In a spins-for-grins accident, the Oscar Mayer tube steak mobile careened off US Route 15 highway outside Mansfield, Pennsylvania on 10 February 2008. No rolls were involved but the grill was damaged. The rest of the vehicle was none the wurst for wear.
In news to relish, the carbon loading representative for wieners will be ready to roll into Carrboro come “”Carrboro Wiener Dog Day”” in October. (SeeN&O Carrboro Wiener Dog Day Story.) On the plate will be the title of “biggest wiener”.
Although Carrboro is known to be full of little wieners on just about any day, that day should pack enough of them into Carrboro to take on the big dog, all 27 feet of it should the Carrboro Boa have the moxie to invite the big dog.
Chapelboro prides itself on the performance of students at its high schools. In a positive feedback loop, schools where students perform well attract more students that perform well. “Good schools” mean higher housing prices, ergo more profits for the real estate industry, the third industry after UNC and city schools in southern Orange. The school system has even gone so far as to cooperate in the production of a video for real estate interests.
So imagine the chagrin when the Chapel Hill High (CHH) Principal had to report to parents that CHH students had obtained a master key to the CHH campus. Being bright students going to the nation’s finest collegiate institutions, they passed the key down from class to class, creating a legacy of cleverness. These master keys were used to rifle through teachers‘ desks and to obtain copies of tests and answer keys.
The next generation of entrepreneurs even sold these answer keys using the latest generation of wireless communication devices. In Chapelboro, cell phones can be used for scholastic profiteering, as well as closing drug deals and getting internet access under the new city school social justice program.
No word on whether realtors will be updating their promotional material to reflect the latest accomplishments of Chapelboro students.
No word on how “up close and personal” some of the entrepeneurial, scholastically enhanced students were to the teachers of the answer keys that were “borrowed”.
No word on who got immunity and who didn't.
In related business news, shares of Societe Bic rose slightly in heavy trading.
Where but deep down the “rabbit hole” of southern Orange politics can you have the local media present two articles with two conflicting viewpoints on the same day in the same media outlet with no questions asked?
In an article on the problems facing city schools, the Chapel Hill Herald quotes Steve Scroggs, assistant superintendent for support services and director of the district's long-range facilities committee, on the impact of continued growth in southern Orange on the city schools. ”We don't project our growth stopping – we're not at a plateau, We're really driving the numbers up as we [the towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro] increase our density.” (SeeCHH City School Growth Story.)
Oblivious to these true statements of reality, along hops the ambilingual (see Phictionary) white rabbit of southern Orange, dense developer, bourgeoisie mill house rentier (see Phictionary), and black bag campaign poster expert, Carrboro mayor Mark Chilton, a mayor who gladly approves dense infill developments for his employees.
Mr. Chilton doesn’t see the world the way Mr. Scroggs does. He chides other Triangle governments about their growth. (Perhaps Mr. Chilton’s knowledge is imperfect because he doesn’t send his children to city schools. In a climate change conscious decision, they commute miles away to private school, instead of walking to the elementary school literally across the street.)
According to developer Chilton, the state government should ”take Jordan Lake off the table” unless other governments adopt “Keep It Weird” Carrboro land use policies. Mayor Chilton says “And until our neighbors are exercising the kind of self-restraint that Orange County has been pursuing – and doing so in a legally binding way through joint planning agreements – it doesn't seem wise to me to give those local governments still more access to drinking water, If we're going to pay millions and millions of dollars to pull water out of there, and what we're doing is continuing [to grow as] we've always done, and getting to the point where even that isn't enough, what's the point?”
There’s only one problem with this white rabbit story. Carrboro is pushing to increase its density, to build more homes in the land it set aside for growth. There’s nothing in its joint planning agreement that stops Carrboro from infilling to Manhattan densities. (See Carnahan Story.)
During the fall 2007 municipal election, all non-incumbent Carrboro candidates (excepting Ms. Lydia Lavelle) pointed out that a moratorium was imposed by the sitting Boa (including Mr. Chilton) for the specific purpose of increasing density in Carrboro. In a forthright display of Orange progressive logic, Mr. Chilton said that he would propose decreasing density west of old NC 86, so as to yield the same number of residents as were currently zoned prior to the moratorium. The declared “decrease in density” was a bone thrown to behind-the-scenes drafter of many Carrboro town zoning ordinances, treasurer of vehicular weapons expert Alderman Coleman’s campaign, former Alderman, Orange County planning board member , commish in his mind, and friend of his back yard (see Phictionary), Jay Bryan, who lives west of old NC 86 in Carrboro’s dreaded planning jurisdiction).
Only one problem, Mayor Chilton isn’t willing to sign his legislative legerdemain into law. When questioned on whether or not the western decrease would be permanent, Mr. Chilton admitted that it would just be until the area east of old NC 86 was built at the new highly increased density, than the area west of old NC 86 would suffer the same dense fate. So in the end, Carrboro will grow more after Mr. Chilton’s moratorium then before it. In keeping with his demonstrated propensities, Mr. Chilton is incapable of telling a complete and accurate story. He just wants to feed Carrburban heads with what they want to hear.
Local media reports none of this information, preferring to play the recumbent role of dutiful stenographer. The mayor who has increased population in the face of an exceptional drought, the second such drought in a decade, a mayor who asks people to adopt a semi-arid lifestyle in Carrboro, local media portrays that mayor as a force curbing development. Local media truly are blue pill swallowers, as well as dispensers.
No word of thanks from Mayor Chilton on how Durham stood ready to bail out Carrboro for Carrboro’s emergency water needs during the 2001-2002 drought by pumping 3 million gallons of water per day from Cary through the city's system to OWASA when OWASA's lakes fell to 32 percent full on 11 October 2002.
No word from the city of Durham on when it will proclaim “Mayor Chilton Ingrate Day”.
No word from local media as to why no mention is made of Mr. Chilton’s town needing (through OWASA) to build another deep waterhole (the future Rock Quarry reservoir, about the size of University Lake) in order to feed the profits of Mr. Chilton.
