Fighting back for DACA

You are currently browsing comments. If you would like to return to the full story, you can read the full entry here: “Fighting back for DACA”.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Bruce Springsteen

     /  September 18, 2017

    Money meant to run CH should not be spent for any other purpose. It’s exactly that kind of thing that makes people so cynical about politics.

  2. Geoff Green

     /  September 19, 2017

    The councilmember doesn’t much care about the Town being responsible for clearing snow off ts own facilities, much less sidewalks fronting private property.

  3. Nancy

     /  September 19, 2017

    The town is responsible for clearing snow from walkways on property it owns. If I had a choice between spending money to clear sidewalks on private property, which is the responsibility of private property owners, or spending money to help some of undocumented workers who hold some of the low-paying jobs that are hard to fill, I’d spend it on the latter.

  4. Geoff Green

     /  September 20, 2017

    That’s wrong. Most sidewalks are on public property. The sidewalks on both sides of Franklin Street from Merritt Mill beyond S. Columbia to the UNC campus are entirely within the public right-of-way; none of them owned by the adjoining private property owners. The sidewalk in front of my house, which I try to clean after it snows, is also in the public right-of-way.

    The Town spends millions of dollars per year building new sidewalks, and is responsible for repairing existing sidewalks. When I saw a missing sidewalk segment on NC 54 in front of Glen Lennox, I didn’t contact the Glen Lennox property owners, I contacted Town public works, which promptly repaired it.

    The Town has a toothless statute that makes property owners responsible for clearing their own sidewalks only because the Town doesn’t want to pay for the cost of clearing every sidewalk. It’s a policy choice I understand and wish were different, but that’s a choice of the elected officials. However, like all the roads the town owns and dutifully spends thousands of dollars to plow after a snowstorm, the sidewalks are publicly owned and maintained. In light of this, spending $30,000 to clear heavily trafficked publicly-owned sidewalks that many Chapel Hill residents use who depend on walking and transit to get around is perfectly reasonable.

  5. Nancy

     /  September 20, 2017

    Geoff, you and I may have to agree to disagree on this one. In Iowa, where snow stays on the ground for months, it might be reasonable to spend taxpayers’ money on clearing sidewalks (though Iowans’ sense of personal responsibility in general would make it unnecessary). But in Chapel Hill, where snows stays on the ground only a matter of days, I would have other priorities for spending that $30K.

  6. plurimus

     /  September 20, 2017

    How did this conversation get from DACA (who probably will not be deported, but will sadly continue to be pawns in an never ending immigration/border security debate) to shoveling sidewalks?

    This has to be the most obtuse case of thread hijacking I have seen in years.

    To contribute further to the orthogonal, honestly Nancy has a point. For the amount of snow on the sidewalks around here it seems like the 30K could be better spent elsewhere, and further it seems like it would be a neighborly thing to shovel your own sidewalk when the rare occurs.

    Geoff, maybe you could get Go Triangle to kick in from that fat budget they have accumulated through regressive taxation? (Hows that for a double thread hijack?)

  7. Geoff Green

     /  September 20, 2017

    Plurmius, the way this conversation got here seems pretty obvious. Councilmember Oates recommended taking money away from the reserve for winter storm treatment of sidewalks to give to DACA charities. Maybe instead we could reduce money reserved for street plowing?

    For what it’s worth, some of the transit revenue is being used to pay to fill in some missing sidewalk segments in Carrboro and to help fund a study to improve walk and bike access along Estes Drive.

  8. plurimus

     /  September 20, 2017

    Geoff, but then Go Triangle would complain their busses get stuck.

    I really don’t get it. You complain about a lousy 30k or so on trying to right something clearly unjust when GoTriangle is burning 1M per month of regressive taxes collected from sales and car registrations.

    Methinks you’re confused about molehills and mountains. Further, how is your much ballyhooed “density” going to work when no one who shovels sidewalks can afford to live in your expensive developments?

  9. Geoff Green

     /  September 20, 2017

    We share different priorities. No worries.

  10. plurimus

     /  September 20, 2017

    I smell politics. Do you?

  11. Geoff Green

     /  September 20, 2017

    I’m sure money spent on snow removal will be a key campaign issue this fall.

  12. plurimus

     /  September 20, 2017

    You are so prepared with the twitter feed, beating dead horses while hijacking threads, I am certain you will try.

  13. Geoff Green

     /  September 20, 2017

    Not sure you know how twitter works if my tweets continue to bother you.

    Here’s a tip: if you find someone’s tweets annoying, then don’t follow them. You’ll never see them in your timeline unless they are retweeres by a follower. And if you block them, you’ll never see them ever.

    You’ll miss out on my scintillating tweets about sidewalk design, but you’ll survive.

  14. plurimus

     /  September 20, 2017

    Your right. I don’t get it. Can’t block you because I think Twitter is a stain on society meant to communicate with the mob and instagram is for people who can’t or won’t read.

    I agree with banksy: twitter is a communications throwback to last century.

    You have opened my eyes though, perhaps twitter is perfectly appropriate for sidewalk design.

    You are correct, I will survive just fine.

  15. Bruce Springsteen

     /  September 21, 2017

    “You are so prepared with the twitter feed, beating dead horses while hijacking threads, I am certain you will try.”

    I used to be into sadism, necrophilia and bestiality but then I realized I was just beating a dead horse.

