facts or any reasonable inference (as I discuss here).

What inference could the Indy draw about the incumbents – Sally Greene’s, Cam Hill’s, Bill Strom’s – willingness to put development above the health of Booker Creek?

Well, no inference is required as the record clearly shows that all three were willing to contribute to Booker Creek’s ills for the sake of economic development.

I’ve attended many Council meetings over the last 6 1/2 years. Once there, I usually stay to learn about the issues before our Town. That’s why I know that Bill, Cam and Sally voted June 30th, 2004 to approve Eastern Federal’s 10 screen, 38,000 square foot, nearly 200 parking space theater directly adjacent to Booker Creek.

As noted in these minutes from Jan. 27th, 2003′s SUP (special use permit) approval that details this project’s variances:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council finds, in this particular case, that the following modifications satisfy public purposes to an equivalent or greater degree:

1. Modification of Subsection 13.11.1 and 5.5.2.1 to allow a minimum of 154,242 square feet of livability space.

2. Modification of Subsection 14.6.6 (a) to allow less than a five-foot landscaped strip between portions of the buildings and adjacent parking areas.

3. Modification of Subsection 14.6.7 to allow a minimum of 490 parking spaces.

4. Modification of Subsection 5.5.2.2 to allow impervious surface areas associated with this development to encumber 24% of the Resource Conservation District.

Said public purposes being (1) the provision of higher intensity infill development, (2) the promotion of greater pedestrian mobility, (3) the provision of increased landscaping in the parking lot, (4) the provision of less impervious surface area, and (5) the provision of improved quality with Best Management Practices.

The resource conservation district was established by Chapel Hill

To protect streams and to reduce the frequency and amount of flood damage to property, the Town enacted the Resource Conservation District (RCD) ordinance in 1984, with revisions in 2003. This ordinance and other measures taken to reduce flooding and flood damage, are necessary for the Town to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

RCD provisions severely limit or eliminate structures and development in areas likely to flood. These measures pertain in areas including FEMA’s 100-year Floodzones, (areas that have a 1% chance of flooding every year, or in other terms, properties that have a 26% chance of flooding within a 30-year period), as well as smaller streams which have not been rated by FEMA. RCDs also protect or improve the water quality of streams by reserving vegetated areas to slow and infiltrate stormwater runoff and to remove pollutants from runoff.

Yet, in this case, the incumbents Greene, Hill and Strom voted a rather large exception for a movie theater.

Now, you didn’t have to be at these meetings, as I was, to know about the series of votes these three made to build on Booker Creek. A simple Google will quickly turn up that fact.

Speaking of facts, why would the Indy try to extrapolate, without evidence, that I wanted to despoil Booker Creek further when three of the incumbents the Indy endorsed – Greene, Hill and Strom – actually voted several times to reduce critical RCD protections to build a 10 screen theater?

Maybe because the facts shouldn’t get in the way of a good story – and the story the Indy is selling is “don’t vote for Raymond in 2007″. The reasons were superfluous to the ends.

What about Jim Ward, who consistently voted against the proposal, as I recall, based on environmental concerns? The Indy thought he was too soft on the environment in 2003, but now he has “proven his meddle”.

Wonder if they considered Jim’s concern for Booker Creek as part of that proof?

More on the history of Eastern Federal’s development woes.

At 1460 hits, this video is by and far the most popular one I’ve posted on youTube. No surprise to me as Tracey did an incredibly eloquent presentation on the flawed Solid Waste Advisory Board’s search for a new trash transfer site.



[UPDATE:] As one reader notes, I’ve also created content hosted elsewhere, notably on youTube and Google Video.

Content includes the Weaver St. lawn dance protest, a “fly by” animation of what the Town’s Lot $$$5 downtown development debacle, the District 15B Superior Court forums and Rev. Campbell on the Rogers Road trash transfer station issue.

I’m particularly fond of this post (“Downtown Development Initiative: The Debate”) covering a veritable “who’s who” of interested parties supporting or criticizing the Lot $$$5 development effort.

