The political celestial orchestra is in pre-election harmony in southern Orange.
First, big commish candidate, self-proclaimed long-time local time 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, calls for local laws that would force homeowners to retrofit water saving fixtures in order to sell a home. (Conveniently, Ms. Pelissier neglects to call for forced retrofitting on rental units owned by her bourgeoisie rentier friends.)
Now, the Carrboro Boa, replete with bourgeoisie rentiers, follows Ms. Pelissier’s tune with an “hallelujah chorus” for forced water conservation in Carrboro.
Speaking at the 18 March 2008 Boa meeting, OWASA utility manager generalist, Pat Davis, didn’t see controlling growth as the cornerstone of OWASA’s sustainable water management strategy of the future. No, the answer is conservation. Southern Orange residents should adopt a semi-arid lifestyle!
Alderman Joal Hall Broun took an ambivalent view, concerned that forced water fixture retrofitting would penalize the wrong people. She’s more interested in eliminating lawn irrigation in Carrboro. You may have a right to own dirt in Carrboro. But your right to have a lawn is in question.
“Widest margin” vote getter Alderman Jacquie Gist advocated for a continuation of the foisting of municipal responsibilities on homeowners’ associations (HOAs). Yes, according to Ms. Gist, HOAs should be responsible for enforcing Stage 3 water restrictions on their residents, not OWASA. Your neighborly water police can share their love by ratfinking you out to OWASA. In the words of Ms. Gist, ”Water is a public good that is owned and needed by all of us, and it comes under pressure as we experience growth.”
No word on whether or not Ms. Gist will ever grasp the connection between carrying capacity, lifestyle, and growth.
No word on when the first shipment of Joshua Trees will arrive in Carrboro.
In related business news, shares of Kohler went “into the toilet” in light trading.
Tax-exempt expert, pollo asado eater, Carrboro developer & realtor, bourgeoisie rentier, black bag campaign poster expert, and Carrboro mayor Mark Chilton is practicing his political ”old black magic act” again. He’s organizing a transitory ad hoc committee to advocate for passing the Orange County commishes’ unpopular local transfer tax. This “Citizens for Schools and Parks Committee” (composed of commish friends that can engage in advocacy) will dissolve on 6 May 2008, election day!
The punitive and discriminatory nature of the local transfer tax will be placed in a magical issue framing black box by Mr. Chilton in front of your very eyes.
He will wave his tax-exempt wand. Poof! The tax will be transformed into a call for supporting schools and parks (aka greenways for friends of their back yards in Carrboro).
Rest assured, only the truth will be harmed in this magical act.
No word on why Mr. Chilton, who was so concerned about raising taxes in Carrboro during the last municipal election less than six months ago, is now championing a new tax.
No word on whether or not the “Citizens for Schools and Parks Committee” will tell residents that residential growth promoted by Mr. Chilton is raising their municipal taxes, growth that profits developers like Mr. Chilton.
Once more school superintendents Mr. Patrick Rhodes (Orange County Schools (OCS)) and Mr. Neil Pedersen (Chapelboro City Schools (CCHS)) sashay out on to the governmental dance floor. They have presented new school budgets to their respective boards of education.
On 17 March 2008, Mr. Rhodes recommended a $1.8 million (8.35 %) increase to the OCS school board over last year's budget. The increase would go mostly toward expected state increases in teacher pay and benefits and a change in the state's requirements for the number of exceptional children's program positions. Other expenditures include $25,000 to expand the AVID program for underachieving students into high school, $25,000 to offer an educational alternative to suspensions, summer recruitment for dropouts, and a high school transition program, $25,000 to enhance the district's gifted services, $66,000 for one gifted teacher position, and $132,000 for two English as a Second Language teacher positions.
As a result of the proposed OCS school operational budget increase, all county residents would pay a 0.000139 increase in their base county tax rate of 0.0095 per $100 assessed value (or about a 2% increase).
For perspective, Mr. Pedersen has recommended a $6.8 million increase next year to his board for Chapelboro schools. That increase could be paid for by adding 0.000262 cents to base county tax rate (or about a 3% increase).
The OCS board will hold public hearings on both the operational and capital budget proposals at 6 p.m. April 7 and 7 p.m. April 10 in the auditorium of A.L. Stanback Middle School, 3700 N.C. 86 South, Hillsborough.
No word on when Orange County elected officials will call for financial impact statements on proposed residential development in the county before issuing an approval.
No word when a commish may start fully funding board of education approved budgets, thereby putting financial governance responsibility on those boards.
See N&O OCS School Budget Story.
Orange County commishes voted at their 18 March 2008 meeting to spend $100,000 to educate you about a local land transfer tax they so desperately want approved in a May 6 referendum (See Hot Orange Commish Gangsta Warning Story.)
Pulpsters remember that the commishes have already spent $10,000 on a public opinion “poll” that resulted in a petition being filed in the County Board of Elections Office. (See Hot Orange Education Advocacy Story.)
