All posts in category Council Members

Happier New Year

We started a new tradition this New Year’s Eve – we wrote all the bad things that happened in 2017 on little slips of paper, then tossed them into the fireplace. It was not as big of a bonfire as I expected, given the national politics and ripples into global and state affairs. And it […]

Lessons of War

Sometimes you can find words to live by where you least expect it. In a war movie I saw recently, a SEAL unit came under fire. “I’ve been shot!” one SEAL cried, whereupon his ranking officer replied: “That’s in the past. Don’t live in the past. Let’s move.” Stay with me here for what that […]

The View From Here

After I was elected in 2015, I asked to occupy the seat on the dais once held by former Council Member Matt Czajkowski. I had long admired his intellect and insight. He was able to perceive unintended consequences in council decisions that eluded his colleagues on the dais. But his trenchant observations often brought out […]

Park, Housing: Not an Either-Or

In 2003, as a taxpayer I voted against spending more than $16 million to expand and renovate the Chapel Hill Public Library. The town had a small but functional library, surrounded by the woods and trails of Pritchard Park, and while the demand would only grow as the town grew, it seemed to me we […]

Growth on what conditions

For 10 years before becoming Chapel Hill’s planning director, Ben Hitchings held the comparable role in Morrisville. There, he used a process called “conditional zoning” to develop and redevelop parcels to spur growth. At council’s Nov. 15 meeting, we heard a staff proposal to add conditional zoning to our Land Use Management Ordinance. CZ makes […]

A win for Chapel Hill

Who won last Tuesday’s municipal elections? The residents of Chapel Hill did. Chapel Hill voters elected four newcomers to the four Town Council seats. (Mayor Pam Hemminger, whose only opponent was a write-in candidate, won re-election.) The council members-elect are younger than the incumbents they are succeeding, and for the most part, seem less entrenched […]

Sitting on the Historic District Commission

In an interview aired on National Public Radio recently, Magazine Editor Hall-of-Famer Tina Brown described her desk-on-a-treadmill, noting, “Sitting is the new smoking.” That shot a little dart of fear in my heart, because my role as a Town Council member requires me to sit a lot. Council meetings, work sessions, committees, task forces and […]

Economics of affordability

A council member told of going to dinner at a new restaurant in town and having to wait a half-hour for a table. Initially, he took that as a good sign of how well the new business was faring. But once he was seated, he noticed that several tables had been removed since the last […]

Fighting back for DACA

Donald Trump seems to delight in causing chaos, regardless of the consequences. Like a toddler in the throes of a temper-tantrum, breaking everything he can get his little hands on, Trump gets attention through the disruption he creates. And Congress, the only authority figure that can put him in time out, instead stands to the […]

Season Premiere

Some of the candidates for Town Council attended our season opener on Wednesday. I hope those who stayed through the development agreement discussion do not rue their decision to run. The Sept. 6 council meeting gave candidates an accurate picture of some of the tortuous discussions we get ourselves into. Council is beta testing holding […]