Mark Chilton's blog

Developers want more say?

Let me see if I've got this straight: Real estate developers want more say over real estate development?

The council is planning a 12-member committee with two Planning Board members, one Transportation Board member, one Sustainability Committee member, one Justice-in-Action Committee member, one business community representative and five citizens at-large. The petitioners, many of whom work in real-estate related fields, want to add six more members to represent: small businesses, downtown businesses, development professionals, large businesses, UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Healthcare.

- OrangeChat: Business people want more representation on development task force, 5/4/09

I see.

Let's Rename This Town

I have been thinking more and more lately about how inappropriate the name 'Carrboro' is for a town that is so focused on alternatives to the single occupant motor vehicle.  I mean, I realize the town is named after Julian Shakespeare Carr, rather than the ubiquitous vehicle of the 20th century, but still . . . having our town's name begin with that object that we are working so hard against just makes no sense to me.

Also, it is important to remember who old Jule Carr was.  Mr. Carr was an officer in the Confederate Army, and later he was a captain of industry.  He owned many, many businesses including several mills in Durham.  And for most of his life he lived in Durham.  He even called his mill in our downtown "Durham Hosiery Mills."  In fact, we might just note that although he was a supporter of UNC, Jule Carr was also closely related to the Duke family.  In sum, Mr. Carr was not actually all that much of a Carrboro kind of guy.

Down-Ballot '08

I am sure you have all sorted out the Presidential race already, but there are lots of other races on the ballot this year.  About half of them are partisan (ie Dems vs. Reps), but quite a few are not.  Let's take a look at the non-partisan races...

The Merritt Railroad Crossing

I imagine many OP readers have heard about area residents who are concerned about the new fence blocking access between Estes Park Apartments in Carrboro and Village West Townhouses in Chapel Hill.  The management of Estes Park erected a fence and gate which is padlocked.  The fence is 8' tall with three strands of barbed wire at the top.  It blocks a traditional connection between the two neighborhoods and by extension connections from each neighborhood to downtown Carrboro and Chapel Hill.

An Expensive Democracy?

North Carolina law says that you win in a primary election if you take down more votes than your opponents, but you must have at least 40% in order to avoid a run-off between the top two finishers.  Last week the first place finisher in the Orange County Commissioner - District 2 race, Steve Yuhasz came up short of the 40% threshold, so runner-up Leo Allison requested to proceed with a run-off.

The News and Observer reports that Yuhasz feels 37% of the vote ought to be good enough to walk away with the nomination :

"I find it unfortunate that Mr. Allison has chosen to reject the clear result of the largest primary turnout in Orange County history," Steve Yuhasz wrote in a news release. Yuhasz also said the new election would be expensive for the county.

Meanwhile Yuhasz's opponent Allison responded:

"I understand Mr. Yuhasz wants to go ahead and have a free ride, but I don't think it's fair to the voters to have only 37 percent of them pick the candidate for this next seat," Allison said.



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