Freelance sportswriter, tax-exempt historic estate sitter, former OWASA board member, non-breeder, and Chief Commish Barry Jacobs ignored public calls not to spend $100,000, arguing that the North Carolina Association of Realtors and other unnamed and unindicted co-conspiratory anti-land transfer tax groups were spewing out “misleading information”. As reported by the Chapel Hill Herald, Mr. Jacobs said
”I have reservations about sending the message that we don't have money, but we [need to] spend money because we need money,” Mr. Jacobs complained about spending tens of millions of dollars on building new local schools in recent years. However, he made no connection between the county's net negative land use residential growth policy and the mandated School Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (SAPFO, see Phictionary) need for such spending as a profit service for local developers.
Unfortunately one county resident, Mary Copeland of Mebane, pointed out that the commishes are rushing the vote on May 6 instead of having the vote in November. None of the commishes explained to Ms. Copeland that they picked the May date because an unrepresentative vote is more likely to be achieved by the “educational” campaign in the poorly attended May primary, as opposed to the better attended November general presidential election.
Faced with picking a $75,000 non-bid contract from one Orange County firm and a $100,000 non-bid contract from another Durham County firm, county staff picked the higher cost contract from Durham-based Ballen Media, just as they did in selecting a non-bid contract for the poll. See Ballen Media.
Ballen Media is led by Mr. Dwayne Ballen, an award winning telejournalist, who has announced and hosted sports telecasts, in general, for The Golf Channel, TNT’s NBA coverage and Fox Sport Net, and college football and basketball, in particular, on CBS Sports, all of particular interest to Mr. Jacobs, a sportswriter. Its clients include Duke University Health System, iEntertainment Network of Cary, MPGN Gaming Technologies, also of Cary, Iamgame, also of Cary, NC Health & Wellness Trust Fund, and the Autism Society of North Carolina. Its projects include, “Atlantic Coast Conversations”, “The Bible and the Badge”, “The Color of Business”, “Sports Biz”, and “Strawberry Plains Forever”.
No word on from where in the county budget the $100,000 is coming.
No word on Developer Dream Team (see Phictionary) reaction to commish cheerleading.
No word from any municipal offical or politician on how SAPFO has mandated public school building to match residential development.
See CHH Political Education Story.
In early 2007 the Chapel Hill town council voted to approve $25,000 to write a new town inclusionary zoning ordinance. In charge of this yet-another task force project were Councilman Sally Greene, former Chapel Hill planning board member, research attorney, “friend of her backyard”, neighborhood conservation district advocate, and crack Lot 5 town negotiator, and Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt, executive director of yet another local tax-exempt organization and on-again, off-again political power couple paramour. The council contracted with White and Smith LLC, a national planning and law group with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina, to write the new inclusionary zoning ordinance, despite the town employing an in-house attorney who provides counsel on zoning issues. (What’s inclusionary zoning? It’s the fancy cumbayah (see Phictionary) code phrase for affordable housing (again, see Phictionary).)
So where’s the ordinance? According to Ms. Greene $25,000 isn’t enough to write a zoning ordinance. The Chapel Hill Inclusionary Zoning Task Force needs more money. As reported by the Chapel Hill Herald, they also need a new consultant to ”get us to the goal line.”
Ms. Greene told the town council that the $25,000 “affordably written” ordinance was not what her task force expected. Her explanation? The crackerjack task force used an out-of-town consultant who didn’t hear the concerns of the task force.
Did the town council vote to require the contractor to deliver what was promised on their contract? No.
Did the town council vote to put another councilperson in charge? No.
Did the town council vote to have the town attorney finish the job? No.
The town council approved hiring a new consultant and using up to another $10,000 for the zoning ordinance.
No word on what bonuses will be awarded town staff for this brilliant example of municipal administration.
No word on whether or not the town council and its task force realize that Charleston and Kansas City aren’t in North Carolina.
See CHH Cumbayah Finance Story.
(See Ms. Greene’s Bio.)
Universities are supposed to be places of higher learning. So what better place to educate financially naïve students about financial product tie-ins? At UNC Chapel Hill (UNC), it’s hard to get around without a UNC OneCard.
What’s that? The UNC OneCard is a combination ID card and debit card. With a OneCard, a Tar Heel student can check out library books, enter buildings, access food through meal plans, as well as pay for those meal plans, buy school supplies, buy books attend school events, pay parking tickets, even buy a meal at select Franklin Street restaurants. For now, the financial powerhouse behind the OneCard is Wachovia Bank. (See Wachovia.)
How do you get and activate the OneCard? It’s promoted by UNC to every incoming student. Every student has to have a OneCard, it's not an option. Do you have to open a Wachovia account to get a OneCard? See for yourself. (See UNC OneCard.)
More questions can be raised by a captive ID/debit card requirement for students. What’s in it for UNC? Does the OneCard act like other such cards around the country? (In 2007, 127 schools had ID/debit cards, up from about 52 five years earlier.) Does UNC earn money under an exclusive deal with Wachovia every time a student swiped their cards and signs for a purchase. Does UNC earn more money the higher the student balance in the Wachovia accounts? (For example, the University of Minnesota receives a guaranteed $1 million a year, on top of a $2 million signing bonus, under its contract with TCF Financial.)