No word from Mr. Bryan explaining why he opposed the village mixed use dense development at Winmore in 2003, but now supports three additional village mixed use dense developments in northern Carrboro.
No word from Mr. Chilton on what property interests he has in the area being rezoned.
In related business news, stock of Del Monte Foods, owner of the Milk Bone brand, and Proctor & Gamble, owner of the Charmin brand, both traded slightly higher last week in regular trading.
See CHH Mayoral Propaganda Story.
Orange Methodist Church on Historic Airport Road (MLK Blvd.) in Chapel Hill has been the site of religious worship for over 180 years. As its congregation has expanded, its facilities have grown as well. Now church elders want to build a 57,000-square-foot addition and 188 extra parking spaces on the 16-acre site.
Not wishing to be surpassed by the usufructing (see Phictionary) movement in ”Keep It Weird” Carrboro, the Chapel Hill Planning Board has requested that the town council “encourage” the church to consider a publicly available park-and-ride facility at the site. According to the Planning Board turning the church parking lot into a park-and-ride would help the town meet its goal of increasing bus ridership, as well as mitigating traffic from Carolina North. But then, according to this Planning Board, there should be fewer public parking spaces at Carolina North (less than one mile closer in to the Chapel Hill historic business district) when it’s built.
Usufructers must wait until the March 17 meeting to see if they get private land for public parking spaces.
No word on whether or not the lack of parking and traffic issues will limit the development of Carolina North instead of local churches.
No word on whether or not the Town Council will solve the problem of downtown parking lots that remain unused before muscling a church for free town parking.
No word on which churches Planning Board members attend that only use parking lots on Sundays.
No word on where church members are supposed to park for the daily activities of daycare, bible studies, youth groups, community meetings, ESL classes, funerals …
SeeOrange Methodist Church.
SeeN&O Town Council Story.
Like an obedient lap dog with its master, a prime skill for the local media is to “roll with it baby”.
An excellent example can be found in how the local media is covering the commishes (See Phictionary) decision to select a transfer tax only on the May 2008 ballot (instead of offering a ballot containing both the sales tax and the transfer tax as a “popularity contest”” on the November 2008 ballot). (See Hot Orange Story.)
The commishes have slobbered effusively for years over getting their hands on a local transfer tax, a tax biased against homeowners and favoring landlords aka “bourgeoise rentiers” (See Phictionary). (Rental units changing occupants will not be taxed, unlike houses sold). The poll conducted by Herzog for the commishes found that if those polled HAD to choose between a sales tax and a transfer tax because one or the other must be imposed, voters polled would prefer a sales tax (47%) over a transfer tax (42%)(as reported by the county in its documents). Moreover, the poll reveals that far more people oppose a transfer tax (53%) versus a sales tax (32%).
On this news item, rolling over for the commishes presents a problem. How do you avoid reporting the selection of a second voter choice (local transfer tax) over a first voter choice (local sales tax)? The solution is simple. Just report that there's no second choice. There’s merely a dead heat within the margin of error (4%). The stenographers say what they’re told by the best pollster your money can buy, at four times the cost of another unsolicited local pollster.
No question is asked by the stenographers as to whether or not 47% minus 42% is 5%, a number which falls outside the “margin of error” bucket and into the “statistically significant” bucket. More importantly, no question is asked as to the significance of the negative feeling against a local transfer tax (53% oppose) versus that for a local sales tax (32%).
No question is asked of the commishes why the less attended May 2008 primary election is being used to evidence voter intent, as opposed to the better attended November 2008 general election, an election in which significantly more people will vote for the next president of the United States.
No word on whether or not the UNC School of Journalism will accept a large grant to change its name to the “School of Obedience”.
In related business news, stock of Del Monte Foods, owner of the Milk Bone brand, rose in light trading.
See Carrboro Citizen Tax Survey Story.)
Available athletic fields are at a premium in southern Orange, particularly in Carrboro. Choo-choo line cutter, vehicular weapons expert, political anarchist, apology challenged perp, and anger management specialist Alderman Dan Coleman hit a Carrboro High track event volunteer with his car while she was directing traffic in Anderson Park last summer, and while he was dealing with the weighty public issue of getting his son to T-ball practice. (See Coleman's Crazy Call.) That’s acceptable conduct for a politician in Carrboro. Alderman Coleman received the endorsement of every sitting politician currently in the Boa (Phictionary).
Two soccer fields at Smith Middle are in such bad shape, that calling them athletic fields is possible only in “facts optional” Carrboro. Unfortunately, these fields fall within the Boa zoning purview. The commishes (Phictionary) proposed that the town of Carrboro help out on the field resurfacing costs (about $1,6000,000 plus) by waiving the town parks & recreation field reservation fees for those user groups contributing towards the resurfacing costs, waiving the town permit fees, and/or waiving the town engineering fees associated with the resurfacing.
Showing its infinitely progressive wisdom and its deep concern for Carrburbans who wish to use a field outside the driving habits of Alderman Coleman, the Boa told the commishes to pound sand, claiming that the commishes (not the city schools that own the fields) should have invested in improvements there a long time ago.
Serial political state job holder, Carrboro beaconeer, and somnambulant public meeting guru, Alderman Joel Hall Broun is quoted as saying ”I think [the cost of resurfacing] should just go back [to the commishes]. We don't have the money.”
No word on when Alderman Broun will figure out that she spent town resurfacing moneys for her political friends at 300 Main Street on the backyard KFC parking lot (See Residential Taxpayers Subsidizing Developer Parking, An Emerging Carrboro Value).
No word on whether or not the commishes will resurface the fields, then have the city schools turn around and charge the town of Carrboro for making the fields available to the public.
No word on whether or not the soccer fields will be converted into Carrboro park-and-ride lots for van pooling aldermen like Alderman Haven O’Donnell and those Carrburbans wishing to avoid the path of Alderman Coleman.
See N&O Dust Bowl Story.
