Chapel Hill Town Councilman Matt Czajkowski and I played phone tag during the council's health insurance controversy. He saw me at Margaret's Cantina two weekends ago, came over and apologized and we finally got together last week.
You can read parts of the interview in tomorrow's Chapel Hill News. I focused on the councilman's role as the dissenting voice on council, asking whether he enjoyed being the thorn in the council's side or thought he was making a real difference.
Czajkowski said he thinks he's tapping a sentiment in the community that is not always reflected in council decisions and discussion. He said past decisions like publicly financed elections, health benefits for ex-members (Czajkowski has no problem with benefits for current members) and perhaps public art (we didn't talk about that specifically) are getting a closer look from the public as the economy tightens.
"Obviously the goal is to implement change," he says in the interview. "To the extent other council members are listening to the broader public -- instead of the constituents they've been listening to -- they may be hearing the priorities in Chapel Hill may be different."
Chapel Hill has changed, he says. "The people who've moved here in the past 20 years are not old Chapel Hillians who grew up in the halcyon days of Peace and Justice Plaza. That stuff doesn't mean anything to them because they weren't part of it."
Read more in the Editor's Desk column in Wednesday's Chapel Hill News.