What’s the sweetener for Wachovia in this OneCard arrangement? How much money does Wachovia make a year in overdraft charges on these student debit accounts? Some banks around the country charge up to $38.00 for every overdraft event, no matter how little the amount of the overdraft. Banks make more money every year from overdraft fees than the amount of money overdrawn. The Center for Responsible Lending found that young adults (ages 18-24) pay more than $3 in fees on average for every $1 overdrawn, compared with nearly $2 in fees paid by other adults. (Yes, it’s yet another local tax-exempt organization, this time based in Durham CRL.)
To those who are concerned about the appropriateness of a debit/ID card, there are the comforting words of Lowell Adkins, executive director of the National Association of Campus Card Users as reported by USA Today. “[I don’t] believe colleges are doing anything ‘inappropriate’ by partnering with banks to issue ID-debit cards… ‘I don't know if we know the definition of what inappropriate is right now.’”
See USA Today Cuomo University Investigation Story.
No word on when Chapelboro governments will make an offer of employment to Mr. Adkins.
No word on when the tax-exempt, student-money-milking financial IPO aka Rainbow Riches will be offered on Wall Street.
In a fitting St. Patrick’s Day jig, the local southern Orange water authority (OWASA) charges higher water fees for water. The Stage 3 “luck of the Irish” rate structure promises a pot of gold at the end of the drought rainbow, for OWASA that is. By implementing Stage 3 water restrictions and rates, OWASA seeks a 10% further decrease in water usage from average non-restricted residential water usage.
Currently, under Stage 2 restrictions, the average domestic customer is using about 6400 gallons per month. At stage 2 rates, the first 2000 gallons is charged at $1.98 per 1000 gallons ($3.96). The next 3000 gallons is at $4.70 per 1000 gallons ($14.10). The final 1400 gallons at $5.53 per 1000 gallons ($7.74). That makes for a bill of $25.80 per month.
Under the ”count me lucky stars” Stage 3 rates, the average conscientious customer is expected to cut back 10%, using only 90% of that average 6400 gallons, or about 5800 gallons. Will that good citizen pay less?
With the Stage 3 rates, the first 2000 gallons remains at $1.98 per 1000 gallons ($3.96). The next 3000 gallons is increased from $4.70 per 1000 gallons to $5.875 per 1000 gallons ($17.62). The final 800 gallons is doubled from at $5.53 per to $11.06 per 1000 gallons ($8.85). That makes for a bill of $30.43 per month.
Although the conscientious OWASA customer has diligently cut their usage by 10%, their bill increases by about 18% ($4.63 per month).
What happens if the average customer only cuts usage by 5%?
Under those ”kiss the blarney stone” Stage 3 rates, the not so conscientious customer may use only 95% of that average 6400 gallons, or 6100 gallons will be used. How much more will they pay?
With the Stage 3 rates, the first 2000 gallons remains at $1.98 per 1000 gallons ($3.96). The next 3000 gallons is increased from $4.70 per 1000 gallons to $5.875 per 1000 gallons ($17.62). The final 1100 gallons is doubled from at $5.53 per 1000 gallons to $11.06 per 1000 gallons ($12.17). That makes for a bill of $33.75 per month.
The not-so conscientious OWASA customer sees a bill increased by about 31% ($7.95 per month).
How much does the average residential user have to cut their water usage in order to leave OWASA revenue neutral? About 15%. A difficult task for a family of five compared to a single individual. But OWASA charges don't discriminate on the number of users at a location. Of course, if revenues go net negative, OWASA will simply adjust its Stage 3 rates upwards. OWASA holds on to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow no matter what!
Leprachauns in the for-profit world can only dream of a business model in which you produce less and charge more per unit, with the net result being increased net revenues with no downside risk and a captive market.
No word on how many more developer permits can be issued from living a semi-arid lifestyle.
No word on whether or not UNC will implement a tuition fee system based on the OWASA fee model.
Check out the OWASA Water Watch.
Kevin Foy, Chapel Hill mayor, made an official statement at the 10 March 2008 town meeting regarding the senseless killing of Eve Carson, a student at UNC-Chapel Hill, prior to the arrest of the above-pictured alleged killer(s). (See statement below.)
Mayor Foy waxed eloquently on the sense of loss in the community, a loss shared by Pulpsters, no matter where they live.
Noticeably absent from Mr. Foy’s statement is any mention of a key element of closure necessary in any senseless killing. He makes no mention of bringing to the courts in a judicious fashion the killer(s) of Eve Carson on the strongest criminal charges possible. He makes no mention of seeking and assisting in getting the strongest penalties possible under the law for a brutal, violent, and deliberate senseless killing. He makes no mention of delivering justice.
Already rumblings of the killers being cast in the role of society’s victim(s) are starting to surface in local southern Orange political blogs.
No word on whether or not Mr. Foy, a lawyer, will speak up about justice as passionately and directly as he did loss.
Statement by Mayor Kevin Foy on behalf of the Chapel Hill Town Council:
“We begin this evening's meeting by acknowledging the grief and pain that we are suffering at the loss of our colleague and friend, Eve Carson.
