I recently read through Carrboro’s long range development plan, “Carrboro Vision 2020.” The goals of inclusiveness and non-discrimination were pervasive. Section 1.2: “Carrboro is an integrated community. We need to understand each other, accept each other, appreciate each other, interact with each other, work, live, and recreate together.” Section 1.3: “Carrboro citizens are vocal in their concern for each other.” Section 1.32: “The town should continue to support human service needs that are above and beyond those met by the County.” Section 1.33: “The town should develop a comprehensive plan for supporting the needs of special populations, including senior citizens and immigrants…” Section 1.35: “The town should consider the impact of its ordinances and policies on the wellbeing of its most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, children, those with disabilities and those living on low-, middle-, or fixed incomes.” Section 2.0: “The community should continue to foster diversity, welcoming people of all races, ages, ethnicity, sexual orientations, and social and economic backgrounds.” Section 3.62: “Carrboro is a town rich in economic diversity. The town should strive to continue this tradition by adopting ordinances and policies that recognize diverse employment types and pay scales.”
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 17% of Carrboro residents live in poverty. Most of those residents are not only poor, but hungry. These facts, in concert with the stated goals of “Carrboro Vision 2020,” make it inconceivable that the Mayor and Board of Aldermen would fail to approve a text amendment to the Carrboro Land Use Ordinance that would allow for the possibility of a soup kitchen somewhere in Carrboro. To do so would mean turning their backs not only on their own long-range plan, which reflects the wishes of their citizenry, but also on the urgent needs of a very significant portion of that citizenry.
I encourage people to attend the March 22 public forum on this issue and to urge Carrboro’s leadership to pass this text amendment and, in so doing, make our community a more just place in which to live and work.
Board Member, Inter-Faith Council for Social Service