Chapel Hill: Opinion

Roses and raspberries, March 11

Roses, and in truth, a couple of raspberries, to Chapel Hill Town Council member Matt Czajkowski, who announced two weeks ago that he will leave Chapel Hill to work with his wife, Jill, in bringing clean water to communities in Africa that desperately need it.

We wish the Czajkowskis well. We thank the councilman, also, for his service. More than most on the council, he questioned the group think, consistently asking those around the dais if their decisions were serving the interests of those who elected them.

Years ago, before he ran and narrowly lost his bid for mayor, Czajkowski sat in shirtsleeves in what was the Flying Burrito on what was Airport Road. He said then he liked Chapel Hill, because it was a place where no one cared what you wore or what kind of car you drove.

(It’s probably safe to say that was and may still be an accurate statement if one starts at a certain socioeconomic baseline. And Chapel Hill’s baseline is higher than most.)

Still, the councilman tapped a public vein, speaking for those who have appreciated this community’s historic sense of place, a sense of pace that seems on its way out as high-rise development comes not just to downtown but anywhere the current council says so. (And we note, Czajkowski voted with the majority last week in approving plans for the massive Edge project along Eubanks Road.)

And so the raspberries (just a few). Because for all his talk, Czajkowski’s talk was ultimately just that, a lone voice in a sometimes empty chamber, a court needler playing a secondary part where many had hoped he’d play a starring role.

Roses to Orange County’s state House members for their support of taking partisan politics out of the way voting maps are created in North Carolina.

Rep. Verla Insko and Rep. Graig Meyer have each signed on as co-sponsors of House Bill 92, which would establish an impartial process for drawing the state’s congressional and legislative districts.

“It’s time to put North Carolina voters above partisan politics and pass meaningful redistricting reform,” Insko said.

The Orange County legislators are among 63 Democratic and Republican House members co-sponsoring the measure, according to a news release from Common Cause North Carolina.

“Redistricting reform is simply about good government and protecting the right of voters to choose their representatives.” Meyer said.

The bill introduced recently would take the power of drawing voting maps out of the hands of partisan lawmakers and give it to nonpartisan legislative staff.

Bob Phillips, executive director of the nonpartisan Common Cause North Carolina, praised the lawmakers for their support of redistricting reform.

“Establishing an impartial redistricting process is vital to ensuring we have a government that is responsive to the citizens of North Carolina,” Phillips said in the release “We thank Rep. Insko and Rep. Meyer for their commitment to this important reform.”

More information on the efforts to reform the redistricting process in North Carolina is available at

Common Cause North Carolina is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization dedicated to encouraging citizen participation in democracy.