By Mark Marcoplos
  • Reform Building and Zoning Codes for Affordability

    July 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Building & zoning codes drive up the cost of construction. The state building code originates in the N.C. Department of Insurance, so you know they are quite content to spend your money to minimize future claims. The building codes are rife with overbuilt requirements, and building-code officials (in an understandable desire to make sure they […]

  • Democracy & Transparency Also Matter to Economic Development

    May 18, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Economic Development has been the most uttered buzz-phrase of the last several years in Orange County politics. Hardly a meeting goes by without someone intoning knowingly that “All agree that we need more Economic Development.” Right on cue, everyone nods sagely in agreement. ….. Imagine your cupboard is bare, and you are making plans to […]

  • What Do You Lose When Walmart Boxes You In?

    April 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    Nothing seems to bring out the hankies like a Walmart locating near, but not in, Orange County. The local glass-one-tenth-full crowd cranks up their righteous indignation machine. These self-proclaimed financial “realists” can’t see past the tax revenue to begin to understand that everything comes with a price and that price eventually gets translated into the […]

  • The Biggest Obstacle to Progressive Policy

    April 9, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Deer-dogging can be an unnecessary nuisance. ‘Deer-dogging’ is when deer hunters use dogs to flush deer out of hiding, hopefully toward their masters who are hanging out on their deer stands. Obviously, the dogs often end up on wild goose chases running deer through private property and sometimes getting lost. Then the mighty hunters have […]

  • Emotion vs Science in the Fracking Debate

    March 31, 2012 at 10:50 am

    There was a very revealing moment at last week’s public hearing on fracking in North Carolina. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had heard from a couple of dozen people – a mix of scientists, medical professionals, researchers, landowners in the shale zone, and concerned citizens – all opposing fracking, when Lew Ebert, […]

  • What's Fracking Have To Do With It?

    March 24, 2012 at 11:00 am

    The fracking drum is beating louder. Many of us first heard about it when the movie “Gasland” came out, with its shocking footage of a man lighting his tap water on fire. More locally we began to hear about deposits in Lee County that the natural gas industry was interested in. Recently, Governor Perdue took […]

  • NCAA Athletes Deserve A Share of the Profits

    March 16, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    March Madness brings mad money: money for mammoth coaching salaries, huge revenues for television companies, mega-dough to support the lavish lifestyles of the NCAA bigwigs… College football post-season bowl games reportedly earn more money than the NBA or the NFL. Meanwhile, according to a study by the National College Players Association (NCPA), the average full […]

  • Orange County Commissioners Are Elected in the Primary

    March 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    A Republican has never been elected County Commissioner in Orange County history. This is likely to remain true for years to come. A strong majority of county voters are registered as Democrats and a majority of voters are unaware of who their commissioners are and what they do. When the general election rolls around in […]

  • Industry for a Sustainable Future

    March 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    It’s time to shift gears on our economic development plans. County leadership seems to be embracing a new openness to encouraging business. Presentations and discussions almost always include vague statements to the effect that we have a new commitment to economic development and a new appreciation of the necessity for being business-friendly. In the absence […]

  • Biggest Policy Failure in County History

    February 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    At every nearly every fork in the solid waste policy road, Orange County has taken the wrong path. Now we are paying a heavy price for the political cage we built to trap ourselves. Starting with the doomed landfill search in the early 90’s, County leadership insisted on siting a mega-landfill (many potential sites were […]