Self-proclaimed long-time local activist, Hillsborough resident, former OWASA director, former county planning board member, former chair of the local developers’ rights support group (the local Sierra Club, see Phictionary), former Federal Bureau of Prison employee, and AWOL environmental injustice activist, Bernadette Pelissier, files for commish (see Phictionary) position.
Ms. Pelissier humbly announces “I’ve been involved in issues that span every corner of Orange County, so running for [commish] just makes sense for me.”
No word on Ms. Pelissier’s stance on the environmental injustice USDOJ/EPA complaint filed against all local governments (Orange County, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro).
No word on Ms. Pelissier taking responsibility for the current retail leakage in Orange County sales taxes, taking responsibility for the Rogers Road Eubanks neighborhood environmental injustice, taking responsibility for the development straining local water resources, taking responsibility for… pretty much anything while being involved in ”every corner of the county”.
In an amazing display of political legerdemain, the commishes (Orange County commissioners) revealed their compassionate and caring electorate listening skills. After paying $10,000 for telephone interviews of 400 people ($25 per person) in a scientific survey of voter attitudes on imposing a local county sales tax or a local transfer tax, the commishes decide to do what they wanted to do all along, put just a new local transfer tax on the ballot in May 2008. See County Commishes Issue Gangsta Warning - Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later.
The survey started by asking about a sales tax without identifying the option of a local sales transfer tax instead. The question also stated orally that the sales tax “COULD keep property taxes below what they would be otherwise”, offering confusing hope to some that property taxes would go down.
About half (50%) of the people polled were said to support or lean to a local sales tax with about one-third (32%) opposed or leaning to oppose and one-sixth (17%) undecided. Over 51% of those saying “No” said taxes were already too high.
About one-third (33%) of the people polled were said to support or lean to a local transfer tax with about half (53%) opposed or leaning to oppose and one sixth (14%) undecided. Only 28% of those saying “No” said taxes were already too high.
After asking the questions individually, then the survey asked the question of selecting only one of the two options. Sales tax edged out land transfer tax if those polled HAD to choose one, (47% to 42%).
See Survey Results.
See N&O Taxing Story.
Residential taxpayers find no shelter from the relentless Carrboro Boa facilitation of developers’ profits in “Keep It Weird” Carrboro. Local media “watchdogs” snore on.
Parking has been a mess in “Chapelboro” for years (See Poet Lariat - You Look for Parking All Night Long.) So why, all of the sudden, is the Boa anxious to get its coils around the “parking problem”? Supposedly this problem didn’t exist in the 2007 Carrboro municipal election, at least for every Carrboro candidate that won election. Why is parking in “walkable” Carrboro suddenly an emerging value? From whence does the groundswell come?
For answers, it’s like Watergate, just follow the money trail. Developer Boa friends are getting ready to break ground for the 300 Main Street project and the Alberta project. Cheek-to-jowl parking in Carrboro will become bunghole parking with the loss of spaces during construction of these projects. What’s more, the Boa has decreased, not increased, the number and the size of parking spaces (particularly publicly accessible spaces) that these projects must provide at the expense of the developer, on their sites.
In a more hum-drum town, the governance board might require a developer in a prime urban location, one in the heart of the commercial district, to provide adequate parking (private and public) in order to get a project approved. You make the demand. You service the demand. These not-so-cool governance boards might even require such a developer to purchase and to build parking off site from their project if there weren’t enough on-site parking spaces.
However, governance doesn’t work that way in Carrboro, where your tax money keeps Boa friends smiling. In Carrboro, it appears that a developer can even get the town to line them up a staging area for their construction project. There is no visible plan for construction staging for the substantial multi-story 300 Main Street project. Where will the project construction workers park? Where will materials be dropped off? Where will structural steel reside pending erection?
To the rescue comes Carrboro “Developer Service Department” co-manager and “anemic economic development” director, Mr. James Harris. He has told the Boa at its 12 February 2008 work session about “a potential new parking lot behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken where Rosemary and East Main streets meet”. The Boa eyes have been transfixed at the glowing image of 26 more diminutive parking spaces for their developer friends, at no cost to their friends. (That’s 26 newly downsized parking spaces thanks to Boa code changes reducing the area of a parking space.)
In keeping with the Carrboro town staff tradition of under-informing the public, Mr. Harris has said that these spaces would cost you about $100,000 to $200,000. However, that’s just for stormwater management. He adds that the site is in such bad condition that it can't be used as a parking lot now. Mr. Harris fails to give you the full bill for turning this “bad lot” into a real parking lot, albeit one hidden behind a fast food restaurant.
Veteran taxpayers feel the Boa squeeze coming. They remember the Hanna Street sidewalk.
When the Boa approved the Pacifica project submitted by their local developer friends, and in some cases, by their employees, the Hanna Street sidewalk improvements required by that project were only supposed to cost about $100,000, with half that cost ($50,000) being borne by the Pacifica developers. But in Carrboro, there are estimates for media consumption, estimates for Boa approval, and there is reality. The twain rarely meet.
The town manager (Mr. Steve Stewart) never has reported the entire final cost of the Hanna sidewalk (over at least $250,000) to the public. That butcher’s bill probably won’t include the time value of Carrboro Public Works personnel working on the project in addition to the payments to a private contractor. Moreover, Mr. Stewart hasn’t reported publicly whether or not that the Pacifica developers (one of who is an employee of dense developer, bourgeoisie mill house rentier, and Carrboro mayor, Mark Chilton) have actually presented the town with a check for half of the entire cost (now much more than $50,000), as promised and provided in the original Boa approvals for Pacifica.
This Harris proposed, just off Main Street town parking lot will be purchased at your expense with your tax dollars. But the lot isn’t ready for use by you now. Serendipitously, it just happens to sit across the street from the 300 Main Street project. So it stands ready to be used in the interim by the 300 Main Street developers as a staging area for their construction. It will stand ready after completion, through your tax subsidies, to serve the owners of 300 Main Street.
It’s only natural. To the Boa, it’s only logical to let Boa friendly developer use an otherwise idle piece of land. Friends helping friends. Your taxes at work in Carrboro.