Eve was the president of Carolina's student body, which is how many of us came to know her. But the more we got to know her, the more we understood what an extraordinary person she was, and how broadly and deeply she touched the lives of people in Chapel Hill and beyond.
Eve's death represents for us a terrible, incomprehensible loss. She was a person who embodied what is beautiful in this world, and it was a joy to know her. Her having been taken from us rips from us our greatest hopes and our greatest dreams and our greatest aspirations for what the world might become someday.
We are diminished by the loss of Eve, and we know it.
We mourn this day, but we will carry on. We will soldier on. We have Eve's memory and spirit to help us carry on. But we will always remember Eve; we will always cherish Eve; and Eve will always be with us in Chapel Hill, to challenge us with her beauty and grace, her intelligence and charm, her compassion and idealism.
Eve's spirit will challenge us to be a place where youth can flourish and hope can endure and evil will be forever banished. And although we cannot replace Eve, we do know that she was a person who mattered in this world by the work she did, and she was destined to do great things. Rather than have those things remain undone, each of us can look to pick up a piece of the work that Eve did, and to do the work she would have done, the way she would have done it.
My colleagues on the council and I have been a part of the sorrow of our community, and we have reached out to Eve's family and to our colleagues on campus and beyond. We have extended to Chancellor Moeser our deepest sympathy to the campus community, and we have sought to comfort everyone in our town. Each of us has suffered, individually and collectively, a harm that is deep and piercing.
Yesterday, my wife Nancy and I attended Eve's memorial service at her hometown in Athens, Georgia. We had the opportunity to meet Eve's mother, Teresa, her father, Bob, and her brother, Andrew. We told them how much Chapel Hill valued Eve and how heartsick all of us are.
Eve's family was very gracious, and even under the burden of such surpassing grief thanked us, and all of you for your thoughts and your support.
Athens and Chapel Hill are now forever bound. We are bound by the thread of the life of a lovely young woman who touched us as she graced this world.
Please join me in a moment of silence to remember Eve; but I hope that this moment will resonate around the world, and that our moment will awaken this world with our cry of grief at this senseless death.
I would also like to call attention this evening to the assistance that is available to everyone in our community who is coping with this tragedy and who needs assistance. Our town has a crisis unit, housed in our police department, that is ready to help, and I ask you please to call them to seek that help if you need it. Contact information is available on the town website or by calling Town Hall.
In addition, the university has counseling available and people ready to assist members of the campus community during this difficult time.”
The Chapelboro real estate industry, the largest for-profit business in Orange County loves to laud the performance of Chapelboro schools, as top of the heap in North Carolina. But where does that heap stand next to other educational heaps? Is it a mountain, or a molehill?
A recent international test of 10th graders (PISA) shows the USA dead in the middle of the academic high school pack at 29th out of 57 countries, behind Croatia. (See PISA Exam List.)
So who's the winner? Finland!
How do they do it? They don’t use government-mandated curriculum. Teachers aren’t well compensated with bonus programs. Oh, kids don't start school until age 7.
For more interesting reading, see WSJ Article on Finnish Education.
In the Empire State, Governor Eliot Spitzer resigns amidst a cloud of charges revolving around his relations with a prostitute and a prostitution ring. The mere identification of involvement with potential criminal charges, brings about a political downfall. No criminal charges have been filed.
Astute observers contrast the ethics of the Big Apple world of New York with that of the Little Tart world of southern Orange. In 2007, choo-choo line cutter, vehicular weapons expert, political anarchist, apology challenged perp, and anger management specialist Carrboro 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.)
Unlike Mr. Spitzer, Mr. Coleman was charged with a crime, assault with a deadly weapon. The one person who publicly called for his resignation was decried by local politicians and by political progressive leaders. The victim was placed under pressure to drop charges against Mr. Coleman, her domestic partner being employed by the Chapelboro school system (a fact unreported by the local media) and, therefore, touchable.
Every sitting politician currently in the Boa endorsed Mr. Coleman. Every progressive political organization in southern Orange endorsed Mr. Coleman, including big commish candidate Bernadette Pelissier.
No word on whether or not UNC doctors have discovered an underlying medical source for the absence of shame in southern Orange politicians and the local media.
USDA Chief Economist Joseph Glauber reported that consumer food prices should rise 3.0% to 4.0% this year after a 4.0% gain in 2007 (U.S. Agriculture Department's annual outlook conference). (That estimate was issued before reports of $4.00 per gallon gasoline were reported.) A portion of that increase will come from increasing wheat prices.
World wheat production reached a record 628.6 million tons in 2004-05 and remained large at 621.5 million tons in 2005-06. Production dropped to 593.2 million tons in 2006-07 and reached only 603.6 million tons in 2007-08 due to the drought in Australia.
According to the USDA , global wheat inventories are expected to fall to 110.4 million tons by May 31, the lowest since 1978 and down 12 percent from the same time last year. Wheat was the fourth-biggest U.S. crop in 2007, valued at $13.7 billion, behind corn, soybeans and hay. Major wheat growing countries include not only USA, Canada, and Australia, but also China, France, India (largest in planted area), and Russia.