Want to hear how not to negotiate on behalf of the citizenry? I published the sounds of seduction in this post – “Downtown Development Initiative: Listen and Learn How Negotiations Went Awry”.

[ORIGINAL POST]

The number of new visitors to CitizenWill.org has ramped up of late (maybe because I’ve had time to post again?).

For folks new to this ‘blog I’ve added an improved archive page that will reveal, at a glance, what local, state and national topics I’ve covered these last two years.

Besides CitizenWill.org, I’ve maintained my 2005 Chapel Hill Town Council campaign site, the ironically named Will Raymond Stands and Delivers, and a personal ‘blog WillVerse.

I’ve even been a guest author on the local on-line political salon OrangePolitics.

There’s some overlap between various incarnations, though each has a variety of unique postings.

Over the next week or two I will be tinkering with the innards of each to upgrade the plumbing and freshen the look. In the end it will be the same content, different wrapper. I expect the %40 (and growing) number of folks subscribed via RSS will not even notice.

First we have the N&O’s local property, The Chapel Hill News, jumping on-board the new media train – with video, their OrangeChat ‘blog – maybe in response to some citizen efforts and new outlets like the Carrboro Citizen.

Now, the N&O’s Leah Friedman takes it to the next level, reporting a scant 3 hours (3:05pm to be exact) after the Cindy Sheehan event with audio and video to boot!

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan stopped in Carrboro today and had lunch with about a dozen supporters and Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton.

Sheehan was invited to Carrboro by the Grassroots Impeachment Movement or GRIM, which wants to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The group dined at Panzanella, known for its use of local ingredients.

“I’m holding elected officials accountable,” Sheehan said to a horde of media before she sat down for lunch.

Audio, video and still photographs here. Well done Leah.

The tools of new media journalism, to wit a video capable digital camera, are cheap and effective and should be part of any newsprint journalist arsenal.

By the way, the Carrboro Citizen’s Kirk Ross weighed in at 12:52pm, just 13 minutes after CitizenWill did.

I hope they cover this year’s elections in a similar fashion.

Where is the Herald-Sun? Falling further and further behind…

As many of you know, I have a particular interest in employing technology to boost our citizens’ voices cost-effectively and in ways not otherwise possible. I met a kindred spirit in the The Peoples Channel’s director Chad Johnston many years ago when we both started attending the Town’s now defunct Technology Advisory Board to encourage facilitating democracy from the grassroots level.

As our Town’s “ONLY public access channel”, the Peoples Channel is dedicated to an informed, involved electorate.

For a democratic society to function properly, citizens must participate in their government, be educated to think critically and be able to freely communicate their ideas.The Peoples Channel’s mission is to advance democratic ideals by ensuring that people have access to electronic media and by promoting effective communication through community uses of media. Through this mission, we aim to provide the means and promote the opportunity for area citizens to exercise free speech through media production, education and distribution of cable television programming.

Cost-effective doesn’t quite capture how hard Chad and his fellow citizen media producers have done to squeeze value from the small allocation of funds their organization receives. And I’d be hard challenged to identify another local activist that has worked as diligently as Chad to forestall corporate efforts (IndyWeek’s 2005 “Big cable wants public access denied”) at the State and Federal levels to strangle avenues of citizen discourse.

One example is the Orwellian-name “Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act” which the Technology Advisory board discussed in 2005 (side note: Whom, now that the Mayor and Council disbanded that group, within our local government is spear-heading that discussion?).

That is why I was pleased to see today’s announcement over on OrangePolitics of a joint celebration of localism and fund-raiser for the Peoples Channel.

Co-sponsored by both the Preservation Society and OrangePolitics, the July 21st event will bring folks together to “learn about the importance of keeping it local”.

When: July 21st, 6-8pm,
Where: Horace-Williams House [MAP] (parking available on-site or take an easy stroll from Downtown),
What: Fundraiser for the Peoples Channel and gathering to discuss “keeping it local”. $15 donation suggested.

As we wind down the planning for this fiscal year, Council’s deliberations take on a bit more gravitas, thus demand even more attention by the public.

