Attack Ads

This seems to be an unfortunate first in Chapel Hill elections. The Daily Tarheel reports that Dianne Bachman, that paragon of moral purity, has run ads attacking Cam Hill for insinuating that she might not be totally fair when it comes to decisions about UNC development.

A few ridiculous things about this:

  1. Cam is hardly the only person to raise this concern. It has been echoed across the community. He's just the only candidate with the guts to call her out.
  2. Dianne is so clearly compromised by working in UNC's facilites department, and she apparently cannot understand why anyone would be even a little concerned about this. If I she can't understand why this is an issue for so many people, I have to think that maybe it's because she is not able to look at her own situation objectively.
  3. Her boss is Bruce Runberg.

The Chapel Hill Herald also wrote about the ads, but I prefer the DTH article which cuts to the issues more directly and quotes more interested people like Joe Capowski and Bruce Runberg.



One might wonder if this attack ad is foreshadowing the role Bachman would like to play on the Council: the university administration is not in a position to openly attack their biggest critic in the race, Cam Hill, so Bachman does it for them.

I was at the Chapel Hill Herald forum and it was obvious from both the context of the question and the way Mr. Hill framed his response that he was speaking about a narrowly defined group of UNC employees, those that already had potential conflicts of interest. I have seen Mr. Hill carefully frame his response at a number of forums, and he's always been careful to draw a distinction between those making decisions that might be at cross-purposes with the town's peoples interest (chiller plant, S. Columbia, Mason Rd., Hill parking lot's, that kind of thing) and those that just work for UNC.

If Chancellor Moeser ran for council, would Ms. Bachman think he didn't have a potential conflict?

The funny thing is that Cam usually said that he would make decisions based on what was good for Chapel Hill, not his employer, which could apply to anyone.

This parsing of what Cam said, extracting it from its context, even saying things like 'we have it on tape', reflects poorly on the Bachman campaign. If I was to treat her campaign platform similarly, I could parse her "I have no conflict of interest." to "I have .... conflict of interest.".

It is also interesting that Ms. Bachman hasn't explained how the overwhelming support she's received from the development community doesn't imply she's firmly in their camp. Where is her unqualified explanation of how she differs from these supporters on key development issues? And why hasn't her retort at the Student forum, that if we want to see who has contributed to her campaign in the last week we can wait until January, been analyzed as intensively as Cam's? If one contorts this statement as they’ve contorted Cam’s, you’d end up with “she has something to hide.” But, of course, that would be equally unfair, wouldn’t it?

I was also there, and the CHH quote is what I heard too: "Do you believe a job at the university should, if not legally, then as a practical and political matter, disqualify a person from serving on council?"

"How could it not disqualify you?" Hill responded. "Given UNC's propensity for heavy-handedness in bullying the town, why would they stop at bullying their own employees who were on the council?"

I would say there might be a problem if a person is in a policy making role and makes decisions on the allocation of resources. Have there been other cases where this issue was raised in local elections here? How did it turn out? Would a banker be diswqualified because his bank makes loans to developers?

Ultimately, one must answer the really important questions: under what circumstances does the interests of the State of North Carolina, its UNC-CH and the use of its land take priority over the interests of the Town of Chapel Hill? Whose interest are (will be/should be) dominant?

John A.

You seem to have that quote on tap, do you care to share the whole transcript, including the other candidates responses?

I'm interested in your comment "Ultimately, one must answer the really important questions: under what circumstances does the interests of the State of North Carolina, its UNC-CH and the use of its land take priority over the interests of the Town of Chapel Hill? Whose interest are (will be/should be) dominant?"

Could you answer the following?

"Ultimately, one must answer the really important questions: under what circumstances does the interests of those donors that heavily backed Ms. Bachman take priority over the interests of the Town of Chapel Hill? Whose interest are (will be/should be) dominant?" In other words, where do Ms. Bachman's goals and priorites align with these contributors and where do they not? Oh, and maybe you know how much more money Ms. Bachman has collected from these interests and spent in the last week and a half.

Answering this would cetainly help underscore Ms. Bachman's commitment to be transparent and un-biased in all her dealings before the council. And, of course, it would help deflate any arguments that she is unduly influenced by either UNC or other special interests.