Recent projections by the International Food Policy research Institute (IFPRI) indicate that, by 2020, two-thirds of the world’s wheat consumption will occur in developing countries, where wheat imports are estimated to double by 2020. Worldwide wheat demand is calculated to rise by 40% from 1993 to 2020, reaching 775 million tons.
No word on whether or not local locavores will seek locally grown grain production on red clay.
No word on whether or not the Sierra Club will address global carrying capacity.
Roberson Square is the working name for a new project approved by the Boa at its 26 February 2008 meeting. It will sit where the old Andrews Rigsbee Hardware store stood on South Greensboro Street in the heart of the Carrboro historic district around Maple Avenue. The local media dutifully reported what was decided. A five story, mixed use building of 90,000 some square feet (sf) with parking and an affordable housing component (see Phictionary) was approved.
Astute observers saw a different picture, a picture of the Boa giving manna from heaven for another dense development.
Roberson Square is a six floor (including a basement parking level) building with about 25,563 sf of parking for 65 spaces. Commercial/retail space will occupy about 32,000 sf. The remainder (about 34,000 sf) is residential. The Roberson Square ”virtual children” will play in the courtyard used by the ground floor businesses in lieu of real recreational facilities. This project is designed to retail at a nominal $250 per sf.
The Carrboro Developer Service Department (aka town planning staff) orchestrated a plan to change the rules for Roberson Square.
According to the town planning staff, there’s no problem with Roberson Square being built (all 90,000 some sf) on the existing about .9 acre site without additional area logistical staging and construction parking. Supposedly, historic business district parking and traffic flow will not be adversely affected.
More importantly, the infamous town zoning PILOs (”payments in lieu of”, see Phictionary) were brought out in full force. Town staff recommended granting the developer PILOs for a reduction in the need for parking spaces and PILOs for higher residential density (three additional housing units) because “affordable housing” is part of the project . (See Hot Orange PILO Virtual Affordable Housing Debate.).
Ordinarily, existing zoning laws would require a project of this magnitude to have 104 parking spaces, and not the approved 65 parking spaces. The 65 spaces require (even in the newly downsized parking space limits approved recently by the Boa, see story) 25,563 sf. If the 104 spaces the code “requires” had been applied, then an additional about 15,400 sf of the total project area (91,575 sf) would have been needed for parking and could not produce sales revenues for the developer. At a sales revenue value of $250 per sf, the Boa approval of reduced parking is worth about $3,800,000 to the developer.
Although the Roberson Square project is designed to attract more people to the historic business district, less parking will be needed. Such is the genius of the Boa. Such is the “parking plan” of the Boa. (See Hot Orange Parking Values Story.)
Ordinarily, in order to get above normal zoning density approved by the Boa, the developer would have to build three additional housing units dedicated to be affordable. At a sales revenue value limited to about $200,000 each, the total developer sales revenue value for these three affordable units would be about $600,000 instead of the $1,350,000 value that would be realized at $250 per sf. Now, the developer only has to make a contribution to yet another tax-exempt, southern Orange organization, the Orange County Land Trust (OCLT), in order to market those three units at a higher value.
So what are the costs to the developer for these gifts?
Does the developer have to pay OCLT the difference between $1,350,000 and $600,000 (the additional revenues for the three units? No. Nobody really knows at this point. The Boa CUP approval didn’t spell that out.
Does the developer have to pay the town for the $3,800,000 of space freed from parking requirements? No. Nobody really knows at this point. The Boa CUP approval didn’t spell that out.
PILOs are the social engineering tool de jour in Carrboro. Astute observers anticipate a spate of local media puff pieces on how PILOs save the world. But if you’re not a stenographer, then the nuts and bolts of PILOs portends fatter profits for developers… with ordinary citizens getting the screws.
No word on whether or not Alderman Gist’s decision months ago to put her Maple Avenue home up for sale was triggered by her single street access to a main road, a limited access that must go past the construction and completion of Roberson Square.
Ostriches with their head in the ground may not see trouble coming, but it comes nevertheless.
In a foreign terrorist age when people allow themselves to be searched without probable cause in order to fly, domestic terrorism remains the dirty little secret to be ignored. For years the Pulp has talked about gangs in southern Orange. The Orange Progressive response of Chapelboro leaders and their political surrogates has been denial. When confronted with confirmation of local gang existence by word from local Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, the response has been silence and no action.
Now Chapelboro faces the (in the words of the Chapel Hill police) a “random” shooting of a beautiful, young woman (Eve Carson) attending UNC- Chapel Hill. (The term “random” refers to the selection of the victim, and not the reason behind the killing.)
But was the crime truly “random” with respect to purpose? Or was it a killing with a very non-random, a very deliberate purpose?
To answer these questions, perhaps Chapelboro rulers should speak to their children. Show the above picture to a knowledgeable Chapelboro or Durham high schooler, and they’ll tell you what most likely happened. Ms. Carson was most likely killed as part of a gang initiation. To get into a gang, the wannabee has to pick out, at random, a young, beautiful woman and kill her Mafioso style, like placing a shot to the right temple at point blank range. He has to steal her car and drive it past some of his future gangsta bros as “proof of death”. He’s then in the gang.
