July 2009

UPDATE: Chapel Hill News finally weighs in here!

The Exchange Pool swim team, the Cyclones, came in first once again in the Chapel Hill Summer Swim League championship. The team also won the League Swim for Smiles Award with the girls taking the dual meet honors.

Ellie and I have been “official” members of the Exchange Pool for over a decade (since she was pregnant with Elijah). I’ve always enjoyed the family friendly atmosphere that is an integral part of this simple facility.

When Elijah swam for the team several years ago there were only a couple dozen kids racing. This year there were about 200!

While the kids, coaches and parents took their swimming seriously, I know there was quite a bit of fun along the way.

Congratulations Cyclones, here’s to next year!

I was appointed as one of the “at large” members of the Town’s Sustainability Task Force several months ago.

One of the first issues we took up was representation on the task force itself. Essentially, did the task force membership represent the reasonably broadest possible diversity of viewpoints and experience we needed to craft a sustainable game plan covering Chapel Hill’s growth these next 10 years?

Along with most of the task force, I agreed it didn’t so we asked the Council to grant us permission to broaden our membership and renew the call for volunteers. I’ve been calling folks I know, sending emails, talking to various organizations that might otherwise be disinclined from participating to try to get new members who will broaden our task forces’ perspective.

As of July 20th I’m pleased to say we’ve had an increase in interest – amounting to 10 new applicants:

  • Anne Eshleman (24, student, new resident)
  • Stacia Cooper (47, insurance regulator, 7+ years)
  • J. Patterson Calhoun (31, business manager, newly returned resident [in Triangle 8 years prior])
  • Lister Delgado (40, investor, 5 years in-town/5 years just outside )
  • Donna Bell (38, social worker, 7 years – Northside resident)
  • Kevin Hicks (44, product engineer, 4 years)
  • Christopher Senior (53, green builder, new resident)
  • Daniel Outen (22, student at Kenan Flagler, 3 1/2 years)
  • Todd Woerner (53, chemist/teacher/lab manager, 18 years)
  • Brian Paulson (23, city management, 11 years)

The task force will resume its work mid-August by adding 6 of these 10 (or more I hope) applicants to the position.

I will be reviewing these and any other applications with an eye towards choosing folks that have a distinctly different vision of where Chapel Hill should be in 10 years. By maximizing diversity of considered opinion we should not only end up with a stronger set of recommendations but also a message that is widely acceptable.

Even after 40 years the Moon landing remains one of the touchstones of my life.

I am fascinated by science. Growing up I, like many other kids of the ’60’s, dreamed of traveling to space. I wanted to join NASA and help make those dreams reality. It seemed a given that rational investigation and thoughtful scientific debate would lead this country forward to greater horizons.

My enthusiasm led me along a course of science fairs, contests, advanced physics/chemistry/biology/math classes and, eventually, degrees in math and computer science. From that a career in engineering and technology.

That “can do” optimism our country showed, even when mired in the midst of the Vietnam war – on the heels of other national tragedies, is something we should recall today as we face numerous adversities.

“Ad astra per aspera — “to the stars through difficulties” – has never been truer.

On the cusp of the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Moon landing, I remain optimistic that this country, our citizens, can surmount any challenge – from closest to home to furthest in space – with equal fortitude.

Walter Cronkite, a solid and trusted presence in my youth (for example), was as excited about space as I was – and he wasn’t afraid to show it either (he also wasn’t afraid to put his reputation on the line and call it like it is).

Cronkite, 92, died July 18th. In this day of media dominated by shouting heads, gotcha, personality over perspective, his passing marks more than the end of one admired journalist life.

Neil Armstrong Statement on the Death of Walter Cronkite

The following is a statement issued by Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong on the death of Walter Cronkite.

“For a news analyst and reporter of the happenings of the day to be successful, he or she needs three things: accuracy, timeliness, and the trust of the audience. Many are fortunate to have the first two. The trust of the audience must be earned.

“Walter Cronkite seemed to enjoy the highest of ratings. He had a passion for human space exploration, an enthusiasm that was contagious, and the trust of his audience. He will be missed.”

A big thank you to all the folks who contacted and encouraged me to run.

Below is my formal announcement, more posts to follow:

Will Raymond Announces Run for Chapel Hill Town Council 2009

Chapel Hill, NC – July 17th, 2009

I am taking the next step in my eight year continuum of public service to Chapel Hill by announcing my candidacy for Town Council.

After listening to hundreds of my fellow citizens during the Sustainability Task Force’s nine recent public forums, it is clear that Chapel Hill’s residents want to move forward on a different path for the next decade.

Moving Chapel Hill forward will require common sense leadership that is innovative, experienced, tested and prepared to follow our citizens’ mandate to change course.

Successfully working with a variety of community organizations, advisory boards, the Town Council and Orange County Board of Commissioners in the past, I have taken on some of the thorniest, toughest and, occasionally, most controversial issues facing our community.

Listening to the community, gathering the best advice, with conviction and thoughtful fortitude, I have been unwavering in my support of reasonable growth policies, fiscal prudence, environmental protection and transparent government operations.

As my understanding of these challenges deepened, so has my sense of responsibility for making sure our community thrives when meeting them.