I got the quote from the link to the CHH in Ruby's initial post. I don't know the answer to my questions - that's why I asked. I think different people have different answers. I know nothing about any candidate's financial affairs other than what I read in the papers, so I can't answer your question either.

I do think how my questions get answered by those in State government will have more effect on Chapel Hill in the long run than one election.

In spite of your implications, I think these things are worthy of discussion.

What are your answers?

Let' s jump into the wayback machine and travel back to the 2001 Chapel Hill mayor's race (where the same type concerns of conflict arose).

To quote the February, 2003 Democracy North report

"Democracy North Carolina was able to determine that of the 171 major donors to Pavao, more than 1

in 3 were connected to the development community (developers, construction, appraisers, real estate,

home builders, others with ties to Meadowmont and Weaver Dairy Road expansion), which is

typically at odds with environmentalists in Chapel Hill. The development community gave over 39%

($6,900) of Pavao’s major donor campaign money ($17,400).

“The major problem is the appearance that developers are attempting to buy undue influence

with a prospective mayor. That appearance gives weight to voter cynicism about our

democracy and the role of special interests in our elections,” says Walz."

Based on the current contribution reports ( ), Ms. Bachman has received slightly less than 1/2 of her last reporting period contributions from these special interests. Further, if you reviewed the actual contribution reports, you would see that the number of large contributions increased rapidly as Oct. 20th approached.

Again, Ms. Bachman has gone to some lengths to paint herself independent of the influence of this locally powerful constituency. Why not report her current contribution status? Is she approaching the $17,400 record? How much above $9000 has she spent? If, as Mr. Walz observed, "That appearance gives weight to voter cynicism about our

democracy and the role of special interests in our election", wouldn't the candidate that has been promoting her transparent, independent and fact-based decision process want to deliver this data?

I understand what you are saying, but jump up one level and tell me your thoughts on my questions. I don't track the money or even know how one gets classified into one of the groups you mentioned or classified as an "environmentalist." Is their a methodology used or are they assumptions?

I'm not as worried about the development community right now as I am about the State of North Carolina and how they might decide to pursue their interests. What then?

John, are you talking about the threat that the N.C. General Assembly will try once again to strip Chapel Hill's zoning authority if the Town doesn't comply with their idea of how UNC should grow? (And if you are, why are you so indirect about saying so?)

I think the odds of that passing the General Assembly are low, but certainly possible. Did you know that there are sixteen schools in the UNC system? Plus a zillion community colleges. How do you think the voters in those communities would feel about such legislation? Most of them are already pissed off at the funding disparities between the state schools, they don't want to write UNC-CH a blank check.

Also, the threat of unjust actions from the state should not keep the Town's representatives from acting in the best interests of our community - and I'm an including the university in that community. If UNC stomps on us by pushing poorly planned development down our throat, this will cease to be the wonderful place that attracts so many people to the university in the first place. Similarly, the town obviously benefits from the university's presence.

Ultimately, working together cannot mean limply obeying UNC's threats. If they are unable to work fairly as semi-equal partners with the Town, then UNC will find themselves operating in an increasingly hostile public environment.

I think the issue is broader than just zoning authority. Not trying to be indirect but to keep it broad because the state has broad powers. Yep, there are 16 schools in 14 cities. Do any others have the issues that those in Chapel Hill feel that we have?

You ask the "best interest" question - is that not an unanswered question for many people? I sense that there are people in Chapel Hill who feel that the University is the agrieved party. You have worked hard on this issue and have a very clear perspective, but I'm not sure how widely shared it is. So I ask about the power of the state in the broadest sense, not just removing zoning authority. And when we say UNC-CH, are we sure it's not just coming through UNC-CH, and that there are not higher ups making the decisions?

John A.

Before I try to jump up one level to see the big development picture, I'd like to make one more run at the original subject, the attack ad based on Mr. Hill''s comments.

First, I would guess that she would agree that a reasonable person might be concerned about Chancellor Moeser's sitting on the council, due to potential conflict of interest issues. One would think from Ms. Bachman's comments that she isn't involved at a decision making level that would constitute a concern. In other words, the threshold of involvement hasn't been exceeded.

