Tonight's State of the Union Address

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.




Would You Contribute To The Library?

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.

Bolin Creek showdown

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

Generic Development lives on....Barnes St - Carrboro

If they put half as much effort into the design, safety and impact of this development as they have put into the legal battle, perhaps we would not be so opposed to it.  Article from the good folks at the Carrboro Citizen:

Northwest Property Group, which wants to build a shopping center at the intersection of Jones Ferry Road and Barnes Street, has won an appeal in its case against the Town of Carrboro.

In September 2007, the developer sued after the town approved its development but limited access to Barnes Street to emergency vehicles due to concerns about safety at the intersection. In a suit heard in April 2009, Northwest argued that the town’s condition, which effectively killed the project, was not backed up by a finding of fact on the traffic and safety concerns.

The board of aldermen had sided with residents on Barnes Street and the adjacent neighborhood who said the intersection was already unsafe and a store entrance and exit would make it even more so.

Fighting Back Against The Silencing Of Progressive Voices

Given a few recent political developments this week on the national scale I think it is important to draw attention to them before we start seeing negative local implications.  With Scott Brown winning Ted Kennedy's old seat and ensuring unending threats of filibusters, with Air America radio declaring bankruptcy we are losing their progressive voice in a media medium that was already dominated by the right, and most especially with the conservative majority on SCOTUS siding on the side of corporate personhood and unlimited corporate financial influence on elections which the republican leadership is already openly cheering... we have to act now before the next elections.  Start by signing this:



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