Adrian R. Halpern: A diverse Orange

April 27, 2013 

Plenty of diversity

In his April 21 Point of View piece “A paler shade of Orange,” Michael Jacobs made interesting points that will hopefully set off much needed debate. But his “irrefutable message” that Orange County is becoming less diverse surprisingly failed to address the dramatic increases in Latino, Asian and Indian populations over the past dozen years.

We may have 2 percent fewer African-Americans, but it’s clear we’re becoming a “darker” shade of Orange. Chapel Hill and Carrboro even host two dual-language elementary school programs (Chinese, Spanish).

But there’s no questioning that Orange County is a ridiculously expensive place to live, and that social engineering occurs here on a scale out of whack with the incomes of many middle class families.

The county’s spendthrift ways are rooted in its having a large number of childless professionals, well-to-do retirees and, perhaps most critically, a large number of the “transient single college students who pay no taxes in the community,” as Jacobs said. Such students can vote in their college communities, places where they usually have no roots and almost invariably pay no local property taxes.

Spendthrift politicians and spendthrift proposals have long won out in Orange County, thanks to the deciding votes of university students who often favor nice-sounding “progressive” politicos and ideas they don’t have to pay for.

Adrian R. Halpern

Chapel Hill

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