All posts in category Council Members

Horsetrading at the Council Corral

Two weeks ago, Chapel Hill hired a new planning director, Ben Hitchings, who came to the April 11 Town Council meeting. Much to my surprise, he did not resign immediately; in fact, he participated in our work session two days later. That says he’s a man undaunted by challenges. In a nutshell — we embarrassed […]

#WeAreNotThisEither

Years ago, Chapel Hill adopted a campaign contribution policy to encourage voter-owned elections and make it harder for donors to “buy” elections. Individual campaign donations were limited to $336, a sharp contrast to the $5,100 limit for county commissioner, U.S. president and other partisan elections. Given the recent news about campaign finances of council member […]

HB-2 & You & Me & Us & Them

I wish our state lawmakers would do something useful like pass legislation to quell the sex life of trees. My allergies tell me pollen season has started with a vengeance. Instead, the N.C. General Assembly that wants to see a driver’s license before you vote, now wants to see a birth certificate before you use […]

No right-on-red is wrong

Once in a while, an unpleasant experience turns out to be a gift. Such was an evening rush hour recently when I sat in traffic on Estes Drive, heading west from Franklin Street to turn right on MLK Jr. Boulevard. Traffic had backed up almost to the library, giving me time not only to come […]

Money, money, money

How to spend money wreaks havoc on many a marriage. As Town Council, with its four new members, begins the budgeting process this year, I wonder how our new council relationships will fare. The town’s financial director, Ken Pennoyer, will give a presentation at Monday night’s meeting that involves shifting some unexpected leftover money to […]

Council retreat

I suppose I’d be opening up fresh wounds if I proposed that before people weigh in on the icy sidewalk problem they first go see The Martian. The movie captures one of my core philosophies of life: the notion of chipping away. In the face of futility, continue to live your life. Stay true to […]

What we do best

Decades ago, a running coach told me, “The only way to run faster is to run faster.” Pre-empting Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan by nearly a generation, the coach’s advice has proved useful in all sorts of situations in my life. Now it appears I can apply it to Town Council work. The town has […]

New beginnings

New year, new mayor, new council. New ideas, new dynamics, new proposals. With all of these new beginnings, Town Council will evaluate new development applications. Chapel Hill has only a handful of large parcels of land that would be suitable for the high-revenue commercial space we need to shift the property tax burden homeowners bear. […]

Excluding Inclusionary Zoning?

Since when did affordable housing mean homes for people who earn 100% of the Area Median Income? Chapel Hill passed the Inclusioinary Zoning Ordinance in 2010 that 15% of all new for-sale housing units built must be affordable to people earning no more than 80% or 65% of the AMI (the affordable units split evenly […]

Festive Council

I took a different tack this year in creating a Christmas lights tour. Rather than driving through town randomly searching for yards that glow, I visited the neighborhoods of Town Council members to gauge holiday spirit. First, where not to go: Morgan Creek. Though Sally Greene’s house had a dash of red, the streets are […]