All posts for the month April, 2010

Readers deserve better

I always hate to see a journalist embarrass himself, but Jesse DeConto has done it again. That’s how I figure it after reading his piece on the Orange County sheriff race in The Chapel Hill News. He seems to be having a bad journalism year, which began with the Chapel Hill election campaign last fall. […]

A more costly census

Next week I will begin training to be a U.S. Census enumerator. Yes, I will be one of those folks who go from dwelling to dwelling to gather information to complete the decannual count. The Census expects to hire 870,000 temporary workers such as myself to go around and knock on doors – as many […]

Keeping tabs on the neighbors

Two neighborhoods in Chapel Hill are proceeding with Neighborhood Conservation District applications. The town has six NCDs already and has spent tens of thousands of dollars on consultants to help with the process. So who’s in charge of making sure that land owners in and residents of NCDs comply with the ordinance? Nobody. That was […]

Moving meetings along

Council members Laurin Easthom and Penny Rich were chatting at the snack table in council chambers Monday night when, at 7 p.m. sharp, Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt shooed them to their seats. “We want to end on time tonight,” he said, making a veiled reference to a petition Easthom put on the agenda. With two council […]

What we can do without

In a comment to my post “Keep the taxman busy” from Thursday, Terri Buckner asked what I would give up in county services. That got me to thinking, which often gets me into trouble. But I came up with a number of items from the fiscal 2010 budget that I believe could be trimmed or […]

Salty language

More than 35 years after women marched around with “Government: Get your hands off my body” signs, I may have to print up a new batch. In the early 1970s, the signs were to stand up for a newly pregnant woman’s right to choose what to do with her body. We won that fight. On […]

Keep the taxman busy

Got a little card in the mail from the Orange County tax office yesterday. The card was one of those fold-here-tear-here-do-it-in-this-order constructions that are so evocative of governments everywhere. The card was to tell me that my request to have the assessed value of my property lowered had been denied. I applied for the reduction […]


It’s hard enough to make council members happy with a new development project, even more so as the clock moves toward midnight on a night that council members already had listened for more than three hours to impassioned citizens making their cases for or against urban archery, followed by an hour and a half of […]

A tick’s best friend

This town council is a tick’s best friend. That became apparent Monday night during a public hearing on whether the town should approve an urban deer hunt. Despite information from the manager of Duke Forest about the explosion of the deer population there and efforts to control it, the disastrous environmental effects of an out-of-control […]


First on the agenda at tonight’s public forum is the topic of urban archery. We don’t know which way the council is leaning, with the exception of Sally “No-way-no-how” Greene, but in the interim, we have some ideas to try that may work to keep deer out of your garden.  Deer repellant spray: A […]