21st century responsibilities
Chapel Hill residents worry about traffic more than anything else, yet they oppose connecting roads. Thus vehicles have few alternative routes. That viewpoint perpetuates traffic bottlenecks.
My ordinary elementary school had no cafeteria, so I crossed three streets to school and home four times a day. Chapel Hill children can also learn to cross streets.
Like my house, several Meadows and Turnberry homes abut American Legion land. Noise from American Legion’s needed rentals, music late into weekend nights, has raised complaints and led to one couple moving. Loud noise is a genuine “quality of life” issue. A recreation facility or enlarged YMCA will generate seven days of noise, some nights, and many group vehicle trips.
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Residences and/or offices will produce staggered travel vehicles similar to our current residences all along Legion Road.
A 50- to 100-foot buffer is standard between subdivisions, and no one has suggested removal of the pines and hardwoods along the American Legion boundaries.
Supporters of environment and habitat seemed to miss the presentation. Council member Michael Parker verified that more than half the land could not be developed. The town can retain that green space without buying it. Member George Cianciolo noted the town already owns 10 acres adjacent to this RCD (resource conservation district) portion.
Member Donna Bell sensibly said Chapel Hill cannot make plans for someone else’s property; the market determines occupancy. Member Maria Palmer expressed the ethical questionability of abandoning bond money plans for much-needed maintenance of our existing Parks and Recreation facilities.
Mayor Pam Hemminger counts 6,500 residences coming including Carolina North, construction years away. Somehow she still expects 6,500 in Ephesus-Fordham alone. We need an expanded tax base, jobs, and places for people of diverse ages and incomes. The developable part of American Legion land can be sensibly used for these.
Long only environmentalist, the Sierra Club has grown up. They endorsed former Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt. Chapel Hill also must accept 21st century responsibilities.
Last time voting?
My frustration makes me want to say that this will be my last time voting in North Carolina as a tax-paying citizen with a visual impairment.
The polling site at Binkley Baptist Church was not secure and was at best uninviting. I voiced to the polling staff that I needed an accessible voting machine and space, and I was pointed here and there without any assistance getting to that spot. Once I arrived at that spot, I did not have the necessary ballot for processing my vote and was told to go “back over there” get in line again to check in (verify my identification) and collect the ballot to vote.
The verification form was not in large print so the polling staff had to read the information to me. I signed and was once again instructed to vote at the accessible voting machine and space. The polling staff was willing to help, but was not familiar with the machine. I figured it out, but was horrified at the placement of the machine. All of my choices were exposed to the other voters to see – no privacy or booth.
I know now why many people of color – African Americans and others – left the polling site without voting. The intimidation and frustration can easily make you walk away without exercising your constitutional right to be heard.
Let's compare my voting experience four years ago.
I was at the Senior Center. There were no accessible polling station or machine and upon entry I was pressured to show my ID. The gentleman said he thought I was from Durham, but I told him he was incorrect. The discrepancy in my address was that I had just recently moved. (All within the Chapel Hill town limits) I gave the polling staffer my correct address for their database but he omitted my apartment number. I asked him to correct it, but he said I would get a verification card on the mail and I could correct it then. Seeing my frustration a senior center staff person went back into the system and corrected my address. Have things really changed or have the indignities, inadequacy and intimidation just been transferred to another disadvantaged group?
There has to be a change in the process!
Help send seniors off
Congratulations to our high school seniors!
This year on June 11, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will graduate roughly 1,000 seniors.
That evening all graduates are invited to bring a guest and celebrate at Project Graduation: a safe, drug- and alcohol-free event held from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. at the UNC Student Union. A tradition since 1993, the event features food, activities, entertainers, inflatables and many prizes, and has consistently seen roughly 75 percent or greater attendance of the senior class.
Project Graduation is made possible thanks to many volunteers and the generous support of numerous individuals and businesses in the community.
Last year while we did not have graduating seniors, we knew many of them. Donating time and money to Project Graduation felt like a concrete way to celebrate with them.
Projection Graduation of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Inc., is a 501(c) (3) Non-Profit Organization, EIN 56-1901263
Please consider making a tax deductible donation, or volunteering your time the night of June 11 in honor of this year’s graduating class by visiting www.projectgraduationchccs.org
Melinda Abrams, Carrboro High School parent
Anne Cabell. Chapel Hill High School parent
Laura Enyedi, East Chapel Hill High School parent
The writers are the co-chairs of Project Graduation.
Stop NAFTA on steroids
What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership known as TPP? We are involved with local groups concerned about TPP and particularly offer this from the Orange County Peace Coalition.
Do you remember the North American Free Trade Treaty known as NAFTA? The TTP is NAFTA on Steroids. Congress has provided the opportunity for a fast track vote and President Obama is working aggressively for approval. Both Sens. Burr and Tillis are opposed. Contact your House members Price, Butterfield or others.
If Congress ratifies this agreement more American jobs would be offshored. Internet freedom would be a joke. Developing countries would lose access to lifesaving medicines. Unsafe foods and products could pour into our country. The deal includes countries notorious for severe violations of human rights, but the term "human rights" does not appear in the 5,600 pages of the TPP. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There is a partnership with the Interfaith Working Group on Trade and Investment to do local organizing on the TPP. The IWG has been working for years for trade policies that include transparency, environmental and workplace protections and policies that benefit and not harm those in need.
Trade, like the rest of the economy, must be a means of lifting people out of poverty and ensuring a country’s ability to protect the health, safety and well being of their citizens and the planet. Member organizations, as well as the Orange County Peace Coalition opposed are: American Friends Service Committee American Jewish World Service Catholic Democrats Catholics in the Alliance for the Common Good, Center of Concern Church of the Brethren, Office of Public Witness, also National Catholic, Presbyterian, including The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, & Methodist, United Church of Christ Organizations join is opposing TPP.
“When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and amoral system that glorifies it” – Frederic Bastiat, “The Law” (1850)
The Date for congressional vote is now set for November 2016. Now is good time to contact your members of Congress.
The writers are the co-chairs of the Orange County Peace Coalition.