Chapel Hill News Endorsements

"Four for Town Council"

When Chapel Hill voters cast ballots for Town Council in a couple of weeks, they’ll be doing more than filling open seats on the town’s governing board. They’ll also be deciding the course of development of UNC’s Horace Williams tract, the future of downtown revitalization and other key issues.

This year’s Town Council race has been a fairly low-key affair because, unfortunately, no candidates emerged to challenge the mayor for re-election. But the issues couldn’t be greater, particularly town-gown relations and the development of Carolina North. The outcome of those negotiations will require a combination of firmness and accommodation on the part of our elected officials.

Given that context, The Chapel Hill News endorses the following for election to the Town Council on Nov. 4:

-- Sally Greene has been an effective participant in community planning activities, serving in recent years on the town Planning Board, on the Morgan Creek Valley Steering Committee, and on the Merritt’s Pasture Planning Committee. As a member of the Planning Board, she helped craft the town’s land use management ordinance and pushed for streamside protections, stormwater controls and creation of neighborhood conservation districts.

A lawyer, Greene says the town should go out on a legal limb and adopt an inclusionary zoning ordinance that would require developers to include affordable homes in their projects. She supports creation of an economic development office, as proposed by the mayor, to stimulate downtown revitalization.

-- Cam Hill would bring to the council a perspective that has been lacking — that of a Chapel Hill native who has seen a slow change from village to metropolitan exurb.

Since his unsuccessful race for mayor two years ago, Hill has dived into the trenches of local government policy-making, serving on planning committees for both the town and university on development of Carolina North.

Hill says the university should house more of its students on campus, thereby freeing up more housing in the community and reducing pressures on rent and traffic. He said the town gave away too much in its negotiation with the university over parking lots and a chiller plant on the edge of campus.

A downtown resident, Hill can relate to residents of Northside and other in-town neighborhoods subject to growth pressures and crime problems. He would set up an emergency tax fund to help people afford to stay in their homes.

-- In his four years on the council, Bill Strom has been the most outspoken council member on behalf of neighborhood interests against development pressure from the university and commercial sectors. He gained valuable experience, and some rapport with UNC, by serving on town-gown committees that negotiated the UNC campus development plan and the subsequent deal over parking decks and a chiller plant on campus (which he voted against).

He also served on the town’s Horace Williams Committee, which set out community priorities for how that property should be developed. And he has led planning for development of the town-owned parking lots downtown, which will be key pieces in the downtown revitalization effort.

-- Jim Ward also has compiled a solid record of accomplishment as a one-term member of the Town Council. As curator of the N.C. Botanical Garden, he has brought an environmentalist perspective to the council. He served on the Horace Williams Advisory Committee and has urged that UNC set aside natural areas in its development of Carolina North through a conservation easement or other binding commitment.

A university employee, Ward has demonstrated a willingness to go up against his employer on behalf of citizens, most notably when he chided the chancellor over widening of South Columbia Street and advocated on behalf of Elkins Hills residents over a university plan to build a garage and shop near them.

Chapel Hill News, Sunday, Oct. 19, Editorial, p. A8

Issues: 

Total votes: 234

Comments

In my experience, endorsements can be slightly helpful in convincing a very small group of loyalists. But then again, those are just the kind of voters whose minds are already made up. Stating the obvious: no amount of endorsements makes up for a good strategy and a well-run campaign.

I think I had the NAACP, Chapel Hill News, DTH, and Independent endorsements. But none of that could make up for colossally bad press from the very same Independent, and the anger of folks who are still looking for people to blame for Meadowmont. (Which I voted *against* for the record.)

http://indyweek.com/durham/2001-10-24/cover3.html

Indy 2001 picks:

Dorothy Verkerk, Ed Harrison, Larry Daquioag and Mark Kleinschmidt

(3 of 4)

Wondering how valuable some of these endorsements are? Do these organizations have a track record for picking winners? It's kinda hard to tell. Most of these orgs didn't exist or they didn't endorse in 2001. The Sierra Club only endorsed 3 for Council in 2001. All three won, along with Mayor pick--Kevin Foy.

Of those orgs who have already endorsed, here's how the 2001 candidates faired with endorsements, as I remember it. The next biggie is the Independant Weekly due to hit the newstands on Oct. 29. I got that one, but except for Larry Daquiog, I don't remember who else did (Dorothy and Edith maybe?)

Edith -- CHN

Dorothy -- Sierra, CHN

Harrison -- Sierra

Kleinschmidt -- Sierra

DR Byran -- CHN

Bob Reda -- CHN

Interesting...

Bill Strom is only mentioned once by name in the endorsement as oppossed to two more as the others. Also, he is the only person without his name at the beginning of the endorsement.

I think I watched too many X-Files episodes.

Endorsements so far:

Police Benevolent Society (PBS)

Friends of Affordable Housing (FAH)

Students for a Progressive CH (SPCH)

Community Action Network (CAN)

Sierra Club (Sierra)

Coalition of Neighbors Near Campus (CNC)

Chapel Hill News (CHN)

Bachman - PBS, CAN

Barfield ...-

Freund ..- PBS

Greene ..- PBS, FAH, SPCH, Sierra, CNC, CHN

Hill ......- Sierra, CNC, CHN

Juliano ....-

McSwain .-

Rohrbacher CAN, Sierra

Schowerer-

Strom ...- PBS, FAH, SPCH, Sierra, CNC, CHN

Tyson ...- CAN

Ward ...-.FAH, CAN, CHN

I'm surprised no one has commented on Ted Vaden's moving on from the Chapel Hill News.

On one hand, I look forward to his taking on the roll of "reader advocate" for the N&O (a position they've needed for years), but I'm worried that we'll lose the local flavor he brought to the paper.

I hope that Ms. Larsen, "...publisher of The Cary News.." doesn't McClatchy the CHN. I look forward to seeing how she'll continue the local vibe and resist the temptation to merge the style and content of the CHN with other properties like the Cary News.

Mr. Vaden is going to have his work cut out for him, I think, responding to the pent up demand to make (return?) the N&O more responsive (and report more accurately and extensively) on local matters. Maybe he'll bring some sanity to the national coverage as well ;-)!

Good luck Mr. Vaden.

 

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