Speaking ambilingually (out of both sides of his mouth), Mayor Chilton wants the 300 Main Street and Alberta projects to collaborate with the town for free parking, without acknowledging that the Boa has reduced the parking spaces in town while approving these projects.
Mayor Chilton will take money from you to invest in more downtown parking spaces for his developer friends. He expects you to pick up part of the burden for parking in the historic business district. He doesn’t expect his developer friends to shoulder the entire burden, although they get the entire profit. He will not be handing you a return on your investment in the foreseeable future. A tax-exempt business expert, Mayor Chilton is quoted as saying that ”[Taxpayer subsidized parking for business and commercial/retail property owners] is about economic vitality as well as how [Boa developer friends will] bring in more businesses.”
Speaking in political tongues, Mayor Chilton is reported to say that Carrboro shouldn’t have as much free parking as Chapel Hill's downtown ”because that helps Carrboro stay competitive in terms of downtowns.”
Private school teacher, “friend of her back yard”, intuitive for-profit business expert, and Carrboro alderman, Randee Haven-O'Donnell revealed her deep concern for the lifestyle stresses of Carrboro’s struggling low wage employees by suggesting that they shouldn’t be able to park a car near their place of employment. If you work in Carrboro (and aren’t an owner or Boa friend), then you should ride in a van pool from park-and-ride lots to the six short-block long Carrboro “downtown”.
No word on the timing for transitioning the “developing” off Main Street town parking lot from a developer construction staging area into a town parking lot for the 300 Main Street owners.
No word on whether or not Alderman Haven O’Donnell will start riding in a van pool either to Boa meetings or to her employment.
No word from any alderman as to why business and property owners in the historic business district, those who reap the profits from that district, aren’t taxed with a business district tax to provide the solution to the parking problems they create.
See N&O Parking Discussion.
Even gangstas know, sooner or later you have to pay the piper.
First the commishes (aka county commissioners) pulled back on school maintenance for existing school buildings in order to pay for new sewer lines for developer friends. Next, they pulled back on soccer fields where people live to pay for fields in the middle of nowhere, but nearby where their developer friends want people to live. Now, after pimping out new county office digs with friendly landlords and home-grown bling, the commishes have got to reach deeper into your pockets.
The trouble is the commishes don’t want to admit that their financial generosity has led to an increase in your county property (ad valorem) tax rate. And the state legislature isn’t playing along. If the commishes want to impose a local county sales tax rate increase and/or a brand-spankin’ new local county transfer tax, they have to get your permission in a referendum.
So the commishes “commished” a telephone poll to feel out voter sentiment (see Survey Says…), a poll conducted, at least in part, before the commishes met this week. The preliminary data mining of the poll results mustn’t have been good, because the commishes issued a “gangsta warning” in their 12 February 2008 meeting – they will raise property taxes or stop county construction projects if they don’t get those taxes from you.
State Senate candidate, retired, tax-exempt publicly funded organization executive, real estate investor, solid waste site expert, school merger advocate, and county commissioner Moses Carey is quoted as saying ”People understand 'Pay me now or pay me later' ”. Mr. Carey maintains Sphinx-like silence in informing you that the proposed county taxes are a financial band-aid. He neglects to tell you that the county land development system transfers part of municipal service costs from new residential construction onto existing residents through increased property taxes. The system allows local developers to escape the true cost of the demand for municipal services created by their profiteering.
In a move to get the new tax gold, former travel agent, former pool supply salesman, former state lobbyist, former Carrboro mayor, former school merger advocate, current county/city school “equity” advocate, false rhetoric expert, swastika art connoisseur, and county commissioner Mike Nelson shows a tremulous bravado saying ”I think we need to say we're going to spend it on the schools”. Mr. Nelson’s turnabout is quite remarkable in view of his often stated position that city schools get too much money in Orange County, the foundation for his continuing efforts over many years to merge the two county school systems.
An accomplished political straddler and self-proclaimed savior of Carrboro’s Adams tract as a nature park (completely ignoring his duplicitous role in trying to turn it into a public works facility), Mr. Nelson has made a career of spending other people’s money, showing little ability to make money in a for-profit business environment.
Mr. Nelson is pondering delaying the tax referendum from May 2008 until November 2008 to give the county more time to “educate voters”, using your money, of course, to educate you. Please note that these selfless county actions will not be “advocacy” (an illegal activity), but merely “education”. Demonstrating keen political probity, Mr. Nelson wishes to educate you, the voter. You should allow him to collect more tax money from you. He will then subsidize more net county revenue negative local development. End result – he gets to dig himself deeper into a hole.
No word from local political analysts if the voters will react in a Pavlovian fashion to commish “promises” to spend the new taxes on schools.
No word from the commishes on why the school capital and operating costs haven’t been fully funded by them as budgeted and approved by the two school boards in the county for over six years.
No word from the commishes on any developer related county project that will stop if the taxes aren’t approved by the voters.
See N&O BOCC Gangsta Warning Story.
In the Winter Orange County Democrat party guide, the front page articles are about water needs and the drought gripping Orange County.
Former OWASA director, former real estate advertiser columnist, and OWASA profiteer (aka local builder) Mark Marcoplos extols the virtues of OWASA in calling for you to reduce your water needs year round, whether or not there is a drought. While Mr. Marcoplos closes with a mention of shifting perspectives on growth (“understanding the carrying capacity of the bioregions”), he makes no call for translating that understanding into limits on growth.
Local Sierra Club president, anticipated county commissioner candidate, and “three blind mice” candidate for the Eubanks Road trash transfer imbroglio, Bernadette Pelissier, likewise, shows little concern for controlling development, instead wishing to control your life.
The salvation to local water needs is conservation, conservation, conservation. She glows ecstatically over asking the state legislature to approve local town ordinances that would require a homeowner to retrofit low water use plumbing fixtures at the time of a sale. For Ms. Pelissier, the currently approved alternative (a town or OWASA offering financial incentives) won't do the job. Better just to command you to spend money (thousands of dollars for non-mud hut owners). Use the stick, not the carrot. She doesn’t even offer the carrying capacity fig leaf. Yes, the local Sierra Club asks you to conserve water so others can move here and join you in conserving water.