But Ms. Bachman doesn't give herself enough credit. She's currently involved in at least $167.5 million of projects at UNC and is slated to be involved (possibly different based on the election) a number more of big-ticket projects that will re-shape both campus and town. $167.5 million sounds like a lot of involvement in the decision-making and management process, so why downplay it? Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that someone managing so much of the current UNC construction portfolio might be influenced, even marginally, by that burden? Wouldn't it be somewhat reasonable to assume that pro-development forces in Chapel Hill would be naturally attracted to someone managing such a large portfolio of construction projects?

If so, why try to deflect that reasonable concern by attempting to lift it out of context, specifically, a concern about someone managing $167.5 million worth of UNC projects, and broaden it to a generic smear against all UNC employees?

I think it's entirely appropriate for a professional project manager with Ms. Bachman's background to run for office. What I don't find appropriate is her continued underplaying of her role at UNC and her dodging questions of whether her priorities and goals align directly with those supporting her or do they differ, and, if so, where?

Student and Academic Services,, $26M

Student Family Housing,, $30M

Beard Hall Renovation, , $5M

Connor Alexander Winston Dorms,, $13.5M

Public Health Teaching & Research Center,, $28M

Residence College - Phase II,, $65M

John A, you say "I am not sure how widely held [your perspective] is." Well, wake up and smell the election. We will see Tuesday night that Chapel Hillians do not care at all for UNC's 800 pound gorilla approach.

Oh I know we should just do what top level UNC administrators want because otherwise they will get the legislature to revoke the Town's authority. Maybe the legislature would do that, but it was obvious that Howard Lee was towing the UNC hod on that one and we revoked his authority instead. And in any case, the you-better-do-what-UNC-says crowd sounds a lot like a man saying "Consent or I'll rape you!" How is the 'consent' meaningful in that situation? It's not; it's rape either way.

One last thing, do you really think Greensboro, Greenville, Cullowhee, Boone, Durham, Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Elizabeth City etc. are unconcerned about this issue? Do you? You're wrong. They are concerned and Chapel Hill elected officials have been in dialogue with Mayors and Town Councils from these cities and towns for over a decade about it (through the NC League of Municipalities).

Okay, I tell you what. Let's just see what Chapel Hill voters think of putting Moeser's pawns in charge of regulating him.

Howard Lee down, Dianne Bachman to go.

- A Voter

I thought Lee was the one who kept the Legislature from doing what some in there were willing to do. It appears that you view this as a "we-they" and not an "us" thing, so that means the Chancellor wants a pawn (one or are there more?) to rubber stamp his plans. "We-they" will never work!

As for what CH voters think, what we will find out tomorrow is (1), how many cared enough to vote; (2) how those who voted feel about a variety of cross-cutting issues; and (3) the sort of people they wanted making decisions. Under a 20% turn-out is sad and I don't know if the way the 20% vote also reflects the preferences of the non-voters.

It's troublesome that you feel that you know in advance how people will vote once in office. Ther's over 200 years of American history that demonstrates that there's no science here. Why, BTW, does that other writer believe that Mr. Foy was invaded by the body snatchers? As unopposed on the ballot, he should get elected; do you know how he will vote on the issues important to you?

Voter, if you consider tomorrow's election a referendum on how people feel about UNC's development approach, it seems logical to include those who don't bother to vote on the side of the unconcerned. Wouldn't you say?

We all know winning elections is more complicated than you imply. It's all about hitting those likely to vote for your candidates and then getting that vote out - especially in a field as crowded as this council race. Does anyone doubt that the self-proclaimed "environmentalists" are targeting neighborhoods close to campus? We all also know that angry people vote, so that will be on your side.

But the vote totals alone won't tell us a thing about how most of Chapel Hill feels.

I'm glad someone's mentioning the communities of Cullowhee, Elizabeth City, Pembroke, and the like. To take it up a level, as someone suggested, let me say that as a citizen of North Carolina I find it very weird that the university system is contemplating spending its money on what amounts to a massive economic development project in the heart of Chapel Hill, one of a handful of communities in this state that needs it the _least_. Outside the I-85 corridor, this state has been hit with unprecedented layoffs, farm foreclosures, and natural disasters in the last several years. When Chancellor Hooker was still alive, he said the thing that struck him the most about the state of North Carolina (circa 1997) after touring all 100 counties was the vast difference between the health of communities in the "I-85 crescent" and those outside it. That's only become worse since.

