Bond issue needs scrutiny
Something is about to slip by us in Orange County.
The Orange County commissioners may decide on Oct. 6 to hold a $125 million bond referendum in the November election. Plans are to spend this money on schools; and there will be discussion on this at a joint meeting of the school boards on Sept. 29.
Citizens have opportunity to weigh in, apparently for the first time, on Sept. 15 and also on Oct. 6, when the commissioners may finalize their decision.
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Now most of us support schools, but let’s step back just a bit. The county has other important needs with specific master plans and goals that need funding to move forward.
We have the Orange County senior centers serving the senior population, which now surpasses the school-age population, we have the Parks and Recreation, with plans for more parks and greenways, we have the Commission for the Environment, with designs for more natural areas and green spaces to preserve and manage, and we have the ongoing affordable housing challenge.
We need to consider very carefully a $125 million bond that is committed exclusively for schools.
On Wednesday, September 15, the public can be heard you can sign up for a 3 minute comment or simply be present to represent your interest. That meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Orange County Human Services Department next to the Seymour Senior Center on Homestead Road.
Its bewildering that this issue has moved along so quietly for several months with citizens hearing so little about it and no opportunities, until now, for input.
Its our money, and we should have a voice.
Mark Zimmerman makes a number of good points about the proposed B&B ordinance (CHN, http://nando.com/27y), but I respectfully suggest he and others reconsider their opinion on the proposed owner/manager “live-in” requirement, one that makes no sense in a time when cell phone and personal communication device usage is universal.
This “live-in” requirement creates significant barriers to entry for those who have the creative and financial capital to renovate a home for a B&B, but would rather not live there themselves.
All that’s needed to allay any concerns about “absentee” ownership/management is to require 24/7 owner/manager contact phone numbers be provided B&B guests, and that the B&B owner, manager, or responsible appointee of either, also be required to physically enter their B&B’s premises daily when guests are staying there. The creatives behind B&Bs will necessarily use that on-site time to help develop their investments into enjoyable, desirable destinations – or they’ll fail.
As Mr. Zimmerman notes, “the advent of AirBnb has made it hard for B&B’s to survive.” Why make it harder for them to get established in the first place?
Moton for coach, Hamm for AD
After watching the UNC-TV program “Black Issues Forum” about NCCU basketball coach LeVellle Moton, I believe he would be an excellent choice as the next basketball coach for UNC. His intelligence, integrity, and success in addition to his race would go a long way in improving the loss of integrity theUNC athletic program has encountered over the past ten years.
Though I’m white, I believe it is important for the university to show its commitment to gender and racial equality in addition to athletic excellence and academic integrity.
A female athletic director would be a good addition as well (wouldn't Mia Hamm be a great choice?).
I’ve always been proud of my university, but in recent years the loss of integrity both in academic and athletic endeavors has embarrassed me. We need to end the lollygagging.
America loves birthdays, and of course the granddaddy of them all is the Fourth of July. But another anniversary in our history deserves to be celebrated in style – Sept. 17, the date when the U.S. Constitution was signed in 1787. Many communities all around the country are planning special events on Saturday, Sept. 19, to commemorate Constitution and Citizenship Day.
We are members of area non-profit organizations that have come together to organize a big family-friendly birthday party from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in historic Hillsborough. There will be lectures, discussion, local speakers on the Courthouse lawn, food trucks, musical entertainment, and information tables -- all taking place near the spot where North Carolina's first ratification convention was held in 1788.
Our Founding Fathers would be amazed that the document they created still forms the framework of America's government after well over two centuries. It's the shortest (at 4,400 words) and longest-surviving Constitution in the world, amended only 17 times – not counting the first 10 amendments, which make up the Bill of Rights. Come join the celebration and honor a great day in our nation's history!
I am saddened and embarrassed by the profound historical ignorance on display in the cartoon “Blue Lives Matter” (CHN, Sept. 9)
There are hundreds of laws and thousands of hours of network television similarly white-washing state violence, even as police and prison-guards kill an African American on average every 36 hours and almost always with total impunity.
In the year since Michael Brown was murdered we have been forced to pay attention to the stunning frequency of this violence through the brave efforts of young Black people refusing to accept those deaths and the system that allows police to literally get away with murder. With Black Lives Matter they are taking a very important stand against centuries of racist violence and against the more recent militarization of police and the ways that specifically affects communities of color. They have helped reveal police trained to expect total submission so that even a glance becomes justification for shooting someone. This training makes it possible for both black and white cops to kill young people of color.
Yes, I do call 911 when I’m in trouble and Yes, some police hold on to their humanity despite this. But that does not justify your offensive trivializing of the death and bloodshed Black Lives Matter is working so hard to reveal and to end.
Diane M. Nelson
Light rail crossings unsafe
There are numerous good reasons to be opposed to the Durham/Chapel Hill light rail project. The one point I would like to address is that it is assumed by most that the light rail will at least be safe. This is a false assumption.
The current proposal includes at least one intersection that will be extremely dangerous. This is not just because it is an intersection where the train runs at grade level, but the key danger is that there is not, nor will there be, a traffic light at this intersection. The intersection is Downing Creek Parkway and N.C. 54.
GoTriangle has made it clear that they will not put in a traffic light. As cars try to make their way onto the very busy highway, they will be forced to stop on the tracks and run the real risk of the rail gate coming down behind their car, thus trapping them on the tracks. Stopping on the tracks may be illegal, but there will be no other way to get onto N.C. 54 during most hours since the track will come very close to the highway and there will be two tracks side by side equaling a 30- foot span. A car will be hard pressed to get onto the highway without stopping on the tracks in order to get close enough to N.C. 54 to make its way into traffic without a traffic light. Please note that the train will be crossing this intersection 140 times every day.
The danger is not just to the people in cars that use this intersection, but also to the passengers on the train. Durham and Chapel Hill officials involved in this approval process, the N.C. DOT, and the Federal Transit Administration all need to take note and assume responsibility for this potentially dangerous situation they are proposing.
Editor’s note: We asked GoTriangle to respond to Ms. Cameron’s letter. Here is what spokesman Brad Schulz said:
One of the primary features of light rail transit is its ability to interact safely with cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians at grade crossings in a way that freight trains and Amtrak trains cannot. All light rail transit (LRT) systems in the United States have at-grade crossings or run within public streets.
Detailed design of each proposed at-grade crossing on the Durham-Orange (D-O) LRT system will be completed during the next phase of engineering in coordination with NCDOT, the town of Chapel Hill, and the city of Durham to ensure appropriate safety measures are incorporated. The design of the safety features will be in accordance with all state and federal safety regulations, and best practices pertaining to at grade light rail transit crossings.
At Downing Creek Parkway, traffic stopping on the D-O light-rail tracks and between the light-rail tracks and N.C. 54 will be controlled through a combination of signage, warning bells and lights, vehicle detection technology at the crossings, and enforcement.
Additional information is available in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project; refer to sections 3.2, Roadways, and 4.12, Safety and Security.