How the Town of Chapel Hill stole Halloween

"This is a local event,” Mayor Kevin Foy said in an official Town video. “If you can walk to Halloween, you’re invited. If you can’t, don’t come.”

Wow. Watch the Youtube clip. Lame.

(3 min 15 sec) CUE CREEPY MUSIC and Watch Mayor KEVIN FOY DISAPPEAR INTO A MISTY FOG CLOUD. REALLY? Really Chapel Hill? You can't make this Homegrown Halloween initiative "cool" with special effects or rationalization. Limiting the growth of events like Halloween hurts the "Brand" of our Town and ultimately has a negative effect on our Local Economy.

Zero Waste as a Mainstream Proposition

As the county still scrambles to try to find a solution to the impending loss of all landfill space in Orange County, I was happily surprised by an article about mainstreaming the zero waste concept that appeared in today's New York Times.  I recognize that the solid waste folks here in the county are way ahead of the game compared to other municipalities in North Carolina, but I wonder if we should be pushing them harder as a community to approach zero waste.  I'll admit to being a bit ignorant about the current philosophy of the solid waste authority, so perhaps they are already pushing this.  But I have been dismayed by the fact that we do not yet have a small business and residential composting program that can handle organic wastes for those who don't have the option of composting on site.  At the very least, it seems like such a program is necessary for capturing food waste from cafeterias, restaurants, and businesses with more than 10 or so employees.  I've set up a worm composting bin at work, but I don't believe most workplaces would be willing to go to that length to create a smaller waste st

Do letters-to-the-editor campaigns work?

Part of the "silly season" (thanks to Fred Black for that great term) is the bloom of letters to local papers supporting certain candidates.  In some cases, individual expressions seem quite heartfelt, regardless of any larger party or issue contexts.  In some cases, the letters seem pretty much obligatory, as if someone feels the endorsement musn't fail to appear among the other letters -- for example, regarding the Sierra Club endorsements. 

Often it seems, however, that there might be a somewhat more coordinated effort to flood the letters pages with statements endorsing a given candidate -- suggesting he or she may be an underdog but with a significant groundswell of public support. 

Rural Orange: Talking Trash Survey

Haven't seen much buzz on this topic, and don't know who's behind Orange County Voice, but there's a group in rural Orange passing out information that Orange county is considering what could be some pretty radical changes in the way trash is handled for non-incorporated residents. If this is true, rural residents really need to voice their opinions and concerns.

my "endorsements"

My endorsements for 2009:

First, a bit of background:  I did not support Barack Obama in the Democratic primary last year, because I didn't think he had the strength to bring real change to our country.  Many would agree I've been proven right about that.  I also think that change is needed in our local politics this year.  If you like exactly how things are today, stop reading now.  I've moved into Chapel Hill 4 times in my life, lving here almost all of the last 32 years, so I can certainly say there's a lot I like about this town.  But there are also some disturbing trends I think we need to change.  Amongst them:
  1) Taxes are too high
  2) Lack of commercial diversity in town forces consumers to drive out of town for most shopping (huge environmental issue in my mind), including the issue of decreasing downtown vitality.
  3) Schools that are not educating every child.

The ability and willingness to bring change in these areas is my biggest criteria for voting. 



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