So I'd like someone from the university to explain to me why the system is pouring money into the effort at Chapel Hill North which, among other things, will incubate and spin-off university-derived technologies into business ventures that are likely to generate solid, well-paying jobs -- when other areas of this state are desperate for that kind of economic development. I understand that Pembroke isn't high on lists of places to live, but how is that ever going to change without some investment? And why isn't making that investment part of the university's historic mandate to serve the citizens of this state?

To people familiar with the legislators from other college towns, why aren't they making this argument? Or are they, and I've just missed it?

Chapel Hill Lover is clearly someone who knows little about Chapel Hill politics and not much about representative democracy either.

Contrary to her post, the "self-proclaimed environmentalists" are not targeting neighborhoods around campus. The self-proclaimed environmentalists are posturing around irrelevant issues like school merger or bogus "solutions" to the inchoate problem that is carolina north.

On the other hand, the environmentalist proclaimed environmentalists (in this case, Sierra Club endorsees) do seem to have made common cause with UNC neighbors as insensitively planned university growth threatens nature and neighbor alike.

The election will tell us what elections always tell us: the opinion of the people who care enough about public policy to take one of the simplest of actions (voting), albeit informing oneself about the candidates is not necessarily so simple. But with such diverse groups as the CH News, the Independent, the Sierra Club, and the Coalition of Neighbors Near Campus largely in agreement, it should not be hard to decide on at least three of four votes.

By the way, CH Lover better not try that line (about vote totals not telling us anything) on Edith Wiggins. Edith is very proud of her first place finish in '01 and would surely brace at the suggestion that it did not reflect the true will of the people.

I think what Chapel Hill Lover said is in fact correct: "the vote totals alone won't tell us a thing about how most of Chapel Hill feels." Not the same as the "vote totals not telling us anything." Ms. Wiggins got the most votes in '01? I had forgotten that, but it could only reflect the "true will of the people" who voted. What do winnners in a Council election get, 4-5K votes? How many voters are there registered, 40K? Not exactly the will of THE people, but it sure is the will of the VOTERS who can vote for up to four people.

The thing about coming first is that it doesn't mean you were everyone's first choice. If the voters are all supporters of only A or B, but they find C not-objectionable, then C could easily get more (second choice) votes than either A or B's (first choice) votes, and come in on top.

Also, while voter turn-out is always low in odd election years, that hardly means everyone else doesn't care. Local issues are different than national issues. It often means they just couldn't figure out the local stuff without party bosses telling them how to vote.

I am very interested to see if turnout changes significantly this year. It seems that there have been a lot more forums and endorsements. Could this mean voters are more engaged?

CH Lover:

Attempting to distinguish the Will of the People from the Will of the Voters is a rediculous exercise. What does it tell us? Does it tell us to not be responsive to Voters? Are elected officials supposed to adopt position antithetical to their platform so as to include the voice of the non-voter?

Enormous attempts are made each election cycel to increase the electoral base each year. News about candidate positions and actions of elected officials dominate the news. The thousands of emails, letters and telephone calls each month gnereated by this news coverage along with the votes at the polling place have to be the best way of determining the will of the people. If not by looking at their votes, how do you suggest determining the People's Will? I find your solution absurd and anti-democratic, i.e. counting non-voters among those who aren't concerned about UNC development. (As an aside, I wonder who it is you're thowing non-voters in with? It seems clear that every voter is to some degree concerned about UNC's development and its impact on the Town -- even among supporters of non-Sierra Club endorsed candidates. The disagreements are over how it should be handled. To their credit, even the University isn't asking for blanket authority to pave every inch of the Horace Williams tract.

To those jumping all over me:

I was responding very specifically to this, written by "A Voter":

"Well, wake up and smell the election. We will see Tuesday night that Chapel Hillians do not care at all for UNC's 800 pound gorilla approach."