No word on whether or not a grant has been applied for by the local tax-exempt Sierra Club to study the conundrum of supposed conservationists promoting land development.
No word from John Muir’s gravesite regarding the tachometer readings recorded on this latest pronouncement from the local Sierra Club.
Listen to the Audio Party Guide.
Yet another N&O article on the Eubanks Road trash transfer station has managed not only to avoid referring to the USDOJ/EPA complaint against all local Orange County Governments (county, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro), but also to avoid mentioning the citizen group that opposes the moves of these governments and the county commissioners, namely, CEER.
In the spirit of brotherly love, the Pulp will assist the N&O in its obvious “senior moment”. The citizen group is called CEER. That’s C-E-E-R. It stands for Coalition to End Environmental Racism. That’s C-o-a-l-i-t-i-o-n t-o E-n-d E-n-v-i-r-o-n-m-e-n-t-a-l R-a-c-i-s-m. Don't mention it.
No word on why the N&O failed to mention that the intrepid county commissioners decided that the site choice will be made not just in November, but in November AFTER the general election. A minor point in Orange County where democracy is celebrated in the breach, and the elections are over in the Democratic primary.
See N&O Sanitized Trash Transfer Story.
Showing concern for the current drought gripping the greater southern Orange region, the Pulitzer Prize winning, party guide staff of the local bar-reviewing, concert-peddling, personal dating services periodical known as the “Independent” notes your failure to respond adequately to the demand created by their political friends.
In a stunning journalistic tour de force, the Independent manages in a multi-page article to avoid any substantive discussion of the effect of rampant local development on water demand. Likewise, there is no such discussion regarding any local politician or official having any responsibility for that state of development.
So who’s to blame? Ordinary citizens are. You are. If only you didn’t waste water, then local development can continue apace.
No word from the Independent on why every local southern Orange politician receiving a “party hardy” endorsement from the Independent was, and is, silent on Orange County carrying capacity and water resources in the last local municipal elections.
See Independent Dirty Water Story.
Former Soviet Union citizen responds to local media darling, former Chapel Hill Planning Board member, Orange Politics blog censor, “dances with bricks” anarchist, Mayor Chilton backer, wannabe affordable housing bourgeoisie rentier, and trustafarian disciple Ruby Sinrech. See Hot Orange Ruby Sinreich Story.
In a stunning rebuke to Ms. Sinreich’s answer to poverty – the eradication of capitalism, Ms. Tatiana Cherednik asks if Ms. Sinreich’s solution is “a joke or does she appeal to ignorant people who haven't followed recent history?”
Ms. Cherednik points out for Ms. Sinreich’s benefit that “Every attempt to “eradicate capitalism” has killed millions, made countless millions poor and miserable and the excuse that “they didn't do it right” is not serious, either, as people who have lived in “socialist havens” and studied Marxism for years can testify.”
Ms. Cherednik asks Ms. Sinreich to share with all of humanity her serious solutions to end poverty.
No word on Ms. Sinreich’s response to Ms. Cherednik, or the salvation of humanity.
See N&O Cherednik Letter.
A PTSA Board Meeting has been set for Tuesday 12 February 2008 at the Media Center in Chapel Hill High - 6:30 PM. There will be an opportunity for Q&A (questions and answers, not quips and accolades).
Reason- Steve Scroggs, Assistant Superintendent will speak about past CHHS renovations, as well as his “visions”.
Real Reason – Damage control.
The Chapel Hill High School Booster Club sent a letter to Superintendent Neil Pedersen in November 2007 outlining a “long and growing list of hazardous conditions at the school”, including mice and cockroaches in the gyms and filthy locker rooms.
Local media hasn't highlighted the meeting, citing that “those problems have been addressed”, vindicating a local public policy of keeping embarassing matters quiet until after “solutions” are applied.
No word on the acceptance of the new school mascot cheer… Roaches Scatter!
No word on if the Roaches will invite the Dirty Dancing county commissioners (responsible for funding the upkeep on this over 40 year old school facility) to share the love of vermin.
(See Booster Club Letter.)
In a toe tapping tale, the Indian Creek Nature Trail along nearby Jordan Lake is being closed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. The reason – “advanced sexual acts”. “According to a state spokesperson, “It's not a family friendly atmosphere any more.”
Undercover wildlife officers have rammed home more than thirty citations all along the secretive trail, in what’s become a painful situation to address. State officials don’t expect the wild life to stop, saying ”We do not have the resources to focus enough manpower to address the problem.”
No word from local political analysts on the discriminatory nature of this latest state action supporting “breeders” and against the anarchistic right to engage in rampant public lewdness.
No word if the Carrboro Greenway Commission will offer an alternative site for the advanced sexual anarchists.
In related business news, Johnson & Johnson stock and Church & Dwight stock traded down slightly on Friday.
See N&O Wild Life Story.
Fresh off scolding their Rogers Road landfill victims for filing an environmental injustice complaint, Orange County Commissioners bonded with their obedient staff in a day long “mooing” session, resulting in the identification of more things for staff to do.
Nearly 30 county officials created a list of 242 actions, issues and challenges, placed under broad more governance themes of such as “economic well-being/growth planning” (aka “helping developers profits”). The BOCC tent revival was facilitated by Carrboro-based Leading and Governing Associates.
Apparently there was no discussion of the cumulative financial costs of these 242 items.
See Herald Sun BOCC Bonding Story.
See Leading & Governing Associates website.
Gubernatorial hopeful Beverly Perdue announces a goal to stop building coal plants in NC by cutting energy consumption by half in North Carolina, through introducing efficiencies. See Bev Purdue Energy Plan.
The plan doesn’t have any limits on population growth in North Carolina. Ms. Perdue states “Our state will grow significantly over the next 12 years, adding almost as many people as live in the state of South Carolina”.
No word on how long before the increase in North Carolina’s population means that even a 50% energy reduction has been overcome, and the net state carbon loading of today is exceeded.
