Regarding "No one offered an alternative site."...
This is a totally bogus statement. The hearing was about the suitability of one particular site. Had the town council and shelter held a meeting to discuss siting criteria and a list of sites which met those criteria (like is being done with the current trash transfer station process) then the public would have been "on topic" to talk about an alternative site. Unfortunately the town skipped right over this stage of the process.
There is nothing vague about putting every homeless shelter and resident drug detox/rehab center in a county along with one of the department of social services in 1/10th of a square mile. This constitutes inequitable distribution. One half of one percent of Chapel Hill/Carrboro's land should not contain all of these facilities.
This whole thing has been a replay of the trash transfer station siting debacle. Find a free piece of land and tell the public it has been decided. Round 2 of the transfer station was wisened up considerably to start with a list of criteria followed by an earnest look at what properties met those criteria. Had the process started with a parameterized site search to begin with, then we would be building a transfer station right now.
Had the town not excluded the citizens from the negotiation of the proposed shelter site, or had a site search been performed with public input, then perhaps the conversation right now would be about about which sites might have the most merit or perhaps how the building should look on the ideal site. Instead, what you have is materials being made available to the public for the first time at the point where the site has been designed after completely skipping the part of the process where the suitability of the site is being discussed. Anyone who follows political processes should know that hiding stuff from the public until you have a fait accompli is not a wise way to conduct business.
The mayor or somebody negotiated a backroom deal. The public was not included in this negotiation until it was announced that it was a done deal. I expect more sunshine (open records) and disclosure in our progressive community.
For the record, I stayed for the whole meeting. I cannot speak for others, but I saw parents with kids leave (this was a school night) and I also overheard someone with kids mention that they had to go help with algebra homework. I would not be so quick to judge why people left.
There were agreements made between UNC, the town, and IFC earlier this year. Can you please outline when public comment was solicited to approve those agreements? Who made those agreements? When were they made? Was there a public meeting over suitability of the site and what services would be appropriate for the site before we jumped into a building design? No, there was not.
Is it your position that it is just fine for communities to site social services where ever they want because there are no EPA restrictions? Please share with me where you think the line would be crossed with regards to siting facilities. Two drug rehabs and three shelters in 1/10th of a square mile? 3 and 4? NC law prohibits placing all of public housing in one area. Does this not fit into that same logic? Please share with readers what social services density situation would be too much for a small area in your opinion.
You state "I did write that opponents to the shelter site said they did not oppose the IFC's work." However, I find the wording of "None of the Chapel Hill residents who passionately spoke before Town Council on the relocation of the shelter was so bold as to openly oppose IFC's work." to imply that you think that *had* the residents been bold enough, they would have "openly opposed" IFC's work. Other readers, how do you interpret the wording?
Lastly, this is filed under "Home > News > Orange County", but it clearly crosses the line into OpEd or Commentary and should be categorized as such.
Joe, your article leaves out the fact that *every* drug rehab and homeless shelter in Orange County will be located within 1/10th of a square mile with this proposal. In that same 1/10th of a square mile is public housing, the southern human services center, and the senior center. Is that the way to equitably distribute social services in a community that prides itself in being fair?
Using your logic, the Rogers Road folks were NIMBYs. Sure, they were already burdened 2 landfills, but those will be closed, right? So all that will be open is a measly little transfer station. Hey, the transfer station would be put on free land, so that's all that matters, right? These two situations are exactly the same when it comes to overburdening a tiny part of our community. The Rogers Road folks were unfairly dumped on even with the 2nd landfill and likewise so is this part of North Chapel Hill with social services.
You also completely ignore the backroom brokering that led to this arrangement without any public input. Mark Schultz of the Chapel Hill News pointed this out in an editorial a while back.
I bet that every single person at the hearing is in favor of IFC's work and wants a homeless shelter. Your statement to the contrary is unsupported by the facts and is below the belt. The speakers at the hearing simply want the shelter to be sited with with a real site search with real parameters as to what makes a good site vs. a bad site (concentration of social services, proximity to 2 large preschool programs, proximity to most active children's park in county). Those folks want a true, honest site search, just like the "do over" of the trash transfer station.
These comparisons are pretty bogus.
One charge on my 4 year old Canon digital SLR lasts for about 1,000 pics, many more than my old Canon film SLR since advancing film requires a fair amount of energy.
My film SLR used disposable batteries. My digital uses rechargeable ones. I can recycle the rechargeable batteries at Home Depot and at my workplace.
Digital camera technology continues to improve, but seems to be leveling off. I think the longevity comparisons are not necessarily accurate. Cheap film cameras didn't last long either.
"He has also been strident in public forums and council meetings. While dissent should be welcome on council, his divisiveness would not serve the town well."
I regularly read Will's blog. It is insightful and he regularly cites sources. You can see what he is thinking and why he is thinking it. He has shown more transparency than any current or past council member.
Like your school board endorsement, you need to cite real facts and support them. Your position regarding dissent is quite hypocritical, given that Will has kept his cool and argued his position quite clearly in every case that I can recall. I would be interested in exactly what kind of dissent the indy would advocate or tolerate. No dissent at all?
The Booker Creek statement appears to be a complete red herring.
There is not much left to say except to state that I agree with the major points made here.
If the indy is going to endorse someone and state a reason, then it should actually be a real reason.
If the indy is going to make statements of fact, then each statement either needs to be blatantly obvious to folks who follow the school board (like many of the commenters) or each statement needs to be backed up with sufficient supporting evidence.
In this case, the indy appears to have made up at least one, if not both, reasons. This seriously undermines the credibility of the indy's endorsements.
So where do you go from here?
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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