I stick with my opinion that in a low turn-out election, we will only know what the "voters" thought -- not what "Chapel Hillians" as a whole think. Especially, given that those happy with the status quo tend to stay home. (Yes, Dan, I understand representative democracy well enough.)

I never said the vote doesn't tell us ANYTHING. It'll tell us who wins the election. And which bonds issues pass. And yes, it MIGHT tell us more about the views of those who voted. It depends.

In this crowded field, a few votes could easily determine a winner. Combine that with contributing factors such as Cam Hill's name recognition, and the fact that many who support Dianne Bachman aren't too happy with UNC (but see her insider status as a plus -- some do), and I'm not sure much will be able to be read into the outcome of this election on the UNC issue. Maybe -- if Cam wins and the vote differences between those two are huge. If Dianne wins, I don't think that says much one way of the other.

Mark, I didn't say anything about anybody being unconcerned about UNC development. I said "development approach" as in 800 lb. gorilla (from the post I was responding to). Perhaps I could have phrased it better, but in any case, you misunderstood. In fact, I think you misunderstood almost everything I said. Probably my fault, not yours.

Oops ... sorry, I forgot to put my name on that last post. It's from me.


Well that does clarify things. Sorry to confuse the issues. Thanks CH Lover.

I think you're assessment about the possible outcomes is interesting. I hadn't considered the idea of voters not approving of UNC's behavior and also seeing Bachman as an insider being a positive.

I think you're right about what a big Cam win means. Should the winners include Strom, Greene and Hill, I'm not sure there's any other way to read it but to say that voters are giving clear direction to the Council. That direction, always misinterpreted by UNC officials, would be that Council remain vigilant when it comes to UNC development (UNC officials, please note: vigilance, desire to negotiate, and subjecting development plans to the crucible of public hearing does not equate to being anti-University! Few love this campus as much as I do.) Should the margin be large, or not include either Ward or Bachman, I think we'd be looking at a mandate for this position.

Any one who thinks that Bachman's insider knowledge will work for the town as been smoking the same wacky tobacco that makes Bachman say "Drive excellence, not cars" or say "state of the art transportation system" then admit that "transportation is not really my thing."

I think the voters are smarter than that. The voters for and endorsees of Bachman when you read their names are not the people who see her as standing up to UNC (Godschalk, Runberg, Allred, etc). These are fine people but that aren't looking for someone to stand up to UNC.

No speaking of dirty tricks. What about that illegal advert supposedly from CATS. Turns out they aren't a PAC. They charged $20 to vote for their endorsees -- which is outside their bulaws and outside of fair practice. All in all a betrayal of trust of the members and an innovative way of selecting candidates. Buying your own vote. Anyone following that one?


When you say "UNC officials, please note: vigilance, desire to negotiate, and subjecting development plans to the crucible of public hearing does not equate to being anti-University!," why then are some mad at the mayor for working a compromise. I understand that some wanted him to "stand up" to the university, whatever that means.

The answer to EPU is simple:

The development plan under the OI-4 zone very clearly specifies a perimeter transition zone which is supposed to have a very high standard of sensitivity to neighborhood impacts. Strom articulated this directly in explaining his vote against the modification.

The people who are "mad at the mayor" consider neither the university nor the Council majority to have lived up to a promise that was embodied in a regulation that resulted from much hard work and compromise on their part.

I never heard any council-member who supported the modification address this issue head on and explain how it was not an inappropriate use for the perimeter zone.

So much of what gets labeled "anti-university" is little more than people wanting the university to be held to its own commitments.

I support candidates who oppose Ms. Bachman, but that doesn't mean I think she's Queen of Darkness. I am inclined to suspect (without evidence I'm sure) that she is in fact a stalking horse.

The University knows perfectly well that with Ms. Bachman's campaign they win even if she loses. If she loses, there's (potentially) bad blood between some on the Council & South Building, & the neighborhoods' animosity is drawn off by an administrator whose job description has just been changed to remove her overt influence.

If she wins, South Building can play the whole Council by disguising its agenda as a slate of heroic concessions and blackmailing the town every step. Isn't that what happened in the bizarre standoff over development on the eastern edge of North Campus in which South Columbia Street got offered as a hostage?

