The Commentators

Our Towing Economy

Guest Column by Mike Harris I usually ride my bike around town, but on Wednesday July 20, the bike needed some adjustments, so I had to strap it to the back of my Honda Accord and drive up Franklin to The Bicycle Chain. After turning left into the parking lot between Vespa and Noodles and Company, I wound around to the right until I was next to The Bicycle Chain.   I had my choice of open parking spots and chose one in front of a white, graffiti-tagged wall with a sign that read, on quick glance, ‘For Customers Only.’  Knowing that my business would be brief and feeling confident that I was a customer, I unstrapped the bike and rode it in to the shop.  I exited the shop around twenty minutes later, only to find there was not a silver Honda in sight.  I quickly had to face the reality that I had been towed.   A closer inspection of the sign informed me that I needed to be a customer of 306 or 214 Franklin and not 210.  Should parking in a small horseshoe of businesses require such specific analysis?  Obviously it does in Chapel Hill, unless of course you are comfortable paying $100 in cash to a tow truck owner who appears to stalk the lot with predatory efficiency.   I was so impressed with...

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Stop Speed Bumps!

Guest Column by Eric Plow In spite of a bad economy, dwindling tax revenues, and unmanageable fiscal debt, cities and towns all over the US have passed bonds (translation: borrowing money) to install thousands of speed bumps, along with 3-way and 4-way stop signs, in an effort to appease neighborhood activists who want to inconvenience anyone driving on streets in front of their homes (that all citizens pay for by the way). These neighborhood activists are always willing to spend someone else’s money, but let’s examine the impact:   Every day, on a national level, hundreds of thousands of cars, busses, and trucks are forced to slow down and then re-accelerate to accommodate speed bumps that rattle your teeth at 15 mph. This results in unnecessary consumption of gas or diesel fuel (stop and go traffic decreases fuel efficiency immensely), increased pollution, emissions and noise, not to mention wear and tear on brakes and suspensions! These devices should be outlawed on a national level, except for their original intended use in parking lots and certain congested areas, such as airports. If they must be installed for legitimate reasons, they should at the very least be engineered so as to allow traffic to traverse smoothly at the posted speed limit. In Chapel Hill, one often has to slow down to 10 mph in a 25 mph neighborhood just to negotiate these impediments to...

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Why I Support Butch Davis… and the Right to Other Opinions

Guest Column by Barry Leffler Butch Davis should remain the Head Football Coach at Carolina.   Until it is proven Davis knew about John Blake and his egregious wrongdoings… the coach should stay right where he is leading the great young men who represent our hometown university.   I have known Butch Davis and reported on him since his days as an assistant coach in Miami during the 80’s and 90’s when I worked in local television there. I have seen firsthand how he cleaned up a scandal-plagued program, emotionally and physically scarred by cheaters and wrongdoing.  Davis took control and cleaned it all up.  He did it the right way… and I believe he is doing it the right way at UNC   Locally, I have also seen firsthand his commitment to our community and how he pours his heart into giving back and giving of himself to help countless charities and nonprofits many of us hold dear.  The dozens of causes Davis and his family support strengthens the fabric of the community.   I also support the University and how it has handled this awful period for the school.    The decision by Chancellor Holden Thorp to not make any rash decisions about Davis and his status until all the facts have been determined is wise.   Duke University is paying the price (literally, in multi-millions of...

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