Tuesday, January 26, 2010

WHAT'S LOCAL? (A WCHL Commentary)

There’s has been a lot of discussion recently on what “local” means in classifying our business community. During the holidays, you probably saw the “BUY LOCAL” campaign, a way to keep our dollars at home. Buying locally makes a lot of sense, especially when many of the other ways that we could spend money dose absolutely nothing to help our local economic situation.

Then another face of the issue appeared when two members of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen raised the issue about our local Chamber having state and nationally branded firms among the sponsors for its annual meeting. The problem to the aldermen is that the sponsoring corporations played a role in causing the economic crisis, contributes to global warming, and participated in domestic surveillance. As a Chamber member, I am not blaming the local entities for what others may have done. I’m very happy that some members of the Chamber agree to sponsor these events so that they are more affordable to the entire membership, and especially to us small business owners.

These state and nationally branded corporations operating locally in our community are good citizens; they participate in the life of our community, they hire local residents, their leaders live here, they pay local taxes and the give back to our community financially and in many other ways. I support them as good local corporate citizens and I will continue to do so until they don’t deserve support. Where do you stand?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


It's a new year and a new Council. I wish all of them well as they go about the difficult task of governing this opinion-gifted town. One of the things I hope our new mayor and council members work hard to do is to avoid mistakes of the past. Before former Mayor Kevin Foy left office, he did an interview on WCHL with Jim Heavner. Jim asked about defeats and Mayor Foy responded by stating that the biggest mistake was the renaming of Airport Rd. for Martin Luther King process because the Council didn’t do what it normally did, and that was to engage the public and having community dialogue before making a significant decision. When they backtracked and instituted a process, Mayor Foy said that there wasn’t a lot of trust.

Instead of learning from this mistake, the Council, he said, repeated it with moving forward with the health care debacle last year before getting community input. Since some of the key players in both mistakes are still on the Council, I hope that they don’t have to relearn this lesson once again. Conversation is surely time consuming and the process may even be frustrating, but as the Council says about the tedious development process, it produces a better outcome.

Keep that in mind, Town Council, as we are depending on you to do the right things for all of us. And just because you might not think something has a lot of interest to the community, give the community the chance to decide that.