Tag Archives: Durham

Where Does the End Come

I just posted when I saw this on my feed:

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) —
Protesters in Durham rushed and toppled a Confederate statue outside the courthouse on Monday evening.

The monument of a Confederate soldier holding a rifle was erected in 1924 and inscribed on it are the words “in memory of the boys who wore the gray.”

Nobody wants this to end.

Affordable Housing – Durham, NC

Affordable Housing

I’ve said time and time again that I don’t begrudge the Liberal her intentions – noble to be sure.  Rather, I begrudge her policies:

Residents said 85 to 100 affordable apartments should be put on the site, and many held up signs expressing frustration with the high cost of living downtown, where rents often top $1,000 a month.

The reason rents are so high is that supply hasn’t been able too keep up with demand.  And the reason for THAT is almost always restrictive zoning laws.

If we allow builders  more flexibility is how and what they build, the more building that will take place allowing housing costs to come down.

See Houston vs San Francisco.

According to Stan Humphries, chief economist of Zillow, local regulations are at the root of the supply problem. “Zoning, parking minimums — these inadvertently drive up the fixed cost,” Humphries said at the Atlantic’s summit on the economy.

And when fixed costs go up, builders have an incentive to create more expensive housing, he said.

“That’s why places like Houston don’t have the same housing crisis that San Francisco does,” he said. San Francisco is known for its strict building rules, while Houston doesn’t have a zoning code at all.

Econ 101 – though you may not find that offered in a “Comparative Arts” major.

Durham Hybrid Failures

Hybrid Bus

Durham Forced To Retrofit Buses

Back in 2011 the city of Durham added a number of hybrid buses to their fleet hoping that they would save money.

They are converting those vehicles back to gas engines:

Durham, N.C. — Durham officials have found it’s not easy being green.

The city decided this week to convert 10 of its hybrid vehicles – light transit vehicles, or LTVs, that transport people with disabilities – back to gas-fueled engines because of maintenance problems. City buses will continue to have hybrid engines.

Troubles With New Technology

Reading through the article I was hooping that we would see numbers on the results – were the vehicles saving money or not.  If so, how much per month/year.  However, all we got is this:

The savings never panned out, however, as repairs started piling up.

“After about six months, we started having issues with them,” city maintenance manager Scott Mozingo said. “Then, we had issues with parts.”

So, yeah, repairs is a big part of fleet management, however, repairs exist in gas engines as well.  I think the nail in the coffin was elsewhere:

In 2012, the company that outfitted the hybrid vehicles went bankrupt, so Durham could no longer get the parts they needed to make repairs.

“We started parking vehicles as they were breaking down because we didn’t have parts for them,” Mozingo said.

I have to believe that if the technology was viable, the company would not have failed leaving Durham in the lurch.  I know that all new technologies carry risk for early adopters, but the trend in this alternative energy isn’t new or small.

Government Jobs

Even as the unemployment rate is going down, and maybe more because people are opting out of the workforce, it still is true that getting a job working for the government is a good bet:

Durham, N.C. — The Durham County Board of Commissioners’ recent approval of salary increases for county employees of up to 32 percent, which has raised questions among some.

While most county employees were awarded raises of up to 4.25 percent, County Manager Mike Ruffin received a 10 percent raise and the clerk to the Board of Commissioners, Michelle Parker-Evans, got a 32 percent raise.


A Win Win

Geese are dirty animals.  And they breed like rabbits.  And where they intersect with humans, they are a nuisance.

And they are protected by the Federal Government [which means, by the way, that a goose has more federal protection than an unborn child.  But I digress.]  And because they are protected by the Federal Government, you can’t just shoot ’em like you can shoot a raccoon or a skunk or a rabbit.

So, only by complaining to said Federal Government can action be taken:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday euthanized 20 of the approximately 100 animals in the Woodlake subdivision in southwest Durham after residents complained their neighborhood had become overpopulated.

The Canada geese were a nuisance, residents say, leaving feces in yards, walking trails, lakes and other public areas, including the neighborhood pool.

Now, to be sure, we are not talking about threatening the population of the geese:

The USDA says that as of 2006, there were 97,000 Canada geese in the state.

The population has increased exponentially over the past 40 years. In 1970, there were approximately 250,000 resident Canada geese in the U.S. By 2010, that number jumped to 3.5 million.

We’re just talking about too many geese.  Perhaps to the point that the population is a threat to itself.

Anyway, I promised a win win.

How about instead of protecting the geese to the point of over population, we do what other people who are hungry do–and hunt the geese for food?

Would You Promote Your Worst Employee?

Then why would you fund your worst performing school?

Consider a business owner with 3-4-5 stores.  Every year, she evaluates her business in an effort to determine which store is doing well and which is under performing.  I can see her ranking her stores, best to worst.

Now imagine if she were to take that list, identify the worst performing store and reward its manager with a raise. 

That’s what we do with our public schools.

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