What, Squeeze The Pulp’s very own Cosmo Flamer ahead of the curve? That’s right!
Cosmo flamed on, as only he can with his endless supply of propane, in early January in response to an N&O article touting that buying local is always the environmentally friendly choice. He pointed out that this is “always true” in a facts optional world aka the world of southern Orange.
The N&O in a Lifestyles article (not meaty news, of course, that’s reserved for Carrboro families that live without air conditioning on the pledge of reducing greenhouse gases, until of course, it gets really hot, as it is prone to do here, often in the summer, then on comes the A/C) present an alternative view of locavoring.
Journalist Sarah Murray, a frequent Financial Times contributor, actually has the gall (not meant as an ethnic slur) to state that sometimes food grown in the prime area of production for that foodstuff, grown in bulk, transported in bulk by more efficient means than roads can be the environmentally friendly choice. She cites a British study that concluded fewer greenhouse gases were emitted by importing Spanish tomatoes than by growing tomatoes in heated greenhouses in Britain.
Well Cosmo quotes a New Zealand study showing that lamb grown on pastures halfway around the world can be delivered to England with less greenhouse gas emissions than lamb grown locally. That’s right. English lamb produces 35 percent more emissions per kilogram of milk solid than New Zealand and 31 percent more emissions per hectare than New Zealand - even including transportation from New Zealand to Britain and the carbon dioxide generated in that process.
See Cosmo Locavore Flame.
See N&O Locavore Story.
With stunning duplicity, all of the winning candidates elected to the Boa last Fall discover a need for parking in the Carrboro historic business district. Only four months ago, Aldermen Joel Hall Broun, Dan Coleman, and Alderman (then candidate) Lydia Lavelle all said repeatedly in public forums that there was no problem with parking in the Carrboro historic business district. Bourgeoise mill house rentier, dense developer, and tax exempt expert Mayor Mark Chilton even ridiculed candidates in local political forums who begged to tell the reality.
Showing their respect for logical consistency, the Boa attended a retreat to ponder personal values, a Boa first, (see Poet Lariat - Boa Annual Tent Revival) and discovered that parking is a problem in the historic business district. (No word on whether or not “parking” is an emerging value in Carrboro.)
Now in a “dance with bricks” pirouette, the Boa wants a long term parking plan in place, most likely in place after they have approved the development plans of their political friends along Main Street, saving them the loss of profits from including adequate parking spaces.
Alderman Jacquie Gist leaped feet first into reality by saying that the new residential developments approved by the Boa in and near the district will force new residents to rely on parking on residential streets. (Translation, the Boa is approving residential development with insufficient parking allowances, a profit-enhancing move for its loyal local developer constituency.)
No word from Alderman Gist on how people visiting historic district businesses are supposed to park.
No word on apologies from Mayor Chilton now that he has reversed into the parking mess, perhaps awaiting the next election when all will be well again, at least until the vote is in.
See Carrboro Citizen Tent Revival Story.
Showing the tender mercies of their sense of justice, the Orange County commissioners blamed Rogers Road residents for not being able to take the Eubanks Road site off the table from the second trash transfer station search. Developer Dream Team solicitor, flea market bane, and dirty dancer Barry Jacobs smugly declares ”As long as it's there, we're not going to discuss in public our position. We're just going to listen and continue with our discussions.”
Hiding behind “advice of pliable counsel”, the shame-challenged commissioners don’t offer any explanation as to why a federal administrative complaint would prevent them from following the move of the city of Greensboro in taking the Eubanks site off the table.
The unsinkable Ms. Neloa Jones, a Council for Ending Environmental Racism (CEER) co-chair is quoted as saying “This is just something else for them to say”, calling the commissioners’ move ”a bunch of [d@#%].” UPDATE: Ms. Jones denies using such an expression and has asked for a retraction from the N&O. (In a classic local media marginalizing move, the N&O reporter, Samuel Spies, conveniently failed to give Ms. Jones her full CEER title, labeling her simply a trash transfer station “opponent” and falling just short of applying the label “NIMBY”.)
No word from the local Sierra Club on the single most important environmental issue in Orange County.
No word from Ms. Pelissier, Sierra Club President and future commissioner candidate, on the acceptance of a Carrboro candidate’s offer in the last municipal election to call a Sierra Club meeting focused on this issue.
No word from former Orange Democratic Party President Barry Katz and staunch Jacobs apologist on the morality and justice of this blame-the-victim move.
See N&O Shameless Commissioners Story.
See Daily Tar Heel Version.
A pet project of Buckhorn Village Developer Dream Team solicitor, freelance sportswriter, tax-exempt historical estate sitter, and County Commissioner Barry Jacobs comes one step closer to fruition tonight, taxing those who move to Orange County just to “use our schools”. See BOCC Agenda. County Commissioners will vote on conducting a telephone poll of 400 (out of 90,000) voters at the cost of about $10,000.
The survey results will be presented to the public just before the commissioners’ ballot referendum deadline meeting of 19 February 2008, allowing little time for the gathering and presentation of contravening information.
The survey introduction informs the interviewee that they are being asked question “on behalf of the Orange County government”, but their answers will be held in strict confidence. (There is no suggestion of having any form of “blinded answer” survey.) See BOCC Voter Survey. The survey questions holds out the promise that if either the proposed local sales tax or local transfer tax is increased, property taxes could be “below what they would be otherwise”, sounding to some as if taxes will be reduced.
Mr. Jacobs is reported to say that the commissioners will only present the local transfer tax option (although they could present a local sales tax option as well).
Over in Durham County, Commissioner Chair Reckhow is quoted as saying ”The economy is very bad right now. The housing market is faring poorly due to the subprime mortgage debacle. There is concern about going into a recession. We don't feel the timing is very good to be asking voters for either a land transfer tax or added sales tax.”
No word from Mr. Jacobs on how a home-owning family sending children through public schools for between 12 years and 20 years is a deficit user of Orange County resources more than the perpetual transient flow of renting degree seekers in southern Orange.
