Trash Talk: SqueezeThePulp Led Online

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

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.


9 responses to “Trash Talk: SqueezeThePulp Led Online”

  1. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    Hi Will,

    Note sure what you mean by “the crappy tit-for-tat by Fred Black and Mark Gill have in the middle of the transfer station discussion,” but I would hope that most people understand that the derogatory term that Mark Gill used to label Moses Carey is not one that black people accept white people using about black people. A lot of that discussion bordered on the self-serving use of racial politics as a front for what should be treated as a community issue. Maybe Mark Gill finds this acceptable out there in California.

  2. Administrator Avatar

    Fred, it was a mess that strayed way, way, way off-topic.

  3. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    And Fred says calling someone on their use of derogatory racial language when one uses this issue in the context of environmental racism is necessary. What is more on topic, as you indicate in your own reporting on this issue?

  4. Terri Avatar

    I’m sorry to hear you brushing aside the racially derogatory name calling, Will. Would you rather that it had been ignored like all the other namecalling on that board?

    As for them leading the way on the transfer station, I don’t think it should ignored that one of those who has been so vocal on ‘environmental justice’ is the one who used the racially derogatory term. And then there’s the oh so very enlightening comment “Maybe they will change their minds if they get a whiff of what *we* have been putting up with.” Environmental justice or NIMBYism?

  5. Administrator Avatar

    Not brushing anything off Terri, just suggesting that the original thread was getting swamped by what was less and less a constructive conversation on racially charged comments. Pretending “Uncle Tom”, irrespective of the “textbook definition”, doesn’t come with more serious overtones is disingenuous.

  6. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    Thanks for that concession Will. I also note that you ignored the call to take action:

    Katrina R writes: Jan Sassaman and Randy Kabrick are the Chapel representatives to the SWAB.

    John K writes: Here are their addresses- 607 Greenwood Rd – 207 Woodleaf Drive.
    Show your displeasure with your trash!!!! Maybe they will change their minds if they get a whiff of what we have been putting up with.

    As someone who lives at 206 Woodleaf, when I see dumped trash, I hope that the poster and the owner of the site have talked to their lawyers in advance and understand the position that they might find themselves. This is well beyond “snide, nasty and tough at times.”

    Where do you stand Will?

  7. Administrator Avatar

    OK, I blipped on the address post by JohnK, Fred. I read it twice before I realized the he was suggesting dumping trash on folks lawns – a reference to dumping trash at Townhall?

    I’m not going to get into the business of reviewing folks comments in general but I agree that calling on people to trash advisory board members lawns is too much. Was that what JohnK was doing or was it a rhetorical device gone wrong? You’ll have to ask him.

    In my experience I’ve observed that most advisory board members are trying their best to get a decent outcome. Of course, folks bring their own POV into the conversation – clashes do occur. You know where I stand on policy discourse – if even heated. Try to keep it in the public arena.

    I’ve served on the HWCC with Randy and have seen him in action over the years – he’s the kind of guy that thinks things through… My analysis, after reading a hand full of the SWAB’s notes for the last year, is that Randy selected a site based on a fairly narrow set of criteria – criteria that, I believe, was insufficient.

    We need a new “decision matrix” to evaluate the multi-dimensional impacts and solutions to waste management in Orange County. This goes beyond the transfer station.

  8. Terri Avatar

    I will agree that the topic of the thread was being re-directed. But if someone makes a racial slur, don’t you think that’s where it should be called out? If you were walking down the street and heard someone using racial epithets, would you just ignore it? The digital commons is the town commons and behavior shouldn’t be differentiated IMHO.

  9. Fred Black Avatar
    Fred Black

    Hey Will, do you see any link between the Imus uproar and the STP comment? As we as a nation try to sort through this stuff, maybe we will come to realize that words can be unacceptable based on just who uses them. Life, of course, isn’t always rational, just as this issue.

    I’m still disappointed that your typical courage was found lacking on this issue right here at home. You sure missed the opportunity to demonstrate where you stand and I bet Mr. Gill doesn’t even see the connection.

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