Leading from the Left

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Congratulations, Reverend Campbell

Rogers Rd activist, the Reverend Robert Campbell, has been invited to the White House to discuss environmental racism. Read the Chapel Hill Herald article here.

Rev. Campbell has toiled long and hard to bring attention to the plight of the historic Rogers Road neighbhorhood. This neighbhorhood, which borders the Orange County landfill, has been fighting the County Commissioners regarding the possible placement of a new solid waste facility in their neighborhood. Campbell has brought attention to the situation, sparking a community-wide dialog on environmental racism.

Four of the seven county commissioners voted earlier this fall to move ahead with consideration of a Waste Transfer Station in vicinity of the Rogers Road neighborhood. No final decision has been made. Perhaps national attention being paid to environmental racism in our community will sway opinion.

Again, congratulations Rev. Campbell. Good luck!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Two Years Today

Two years ago today long-time Chapel Hill activist and politico Joe Herzenberg died. Today, Joe's friend Erik Ose posted the two videos to remind us of Joe and his legacy.

Labels: ,

Friday, October 09, 2009

An Announcment

I will not be running for reelection to the Orange County Board of Commissioners. Though the primary is next May, the filing period begins shortly after the first of the year. I’m announcing early to provide sufficient notice to those who have interest in running for the Board.

It takes considerable effort to create a campaign organization, recruit volunteers, raise money and to do all the other things necessary to run a campaign in a county as large and diverse as Orange. I want to make sure interested parties have time to build strong campaigns.

Orange County rich with talent, and I am confident that a number of public service minded candidates will emerge.

I'm grateful that the citizens of Orange County gave me the opporunity to serve. You are passionate, engaged, progressive and dedicated. You insist on quality schools, a clean environment, a social safety net that protects the weakest amongst us, and you believe there is strength in diversity. I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve you.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Great Weekend, New Economic Devlopment Initiative

I was part of a group of local elected officials who entertained a group of lesbian and gay travel professionals from around country. These travel writers, agents and tour group leaders were visiting Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough at the invitation of our Visitor's Center. Laurie Paolicelli, the Visitor's Center Executive Director, is spear-heading an effort to market Orange County to the LGBT community.

The weekend was wildly successful. The visitors, who came from Tennessee, New York, California, Florida, Virginia and many other states, loved what they found here. They visited the Carrboro Farmer's Market, Chapel Hill Creamery, Crook's Corner and attended a cooking class at A Southern Season. They heard from Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, Carrboro Alderperson Lydia Lavelle, and incoming Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber leader Joanne Fiore.

Hopefully, this is the begining of a lucative expansion of our tourism sector.

Read more here.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Interesting Piece of Our History

There is so much we never knew about our own history. Or, perhaps, it's history that forgotten, swept under the carpet. Or, perhaps, it was simply ignored because it was too uncomfortable.

The life of Alan Turing, father of computer science and a pivotal figure in the defeat of Nazi Germany, is one of those interesting bits of our past that went missing for 50 years. Chemically castrated by the British government for being gay (yup, you read that right), Turing killed himself at age 41. Read more here; it's worth the read.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is What Water Pollution Does

Lots of news today about the effects of water pollution on people and places.

First, major fishkills in eastern NC.

Then a report about inordinately high numbers of breast cancer cases in male Marines who'd been stationed at Camp LeJeune here in North Carolina.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Note from the Artic

Local artist and community organizer, Nerys Levy, is spending several weeks in the Scandanavian Artic and sent the following report via email. She has joined a group of artists who are attempting to document the effects of global warming on our natural environment. Her report--particularly the last few paragraphs--is interesting reading, and I thought you all might enjoy it as much as I.

Dear Friends,

In late July, I spent close to two weeks in Norway and its Arctic
region,Svalbard.The purpose of the trip was work-I am part of a group interested
in promoting the protection, understanding and beauty of the Earth's Polar
Regions through the arts.

Spent a few pre Arctic trip days in Oslo--Its museums are wonderful laying
great emphasis on that nation's seafaring past and its importance in the field
of Polar exploration. Then there's the new opera house shaped like an iceberg
with amazing acoustics.

The journey from Oslo to the Arctic began with a pre wake up call-a fire
alarm which emptied out the whole Continental Hotel at 4:00 am.Fortunately it
was a false alarm but we all got to see all the Arctic voyage's participants and
the Oslo Fire Department all in one go! By 6:30am we were on the bus to the
airport and by 12.00pm on that same day we were in Longyearbyen, Svalbard's main town. We flew into the airport over the island of Spitsbergen' s tundra summer
landscape dotted with glaciers and punctuated by brown dry valleys.

Summer in Svalbard is a brief two month period of continuous daylight in
contrast to its winter which has many months of continuous darkness.Longyearbyen
was named after an American investor, a certain Mr Longyear, who developed
Svalbard's coal reserves in the 1920's.We soon learnt that one of our group was
his great nephew who had come to check out the family's investment.After a few
hours spent visiting the town's museum (whaling, fauna, flora, Arctic cultural
history) art gallery(wonderful representations of Arctic light and forms)
the university (Arctic marine biology,Polar bear and walrus studies) and
interesting architectural features-simply painted wooden houses built on stilts
and water and sewerage pipes above the ground because of the town's sub
structure of permafrost, we boarded the National Geographic/Lindblad's Explorer
and sailed out into the Arctic Ocean.

We immediately entered the magical world of polar bears,sea ice,fast ice,
walrusses,glaciers and eternal daylight. For many days, guided by a great
captain, naturalists and "armed against polar bears" experts and guides, we
sailed and hiked around Svalbard's fjords and sea ice,spotting and observing
polar bears, walrusses birds, reindeer and other wonders of the Arctic.

We sailed above the 81st parallel where the light starts to take on a halucinatory
quality. And apart for a few chilly winds, everything was unusually warm-which is
concerning. The ship constantly measures the sizes of glaciers. Some are static.
Others are melting quickly. Everything is haunting and quite beautiful. As the
Swedish polar bear expert commented as we encountered and viewed 30 walruses
lying peacefully on a bank. "This is indeed a privelige". I hope that the work
and exhibitions generated by this trip will accurately portray this wonderful
place, help preserve it's pristine beauty and delay its demise.

Nerys Levy