See N&O Transfer Tax Story.
On the 5 February 2008 Boa agenda, the town staff requests a scheduled date for the Boa’s 2008 legislative breakfast. Town staff musters the nerve enough to ask the Boa if Representative Bill Faison (D-50th district) should be invited to attend in view of his representing Carrboro citizens since he was elected in 2004.
Local media outlets have consistently not reported that his absence from such breakfasts wasn't due to the illusion of disinterest preferred by former Mayor Nelson and current Mayor Chilton. While campaigning last year, apology challenged “palocrat” and vehicular weapons expert, Alderman Dan Coleman accused Mr. Faison of stopping a Carrboro-specific campaign retribution bill as a ”power move”.
In an act of political transference, Mr. Coleman said ”It’s very unfortunate. It’s an indication of a very adversarial style.” A curious statement from someone who attacked Mr. Faison in his columns for the Chapel Hill Herald on a regular basis and who hadn’t invited Mr. Faison to attend the Carrboro legislative breakfast since Mr. Coleman’s appointment in 2006.
No word from Mr. Coleman as to why Mr. Faison may now become his “Mr. Rogers” Boa pal.
See Carrboro Citizen Campaign Retribution Bill Story.
In a guest column in the 3 February 2008 edition of the local real estate advertiser (the Chapel Hill News), Carrboro Planning Board Chair, Village Project, Inc. guru, and climate change commentator, Mr. James Carnahan says that the proposed Buckhorn Village mega-retail project (brought to you courtesy of the Developer Dream Team and the Orange County Commissioners) is not within his vision of a “local living economy” and will harm Orange County as presently described.
Mr. Carnahan doesn’t object to future Buckhorn Village retail sales or the expected municipal sales tax revenues per se. Rather he objects to the lack of a planned dense (12 to 15 units per acre) residential community amidst Buckhorn Village. In pumping the attributes of his Village Project organization, noticeably absent from the Developer Dream Team, he invokes apocalyptic images of “global warming” catastrophe.
With the usual Orange Progressive knock against “franchise retailers”, Mr. Carnahan puts forth the economic alternative of a “local living economy”. According to Mr. Carnahan’s vision of Orange County’s future, the local “Community Supported Agriculture movement” can be expanded “to tap residents’ abilities, transform local materials and knowledge into the products and services we need. We can focus on creating a resilient economy integrating diverse locally owned businesses into adaptive entrepreneurial networks. They’ll be more likely to offer stable, high-paying jobs, treat employees fairly, pay living wages, provide health and retirement benefits and support environmental constraints.” Mr. Carnahan doesn’t explain which local businesses or institutions fall short of these hallmarks.
No word from Mr. Carnahan quantifying economic expansion in Carrboro during his planning board tenure beyond the introduction of sales tax-free loncheras.
No word on how Mr. Carnahan will view Buckhorn Village if the Village Project, Inc. (another local tax-exempt, non-profit organization) is embraced in the penumbra of development dollars flowing around the Developer Dream Team.
See Chapel Hill News Carnahan Editorial
In the 3 February 2008 edition of the local real estate advertiser (the Chapel Hill News) local media darling, former Chapel Hill Planning Board member, Orange Politics blog censor, “dances with bricks” anarchist, Mayor Chilton backer, wannabe affordable housing bourgeoisie rentier, and trustafarian disciple Ruby Sinrech was anointed as a local political analyst. Ms. Sinreich was involved in a roundtable discussion of Mr. Edwards’ recent decision to withdraw from the 2008 Democratic presidential race.
Ms. Sinreich pronounced that Mr. Edwards was unable to “break through” the national media decision that the race belonged to Mr. Obama or Ms. Clinton. She was silent on her inability to use her vaunted local media and political skills to help Mr. Edwards with such a breakthrough, matching her noticeable silence in not asking Mr. Edwards to speak out about the Rogers Road environmental injustice problems of all the local candidates she has backed for almost a decade.
Tax-exempt and non-profit business owner, Ms. Sinreich goes on to say that she supports Mr. Edwards’ agenda to fight poverty, noting “I don’t think [poverty is] going to be eliminated until capitalism is eradicated”.
No word on Ms. Sinreich’s plans to visit Mr. Edwards with a copy of the USDOJ/EPA environmental injustice complaint against the Carrboro, Chapel Hill, and Orange County governments.
No comment from fellow anarchist Alderman Dan Coleman on how capitalism will be ended in Carrboro.
See Ms. Sinreich's scintillating discussion of Mr. Edwards’ announcement of his campaign Sinreich youtube video.
See Chapel Hill News Analyst Story
In a sympathetic “puff piece” presentation of the plight of lonchera operators in Carrboro by reporter Meiling Arounnarath, the N&O manages to publish an article about Carrboro's anarchistic food purveyors (Pulp reference Carrboro Mayor Finds Solution to ED Mobile Eatery Problem, Just Don't Enforce Local Public Health Laws) without a single mention of the food safety risks presented by town government acceptance of uninspected loncheras not tied to a licensed and inspected commissary.
Likewise, the N&O is completely silent about the non-payment of taxes by loncheras, mirroring the concern for public safety and non-residential tax revenues exhibited by tax-exempt expert, pollo asado eater, and Carrboro mayor Mark Chilton.
No word on whether or not Carrboro will be accepting non-payment of town property taxes for those non-recognized ethnics just trying to take care of their families.
See N&O Taco Friendly Story
OWASA held a public forum on 24 January 2008 to solace southern Orange residents about the declining state of their local water supply during the current drought of 2007-2008 … and counting.
OWASA stressed an increasing need for residential water conservation, i.e., don’t wash your cars, xeriscape your yard, basically convert to a semi-arid lifestyle. In a “guns-and-butter” approach to local land development, OWASA continues to report to the southern Orange progressive governments that there’s enough water for more dense growth in Orange County.
The hard facts are as follows:
1) OWASA water supply is at 40% capacity.
2) Without rainfall, local water runs out in July.
3) Little water replenishment (aka rain) is expected in the peak spring period for renewal.
