Chapel Hill: Opinion

Your letters, April 23

Caldwell for sheriff

With extensive education and honors, eight years of military service both as a military police officer and soldier, over 22 years experience in local law enforcement, and sustained community service, David Caldwell comes with a strong experiential background to tackle the Orange County sheriff’s position.

In addition, his ongoing involvement with and appreciation of diversity within communities affords him a unique understanding of the need for more and better communication, and the indisputable relationship between inequality and criminal behavior.

David Caldwell adds to his background and organizational skills a visionary approach to law enforcement as a means to empower citizens to reduce crime. His strength of character, integrity and way of dealing with issues and people helps everyone to work together. David Caldwell is the person we need as Orange County sheriff.

Virginia Leslie

Orange County

Hauser is tireless

I am writing to enthusiastically support Bonnie Hauser for Orange County commissioner. I met Bonnie through Orange County Justice United several years ago. Since that time I have watched Bonnie work tirelessly – with both Justice United and also Orange County Voice – in support of equitable treatment of communities throughout the county.

Bonnie is in this race for all the right reasons. In all of her work, her central concern is making sure everyone is treated fairly and county funds are spent wisely. After years of complacency from the county, Bonnie helped advocate for affordable sewer rates in Efland, closing the landfill, and bringing water and sewer service for Rogers Road residents. She’s continuing to find ways to further reduce waste with composting and other services, and recognizes that the towns and the county need to work together to find long-term solutions that are just and affordable. She proved the value of cooperation when she advocated for ambulances in fire stations in the towns and throughout the county.

Bonnie’s ability to think through complex problems and work with others to find solutions, and then advocate effectively to make those solutions happen, is a rare combination of skills that we need in our local government. Those skills are paired with a heart that is always in the right place and energy that is unflagging. I believe as commissioner, Bonnie will help bring Orange County to a better future. Please vote for Bonnie Hauser on May 6.

Kathy Kaufman

Chapel Hill

Jacobs can do the job

To choose between friends in this year’s county commissioners race, I identified the one issue that could make or break the character and quality of life, the economy and the uniqueness of Orange County – and that is farming, with its many related farming activities.

Barry Jacobs says: “When the mills left Orange County in the 1800s, we had agriculture and the university. This is our historic heritage, it’s who we are , it’s our destiny.” Our agricultural enterprises have grown since then, and Barry’s leadership and participation have earned us a well-deserved “progressive” reputation: by being one of the first and most successful N.C. counties to purchase development rights to preserve farmland and important natural areas; by establishing a multi-county processing center to help entrepreneurs develop and sell their food products; by using the Breeze Farm for instruction in organic farming with rental space available afterwards to grow crops; by building a covered farmers’ market on county land in Hillsborough.

This is a great start; but major expansion is needed now so our educational institutions can spend their millions on Orange County’s local, sustainably grown healthy foods instead of having to import them from around the world. An expanded farm economy of this magnitude requires experienced leadership and understanding of the complex legal issues involved, plus the creative ability to make it happen. I think Barry Jacobs can do the job,

Marty Mandell


U-Square update

The April gathering of the Friends of Downtown this Thursday, April 24, features Gordon Merklein, executive director of real estate at UNC; Jason Frost, vice president for development at Cousins Properties; and Jeff Furman, vice president for development at Northwood Ravin. Together, they will present an update on the plan and redevelopment schedule for University Square. The mixed-use project will include 120,000 square feet of office space, 55,000 square feet of retail space, 300 multi-family units and 1000 decked parking spaces. You will not want to miss their detailed update presentation and the Q&A session following.

Gatherings of the Friends of the Downtown take place on the second floor of the Franklin Hotel. Coffee and conversation begin at 9:30, with an update on what’s happening downtown promptly at 10 a.m. and our speakers.

Meetings are free and open to the public, with parking available in the lot behind the Franklin Hotel (ONLY on the side facing the hotel) and in the hotel’s gated lots as available. Parking is also available in the town lots behind Chipotle and off Rosemary below 140 West.

Pat Evans


Buyer beware on E-F plan

Last week in continuing its role of promoting the Ephesus Fordham proposal (E-F) as good medicine, the Town of Chapel Hill staff began a series of promotional infomercials for E-F that made me think for a minute I was reading an ad for the south sea islands. 

But no, this is product of the town’s communication team – an example of the sophisticated PR that the town has assembled to “sell” the town manager’s ideas to members of the public who signed up to receive news briefs from the town.

For example, Manager Roger Stancil describes E-F as "the neat cool place to live and work". Sounds cool, but when you look under the covers you find a proposal built on flimsy foundations. If built, it could be as tenuous as a sand castle washed away by the next wave. To the outspoken advertising promoted by my town government, I say buyer beware! I was prepared to support this proposal until I learned:

• The planned roads are proposed in the flood plain

• My favorite small businesses will have to leave because they can't afford the new higher rents

• There is no plan to mitigate flooding, and the stormwater consultants hired to give advice were not directed to study the watershed beyond the district lines

• The proposal does not follow the small area plan height recommendation developed by community consensus

• The town has no money to serve the proposed density with transit or get new residents to work

• There is no plan for parking

• This form-based code bars public review, and does not require affordable housing, energy efficiency, and pocket parks

• And finally the town's budget director tells us the projected tax base will be eaten up by the costs of serving it.

No thanks, I’ll pass on this offer.

Julie McClintock

Chapel Hill

The writer s a former member of the Chapel Hill Town Council.

Brooks for Register

I’m voting for Deborah Brooks for register of deeds in the Orange County Democratic primary on May 6 and I hope many other Orange County voters will too. 

Deborah Brooks has worked in the office of the Orange County Register of Deeds for 38 years, providing excellent, user-oriented services to the citizens and businesses of our county. She has introduced innovations to increase public access to records, including an e-recording system and is implementing on-line retrieval of old records. She has dedicated her career to working in this office and she has the experience, knowledge, management capability and dedication that ensure the integrity, accuracy and safekeeping of public records.

I am personally committed to marriage equality, but I don’t believe it is an appropriate platform plank for Register of Deeds’ candidates. There is talk in this race about whether the Register of Deeds is empowered or qualified or should issue marriage licenses to gay couples. The answer is clear: No. The Register of Deeds, upon taking the oath of office, must uphold the law, not interpret the law, despite his or her personal beliefs.

Think about it. When marriage equality becomes law in North Carolina, will it be appropriate for a Register of Deeds who opposes marriage equality to deny a marriage license to gay couples? The answer is just as clear: No.

This year I hope Orange County re-elects Deborah Brooks as Register of Deeds. She has the experience, integrity and management skills that we need.

Sue Jackson

Chapel Hill