Let’s start over
The 36 acres on Legion Road are owned by the American Legion, which has been a good steward of the land and a good neighbor for decades. Many of the legionnaires have deep roots in Orange County and extensive community involvement.
They have decided to sell this property, and with the best of intentions, offered the town of Chapel Hill the right of first refusal to purchase the property. The previous Town Council declined this offer, and gave tentative approval to a development of 600 high-rise luxury apartments. They did this with no public input. The residents in the northeast side of Chapel Hill do not want 600 luxury apartments on Legion Road; the town of Chapel Hill does not need 600 luxury apartments on Legion Road.
This proposal for 600 luxury apartments is not for the benefit of the current residents and taxpayers. It is to attract newcomers, who will put a further drain on the schools, fire, police, public works, not to mention increased flooding, increased taxes, and increased traffic. Just imagine the traffic jams that will occur as vehicles from 600 apartments try to enter Ephesus Church Road from Legion Road. The surrounding neighborhood streets would definitely be adversely affected.
No one wants to discourage a sale for the American Legion, the proceeds from which would surely benefit veterans and their families. But why destroy that beautiful, green, open space with 600 apartments.
Please read the one-page petition to the mayor and Town Council at www.ourtownchapelhill.org, which asks them to start over with a transparent and participatory community discussion of how this unique property can be developed in a way that would benefit the landowners and serve the interests of the entire community. If you agree, add your name to the petition without delay.
Rich has vision
In the primary for county commissioner District 1, I will be voting for Penny Rich, and I encourage Orange County voters to do the same. She came to the Chapel Hill Town Council in 2009 with valuable experience from the OWASA board and a broad knowledge of the issues before us. She quickly became a strong advocate for affordable housing, homeless support and other issues touching upon social justice. With clear strategic vision, she saw how issues were related, like for example the relationship of effective mass transit to housing affordability.
During her first term on the Board of Commissioners she has continued to stress these relationships, and this is why for Chapel Hill voters it is especially important to return her to the position. Rich understands the solutions to critical issues ranging from expanding employment opportunities to making housing affordable to all to mending gaps in the social safety net can only come from the coordinated efforts of the county and the towns. Her commitment to this collaborative work is results-driven. She successfully argued, for example, for funding for housing to be included on the upcoming 2016 county bond, and her vision for investing in housing includes strategies for working within the towns as well as in the rural areas.
I was proud to serve with her on the Town Council, and I’m honored to have her represent all of our interests on the Board of Commissioners. I urge you to join me I voting for Penny Rich on March 15.
Rich has common sense
During her service as a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council and in the last four year on the Board of County Commissioners, Penny Rich has demonstrated consistent leadership and a common-sense approach towards governing.
For example, on affordable housing, she pushed to make sure the county bond referendum included money for affordable housing despite the skepticism of many of her colleagues. As the parent of two children who attended Chapel-Hill Carrboro City Schools, she also understands the importance of the schools’continued success and is a staunch supporter of the school systems’ need for additional financnial support as the state continues to cut funding.
She is a smart, progressive, and thoughtful representative of Orange County residents, and a responsible steward of our tax dollars, and I encourage everyone to vote for her on March 15.
Geoffrey F. Green
Marcoplos gets complex issues
I am thankful to live in a community where I have many good choices of candidates running for city and county offices. Such is the case in the Orange County commissioner at-large race; two excellent candidates are running. After much consideration, I have decided to back Mark Marcopolos.
I have known Mark for over 30 years – first as a local businessman and later as a county activist. Mark brings great experience and wisdom to this race. He has served on several county boards, including both the Orange Water and Sewer Authority and the Planning Board. I know Mark has an in-depth understanding of the county’s complex issues. His concerns include education, economic development and job creation that will benefit all sectors of our community. He has served as a spokesperson for the local Sierra Club chapter. Given his long-standing interests in water and energy conservation, solid waste management, recycling and transportation, he was endorsed by the Sierra Club. I join the Sierra Club in believing that given his multitude of interests and experience, he will make an excellent member of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners.
Melva Fager Okun
Put housing first
As a long time Carrboro resident, I am fortunate that there are more qualified candidates running for county commissioner than there are open seats. This gives me the opportunity to choose the candidates I believe will best further the cause of improving affordable housing policy and increasing local funding for the same.
The Board of Commissioners has done an excellent job over the years investing in our local school systems, protecting the environment and nurturing the quality of life available to county residents. However they have fallen short for more than a decade with regards to affordable housing for those who live – and especially – work in Orange County. Hence, I will be voting for District 1 candidates Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich, and my at-large vote will go to Mark Marcopolos.
Without the months-long advocacy of Dorosin and Rich there wouldn’t be any funding in the proposed November 2016 bond referendum for affordable housing; now there is $5 million. And I’m sure they would have also voted to include similar funding proposed by advocates for the county’s senior population if given the chance. And Marcopolos was advocating right along with them for the same outcome as the citizen-activist that he is deservedly well-known for.
If you want to be assured that the county government has turned the corner on improving the prospects for affordable housing in Orange County I encourage you to also vote for Mark Dorosin, Mark Marcopolos and Penny Rich. They all can be counted on to maintain the values that Orange County is well-known for and to extend that reputation into the arena of affordable housing and related social justice policies.
Dorosin advocates for all
Since being elected in 2012, Mark Dorosin has served as an advocate for all residents of Orange County. Mark was the only one of our county commissioners to support the full funding requested by our school boards and has continually pushed to support our schools in the face of state budget cuts.
Mark understands that critical issues in our county, such as affordable housing, economic development, job opportunity and education equity don’t exist in isolation. Our county will only make progress by addressing these problems as a whole and linking policies to priorities.
Mark has been a leader in the Family Success Alliance, a coalition helping poor families, and has pushed to extend a local living wage to more county and school system employees. County-level policies determine what makes Orange county unique, who wants to live here, and who can afford to live here, therefore our county commissioners play an important role. I believe Mark Dorosin is the best candidate to address the challenges we face in moving Orange County forward and shaping our future success. Vote Mark Dorosin March 15.
The deadline for submissions by and about candidates in the March 15 primary has passed. We invite letters of up to 300 words on other topics at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.