Leading from the Left

Friday, September 21, 2007

Update on Tethering Committee

I've posted on several occassions previously about the work of Orange County's tethering committee. The committee, for which I was the Commissioner liaison, met for several months to discuss the county's tethering rules and whether or not changes should be made. The impetus to form this committee came citizens who wanted to do something about dogs who were being chained up, or tethered, 24/7.

The committee completed it's work and a series of recommendations to the Animal Services Advisory Board. This week the ASAB completed its review of the report and recommended approval to the Board of County Commissioners.

I want to thank the members of both the Tethering Committee and the ASAB for their work on this issue. When we first began discussing it, I knew next to nothing about the effects of tethering on dogs. I was educated by the members of the committee and the community at large and am grateful for this experience.

I hope my colleagues on the Board of Commissioners agree and will support these changes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Benefit Concert for Coalition to Unchain Dogs

The Coalition to Unchain Dogs, a group I've come to support strongly, is having a benefit concert to raise money for their efforts. I hope you all will support this worthwhile cause. Here's the pertinent information:

The Coalition will be holding a benefit concert at 5:00pm on October 13, 2007 at Durham Central Park. For a $10 donation ($12 at the door), you will enjoy an autumn afternoon on the green grass of Durham Central Park as six wonderful acts fill your ears with music.

Join us, and help raise money to free more dogs!

Please do note the following:
* You are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs, as there is no formal seating at the park.
* Gates open at 4:30 and the concert begins at 5:00.
* No coolers will be allowed into the event. There will be a variety of food and beverage vendors at the event.
* If you do not purchase tickets in advance, you must come prepared to pay cash ($12 per entry) at the door.
* Although we all love them, please do not bring dogs, due to the loud music and the length of this event.

Click HERE to purchase tickets for this wonderful event

We are thrilled to announce that the following bands will be performing at the Coalition's benefit concert:

Sequoya, Jamie Purnell, Beloved Binge, Jon Shain, Bull City, and Competent Drummer

Monday, September 17, 2007

Survey Says!

The results from the on-line survey I did with regard to the Land Transfer tax vs the sales tax are in. To date, 116 of you took the survey and supported the transfer tax option over the sales tax 84.5% to 15.%.

I'll be the first one to admit that this wasn't a scientific survey, but none-the-less the results are very interesting. That's quite an overwhelming majority who prefer the transfer tax. What I found particularly informative were the additional comments many of you posted. Here is a sampling of those comments:

"a no brainer to me!"

"A land transfer tax is by FAR more preferable. Much more equitable."

"Fight the Realtors! Growth must pay for itself!"

"Neither. Spend less and stay within current revenues."

"Hands down this (transfer tax) is the best choice for the present and future. The sales tax choice will only create more problems down the road for the poorest NC residents."

"Both are stupid. Increasing the income tax is to cover needed revenue is the only fair tax."

Again, thanks to each of you who participated in this survey and shared your thoughts. When I posted it, I had no idea if folks would find it interesting or worthwhile. But the response has been so strong that I will most likely do another survey.

One of the downsides of being an elected official is that it's very easy to loose touch with the average citizen. I'm always looking for ways to stay in touch with Orange County residents, so if you have any suggestions or ideas along those lines please don't hesitate to shoot me an email.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Survey Is Back Up

The temporary glitch with the survey seems to have been fixed. If anyone has problems please let me know ASAP.

Survey Problems

For those of you who've not been able to access the survey, thanks for letting me know that there's a problem. I'm working on fixing the glitch right now and hopefully the survey will be back online this afternoon.

Survey Results Pouring In

Today, I sent out my periodic e-newsletter to constituents and included information about the Transfer Tax vs Sales Tax discussion the BoCC is having. As I did in Tuesday's post, I included a link to a simple survey designed to assess Orange County residents' preferences about these two options. Well, the response rate has been phenomenal. Folks have sincerely appreciated being asked for their opinion by one of their elected officials

I will share results here on the blog in a few days, once most everyone who wants to participate has had a chance to fill out the survey. To those of you who've participated, thanks. To those who'd still like to, click on the link in the previous post and you'll be taken to the survey.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Land Transfer Tax or Sales Tax Increase?

Ok, I'm curious what you all think. Take the survey linked below to let me know your opinion. Here's the background....

The state legislature has granted county government's the right to hold a referendum for voter approval to adopt either a Land Transfer Tax or a Sales Tax increase. Orange County has been discussing when to hold such a referendum and whether to place the transfer tax or the sales tax on the ballot. There is also a possiblity that BOTH options will be on the ballot; if voters approve both then the BoCC could choose which to implement.

I'd like to know what you think. Do you have a preference?

Both options would raise substantial funds for the county, helping us diversity our tax base and eventually (I hope!) ease the tax burden on most residential property owners. The transfer tax option, if approved and implemented, would bring in a bit more revenue than the sales tax increase.

The downside to the sales tax increase is that it would be paid by residents nearly every day, every time you go to the supermarket or to the mall. And it effects the poorest the hardest.

The land transfer tax, on the other hand, would only be assessed when real property is sold. You'd only pay the tax if and when you sell your home, for example.

What's your preference? Take just a few moments to let me know by taking this survey.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

My Buddy John Makes History

While I was away on vacation, Governor Easley apppointed my friend John Arrowood to the NC Court of Appeals. With that appointment, NC history was made. John became the first openly gay person to hold statewide elective office in North Carolina...the first in the South for that matter. Congratulations, John!

Here's the link to the N&O article about John's appointment.