Parker works hard
I am writing in support of Michael Parker, candidate for Town Council. He chaired the Transportation Board until town boards were redesigned, and he is now on the Planning Commission. He was elected unanimously by the Transportation and Connectivity Board, which I chair, to represent our board on the Planning Commission.
I have seen how Michael works hard to hear every person’s point of view, that decision-making is fact-based, and that workable, reasonable decisions are reached. I also have seen how Michael is committed to working towards what is best for the town and what would make Chapel Hill a better place to live and work.
Michael is knowledgeable of public transportation issues and is an advocate of effective, multi-modal transportation. He strongly believes Chapel Hill should develop a comprehensive transportation plan that combines all modes – auto, public transit, bicycle, pedestrian, etc. Implementing this strategy will provide more options for safe, healthier travel around town and to and from surrounding areas, which will help mitigate congestion and improve our overall health. Michael is also an advocate of ensuring that Chapel Hill remains both a desirable and affordable place of residence for future generations, and an efficient and effective location to start and maintain a business.
Our Town Council needs strong, effective negotiators to ensure that selected and approved developments are in the best interest of our town, and reflect the Chapel Hill brand and its celebration of diversity. This requires both the capacity to listen to and interact with other council members effectively, and to make timely decisions and obtain results. I believe Michael will excel in these areas as a member of Town Council.
The writer is chairman of the Transportation and Connectivity Board.
Happy about Hemminger
I am so happy that Pam Hemminger is running for mayor.
Having known her for more than 25 years, I trust Pam to know what is right and to do what is right for Chapel Hill.
A cool-headed leader she helps people set aside emotion to work through difficult issues, a trait I first observed in Pam when she served as president of the Ephesus Elementary PTA and one which she has consistently used when serving as a school board member, county commissioner and on various committees.
Pam’s commitment to our community and environmental stewardship have helped shape change in ways that are good for our town and county. She and I first met at a Sierra Club function here in Chapel Hill. In the years since, she has served in leadership roles for that club, the Triangle Land Conservancy as well Orange County Habitat for Humanity to name a few.
Particularly, I admire Pam’s knowledge of air/water quality, and energy conservation. I am an avid bike rider, so I appreciate her balanced support for all modes of transportation including biking and walking.
Finally, Pam understands the value of planning for a cohesive town and I am thrilled there is someone running for mayor that “gets it.” We are not “Sim City,” where you can add a seven-story building here and there. Those decisions affect real people and they affect the character of Chapel Hill.
Pam Hemminger is smart and a hard worker, and she would be a great leader for Chapel Hill.
White privilege and war
Mr. Sonnenberg’s failure to perceive white privilege just shows that he’s a newcomer to the South and has limited knowledge of what life was like in the South before he moved here. There are so many examples of how being white was advantageous during at least my lifetime (age 65) that it would take a book to record them all. Please allow me to describe just one.
I joined the North Carolina Army National Guard in the early 1980s, the post-Vietnam era. I found it interesting to learn that until the end of the Vietnam conflict there had been no African-Americans serving in the North Carolina Guard.
You may recall that there was a draft until about 1973. Everyone in the United States knew that draftees were being sent to Vietnam, but the National Guard (with a very few exceptions) was not going to be mobilized. That would have been very unpopular politically. There were waiting lists in N.C. National Guard units since a number of people found the prospect of six years of part-time duty in the comfort of home in North Carolina was preferable to a year in the jungles of Vietnam. Even if you were the son of immigrants (as long as you were white) you could join the Guard and have a virtual guarantee that you would not have to potentially risk your life in Vietnam.
If you were black, that option was not open to you. This doesn't even address the legalized draft-dodging of college students (predominantly white) who rode out their college deferments (drafting college students was also not politically fashionable during the Vietnam era) rather than be called up for duty. You may also recall that most African-Americans could not take advantage of this draft deferment since they did not have the means to go to college.
I know from my own experience as an officer in the U.S. Army for six years post-Vietnam in the ’70s that combat arms units tended to have black soldiers in numbers out of proportion to their share of the general population. The bottom line is that one manifestation of white privilege is avoiding service in an unpopular war.