Five years ago I was a guest lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill. My anthro-laden topic was “territoriality” in the land use context. This past month, researchers in Uganda’s Kibale National Park published a paper stating “Tom Terrell was right.” Well . . . not in those specific terms, but close enough for me to exclaim “See!?!”
Computerizing Local Government . . . and Democracy
Technology’s increasing control over our lives became absurdly comical last year when, for the first time in 52 years, I became obsessed with the length of my thumb nails, the only “tools” I had for pressing the keys on my new blackberry.
But a day doesn’t pass when I’m not experiencing another new – and…
(Finally) Giving Names to the Laws that Matter
Cities and counties operate within a confusing matrix of state and federal statutes and regulations. But when it comes to laws affecting land, another set of “immutable” laws comes into play.
You can call them the laws of “that’s-just-the-way-it-is” or the laws of nature. But since I’m the one who has codified them, I call…
Chasing a Nation’s Rise and Fall on a Bicycle
From the earliest years of the 1900s to World War II, American cities spent increasing percentages of their annual budgets accommodating automobiles on street systems designed for horses, carriages and pedestrians.
When the war was over, our infatuation with cars and cheap gas led us to build more and more highways to connect us with…
Of Bribery, Extortion and Racketeering
Earlier this week I wrote about ethics laws affecting local governing boards. On Friday I was in Raleigh where the News & Observer ran the front page banner headline “51 Charges for Former Easley Aide.”
I met Easley aide Ruffin Poole briefly only once. I have dealt with him on three or four matters over…
Oh . . . My . . . God. Are they serious?
For six months I’ve posted regular commentary on North Carolina’s economy and its evolving laws and developments related to local government, zoning, general land use and the environment.
Today I’d like to talk about . . . God.
Follow me here. There’s a segue.
Cecil Bothwell was sworn in last month as a new Asheville…
The Planning Commission Tea Leaves of Economy Recovery
When the economy collapsed the real estate sector was hardest hit. As a real estate professional – of sorts – I’m constantly asked when I think the economy will rebound.
I’m not an economist. I do know, however, that the distant early warning signs of economic collapse and rejuvenation are found in more places than…
Nails, Drywall and Pickup Trucks — How the Housing Market Affects Detroit
In a previous post (November 13, 2009 “Existing vs. New Home Sales — What’s the Difference?”) I explained that new home sales have broad and far-reaching effects on the market place, including everybody from the manufacturers of nails and drywall to the man who operates the track hoe laying sewer pipe. Existing home sales, on…
Existing vs. New Home Sales — What’s the Difference?
The lead article in yesterday’s Charlotte Observer was interesting news. The headline read “Charlotte homes sales rebound.”
Today’s High Point Enterprise had a similar lead article: “High Point home sales show large increase for October.”
Home sales were up 20% in Charlotte and 22% in High Point. But the story behind the story is that…
Odd-Year Elections — Reading the Tea Leaves
Yesterday and today CNN and Fox News commentators milked two gubernatorial and one congressional race into a pundits’ dream contest for reading the political tea leaves of 2010. They all looked at the same numbers but saw different versions of the future.
History’s lesson, though, is that this is mere entertainment. The events that will…