Either way, if all goes for UNC's agenda someone else will get the credit -- but if any goes poorly, someone else will go up the ladder and say "Gee, we tried to work with the Council, but they're just SO combative!"

Personally, I'm hoping (also either way) that Ms. Bachman has her heart in the right place. She seems to get on well with her neighbors, at any rate; and I must say I think it very fine that someone in her position with UNC lives in the Town of Chapel Hill at all.

Whish is the wiser choice: a Town Council member dependent on the University, or a UNC administrator who understands the town?

Interesting comments, Rah. I have only been here for one prior Town election. What seems to be happening in this election - at least to me - is that three candidates appear to be running against two as if they belog to "different" parties.It's as if the other seven aren't in the race. Some of the letters (well organized (and sounding like they were written by the same person(s)), of course) have been of the "why I'm not voting for this person or that person" variety. Is this typical for Chapel Hill elections?

As one who doesn't live near UNC property, how much agreement is there among neighbors in those neighborhoods? Have they taken votes to support candidates? Does their support of "Chapel Hill First" have the same meaning as the candidate using the slogan, or are they coming at it from a different perspective because many of them are/were associated with the University?

I would also guess that there must be some in the UNC administration who don't want Bachman to win for a simple reason - she will cut them no break and probably be harder on them than most others. It's ironic that most have approached this from the complete opposite perspective, as they give the administration so much credit for being skilled in political manipulation and control. Thus, defeating her make make some of them pretty happy.

I see what you mean I think, e-p-u. The fields have been large in several recent elections (check me, folks? How many 10+ candidate elections in the past dozen years?). Usually a few candidates become standard-bearers for a few broad swaths of the electorate, and their advocates drive traffic in the op-ed pages to keep the pressure on their most prominent opponents (and strengthen the identification of their favorites to prevent a split vote). It's not who you know, it's how many know you -- sounds democratic enough to me.

As to your question about consensus in neighborhoods near campus, I'd go by the rule "three Chapel Hillians, five opinions". It's why I love this town. Fortunately, Chapel Hillians also have much practice with their BS detectors. This is why I prefer a Council that reports first to the citizens, and does so (by default and by law) PUBLICALLY.

Moreover, I prefer to assume that the University has (perhaps by sheer good fortune) hired a project manager who believes in sensible development and understands the values of cooperation and compromise. If I'm right, why should the voters of Chapel Hill deprive the town of such a well-qualified negotiating partner?

Three more notes in general, while I'm bloviating:

(1) Not wanting to seem like a Machiavelli, I'll say I support Mr Strom and Mr Hill and am impressed by Ms Greene. I don't represent anybody; I only argue as an idealist and a moderately informed local.

(2) The first post in this thread shocked me in that the DTH got credit for the best reporting on a local political story. Bravo! We haven't had near enough of that.

(3) LOVE the forum, love the forum's hair, the forum's dress, etc. I hope it's still as thoughtful, civil and well-populated after the election season passes!

Ya'll VOTE now, y'hear?

CH Lover,

my apologies if I got ahead of myself a couple of days ago. Now that the election is over, let me say it: Wake up and smell the election.

And don't give me that 19% voter turnout crap. Because th other side of that coin is that Dianne Bachman didn't just lose this race; she got creamed. And the incumbent who was closest to her came in a fairly distant fourth (compared to Strom or Greene).

Howard Lee and Dianne Bachman down, Kevin Foy to go.

-A Voter

A Voter,

I agree that the election results are clear enough to be considered a statement on the UNC issue. I was just coming here to admit that you were right on that.

And no, I won't give you any "19% voter turnout crap". The winners deserve to enjoy their victory, and I congratulate them. I'm sure they care about Chapel Hill as much as we all do. Sometimes, I think it pays to stand back and realize that none of us want anything but the best for this town -- something I've been musing on this morning.

the unrelenting Bachman... Do we need to start a "Sour grapes" thread in which we post Lee Pavao's comments on campaign spending, WCHL's "strong fifth finish" spin , Ray's Herald editorial of yesterday, Terri Tyson's confused WCHL commentary, etc?

