The throne is up for grabs.
Rosemary Waldorf, Chapel Hill's mayor for the last six years, is not seeking re-election. But the mayor of Chapel Hill also holds another title: King of the Liberals -- or in this case, Queen of the Liberals.
So on Nov. 6, the town will choose her successor.
Let's face it: Even in the best circumstances, local elections garner little public interest and participation. Just as campaigning season was gearing up, terrorist attacks rocked the nation on Sept. 11. News outlets have covered the story 24/7 ever since.
Campaigns ground to a screeching halt. After all, in the wake of mass destruction and loss of life, debating issues like smart growth and the environment seemed a little inappropriate. Local politics pale in comparison to the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
That's unfortunate. The town is at a crossroads. The Chapel Hill Town Council approved UNC's Development Plan 8-1 last week. The town and the University are going to have to deal with unparalleled growth.
How Chapel Hill deals with the influx of students and faculty -- not to mention buildings and infrastructure needs -- will impact our lives more tangibly than the threat of an anthrax attack. It may not be a sexy topic like terrorism, but smart growth is important.
Why should you care? Well, if you live in the town, the decisions made by the mayor and the Town Council directly impact your life. Whether it be the town's decibel limit keeping you from pumping Lil' Kim full blast at your next kegger or the Town Council trying to keep students from renting houses in family-dominated neighborhoods by stipulating the number of "nonrelated persons" living together -- the mayor and council members warrant your attention.