Chapel Hill: Opinion

The Conversation: Alex Brown, C.J. Cain, Jasper Cobb, Tom Henkel, Joshua Mecimore and Keith Pullman

Common-sense councilman

This is very sad news for the community, but we wish all the best to Chapel Hill Town Council Member Matt Czajkowski and his wife for this exciting opportunity to work in Africa!

Czajkowski has been an anchor of common sense in council deliberations. His in-depth knowledge of how money and budgets work, his ability to ask the right questions, his courage to stand up for his constituents even when he was the lone holdout to doing the right thing have earned him tremendous respect from Chapel Hill residents.

We have come to rely on his practicality, integrity, and steadiness when his colleagues got caught up in the escalating myth of “Bigger not Better,” no matter the cost to the town.

Africa’s gain is our loss.

Tom Henkel

Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town coordinating committee

Obvious vendetta

The forced “voluntary resignation” of UNC System President Tom Ross without cause or explanation and the obvious political vendetta against Gene Nichol may soon bring problems not foreseen by the Board of Governors. Mississippi offers an unhappy example.

In 1930, then-Gov. Theodore Bilbo, nearing the end of his second term, suddenly and without explanation dismissed the presidents of Mississippi’s three major universities, replacing them respectively by a realtor, a press agent, and a newly minted college graduate with only a bachelor’s degree. Boasting that this action had taken only three hours, Bilbo began replacing 179 other faculty members – including the dean of the Medical School at Ole Miss, replaced by a man who had “once had a course in dentistry.” Bilbo managed to fire only 53 before his term ended (leaving his state with only $1,326.57 in its treasury but $11,500,000 in debt), but the damage to the university system was swift, severe, and long-lived. Among the consequences:

▪ The American Medical Association cancelled the accreditation of the state’s medical school

▪ The USDA canceled funding at the agricultural school at Mississippi State

▪ Graduates of the state’s public universities – their degrees no longer recognized by the national accrediting agency SACS – became essentially unemployable outside Mississippi. Recovery took several years.

Do we really want to compete for the place of dishonor in the familiar saying “Thank God for Mississippi?” UNC’s Board of Governors, apparently encouraged by political leaders in and around their newly empowered party, have taken two giant steps in that direction. Damage is inevitable, but let’s hope they learn that the integrity of higher education is more important than pleasing (or hiring) Art Pope and other pseudo-intellectuals who inhabit his many “think” tanks.

C. J. Cain

Chape Hill

Library concerns

An open letter to the Orange County Board of Commissioners,

I was very disturbed to see the change in the Southern Branch Capital Improvement Plan amount, and the note which states that the CIP funds have been cut because of a reduction in square footage and allotted parking for the proposed facility. Given that no site has been selected, it seems premature to plan for a library with a square footage that falls below the state library guidelines for branches of 16,000 square feet. I urge you to reconsider this change and to reinstate the funds initially allotted and as stated in the 2014 CIP.

Let's not fall short of planning for the community's needs, especially before we have even begun.

Thank you for your consideration,

Alex Brown


Friends of the Carrboro Libraries

Abstinence a choice

I’m in eighth grade at Smith Middle, and in my health class, we had to write an essay about why abstinence is important to our lives.

Abstinence is not important to my life, but I can see why it’s important to other people. Other people may not want to have sex until marriage, or not want to have sex at all, and more power to them.

If you don’t want to have sex, abstinence is a great idea.If you abstain from sex, you won’t get sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or get pregnant. But that doesn’t work for everyone. There are many ways to prevent getting pregnant or STDs. To avoid getting pregnant, there's the pill, patches, injections, male and female condoms, spermicide, IUDs and the morning-after pill. And many of these methods also prevent STDs. There also are vaccines for some STDs.​ If you do have sex, you should only do it with someone who you trust and whom you really know. And only have protected sex with consent, unless you and your partner want to get pregnant.

Another reason I disagree with abstinence is because of the politics. Republicans control North Carolinian education, especially in health class. Republicans claim they want small government, but they really want big government in the bedroom. I think the government should stay out of the bedroom, unless what's going on is abusive. But people should be educated more thoroughly about safe sex, and it really shouldn't matter what goes on between consenting teens or consenting adults.

So, in conclusion, I'm fine with abstinence, as long as it’s not taught as the only acceptable behavior, like in the health curriculum in my school. And anyway, I won’t make promises that I’m not sure I can keep.​

Jasper Cobb

Smith Middle School

Learn more about police department

We are currently accepting applications through March 16 for our spring Community Police Academy. This is a unique opportunity to get a look at what it’s like to be a Chapel Hill police officer.

The Police Department will host its spring Community Police Academy beginning Wednesday, April 8. The academy is an action-packed two-day event providing community members with an “inside look” at how their police department functions. This is not only an opportunity for community members but is a great opportunity for media employees, students, business owners/local employees, etc. to get a look inside CHPD.

Participants will experience:

▪ Exercises simulating real police scenarios

▪ Officer equipment demonstrations

▪ Arrest procedures

▪ Use of force discussions

▪ Social/mental health issues

▪ Citizen complaints/internal affairs

▪ Police canine (K9) program demonstrations

▪ Investigations

▪ Special emergency response capabilities

The Community Police Academy is open to anyone 16 years of age or older.

Anyone wishing to attend must complete an application by visiting the Chapel Hill Police Department homepage at http://www.chpd.usand clicking the Community Police Academy link.

Lt. Joshua Mecimore

Chapel Hill Police Department

Not full equality yet

Re Lavelle, Kleinschmidt urge freedom to marry (

There is no good reason to deny that we must keep evolving until an adult, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, monogamy or polyamory, race, or religion is free to share love, sex, residence, and marriage (and any of those without the others) with any and all consenting adults.

Polyamory, polygamy, open relationships are not for everyone, but they are for some. The limited same-gender freedom to marry is a great and historic step, but is not full marriage equality, because equality “just for some” is not equality. Let’s stand up for every adult’s right to marry the person(s) they love. Get on the right side of history!

Keith Pullman


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