    As far as snow removal goes, if the forecast says it’s not going to melt for awhile then maybe clean it up but what I hate is when the forecast says nature will make the snow go away quickly and we pay to have the snow removed anyway. I don’t really know who “we” is there but I know that in the development where I live we all paid $200 each to remove the snow last winter when it would have mostly been gone one day later if we did nothing.

  16. Geoff Green

     /  September 21, 2017


    Bruce: a big issue is that when streets are plowed, the snow is often piled up on curb cuts. Sidewalks that would’ve been clear in a day or two are thus blocked for a week or more.

  17. plurimus

     /  September 21, 2017


    Bruce, Right you are. Snow removal around here is a non issue except in extremely rare circumstances. Paying for removal seems like a waste of money. In the extremely rare event of measurable snow, plow operators who pile snow in handicapped spaces, bike lanes or curb cuts should be billed by the City for cleanup.

    Who would have guessed that Geoff’s shares his malady with a notable such as Leonardo DiCaprio? (try fitting this into 140 characters)

    Obsession: Sidewalks
    The “Titanic” actor once played another famous sufferer of OCD, Howard Hughes. In fact, while playing the role, DiCaprio’s got back in touch with his own childhood obsession: sidewalks.
    “I remember as a child, stepping on cracks on the way to school and having to walk back a block and step on that same crack or that gum stain,” DiCaprio told at the time the Hughes biopic “The Aviator” was released.
    “Let’s just say it took me a while to get to set, having to step on tons of things,” he said, laughing.

  18. Nancy

     /  September 21, 2017

    Clearing curb cuts after the plows go through, that I can support.

  19. plurimus

     /  September 21, 2017

    Yay! The internet was useful today.

  20. Terri

     /  September 21, 2017

    I agree with Geoff. The town council has made walkability and bikeability a priority for more than a decade. Since the town attorneys for both Carrboro and Chapel Hill have stated that residents cannot be required to clean off the sidewalks in front of their property, it becomes the towns responsibility. The snow plows push everything from the roadways into the bike lanes and curbs blocking those of us who rely on them for daily transport. Perhaps the council could shift some of the effort/funds for road clearing in areas like Northwood where there aren’t that many cars to the more highly trafficked sidewalks/bikelanes in town and still have some funds to contribute to DACA efforts.

  21. David

     /  September 22, 2017

    Sorry to continue the hijacking, but one of the reasons we have this conflict over how to deal with the snow is our insistence on carrying on business as usual despite weather events that make getting around both difficult and dangerous. It wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s, snowfalls in Chapel Hill were more frequent—i.e. there were at least a few every winter—but, as now, the snow didn’t last long, a few days at most. My recollection is that the Town didn’t clear the streets. Cars and busses remained parked until the snow melted, and those who couldn’t get to work on foot just stayed home. It was a less busy time.

    The next time a blizzard hits Chapel Hill, perhaps the wisest and least costly course of action is simply to do nothing.

    “The Snow Gods reserve special contempt for those who don’t respect their ability to bring human activity to a standstill. The snow cares not for your deadlines, your happy hour plans, your scheduled C-section. It wants only to fall on the ground and lie there. And it wants you to, too.

    “Needless to say, you should. You submit. Surrender. Hunker down. A snowstorm rewards indolence and punishes the go-getters, which is only one of the many reasons it’s the best natural disaster there is.”

  22. Geoff Green

     /  September 22, 2017

    David, I would love to be able to hang out at home after a snow storm. And, thanks to my job, I can work from home, so I can often deal with the multiple days off from school and the slippery conditions outside. However, folks who work an hourly job don’t have that luxury. Nor do people who need to be onsite to do their jobs, like the people at UNC Hospital. For them especially, the failure to clear walkways is dangerous, since they are effectively required to take transit (or walk or bike) to get to work. Making people who take the bus to get to work climb through slush or over a pile of snow is not right.

  23. David

     /  September 22, 2017


    I fully agree that it’s not right to make people who take the bus to get to work climb through slush or over a pile of snow. But in my comment above I suggested that one way to address this problem is to simply stop expecting people to go to work during adverse weather events.

    Chapel Hill had a hospital and hourly employees in the 1970s and telecommuting wasn’t an option; everyone was on on-site worker. But when it snowed and the roads were treacherous, those who were not walking distance to their jobs, including doctors, custodians, teachers and technicians, stayed home. It wasn’t a luxury, it was an accommodation to the reality that the town didn’t have the means to clear the roads. And there was no reason for most people to go to work anyway, because most of your patients, students, colleagues and customers were snowed in just like you.

    It’s hard in our hyper-connected, always-on contemporary work culture to imagine that the whole town basically shut down for a few days because of a snowstorm, but that’s how it was.

  24. Terri

     /  September 22, 2017

    David, there have been major changes since the 1970s. If a new shift of nurses/doctors don’t come in because of weather, the earlier shift has to stay over. That was acceptable in the 70s but now we know its not safe and there are strict limits on how many hours someone can work. And with the expansion of the health care system, a shift changes involves a lot of staff.

    Plus the cost of living has increased so much that state workers who don’t have the luxury of working from home (like the housekeepers, HVAC, plumbers, etc.) can’t afford to miss work as would be required by state HR policy.

    Working from home is a luxury.

  25. plurimus

     /  September 23, 2017

    Back in the early 1980s (my wife is a nurse), non-essential services stayed closed while people volunteered to ferry essential workers back & forth to work. We had 4-wheel drive, so I was one who helped.

    Back to Nancy’s point; we can get through these minor events together by helping each other and adjusting our routines. Pointing at government to solve all of our inconveniences is bound to disappoint.