After a lengthy discussion at the January 24 county commissioners' meeting, a couple of decisions were made regarding the continued meeting of the Historic Rogers Road Task Force.
First, by unanimous vote, the commissioners approved moving forward with completing plans to fund and build a community center for the Rogers Road community. There was less agreement about the charge of the task force. Commissioner Mark Dorosin wanted to have the task force consider the potential for gentrification in the community once the sewer was extended to all eligible homes. Commissioner Earl Mckee disagreed, stating that homeowners should be able to decide for themselves the highest and best use of their property. There were a variety of motions, friendly and unfriendly amendments made, votes taken, and wordsmithing done until, ultimately, a motion was made to charge the task force to continue their work on extending sewer service, completing the community center, addressing gentrification, and use of the Greene Tract as a funding option. This motion was passed five to two (Commissioners Penny Rich and Bernadette Pelissier voted against).
The intersection of Alabama Avenue and Jones Ferry Road is the first impression of Carrboro for visitors entering town from Highway 54. It is important to the Central Business District and the Farmer's Market that this section of Jones Ferry Rd makes a good first impression. This is the Gateway to Carrboro.
The news this week that the Orange County Board of County Commissioners has voted to charge a new tipping fee at the landfill to raise money for remediation in the Rogers Road neighborhood
- a move that seemed somewhat ham-fisted to municipal governments (see
below about that) - reminded me of a very interesting conversation I had
last month. I attended oral history performances by a UNC class that conducted interviews with civil rights activists.
Two students had worked closely with David Caldwell and Gertrude Nunn
and learned about their neighborhood's 3-decade challenge of trying to
get justice for living with the landfill that serves all of Orange
One grad student who is very familiar with local politics
turned to me afterward and asked the same question that was in my mind:
our County Commissioners have to be one of the most liberal boards in
the state. How is it that the Rogers Road neighborhood has been stymied
by them repeatedly, instead of being championed by the environmental and
social justice advocates on the Board?
Recently I’ve been thinking about Barack Obama, Henry Louis Gates, Van Jones, and Greenbridge.
When tension around race comes up, our society has a really difficult time differentiating between individual incidents of incivility and patterns of bias. South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson thinks that an apology for his single act of disrespect is enough. But others see his “You Lie” comment towards the President to be part of a larger racial pattern questioning Obama’s authority. Henry Louis Gates saw being arrested in his own home in the light of a larger pattern of racial profiling. The police officer who arrested him thought he was just arresting a guy who threatened his authority.
Closer to home, Greenbridge and its developers continue to come under criticism for gentrifying Northside, and some attacks this summer called the Greenbridge developers racist. UNC-NOW and other Greenbridge critics see this project as a part of the larger pattern of African-American displacement in Chapel Hill. Not surprisingly, Greenbridge’s developers say they’re just one project impacting the neighborhood, and one that came relatively late to the gentrification party at that.
You can't turn your back on the BOCC for a second. The Rogers/Eubanks community is back in the mix for the Transfer Station. As I have said previously the fight for environmental justice is far from over and vigilance is required. What is Foy thinking? And Jacobs was the original Sassaman buddy so Jacob's position is no surprise.
My heart goes out Reverend Campbell and Neloa Jones. Just as it appears that they are approaching the top of the mountain, voila, there is another vertical cliff to scale.
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