Dependable Erection

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Real journalism

Samiha Khanna shines a light on the backroom dealings of K&L Gates in this week's Indy.

The money quote?
The attorneys and their public relations team declined several requests for interviews with the Indy.

All their protestations to the contrary about how they believe their work is in the best interests of the community yadda yadda yadda vanish in a plume of smoke. They don't want to talk about it in public.

Durham - you've got a pretty clear choice ahead of you in the next two years, as we vote first on 4 of our City Council seats this year, and then all 5 of our County Commissioners seats next year. Do you want these land use attorneys pushing projects and policies that will turn Durham into the new Atlanta, or do you want a sustainable, organic growth process that allows us to become a new model for the 21st century.

That decision will be made in the next 16 months.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I may have to rethink my organ donor decision

Dick Cheney

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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The most important thing

The most important thing is that we remember that senseless tragedies are, by definition, incomprehensible. They can't be predicted and clearly there are no actions we can take, as individuals or as a culture, to prevent them.

Life is just wacky that way.

Carry on.


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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Reading the Constitution

Captain Kirk shows House Republicans, and Antonin Scalia, how it's done.


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Monday, January 03, 2011

Isn't it time . . .

That Durham scrapped this bullshit de-facto at-large City Council system and put in place a true district/ward representative system? There are competing interests in the city who are almost completely without a voice the way things are currently structured, what with every member of council having to win votes from every district.

As it stands, none of us "have a representative" on Council, and it's just way too easy for the moneyed interests to game the current system.

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Not Anne Francis too

Mostly remembered for her role co-starring with Leslie Nielsen in Forbidden Planet, i think Anne Francis as Honey West was my first TV infatuation.


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New Year - Same Old Shit

Durham's City Council holds its first meeting of 2011 tonight, and lo and behold, Southern Durham Development's 751 South project is on the agenda. Following a 2 year run at the clown show that is the Board of County Commissioners, SDD and their lawyers, K&L Gates, are asking the City Council to redraw the Urban Growth Area boundaries, thus including the parcel adjacent to Jordan Lake in order to provide a path for sewer and water services to be brought in, as well as to obviate the current lawsuit filed by opponents of the project over the actions of the BoCC and County Attorney Lowell Siler in the run-up to the BoCC's rezoning of the parcel last year.

The Indy, BCR, the Herald-Sun, & the N&O have all covered the details of that tawdry episode, so i'm not going to bother with a recap.

Let's just note a couple of things.

First, there is only one reason to even consider this request. And that is to ensure that the investors make the maximum profit possible. If you believe that's the role of government, then you're in favor of annexation.

Second, Durham doesn't need to develop its rural fringes in order to grow its tax base. There are plenty of redevelopment opportunities in town, that take advantage of existing infrastructure, to do that. The area surrounding the old ballpark, for instance, is primed to take off in the next 3 or 4 years, and don't be surprised to see hundreds, if not a thousand or more, new residential units come on line in that part of town now that large chunks of it have been rezoned for higher density residential. The infrastructure investments required to serve that population increase will be an order of magnitude less than having to provide new services to a village sized community on the far fringe of the county.

Third, how will this development provide a match between the jobs it creates, and the parts of our community that are most in need of those jobs? It's about 15 miles from downtown Durham to this project, which may as well be in Richmond, VA, for job seekers who don't own their own transportation. Hell, both Chapel Hill and Cary are closer to the 751 project site than Northeast Central Durham.

The developers have done a great job incorporating lots of 21st century buzzwords into their presentations. We hear that this will be a livable streets mixed use development, with lots of environmental impact mitigations to lessen the effect of paving large areas of rural land. The bottom line, though, is that none of that matters. This is a stupid idea whose costs will be borne by all of Durham's taxpayers, and whose profits will accrue to a handful of investors. County Commissioners, who don't have to face the voters until May 2012, have already shown who they side with. Half of our City Council, as well as the Mayor, are on the ballot this year. They may be a little more mindful of the consequences of their actions.

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