One look at the above picture released by the Chapel Hill police, and that high schooler recognizes a “5950” hat, a gangsta hat favorite.
So why no official word from Chapelboro rulers on the existence of domestic terrorists, in this case, local African-American gangstas, as well as local Hispanic gangstas, here in southern Orange and adjacent Durham County? Why no official word and plan of action from these rulers to take on the scourge of gangstas who use the robe of social victimization to victimize society?
See N&O Carson Killing Story.
See Baltimore Sun Gang Story.
Chapelboro schools administered the state writing exams for the fourth, seventh, and tenth grades on 4 March 2008.
Parents report another record “stress out” for the unlucky students. Teachers have been teaching to the writing test since school opened, or rather teaching to the bonuses they’ll get if their students pass. The students are well aware of the financial incentives to their teachers.
While students are able to regurgitate the writing test rubrics, paradoxically, they now graduate from Chapelboro schools with an unprecedented paucity of basic writing knowledge and skills such as basic grammar, communication, sentence structure, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary et cetera.
No word on why Chapelboro guidance counselors are still at a loss as to why less and less students enjoy their school experience.
Michael Griffin of Hillsborough filed a petition with the Orange County Board of Elections on 5 March 2008. Mr. Griffin is not happy with the Commishes using taxpayer moneys to have a poll conducted that he believes was more about advocacy (illegal) than education (legal). (Pulp readership is apparently on the rise.)
Recently, the commishes played footloose and fancy with a poll on the local option sales tax and local option transfer tax. (See Hot Orange Commish Poll Story #1 and Hot Orange Commish Poll Story #2|.) As reported in the N&O, the petition states “An examination of the poll and its questions reveals that it is calculated to be used as a tool for advocacy by the Orange County Board of Commissioners for the passage of the land transfer tax. … In particular, the poll seeks an identification of likely voters' objections to the land transfer tax, while it does not seek to identify any reasons why likely voters support the measure.”
Although Pulp observers have heard Commish Barry Jacobs asking for the local option transfer tax for years, apparently simultaneously he has remained undecided on his vote for a referendum for such a tax. Mr. Jacobs is quoted at saying ”Since we honestly hadn't decided what we were going to do, and that's why we had the poll, I don't see how someone could assume that it was an advocacy tool.”
No word on whether or not Commish Jacobs is scheduled for a pinocchio rhinoplasty procedure at UNC hospital.
No word on whether or not new furnishings will be arriving at the county attorney's beach abode due to petition.
In related business news, share of Kraft Foods, makers of the Kool-Aid brand, rose significantly in heavy trading.
See N&O Poll Petition Story.
In yet another display of palocracy (see Phictionary) at work, the Carrboro Boa is about to spend town money on rent for another coffee bar cum playpen cum office hangout.
Freelance web designer and Chapel Hill resident, Brian Russell, is in the process of applying for a Carrboro town revolving loan. Mr. Russell is husband to media darling, former Chapel Hill Planning Board member, Orange Politics blog censor, “dances with bricks” anarchist, Mayor Chilton backer, wannabe affordable housing bourgeoisie rentier, trustafarian disciple, and now real estate advertiser political analyst, Ruby Sinriech. He wants Carrboro to pay for the rent and furnishings for a “shared workplace for freelancers and other creative types”.
Carrboro’s crack ED guru, James Harris, is dying to lend him the money, public money for creating a private franchise empire. Mr. Harris, busy ignoring the closing of the Track & Field business (see Hot Orange Anemic Carrboro ED Story) spends his time getting this important not-yet-even-an–applied–loan story into the local media.
Mr. Russell sees no reason why the town shouldn’t enrich Carrboro historic business district landlords further, anticipating the new digs being built at 300 Main and Roberson Square.
No word on why Mr. Russell doesn’t get a real office, like most for-profit businesses, assuming Mr. Russell doesn't file for tax-exempt status for his business.
No word on why Mr. Russell can’t meet other creative types in the existing coffee bars in Carrboro.
No word on why Mr. Harris hasn’t contacted a well-capitalized business that already operates a network of coffee bars with internet access, “Starbucks”.
See Carrboro Citizen Anemic Carrboro ED Story.
In a demonstration of superior urban financial acumen, the Carrboro Boa contracts with a private law firm to handle the spate of town legal problems generated by the reach of the Boa coils. Cost to citizens, several $100,000s each year. The Boa follows the lead of the Orange County commishes which do likewise.
As befitting palocracy government (see Phictionary), these legal tigers sip cocktails together beachside, yet spar ferociously in court over the weighty issues of which government gets more money from your pockets for developer pals.
Compare these legal costs to those of hayseed, rural Chatham County which just lost its staff attorney. Chatham commissioners paid their staff attorney $93,000 a year.
No word on why government legal costs aren’t fully detailed in town and county budget reports.
No word on why the Boa uses an attorney that isn’t located in Carrboro and doesn’t even live in Orange County.
