Why they got booted
Regarding the article about the pending America Legion Post land sale (CHN, http://nando.com/3a-)
I think this article understates the feeling by many in the crowd that we as the property tax payers and the voting citizens are tired of being lectured to and not being listened to by our elected officals and our unelected town manager.
The actions of the former council members and mayor who made the decision not to purchase this property in a closed meeting with no public input after being resoundingly defeated in an election weeks before is a good sign that booting these folks out of office was the best thing to do. Things like that process of turning down this purchase is exactly why they got unelected.
I’ve had enough of showing up at town meetings that pantomime getting citizen input and then go do the bidding of whatever development group is there with hardly any questions asked. And then my neighborhood has to worry about the long-term consequences once these folks collect their millions and are long gone: the addtional taxes to pay for schools, the flooding problems, the traffic nightmares, the out-of-character density plopped right into the middle of lower-density development, the additonal noise and other issues.
If the developer is truly commited to not shoving something down our throat they would look at the extremely shady way the descision to not have the town purchase this land was made and would back out of their contract until that was put to a public hearing and that issue resolved in a more democratic way. Nobody is saying the town would or should purchase it, but for the love of god we never actually even got to have a public hearing!
Durham-Orange Light Rail still not right
It’s been a few months since GoTriangle (regional bus and transit provider) submitted their final plan to the federal government to fund a Durham-Orange County Transit system. It’s a 17-mile light rail system from Duke to UNC Hospitals with 17 stations mysteriously avoiding popular area destinations. There have been many public forums with affected citizens voicing legitimate concerns about safety and added traffic/parking problems in the already gridlocked N.C. 54 corridor, but these concerns have been marginalized and the proposed plan has been pushed through.
The plan lacks innovation and foresight but does have a ludicrous price of $1.6 billion to build and $18 million annually to maintain. This money buys an inflexible fixed rail train tethered to electric power lines running on tracks decorating the portal to the “Southern Part of Heaven.” It adds 150 trains a day with many at-grade crossings which equals 150 more traffic backups on many of our busiest roads: N.C. 54, Farrington Road and Barbee Chapel Road. And just to make sure the area is totally gridlocked, more development will be squeezed into this long-time over-developed corridor by adding designated development areas and more CARS.
Neighboring Wake County has opted to hire unbiased consultants to recommend best practices and options in the design of their Transit plan and the result is an innovative, cost-effective proposal that should be the envy of Durham and Chapel Hill. They will use modern BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) driving in dedicated lanes as the main transport method for their transit plan. The buses are less costly than light rail, have the flexibility to reroute (not tethered to power or limited by fixed rail) as demand changes, and are less expensive to upgrade as technology evolves.
I hope the recent elections in both Chapel Hill and Durham have added sensible newcomers to our governing boards who will actually listen to concerns and request a review of the proposed Durham-Orange Light Rail project by an unbiased consultant so we end up with a plan that provides both smart transit and development solutions. Without the “smart solutions” the North Carolina Legislature’s cap on funding this project should continue.
Visit the Wake Transit site at http://nando.com/3cp to see an innovative, cost effective transit plan and if you are a Durham, Orange, or North Carolina (your tax money will help fund this) resident let your representatives know that the Durham-Orange Light Rail plan should never leave the station.
During this time when it seems that many of us on the planet have taken leave of our senses in a wide variety of new and innovative fashions, I remind myself to take heart in the fact that I live in a town with an extraordinary number of kind and generous people.
The Timberlyne Shelter Cooking Group would like to thank all of you who donated new socks to our annual gift event, allowing us to present shelter guests at our Dec. 27 lunch with gifts of fresh, new socks.
Sometimes the smallest kindness makes the biggest difference. Thank you all.
Maureen Dolan Rosen
Lower drinking age
Regarding the article “State ABC board penalizes Chapel Hill bar for underage sales” (CHN, http://nando.com/39y)
They should lower the drinking age to 18. If you’re old enough to vote and go to college, you should be able to drink. I believe that the students would drink responsibly. When you impose laws that are restrictive, people rebel and that is what is happening. Treat students as the adults they are.
Come learn with us
Four new spring courses will be offered by Peer Learning of Chapel Hill, a nonprofit group for seniors and retirees. Located at Olin T. Binkley Memorial Baptist Church, 1712 Willow Drive, next to University Place, the classes are taught by peers, often retired professors or professionals in their fields, who discuss, lecture, and use videos.
Participants will glimpse into Muslim medieval history, explore weather, climate and the future, travel through deserts via slides, and laugh at comic operas from Mozart to Strauss. Six additional classes include discussions of Greek history, personal experiences, philosophies, current events, short stories, and books.
A monthly social-speaker meeting and a Stepping-Out Luncheon provide the opportunity to meet new people. The spring semester begins with the social-speaker meeting at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 12, in the Binkley Church lounge.
Chapel Hill Public Library Director Susan Brown will discuss the library’s past, present, and future, including an overview of current activities and a prediction of what may lie ahead. She will also cover general aspects of public libraries and offer tips on getting the most value out of a Chapel Hill Public Library card.
Classes start the week of Feb. 15. The cost of $25 per semester covers the membership fee and all classes. To learn more and register, go to peerlearningofchapelhill.com or call 919-942-3044.
Peer Learning of Chapel Hill
Regarding the news article “Consultants will study UNC before Spellings starts work” (N&O, Jan. 9):
“A $1.1 million privately funded study by a management consulting firm will analyze the UNC system’s administrative operation before UNC President-elect Margaret Spellings arrives in North Carolina." Anonymously funded. Really? What a coward. Follow the money.
Who has what to gain from this “study” from a well-known management consulting group that is devoted to analyzing business strategy? Since when is the “university of the people” all about business? Is that what the people of North Carolina want? To transform the oldest public university in the country into the University of Phoenix?
What a sad day. The only hope to save the UNC system from this Rovian/Bush bot imported from Texas is to get out and vote in November and send the Republicans responsible for hiring Spellings packing.
Betty Buller Whitehead
Please send letters of up to 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters and online comments may be edited for space and clarity. Thanks!