I have reviewed a lot of letters sent to the Chapel Hill Town Council about whether or not the Town should move forward on expansion of our Library. Letters fall on either side of the issue, but in letters against expansion, I see a theme. Writers often want it known that they are a fan of books, but they don't want to pay more taxes toward making more available to Library users.
At the Town Council meeting on January 25, 2010, I petitioned the council to open discussions about prohibiting hand held cell phone usage while driving in Chapel Hill. I also proposed that the town hold a public forum on this topic where concerned citizens can express their opinions about this issue. Since the election I have heard from many citizens who feel that it is becoming increasingly dangerous to drive in Chapel Hill because people are not paying attention to the road. The problem is particularly bad on campus.
Tonight at 9pm President Obama will give his first State of the Union address where I imagine he'll both look back at what has happened in the past year, as well as where we are heading in the years to come. I'll be listening on NPR for the first part since I'll be driving home from Raleigh to Chapel Hill at 9 (I checked with the WUNC Interim Program Director and they will be broadcasting it). Since many local elections are the country will be affected the general mood towards Democrats, and President Obama is the captain of that ship, I think it is a good time to look at what he has accomplished, and what he still needs to do.
At last night's Chapel Hill Town Council meeting a decision was put off regarding the Town Manager's recommendation to move forward and issue the voter-approved bond for the Library expansion. There were two major issues. First, the anticipated operating expenses for the expanded Library would result in a tax rate increase of $0.0113. This would add about $34 to the tax bill of a homeowner with an appraised house value of $300,000. Second, several Council members were concerned about moving forward until Orange County commits to a more equitable funding of the Library since 40% of the users and 40% of the circulation is by Orange County, non-CH residents.
It's been interesting to see the increasing heat in the debate about the proposed Carrboro section of the Bolin Creek Greenway. It seems to have created a public rift in the group Friends of Bolin Creek, leading to the apparent self-demotion of one of it's co-chairs. Dave Otto was still a co-chair when he wrote "A case for a concrete greenway" in the Chapel Hill News on January 10th, but Julie McClintock was the sole leader by the time her response "The case for keeping Bolin Creek natural" was published on January 17th.
"I do not think it is in the best interest of the Friends of Bolin
Creek for the leadership to be split in this way," Otto said in his
announcement. "I am therefore stepping back to permit the group to
speak with a more unified voice." He will serve instead as vice-chair.
- Chapel Hill News: To pave or not to pave?, 1/24/09
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