Leading from the Left

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Good People of Maine

The Maine State Senate, just moments ago, voted to equalize marriage rights so gay people can marry there.

The bill now moves to the House, which is more liberal than the Senate, so passage seems assured. Gov. Baldacci is thought to be leaning towards signing the Bill.

Thank God for New England!

Virginia Foxx: Worst Person in the World

Olbermann is, as usual, overblown. But when he's right, he's right. Check out what he has to say about NC's Virginia Foxx, one of three dumbest people serving in Congress.

Fortunately, her arguments didn't carry the day and the Matthew Shepherd Hate Crimes Act was passed by a strong margin in the House. Kudos to the House.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Hampshire!

The New Hampshire State Senate voted FOR gay marriage today. The bill, which was amended in the Senate, now goes to conference committee before being formally adopted. It's unclear if the Governor will veto the bill once it gets to his desk. Governor Lynch is a Democrat but has expressed reservations about equal marriage rights in the past.

A good day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counting to 60

I tell people all the time that all you need to know about governing is how to count. On the Chapel Hill Town Council, for example, you must be able to count to 5 because that's how many votes you need to pass an ordinance. If you can add, everything else falls in place.

For the US Senate, the magic number is 60. It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster and bring a controversial matter to a vote. And the R's have successfully been using that rule to prolong debate and block action.

Well, a new day maybe dawning. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is switching from R to D. And with that switch, and the soon-to-be-finally-over election of Al Franken in Minnesota, he gives us the 60th vote we need to move policy. Thanks, Arlen!

Monday, April 27, 2009

No Trouble in River City

Midwest couples start marrying in Iowa!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Rich on Love

A friend just emailed Frank Rich's NYT column on "The Gathering Storm," the right wing-nuts' latest 'sky-is-falling' volley against love & marriage. As always Rich is worth the read.

I've never been able to figure out why the right wingers want gay people to continue to 'live in sin' rather than in happy, secure marriages.

Friday, April 24, 2009

More on Saving Libraries!

As you know, we had a facebook group dedicated to saving the Carrboro Cybrary. The group was formed after a recommendation emerged from county staff to close it as well as the Cedar Grove Branch library in order to save money.

The newest recommendation, which surfaced just a few days ago, is to leave the Cybrary open but close the McDougle Branch library in North Carrboro instead. Cedar Grove remains slated for closure.

Based on changing circumstances, the name of the facebook.com group has been changed to "Save the Libraries!" and we'll continue to focus on keeping all libraries open. I've said it before and I'll say it again, closing libraries is NOT a responsible solution to our budget crisis. It times of need the public relies on library services more than ever.

On top of all that, it just blows my mind that anyone would propose denying people access to books and other library services in a University community.

Check out our facebook group here and do all you can to keep these libraries open!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Feingold is Right

Sen. Feingold on torture. Peggy Noonan has no soul.

Monday, April 20, 2009

How Did a Great Country Like Ours Devolve to This?


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stimulus Money for Orange County

The State DOT has announced transportation improvements that have been approved. These projects are made possible by federal stimulus monies. The Herald had a good summary of the projects in an article this morning.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No Big Loss

The Governor of Texas may want for Texas to secede from the Union according to reports.

I say "Let Her Go!"

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Martha Tyson on Library Needs

Martha Tyson had an excellent opinion piece in the Chapel Hill news today. Worth a read for all of us who are concerned about how to meet the community's library needs.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Only Six Times in History

Here's another fact that underscores the significance of the vote this week by the Vermont Legislature to give same sex couples the same rights as straight couples. The Vermont legislature has over-ridden a governor's veto only six times in that state's history. Thanks guys!

Mother Jones has a good article on the vote and what it means here.

Exciting Economic Development Opportunities in Hillsborough

UNC Hospitals is looking at building a facility in Hillsborough. I'm very excited about this opportunity as it opens new doors for us in terms of Economic Development. When a medical facility locates in an area, other businesses opt to locate near by: restaurants, hotels, doctors offices, etc.

But, more importantly, if local governments are proactive and plan property, a hospital can become an economic engine for a community. Our economic development team can build a cluster of businesses around this hospital that expands our commercial tax revenue significantly in years to come, thus taking some of the tax burden off of residential property owners. The decision that UNC Hospitals seems poised to make could transformative for our community.

Read the N&O article here.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Making Money for the Taxpayers

The County's budget situation is bad. We seem to get one bad piece of news after another.

However, there is one potential bright spot. If all goes well, we could be bringing in some much needed cash to help balance the budget.

Last night, the Board of County Commissioners voted to sell four properties that we no longer need, three in Hillsborough and one in Carrboro. They are:

112 N. Churton St
118 N. Churton St
Homestead Community Center
Hwy 49 ABC Store

We've authorized staff to get appraisals for these properties, and then we will attempt to sell them through a sealed bid process. Since 3 of the 4 properties are in highly desirable locations, I am hopeful that we will raise 100's of thousands of dollars to help close our budget deficit.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A Great Man

Watch this video of the leader of the Iowa State Senate declining to discriminate against gay Iowans.

One more Free State


There are now a grand total of 4 US states that treat gay people like real live, actual human beings. Four down, forty six to go! Onward....

Monday, April 06, 2009

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

The Board of County Commissioners is meeting tomorrow night. When I opened up my packet yesterday and started reading, I was confronted by the following sentence. It was supposed to explain one of the items on our agenda. Instead, it left me bewildered. See if you can figure it out.

“Purpose Statement: To consider approval of Omnibus Contract Amendments to the Purchase and Sale Agreements for the office building and the library and the Construction Manager at Risk (CAMR) Agreement which will incorporate all previous amendments and necessary reconciliation activities to align with closing documents for the anticipated closing of the transaction later this year; and to consider approving a 40-year lease agreement for 200 spaces on the parking deck associated with the Campus project.”

Good Lord. Do you have any idea what they’re trying to say?

Friday, April 03, 2009

One More Free State


Thursday, April 02, 2009

NYT: Why Libraries are Important in the Recession

Excellent article sent to me by Bridget Booher, President of The Friends of the Orange County Public Library. The piece clearly articulates the demands being placed on libraries around the country right now. Libraries are needed more in a bad times than good.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

All Orange News Day

Orange County news is all over the papers today: property revaluations, the new county attorney, and the search for a new county manager.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. We've also got a budget crisis, libraries that may be forced to close, a waste transfer station, and the Orange Rescue Squad is now lawyered up and ready to sue us. It'll be a long, hot summer.