Isn't it nice when politics is easy? When the town council had to make a decision on who to appoint to the vacant seat they had to consider many factors including:
1) Minority representation on the council
2) Someone experienced enough to help come up with real solutions in these difficult economic times
3) Someone who could help begin the healing process after a divisive election
Lucky for them and all of us in Chapel Hill, Donna Bell fit and exceeded these requirements. In a time when politics is all too often made up of making difficult decisions over the lesser of evils (do we fire teachers or shut down hospitals) it sure is nice when there is an easy solution. Good first move Mayor Kleinschmidt!
Yesterday was the last day of Buy Carrboro Week (see adorable flyer at left). This was an initiative of the new group LocalMotive, which is just one of several organizations focusing on economic development and "buying local" in southern Orange County. Others include the Carrboro Merchant's Association's Walk Carrboro, and the Town of Chapel Hill's Downtown Economic Development Initiative and emerging Franklin Street Artists' Co-op. There are also older/more traditional groups such as the Chamber of Commerce (and their We Buy Local effort), the Visitor's Bureau, and the Downtown Partnership (risen from the ashes of the old Downtown Commission). I'm sure I'm forgetting some, and I'm not even touching on the groups covering Hillsborough and the rest of Orange County. Buy Carrboro Week got me to thinking about our evolving understanding of economic development in Orange County. Just like our views on other issues such as growth management, affordable housing, environmental preservation, and school achievement I think we as a community have been continuing to learn and to look ahead, leading to a change in attitudes and goals. I've started to wonder whether a traditional "Chamber of Commerce"-type approach is all that relevant here anymore.
There has been a lot going on and I can scarcely find a moment to blog about it. Maybe in 6 years when my son starts school and I don't have to work to pay for daycare so I can work so I can... where was I? Oh yeah, so last night three important things happened in local government - we took 2 steps forward and one step back for social justice.
1. The Orange County Commissioners rejected both door number one (a new, expanded landfill) and door number two (a waste transfer station). Instead they will be shipping our trash to Durham, an idea which I never years in literally years of debate about this issue. In any case, this seems to be a huge victory for the historically African-American Rogers Road neighborhood, which has shouldered Orange County's landfill for nearly four decades and which is ready to move on the the next phase of their lives, that is: not being neighbors to any major waste handling facilities.
I just left a public information session put on by the Town of Chapel Hill about the Chapel Hill/Carrboro/UNC Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), as discussed on the Town's website. Chapel Hill's plan includes the assumption that the LRTP of the Durham-Chael Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC MPO) will be adopted and that light rail will be a reality along the NC 54 corridor and on some of US 15/501. Other than that admittedly optimistic assumption, the plan is extremely feasable. Don't get me wrong, I desperately hope that light rail will implemented, but it is far from assured.
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