Mayors Roberts and Bell Proclaim Ethanol Day in Charlotte and Durham; Highlight Renewable Biofuels and Cleaner Environment

Growth Energy Celebrates E15 Day in Charlotte, Durham
North Carolina drivers to benefit from clean, affordable fuel options

Charlotte, NC – Growth Energy thanked Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and Durham Mayor Bill Bell today for designating September 16 as E15 Day in two of North Carolina’s largest cities. The announcements celebrate an expansion of consumer access to E15, a 21st century fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol that provides drivers with improved engine performance while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Displacing the poor: Durham's market-driven revitalization

Gentrification, by any other name:

Kielhurn says these stories of dilapidated, unsafe, unsanitary rentals are fairly common. And the poor condition of some of the housing stock in poorer neighborhoods is what allows her, and other buyers, to grab up properties for such low prices. She’s bought many of her properties for under $50,000 and spends the bulk of her funds on renovations. When she rents them out again, she charges what she feels is a fair price for all the work she’s put in, and for the fact that she’ll be more attentive than previous landlords. So prices escalate to $800, $900, or $1,200 a month.

For muni and metro governments, who are already struggling with budget concerns, the idea of allowing the private sector a free hand in revitalization is an alluring one. Costs to the taxpayers are minimized, and the increase in property values ensures a nice tax bonus a few years down the road. But it's also irresponsible, because it exposes a portion of the citizenry to economic hardship that can (and does) result in homelessness and despair. Creating an affordable housing program (that works) is a complicated and costly venture, but it is a critical responsibility that must be pursued:

Somebody save us from hard-headed police chiefs

No amount of studious research can fix stupid:

The workload could be reallocated away from petty marijuana arrests, City Council, the mayor and social justice advocates say. Although Lopez says DPD has never prioritized low-level pot busts, the ones that occur still disproportionately affect people of color. White pot smokers get away with it; blacks do not.

To which Lopez, ever charismatic, replied, “I would recommend to people concerned about this issue that they not smoke marijuana.”

Setting aside for a moment the harmless (and often medically helpful) nature of marijuana and the moral imperative to decriminalize it, when your racially-tuned crime-control dragnet scoops up a heck of a lot more people of color than their white counterparts, busting those otherwise innocent kids for small quantities of marijuana represents a horrifically "unjust" system. Two eighteen year-old boys, both recreational pot users. One gets busted and his future darkens, the other easily flies under police radar and stumbles through UNC on the five-year plan. It''s the difference between making $25,000 per year and $55,000. Just felt like throwing some numbers out there. It's not always about bad choices or bad luck, there are institutional factors that play a part. We can't easily fix the choices thing, but we can (and should) address those institutional problems.

Rent too damn high

Rent is too damn high, especially if you work for minimum wage. Tell me again why we shouldn't raise the minimum wage?

The Raleigh-Durham area joins several mid-size metros as having the highest rent increases in 2014, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report, based on data from real estate research firm Reis Inc., looks at apartment rents in the fourth quarter 2014 compared to the previous year. Nationwide, the average increase was 3.6 percent; Raleigh rents rose 4.8 percent.

Terrific Tapas

Jane enjoying tapas

Another downtown success story has unfolded in our neighboring Durham.

Had a delicious lunch today with a good friend who has moved into a new co-housing apartment building a couple of blocks from downtown Durham. Easy walk over to enjoy four Taberna Tapas dishes, including locally grown sweet potato fries, seared salmon, a Portobella cap with saffron rice, and green beans with anchovies. Yummy!

Then over to the busy Credit Union past the modern bus terminal and train station as the Amtrak to NYC pulled out.

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