All posts in category Politics

Playing it safe

It was a dark and stormy night for affordable housing last Monday. At the Oct. 10 Town Council meeting, we had two opportunities to take meaningful steps to increase the supply of affordable housing, and a majority on council squandered them both. Early on in the meeting, a council member put forth a resolution urging […]

Chapel Hill’s Arab Spring?

More than five years ago, a few weeks after the Tunisian Revolution that launched the Arab Spring, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad told The Wall Street Journal: “When there is divergence between your policy and the people’s beliefs and interests, you will have this vacuum that creates disturbance.” I hope we won’t someday look back on […]

Think of the possibilities, then plan

How many times have we heard, usually from people who make money by developing or selling real estate, that affordable housing is not possible in Chapel Hill? That we might as well admit defeat and build only luxury apartments in town, thus forcing out the modestly paid and the middle class? Yet towns similar to […]

The Deciders

Recently I asked the town manager for an organizational flow chart of town staff that would show who was in charge of what. I received 18 pages of charts in response, most of which broke out the hierarchy of positions in each department. The collection led off, however, with a master chart of management levels. […]

Ask the experts

Lead, follow, or get out of the way. When it comes to working on the problem of not enough affordable housing, town and county elected officials would do well to choose Door #3. At the joint board meeting of county commissioners and Town Council members on June 2, county commissioner Bernadette Pelissier suggested forming a […]

Add to pre-vacation to-do list: Vote

Your vote in the June 7 primary for N.C. Supreme Court candidates matters more than you might think. The seven-judge panel at present has four Republicans and three Democrats, and their votes on civil rights and quality-of-life issues have followed party lines. The top-two vote-getters in the June 7 primary will vie for the seat […]

The Woman Card

It didn’t take long, after Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of gaining an advantage in the presidential race by playing the Woman Card, for an editorial to circulate on the Internet delineating the advantages of having a Woman Card — like receiving a 25% discount on your salary and paying 10% more for personal care […]

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 […]