As one might observe listening to last year’s Lot #5 closed negotiations ( “Downtown Development Initiative: Listen and Learn How Negotiations Went Awry”), going too long or waiting until to an eve of a decision without public participation or oversight does not serve the public interest.

Looking back through my recent notes, I didn’t find a reference to the purpose of this Wednesdays closed door Council session.

With the Lot #5 deal still a bit wobbly (now up 17 fold from $500K to $8.4M), disclosure that our just hired economic development officer was charged with embezzlement in 2003 (charges subsequently dropped), a probable $0.02 hike in town taxes and a raft of other issues before them, I would hope the Council takes more counsel and welcomes more public oversight as the year closes than try to wrestle with their problems out-of-sight.

With that in mind, I’ve asked for a clarification on the purpose of this Wednesday’s meeting.

Catherine, Roger,

Excuse me for asking both of you the same question, but I wasn’t quite sure whom to address
this question to.

What statutory reason is Council using to hold a closed session June 6th?

Our town’s website suggests it must be one of the following:

# Confidential information
# Consultations with an attorney
# Business location or expansion
# Real property acquisition
# Employment contracts
# Certain personnel matters
# Investigations

and that the specific reason for going to closed session have been adopted in an open session.

Quoting from our town’s website:

“The statute provides that a closed session may be held only on a motion adopted in open session by a majority of those present and voting. The motion must state the purpose set out in the statute that permits the closed session, such as “to consider matters relating to the location or expansion of industry.” In addition, two of the purposes require a more detailed motion. First, if the purpose is to discuss some matter that is confidential by law, the motion must cite the law that makes the matter confidential. For example, if an area authority meets to consider matters relating to a specific patient, the motion to go into closed session would have to cite G.S. 122C-52, the statute that makes patient information confidential. Second, if the purpose is to discuss pending litigation, the motion must identify the parties to the litigation.”

I couldn’t find a reference in my recent notes to indicate for what purpose this particular
closed session was being held, any information you can provide would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Will

If you’re interested in open meetings and the free flow of information from the governing to the governed, check out NC Open Government, an organization sponsored by some of the top press outlets in our state.

Here’s their two cents on closed meetings.

Via Jon Ham at the infamous Locke Foundation’s Right Angles:

I just heard a rumor that the Paxton Media folks are going to kill The Chapel Hill Herald. If that’s true, then I guess I can cancel my plans to attend the 20th anniversary of the starting of that paper. I was the first editor of the CHH and I remember the six months leading up to our first issue (on June 6, 1988) as the hardest I’ve ever worked in my life. A lot of good people worked on that project. Sadly, most of them no longer work at The Herald-Sun.

Last Fall I wrote (“Herald-Sun Editor Robert Ashley gets an earful from CitizenWill…”) that the Herald-Sun’s online policiy of

“cutting the community off from their historical narrative is not only selfish, it is bad business. Robert disputed my “bad business” assertion, telling me the HS makes plenty from their archival content.”

I challenge Ashley to incorporate and cultivate more community involvement. Instead, as the N&O’s local outlet, the Chapel Hill News improved, the CHH failed to take my challenge and has become less and less relevant to our community’s discourse.

Paxton might’ve been angling to kill off the CHH from the beginning, maybe we’ll find out soon. Running a daily is a daunting task, as Jon recalls from an early meeting:

“Remember,” I told all the young reporters and copy editors (most of them right out of school or close to it), “when this starts, it will never end.” From the looks on their faces I don’t think they had ever thought of the CHH project in those terms. A daily is, after all, put out DAILY, 365 day a year, no breaks. It scared us all.

In any case, it is a sad day when we lose another venue – even if it has been severely diminished in quality and increasingly biased in content – for local coverage. At least we now have the Carrboro Citizen.

I wish Rob, Emily, Beth, Jamie and the rest of the great reporting staff (who I think have been hobbled in their desire to provide excellent service to our community by Paxton’s policies) good fortune.

May you land on your feet.

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