See N&O Chatham Staff Story.
Broad spectrum Chapelboro landlord Thomas Tucker, political friend of Carrboro dense developer mayor Mayor Chilton, pulls plug on favored Carrboro musician’s recording outlet. Carrboro loses creative class musicians to increasing historic business district rental costs. Crack Carrboro ED guru, Mr. James Harris, sure to ignore loss in his annual ”State of the Carrboro Economy” address.
The “Track & Field” music business ends a three-and-a-half year gig off Brewer’s Lane in Carrboro, near ground zero for Boa enhanced development. Mr. Tucker triples the rent to $2500 per month for 1800 square feet of getting ready for prime time space.
As reported in the local party guide, the Independent, one musician mused ”Maybe the town that loves us and uses us as a beacon could also have our backs. I feel a little let down that that hasn't happened. They want people to come here for all the things that we built, but now we can't be a part of it.” Obviously, Carrboro’s creative class musicians haven’t been singing sweet songs to soothe the Boa, which dispenses lyrical favors to pals only.
No word on what it will take for party guiders to figure out that they should be careful for what they have asked in endorsing current Boa “political wisdom”.
No word on whether or not Mr. Tucker will wait until the dust clears from the 300 Main Street project and the Roberson Square project until asking for his developer gifts from Mayor Chilton.
No word on whether or not Mr. Harris will offer to rent his Mercedes to Track & Field as a mobile dense recording studio.
See Independent Carrboro ED Story
In a demonstration of “Mark Twain” public relations, the foundation of facts about the cheating incident and the lost master school building keys keep shifting as fences are erected and mended around the cheating scandal. Despite the best efforts, some local colleges have contacted Chapel Hill High (CHH) requesting the names of students involved.
According to the latest from CHH Principal Ellis, the number of students accused either of cheating on a mid-term exam (for seniors, most of who have already been accepted to college) or of entering the school to obtain cheating materials is not four students, but twelve.
In a related brilliant security move, Chapelboro school system administrators discarded all security images from CHH during 2007 when an “upgraded” video security system was installed at CHH in January 2008.
Readers should note that Principal Ellis is the latest in a string of over five principals at CHH in the last decade, as the Chapelboro school system practices revolving door administration, and thus, has little personal knowledge of how CHH operated prior to this school year.
No word on the bonuses, the security whizzes at Chapelboro schools will receive for creating an “eighteen minute gap” (a’ la Watergate) in the CHH security image files.
No word on whether or not the lost master key opens teachers’ drawers as well as doors.
See N&O Cheating Update Story.
See WRAL Cheating Update.
Former Green Party member, little blue choo line cutter, vehicular weapons expert, tax-exempt business profiteer, and Carrboro alderman Dan Coleman makes a call in the local real estate advertiser for an Orange County future of “economic localization”. Mr. Coleman introduces a new code phrase (see Phictionary) into the Orange Progressive lexicon, one espousing the economic and social anarchism so near and dear to Mr. Coleman’s beliefs for decades. According to Mr. Coleman, “economic localization is an approach to economic development rooted in supporting local businesses, fostering local entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for the local work force.” Astute observers note that Mr. Coleman makes a call for rural villages surrouding Buckhorn Village for his rural village, local developer friends aka “locomotives” (see Phictionary) have been excluded from the latest cool junior high type “palopartnership” - the Buckhorn Village Developer Dream Team. (See Hot Orange Dream Team Story.)
Mr. Coleman cites a report put out by the Center for Sustainable Economy, yet another tax-exempt organization, this time from Santa Fe, New Mexico. (See Bay Local Report.) This group of university intellectuals “… works with non-profit, business, and government leaders to transform our economic system into one based on renewable energy supplies, protected natural capital, empowered communities, and growth in the quality of our lives rather than the quantity of goods we consume. We accomplish this by: 1.) Exposing the true costs and benefits of public and private sector decisions; 2) Developing plans and programs based on principles of economic, social, and environmental sustainability; 3) Providing expert support for public interest litigation; and. 4.) Educating decision makers, voters, and students about the real state of our economy and society.”
In sum, it’s a group of people living in lovely New Mexico telling people living in the crowded San Francisco bay area how to live their lives, on a locally controlled basis. (See Center Leaders.)
According to Mr. Coleman, ”economic localization offers a tremendous opportunity to disengage from the zero-sum game of unbridled competition with other communities for the attention of global corporations.” For Mr. Coleman, Buckhorn Village is “a mammoth 20th-century style development, auto-dependent and anchored by big-box retail. Supporters of this project overlook the long track record of chain stores sucking money out of the local economy. Nor do they recognize the uncertain prospects for auto-centric development patterns as we move past the point of peak oil production in an increasingly oil-hungry global economy. ”
What’s to be put in the place of the Buckhorn Village dinosaur? What is “economic localization” really? What is Mr. Coleman embracing?
Mr. Coleman believes in a report that lauds the following scenario.