4) During the ’01-‘02 drought, the OWASA water supply fell to a low of about 30% right before the drought broke in Fall 2002.
5) Moreover, during that drought, the water supply stood at about 55% before the spring replenishment period in the second year, compared to 40% today.
6) Moreover, Spring 2002 say a replenishment period that elevated water levels to about 75%. Then the rainless summer of 2002 saw a precipitous drop from that level to about 30%.
7) Today’s supply would be at even lower levels (approaching that of the lowest level in the ’01-’02 drought) but for the water conservation efforts of citizens lowering demand by at least 15%.
8) Even assuming the rainfall pattern of the ’01-’02 drought, water supplies will reach about 15% levels in October 2008. Without significant rain, OWASA water levels will reach that same level by May 2008, hitting bottom in July 2008.
OWASA promotes interesting alternative responses pending digging more deep holes in the ground for developers. The options are:
1) Buy water from others.
2) Pump water from Jordan Lake.
3) Pump water from the Haw River.
4) Reclaim water from sewage and pump into University Lake reservoir for drinking.
OWASA doesn’t consider limiting growth even to be an option.
See Owasa Forum Report
According to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average compensation of state and local government workers is far ahead of that for private workers.
The gap widens every year, rising by an average $1.02 an hour last year, $2.45 an hour over the past three years.
State and local government workers now earn an average of $39.50 per hour in total compensation, over 50% more than private workers ($26.09 an hour). Private businesses are trimming pension benefits and asked employees to pay a greater share of medical costs.
When adjusted for inflation over the past seven years, 20,000,000 (excluding 2,700,000 federal) public employees received a 16% increase in compensation.
State and local governments have more than $1 trillion in unfunded liabilities for pensions and retirement medical benefits for public employees.
No word from any managers of any of the Orange local governments as to why such comparisons aren't in their budget reports to elected officials.
FMI Bureau of Labor Statistics
Showing the famous political dance steps that make local progressivism a moral force majeure, Orange County Solid Waste (OCSW) bulked up its land needs at a BOCC meeting conveniently held for citizens at 5:30 PM on 29 January 2008. County commissioners didn’t say “yes” and didn’t say ”no” to OCSW’s request for a larger “dance floor”. Just as they wouldn’t take the Eubanks Road site off the OCSW search table, failing to mirror the smooth moves of the city of Greensboro in responding to its environmental injustice solid waste concerns.
Less than six months ago, the BOCC had to find only 10 to 15 acres for a trash transfer station when they decided to dump on the Eubanks Road community again. Fed up, local residents decided to file a complaint for environmental injustice with the EPA against the Orange County, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro governments. Now, the commissioners’ staff needs a whole lot more land, including 5 to 10 acres for a materials recovery facility, 60 to 100 acres for a permanent storm debris, organics, and land clearing operation, and 3 to 5 acres for a parking/crew facility. That means that OCSW needs about 80 to 130 acres, or about as much land as may be available around the present county lands at Eubanks.
Despite requests from attending Coalition to End Environmental Racism (CEER) members, the BOCC indicated by its actions that Rogers Road environmental injustice concerns are just like any other community specific criteria, a less than sympathetic or conciliatory response to CEER’s formal charges of environmentally unjust conduct by all southern Orange governments.
The BOCC further showed its collective opinion as to the environmental injustice complaint by doing its own dirty dancing. Any decision to pull Eubanks off the table (if it’s entertained at all) will not be until May 20th, a date falling serendipitously two weeks after the May 6th Democratic party primary election for county commissioners, the de facto election for commissioners in Orange County.
The intrepid Ms. Neloa Jones, CEER co-chair, delivered the following remarks to the solid waste shuffle:
“My name is Neloa Barbee Jones, and I am speaking on behalf of the Rogers-Eubanks Community and as Co-Chair of the Coalition to End Environmental Racism (CEER). My comments relate specifically to the site search criteria established thus far.
In mid-November, when CEER presented to you, we pointed to TWO points of especial importance:
1) Establishing a site search advisory panel (or committee)
As recommended by BOTH the National Environmental Justice Advisory Committee (NEJAC) and the EPA in their Waste Transfer Stations: A Manual for Decision-Making, establishing a site search advisory panel is absolutely essential to ensuring meaningful participation from the residents of Orange County and residents of the Rogers-Eubanks Community.
Furthermore, this panel should be comprised of not just local and state elected officials, but also representatives from environmental justice organizations from relevant civic groups, from adjacent neighborhoods, and from concerned community groups; from businesses and solid waste industries, and from academic institutions AS WELL AS technical consultants such as the Olver firm, who advised you in the first flawed site search.
According to BOTH NEJAC and the EPA, this diverse panel is FIRST educated on site search issues and it is THIS panel that develops the initial set of site search criteria. Already evidenced by the materials thus far developed, having Olver alone, a technical consultant who lacks expertise to serve in diverse capacities, the present site search criteria thus presented is clearly and already flawed again.
2) Meaningful participation of the public and the application of community-specific criteria
For some inexplicable reason, the process outlined in your flow chart does not include public input OR apply community-specific criteria until very late in the site search process. Public input should begin immediately after the above site search advisory panel develops the initial set of criteria. Community specific criteria should be applied much earlier in the process. The flow chart shows that community specific criteria is not applied until after four (4) sites have been finalized. Developing site search criteria for a waste transfer station site in this manner violates EPA recommendations. For these reasons, we view this current process as already and clearly flawed again.
The NEJAC EPA site search steps listed in Figure 1, Exhibit 1 (below) merely represent a COMPRESSED version of the process and were intended merely as an outline. We assumed that you along with a site search advisory panel would do the work that each step demands. We are disappointed that this has not been done because what this means is that the process once again will at best yield flawed results. So at this point, we implore this board to establish an appropriate advisory panel to begin developing legitimate criteria as soon as possible.
Figure 1 Exhibit 1: Steps in Implementing an Area-wide Facility Selection Process”
For a more BOCC friendly view, see N&O Trash Story.