Dan Coleman's blog

One Confounding Questionnaire

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday October 01, 2005

In Greek mythology, the villain Procrustes kept a house by the side of the road where he offered hospitality to passing strangers, inviting them for a night's rest in his very special bed. Procrustes described the bed as having the unique property that its length exactly matched whoever lay down upon it.

This "one-size-fits-all" was no supernatural phenomenon. It was achieved by Procrustes stretching his guest on the bed if he was too short or chopping off his legs if he was too long.

Figuratively speaking, candidates for local office have run into a Procrustes of our own this fall. The Chamber of Commerce has once again crafted its questionnaire to reduce complex issues to answers limited to yes/no/unsure and seek commitments to vague policy formulations.

Water Levels OK Through Winter

This just in from OWASA:

The Cane Creek Reservoir and University Lake are 68 percent full despite dry weather in recent months. As of Monday morning, the water stored in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community's two reservoirs totaled 2.3 billion gallons, and water use in the last week has averaged about 10.3 million gallons per day.

Although the dry weather in recent months has affected some reservoirs in the region more significantly, OWASA's lake levels are about normal for this time of year. University Lake and the Cane Creek Reservoir have more than twice as much water as they did at this time in 2002 during the area's worst drought on record.

OWASA officials do not foresee a need for additional mandatory water use restrictions this fall or winter, but additional conservation measures could be necessary if the lakes do not refill by spring. (Since operation of the Cane Creek Reservoir began in 1989, the only year when both lakes were not full by early spring was in the severe drought of 2002.)

More diversity? Fewer meetings?

John Herrera made two interesting comments in his interview in today's Herald:

We need to ask ourselves, who value diversity, why is it that single moms are not on the board? Or people of color. It is so hard to recruit them. They don't have the time, the money, the what it takes sometimes to run a campaign.

Something I have been pushing for but it got shut down, is reducing the amount of meetings. Bigger municipalities... don't meet every Tuesday.

We all know there are obstacles along the lines John describes. Most of them would be difficult for local government to overcome. It would be great for the town to provide a childcare fund which might cost up to $2000/year for a single parent (that's on top of the alderman pay which I think is around $5000) and much less for parents with partners or joint custody - an idea worth exploring.

Remembering Joe Straley

Chapel Hill Herald, Saturday September 24, 2005

Remembering Joe Straley

This week, Chapel Hill lost it's great icon of progressive activism of the past half-century. Since the 1950s, Joe Straley, who died last Wednesday at age 90, has been a continual force in Chapel Hill politics, one whose range of concerns was truly global.

From civil rights and anti-war activism in the 1950s and '60s, to a stint on the Town Council in the 1970s, to leadership of the Carolina Interfaith Taskforce on Central America in the 1980s and into the 21st century, Joe Straley did it all. He was an unflinching advocate for racial justice, civil liberties, solidarity with oppressed peoples the world over and for peace. In this age of self-congratulatory American empire, Joe was an anti-imperialist and an internationalist.

But beyond the issues and the activism, Joe was a special kind of person. Not a great orator, Straley was always on point and well-spoken. By no means a charismatic leader, he was warm, easy-going and down-to-earth, with a depth of compassion and a big heart that drew people to him and his projects.

Lecture/Film Tonight: Stolen Childhoods

Filmmakers Len Morris and Robin Romano will discuss child labor around the globe tonight at 7.30 pm in Memorial Hall on the UNC campus. This lecture is free, open to the public, and will include never before seen footage of the conditions in which children labor so the rest of us can have carpets, coffee, and--in the US--fruits and vegetables. These are award-winning filmmakers doing front-line activism--worth the trip in to town.

You can meet the filmmakers at a reception celebrating Robin Romano's photographs this afternoon at 4 pm; room 039, the James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence in Graham Memorial.



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