November 07, 2003

Former candidate Bachman defends campaign ads

November 07, 2003


As my integrity has been questioned, I must respond to Chapel Hill Town Council member-elect Cam Hill's brazen disregard for the facts in his letter to the editor in Tuesday's The Daily Tar Heel.

His letter accuses me of misrepresenting his position in the political advertisement that I ran on conflict of interest. My ad stated, "Cam Hill has said that Chapel Hill citizens who work for the University should not serve in town elected office." The ad is accurate, not even an exaggeration.

This is not a "he said-she said" situation. His position is a matter of public record, so stated at the public forum sponsored by The Chapel Hill Herald on Oct. 13. That forum was shown on Time Warner Cable, and simulcast by WCHL. The record exists.

In addition, in an Oct. 19 article in the Herald, council member Dorothy Verkerk responded to Hill's statement as follows: "I think to say that nobody who has a paycheck from UNC can run for political office, it's unconstitutional, and a breach of the integrity of the people who run and the people with the University." Council member Pat Evans was quoted as follows: "I'm appalled that anyone would think that UNC employees would be disqualified."

In a staff editorial on Oct. 22, the Herald states "To not understand the signal contributions University employees make and have made to Chapel Hill and its government is to simply be blind to the town's history and dynamics.

That's why it would be pure foolishness -- and downright harmful -- to say that University employees shouldn't run for or serve on the Town Council, as some, including one candidate, have recently suggested." That candidate was Hill. Neither the Herald, council members Verkerk and Evans, nor myself have misrepresented Hill's position.

Rather than an attack, my ad was in defense of the right of University employees to serve in elected town office. I am one such employee. The ad was in defense to the statements that Hill made in the course of the campaign, statements that he now has cynically attempted to deny.

This episode is an example of political manipulation of the media versus the facts. I recommend it as a case study to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Dianne Bachman

Former candidate

Chapel Hill Town Council

As Warner Wolf would say, let's go to the videotape. Does anyone have it? Ms. Bachman doesn't bother to quote what Hill said, only other people's characterizations of it. In the journalism business, and presumably at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, we like to call that kind of reporting "weak."

Oh Give us a break!

Cam got 3611 votes, Dianne 2443; the difference is 1168.

Depending on which you use as the denominator, Cam

beat Dianne by either 48 pct or 32 pct -- either is a

huge loss. Also, given that Jim Ward's fourth place

total was 3566, besting Dianne's total by 1123, Dianne's performance is certainly not

a strong 5th place finish. The voters are smart, they're

not going to be influenced to that great a degree by

an attack ad or a response to it. Clearly the voters

simply agreed with Cam's stances on the

important issues more than they did with Dianne's.

The bias of WCHL is well-known. In November 1995,

WCHL provided 30 minutes of free air time on the day

before the election to incumbent and town council candidate

Jim Protzman without making an

equal offer to his eight opponents. It came in the form

of a Chamber of Commerce-sanctioned interview of Jim

by then CofC director Joel Harper. When I later questioned

WCHL news director Larry Stone about such bias,

Larry simply replied "We were concerned about it". But the management of WCHL was not concerned enough to block the interview. While I am absolutely delighted by the return

to true localism of WCHL and sincerely thank Jim Heavner for

investing the resources required to do this, it would be

unrealistic to expect that WCHL would suddently become

totally unbiased -- it still has management that, like all

of us, has its biases.

How incredibly ungraceful of Dianne. Whether she's right nor not, she does't add to her point by griping in this way.

What a contrast between Dianne's letter to the Tar Heel and Rudy's letter to the Herald!

Congratulations to winners

I wish to express my congratulations to Mayor Foy and to the winners of the election for Town Council. I am sure that the newly constituted council will continue the excellent work of its predecessor.

While I naturally regret not being elected, I have no regrets about my participation in the campaign. It was a fascinating and memorable experience.

I am happy to have had the opportunity to learn so much about the workings of our town, and to meet so many interesting people. The slate of council candidates was a very strong one. I regard all of my fellow candidates as capable, intelligent people sincerely interested in the well being of the town.

I hope that the future will bring other opportunities for me to contribute to the civic process in Chapel Hill.

Rudy Juliano

Chapel Hill

November 7, 2003

The writer was a candidate for Chapel Hill Town Council.