Local municipal government ensures “food security” as a public good on par with education and health. Local government should establish a department of food access. That department should promote and fund local farm-to-institution marketing programs, establish a program for urban gardens, establish farmers' markets, fund and manage local low-cost food programs, build city-run cafeterias offering subsidized meals, and direct an urban orchard program that plants fruit trees in low-income neighborhoods for all to harvest.
Local municipal government embraces a web of tax-exempt local institutions, elected by no one and responsible only to their funders should be created. That web should include economic, food , energy, housing, and health care cooperatives, credit unions, independent business alliances, community development banks, community choice energy aggregation, community supported agriculture associations, farmers’ markets, and community supported manufacturing. That web of tax-exempts can be funded by local municipal revolving loan funds.
For Mr. Coleman, “economic localization” truly is a code phrase for economic and social anarchism that hits the Marx. You shouldn't be able to prosper without his benign, vastly important, paternalistic control (as an alderman) over your financial well-being.
No word on whether or not Mr. Coleman gets the ironic humor in his remarks. Southern Orange is a community absolutely dependent upon non-local income from people around the state funding the southern Orange economic engine (UNC). Non-local funding makes possible his source of income, a penumbra of university associated tax-exempt organizations.
No word on whether or not Mr. Coleman will go silent once his rural village people get a piece of the Buckhorn Village money pie. (See Hot Orange Carnahan Village Project Story.)
See Chapel Hill News Anarchism Soap Box.
As the last day of filing drew to a close, no Democratic, environmental justice candidate had come forward to file for the “big commish” seat (commissioner at-large). (See Hot Orange Story.)
The only big commish Democratic candidate as of Friday morning was 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. Living beyond the toxic range of the Eubanks Road landfill, Ms. Pelissier couldn’t be bothered to meet with the Coalition for Ending Environmental Racism (CEER) in Orange County. See Hot Orange Story.
So up stepped, Ms. Neloa Jones, a 50 year old, African-American woman who lives not only within the county, but also within the Chapel Hill planning jurisdiction, and within that toxic range. Ms. Jones is known for her advocacy before the commishes (see Phictionary) on the environmental injustices surrounding how the commishes have handled the Eubanks landfill.
In a Squeeze the Pulp exclusive, when asked why she was running, Ms. Jones said, ““My community and my neighbors have lived with the costs and consequences of growth for decades. I intend to settle past injustices brought about by local political decisions. I intend to prevent future injustices related to growth by planning for the negative implications of growth in Orange County.
I invite all to walk with me over a bridge of understanding towards a future Orange County that plans responsible, healthy, and equitable growth for all the residents of Orange County.”
In the summer of 2007, Carrboro alderman candidate and self-described “level-headed” establishment annexee Lydia Lavelle supported SB 488, a bill to limit campaign contributions in Carrboro to any amount desired by the Boa and to require naming individual contributors of at least $20, thereby making the dispensing of political retribution easier for Boa members and their surrogates. Ms. Lavelle is quoted as saying “I support the bill. If it can’t happen in this session, then I hope it can in the short session .”
Almost four months after the November election, Ms. Lavelle hasn’t released publicly the names of her individual contributors of at least $20, as she advocated during the campaign. Instead she apparently prefers to stick to the statewide mandate of $100. It turns out the largest receiver and spender of money in the Carrboro election was none other than Ms. Lavelle.
Showing her concern for keeping local elections local, well over half of Ms. Lavelle’s listed individual campaign contributions came from those living outside Carrboro.
No word on whether or not Ms. Lavelle is among the critics of former US Senator Jessie Helms for his use of out of district money to win his elections.
No word on why the full cost of a four color, glossy, full page, mailer widely sent to thousands of Carrboro households doesn’t appear to be readily discernable in Ms. Lavelle’s campaign expenditure filings.
See Lavelle Campaign filings.
See Carrboro Citizen Campaign Bill Story.
In a strategic planning aka cumbaya (see Phictionary) session, Chapel Hill Councilman Matt Czajkowski spoke up about the social engineering aspects of the craze for developer profits in pushing mixed use developments. Mr. Czajkowski had the audacity to challenge if families prefer to live in high rise, multi-family, mixed use developments. ”Guys, you're making a massive assumption that families want to move into high density development.”
Mr. Czajkowski’s remarks were in response to Mayor Kevin Foy’s comment that ”We assume that mixed-use development is the best development, and on top of that, we assume that people want to live in dense development.”
In an Orange Progressive put-down, executive director of yet another local tax-exempt organization, on-again, off-again political power couple paramour, and fellow Town Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt accused Mr. Czajkowski of “harboring a 1950s perspective”. Readers should note that Mr. Kleinschmidt wasn’t born until the late 1960s and is not a practicing breeder (see Phictionary).
Town councilman Jim Ward piled on indicating that he didn’t care what ordinary families wanted. He doesn’t care if people want to live in high density developments. He assumes that it's the best way to grow Chapel Hill. “And you're making the assumption that they will or will not [live in whatever the council wants them to live in],”
No word on why any social engineering councilman thinks that growing Chapel Hill’s population is desirable.
No word of any discussion of carrying capacity occurring to the social engineers of the cumbayah circle.
See Chapel Hill Herald Cumbayah Story.