leestorrow's blog

Continue the Historic Rogers Road Task Force

As many OP readers know, the Historic Rogers Road Task Force has been meeting for the last year to discuss strategies to bring sewer service and a community center to the Rogers Road neighborhood. At the last Assembly of Governments meeting, there was a discussion about whether the task force should continue to meet next year. Michelle Johnson, Molly DeMarco, and I have drafted the following letter to deliver to the county commissioners prior to their January 24th meeting asking them to continue the task force. If you support this effort, please sign onto our petition prior to January 17th. 

Dear Chair Jacobs and Orange County Commissioners:

#ICV2012 Day One

Today 70 Orange County residents traveled to Bloomington, Indiana for a Inter-City Visit to learn how their community deals with challenges related to public policy, student housing, economic development, and other questions. These trips are only as valuable as the information we bring back to Orange County, and I hope that through my tweets, posts on Orange Politics, and work when I return to Chapel Hill, I can provide insights into our trip and improve our community.

Most of the first day was travel from Chapel Hill to Bloomington. I started the morning by boarding a shuttle bus from University Mall at 7:00 AM, and didn’t arrive in Bloomington until 2:30 PM. That being said, I already have ideas and thoughts about how we can improve Chapel Hill based on experiences in Bloomington.

The Case for Food Trucks

In January of 2012, after more than a year of debate, discussion, and deliberation about food trucks in Chapel Hill, the Town Council finally passed an ordinance to allow them in our community.

But then no food trucks came.

I’ve spent the last two months talking to food truck owners, local businesses, advocates, and town staff about our ordinance. While there is still disagreement, it seems clear that there is one thing we can all agree on: Our food truck ordinance is not working. I think this is because we didn’t understand the regional economy of the food truck industry in the Triangle. In Durham, food trucks thrive because the community has embraced the food truck business model, and empty parking lots in downtown become natural gathering places for this model of food delivery.  

Chapel Hill feared that opening the door to food trucks would provide too much competition to brick and mortar restaurants. We were also concerned that the number of food truck applicants would overwhelm our staff’s ability to review and inspect them. No matter how we write our ordinance, I don’t believe either of those things will happen.

Clearing the Air

I wanted to take the opportunity to address some of the questions raised by members of the Orange Politics community about my 35-day finance report, in particular my use of aggregated individual contributions to list my donors under $28.I didn’t expect that this decision would cause such questioning, but after further reflection I’ve decided to let folks know where my donations are from. At the bottom of this post is a link to a Google document that lists the names, occupations, and addresses of the 79 below-$28 contributions. Some of our donors, because of their position or relationship to other candidates, donated with the understanding that their information was not required to be disclosed. I’ll respect the wishes of my donors and will only be releasing zip codes for a select few names. I hope this puts concerns about my finance report to rest.I would add that as a young candidate I haven’t had the same time to build relationships with Chapel Hill donors that other candidates have, and I have fortunately received support from people outside of our town as well.

The Fight To Save Our Schools

3,200 UNC System employees lose their jobs under the budget that currently sits on Governor Perdue's desk.

Backers of the budget cuts argue that at a time where unemployment is at near record levels and the state is facing a 3 billion dollar deficit cuts need to be made. By slashing education and other vital public institutions instead of keeping the current sales tax level, the legislature claims to be protecting economic development in NC. They fail to recognize the fundamental role education plays in economic development.



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