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This Week in Orange Politics: April 27-May 3

Two big items are the agenda this week for Orange County’s governing bodies. Tonight, the Chapel Hill Town Council will meet to discuss potentially filling its vacant seat, and on Tuesday, the county commissioners will meet with both of the county’s school boards to discuss budgets for the upcoming fiscal year and a potential bond for capital needs in 2016.

Challenging Islamophobia at UNC Chapel Hill

POC Takeover of the Quad rally members
POC Takeover of the Quad rally members

When David Horotwitz was invited by UNC College Republicans to speak at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill just two months after the murders of three Muslim youth in Chapel Hill, it caused alarm among the Muslim community and their allies at UNC and the greater Triangle area. Mr. Horowtiz has been documented as a prominent Islamophobic speaker in the USA by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for American Progress. During his speech at UNC, Mr. Horotwitz characterized Arabs as racist, linked student organizations Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) to terrorism, and implied Palestinians should be attacked with nuclear weapons.

A Year-End Wrap Up with The Real Silent Sam

This past Friday, April 24th, marked the last day of classes at UNC-Chapel Hill for 2014-2015, and while many students fulfilled the campus tradition of relaxing on the quad, others chose to reclaim and “occupy” the space as a hub for an open dialogue about the university’s racial tensions over the past year.

The event was organized by The Real Silent Sam, which is a coalition of student, faculty, and community activists working to contextualize the university’s physical landscape and institutional history.

Six Apply for Vacant Chapel Hill Town Council Seat

Wednesday marked the deadline for applying to be appointed to the Chapel Hill Town Council seat vacated by Matt Czajkowski when he resigned earlier this year.

After 4 Years, Worker Center Set to Open

About four years ago Orange County Justice United came together with El Centro Hispano, the Human Rights Center, the Town of Carrboro, and a number of other partners to create a task force that would work to develop more dignified working conditions for people loooking for work at the corner of Jones Ferry Road and Davie Road in Carrboro. After much work together, on Sunday April 26th we will celebrate the grand opening of the Center for Employment and Leadership (CEL) at El Centro Hispano at 201 W. Weaver Street in Carrboro.

This Week in Orange Politics: April 20-26

It’ll be another busy week for Orange County’s elected bodies this week. The Hillsborough Town Board and county commissioners will hold a joint meeting covering an array of subjects from transit to economic development, while the commissioners will talk solid waste and the potential 2016 bond referendum earlier in the week.

The Carrboro Alderfollks will review the progress of the town’s parking management plan, while the Chapel Hill Town Council will hear comments on proposed changes to the Ephesus-Fordham form-based code district.

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This Week in Orange Politics

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.

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