2009 Sierra Club Chapel Hill Candidate Forum

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Thanks to Loren Hintz. Matt Scheer, Jason Baker (2005 candidate for Town Council), May Becker, Judith Ferster and the rest of the membership of the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club for both sponsoring the recent candidate forum and making the following video available to the wider community.

Also thanks to my fellow colleague on the Sustainability Task Force Matthew Scheer for moderating the event and James Carnahan for keeping time.



Quick technical note: the current video doesn’t support “quick search” but will start streaming right away.

2009 NRG Chapel Hill Candidate Forum

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Thanks to Madeline Jefferson, Bob Henshaw, Julie McClintock, Janet Smith, Alan Snavely, Mickey Jo Sorrel and the rest of the membership of Neighborhoods For Responsible Growth (NRG) for both sponsoring the recent candidate forum and making the following video available to the wider community.

Also thanks to my neighbor (and former Chapel Hill Mayor) Jonathon Howes for moderating the event.



Quick technical note: the current video doesn’t support “quick search” but will start streaming right away.

Congratulations Cyclones!

Tuesday, July 21st, 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!

Penny Rich Up to Bat

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Seems like the municipal elections are officially on. Kevin bowed out as mayor. Mark bowed in. Laurin, not surprisingly, ready to go again. And now Penny.

I ran with Penny in 2007 and welcome her 2009 run.

She did her homework, was firm in her convictions, eloquent and handled some rather nasty rebukes by two of the incumbents with grace and good cheer.

I’m hoping that this year, unlike the 2007 campaign where the incumbents orchestrated an issues shut out, will be a year in which the rather substantial problems before our community get not only a fair hearing but elicit specific proposed remedies by the candidates.

Here’s Penny’s announcement:

I am proud to announce my candidacy for Chapel Hill Town Council. While running in the 2007 council race I was honored to meet many folks that live and work in Chapel Hill who share my love for this beautiful town. Chapel Hill has a bright future, and I believe I would be a positive addition to the Town Council as they guide us through the next phase of growth. As a small business owner raising a family in Chapel Hill, I represent the unique perspective of the average everyday citizen. In the coming months I look forward to talking to the people of Chapel Hill to gain an understanding of their priorities, needs, and concerns. I can best represent Chapel Hill by ensuring that everyone has the chance for their voice to be heard as we shape the future of our town.

Tar Heel Basketball, Proven Excellence

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Though I wished UNC had clinched the ACC championship, tonight’s 89-72 stomping of Michigan State provided a conclusive and satisfying end to UNC’s great 2009 basketball season.

In case you haven’t heard the rumble rolling forth from Downtown, UNC fans are as jubilant as the players.

I’ve had the uncanny luck to have seen the 1982, 1993, 2005 and, now, the 2009 national championship celebrations and this one, at least as of 1:35am, seemed to be one of the best managed – no burning cars, major fires or parking lots full of triaged injured fans. Kudos to Town staff, UNC/Chapel Hill/State and local law enforcement, our fire and rescue personnel (who, I presume, missed most of the game prepping for the turnout) and all the other folks that made this year’s celebration a reasonably safe affair.

Congratulations to Roy Williams, the team and the University for an exciting demonstration of excellence.

Feb. 19th: Busy Thursday

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

A couple meetings tonight that folks may want to check out.

First, a meeting on Northside and the corrosive effect burgeoning development, taxes and shrinking opportunities is having on that traditional community.

From today’s Herald-Sun:

Local activists united to address what they view as “historic discrimination, rising property taxes, and development that threaten communities of color in Chapel Hill” will share alternate visions for collaborative sustainability and social change at 6 tonight.

United with the Northside Community Now (UNC-NOW), St. Joseph C.M.E., NAACP, and EmPOWERment Inc. will host a community meeting at St. Joseph C.M.E. Church, 510 W. Rosemary St., to discuss the impact of local development on historically African American neighborhoods.

“It is important that we come together as a community to be the voice of righteousness and justice in the face of the injustice and racist environmentalism that is threatening our neighborhoods,” the Rev. Troy F. Harrison of St. Joseph C.M.E. said in a news release.

Second, at 7pm, the second Town-sponsored community outreach on the Carolina North development agreement.

A Public Input/Information Session on Carolina North will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in the Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers of Town Hall, 405 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Carolina North is a proposed satellite campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. It is expected to be contained within about 250 acres of the Horace Williams Tract’s 1,000 acres and be built in phases over the next 50 years, as proposed. The property lies just to the north of Estes Drive adjacent to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The Thursday session will provide an update on the status of UNC-Chapel Hill’s
Carolina North plans and a description of issues being addressed by policy-makers and Town/University staffs. These issues include the following: design standards and public art; police/fire/EMS facilities and services; school site; recreation facilities; greenways, connections; historic, cultural features; stormwater management on site; water use and reclamation; energy conservation, carbon credits; Solid waste management; remediation of landfill; stream buffers; trees, landscaping; sedimentation; neighboring lands, compatibility, buffers; noise, lighting. A public comment period is scheduled.

This meeting will be aired live on Chapel Hill Government TV 18. Additional informational sessions on Carolina North have been scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. March 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. April 1.

For more information, contact the Town of Chapel Hill Planning Department at (919) 968-2728 or carolinanorth@townofchapelhill.org.

Additional material is posted online at www.townofchapelhill.org/carolinanorth.

Tonight presents an excellent opportunity to not only get information but to help steer the discussion on what should be part of the development agreement which will codify the community’s expectations.

Easthom on Being a Good Councilmember

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Laurin, a sitting member of the current Council ruminates this evening on what makes a good Mayor and Councilmember.

Public service is not a right, but a privilege. Holding public office can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Being a good mayor or a good council member certainly comes by trial and error and by experience itself. The bottom line is to never lose sight of what drew you to the position in the first place.

Laurin, a one-termer (so far), is up for re-election with Mark Kleinschmidt, Ed Harrison and recent appointee James Merritt.

With elections almost 8 months off it appears that the jockeying for position has begun.

More from Laurin here.

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