All posts in category Ethics

Playing the game: basketball and politics

Town Council members caught some flack last year when we approved the 2016-17 meeting schedule and moved our first regular Monday night meeting in April to the first Wednesday. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Final would be held that Monday, and if UNC were to play in it, many of us would want to watch. “You […]

Raising children or the flag?

Whether the Confederate flag symbolizes racial oppression or Southern pride may hinge on the difference between desegregation and integration. A group of parents has asked the Orange County Board of Education to ban images of the Confederate flag, calling it a racially inflammatory symbol that disrupts learning. So far, the board has remained as silent […]

I have a dream; do you?

Chapel Hill’s town manager Roger Stancil nailed it in his remarks at the close of the town employees’ celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The event took place at Hargraves Center just before lunch last Friday. The program included a dramatic re-enactment of Rosa Park’s story, starring Myra Evans of Parking Services; a musical […]

Free access or free money?

I’ve never been one to turn down free money, so when Chapel Hill Public Library director Susan Brown proposed changing the library’s Internet policy to block access to certain sites in exchange for becoming eligible for spending federal grants on technology, the tradeoff seemed reasonable. But she took ill the day she was to present […]

How we can win

Heaven help us, we have elected a hatemonger as our next president. The day before the election, I accompanied some foreign journalists, many of them from the Asia Pacific, to a Donald Trump rally in Raleigh. It felt like we were on a movie set for a gladiator film. With lies and innuendo, Trump kept […]

#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 […]

Crossing over

Come Wednesday, I will cross over, moving from the spectator side of the council dais to Participant Row. And that means Chapel Hill Watch must undergo a metamorphosis of its own. No longer will I be able to critique content after the fact. If I disagree with a colleague or hear a council member behaving […]

Getting to No*

Town Council doesn’t have the option of remaining silent in uncomfortable situations. Sometimes saying “no” can be extraordinarily difficult, far harder than not saying “yes.” Saying “no” can be more difficult still when you have a relationship or connection with the other party. What are the expectations? The personal responsibility? The implied agreement? What are […]

We need a hero

It looks like the UNC Board of Governors may be celebrating Black History Month by closing down UNC’s Center for Poverty, Work and Opportunity. The 27% of blacks in North Carolina who live below the poverty line is more than twice the 12% of poverty-stricken whites in our state, which makes the timing of the […]