The tone of the letter might possibly differ from that which, on fuller reflection, might have been chosen by one once the passions of the campaign were less temporally immediate.

It's all moot, but it'd be worthwhile pulling the transcript and getting the exact quote. Depending on what was said at the forum, the Bachman ad might have been either the initiation of the nattering, or it might have been a response to nabobing by Hill. No matter what the case is, or turns out to be, the ad was almost certainly a mistake.

An interesting study on the effects of negative campaigning is in "Going Negative", by Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar(Free Press 1995). The studies focus on statewide and presidential campaigns (esp 1990-1992), but it's still interesting reading.



I think this just confirms what we learned from the SEANC vs Lee fiasco a few years ago; UNC employees aren't a deliverable bloc.


I can imagine situations where the student vote might dominate (e.g. anti-rental zoning changes before an off-year election leading to an organized registration drive and single issue slate).

This thread should be finished just like she is.

Sorry if you're bored, FW.

Simon, as much as logic might dictate that such an issue would draw out student voters (especially in light of the recent voter registration efforts by student government) I think you'd be wrong. In fact, not only does it not dominate, the "student vote" is barely noticeable in most elections. New thread, anyone?

Yes new thread; [to clarify I wasn't trying to say that a student bloc dominated or had ever dominated; just that it was a theoretical possibility. This was by way of contrast to the employee vote which doesn't seem to be even theoretically possible. ]

From the Town Data Book:

Table 21: UNC Population 1990-2002: Student Body, Employees, & Hospital Employees

Year /Students /UNC Staff/ UNC Hospital Staff

2002 /26,028 /10,115 /5,473

Don't know where all the above folks live, but even if only half lived in Chapel Hill, they would in fact be a powerful voting bloc. And if they voted as a bloc, would these "citizens" be discounted as tools of UNC? What if they voted "Chapel Hill First" as a bloc?

I think the uncertainties of Carolina North is a shared feeling among employees too, but I still think the well organized campaign against Bachman was wrong because there as not been anything to show a conflict of interest. I still wish I had a dollar for every vote that has surprised me because I assumed that someone would vote another way.

There is something I want to add to my previous

letter. I think that Dianne Bachman ran an excellent

campaign. Arguably, she broadcast her personna and positions on the issues better than anyone

else. She led the ticket in quantity of

advertising, so much that I look forward to reading her

finance report in January. Her ads were

excellent in quality as well,

though Sally and Bill also had excellent ads and presentations.

Had I been advising her campaign, short of advising her to be

completely intellectually dishonest, I don't know what

I could have said that would have made her results

better. My guess is that the attack ad controversy between

her and Cam probably netted about a hundred votes to

Cam, but nowhere near 1100. The voters collectively evaluated her and expressed that she simply isn't the right

candidate for CH and its issues today.

Maybe we should have a definition for "attack ad" or "negative campaigning." I didn't see the controversial advertisement, but the part quoted in Dianne's letter addresses Cam Hill's statements, rather than Dianne's positions or perspective.

It seems to me that when a candidate runs an ad that addresses him/herself (ie his/her own positions/opinions/qualifications) then it is positive. When the ad criticizes the positions/opinions/qualifications of opponents, it is negative (whether the attack is well founded or not).

Dianne quotes her own ad as saying: "Cam Hill has said that Chapel Hill citizens who work for the University should not serve in town elected office." This part of this ad addresses the opinions/positions of her opponent. But what does the rest of the ad say? (I did not see it.)

If the ad goes on to say "Dianne Bachman deserves a chance b/c she's great" or that type of thing, then it is positive - the mention of Cam is only to give context to her argument. If on the other hand, the ad goes on ot say "Therefore Cam is a dangerous lunatic" or something, then it is negative - entirely focused on criticizing the opponent.

Does anyone have a copy of the entire ad that they could transcribe onto the site?

-Mark Chilton

PS Note that the (in)accuracy of Dianne's characterization of Cam's comments does not really determine whether the ad is positive or negative, in my opinion.


I think you should consider a more inclusive definition of negative to include circumstances when candidates lift words of opponents to create a false impression of the candidates intent even in the absense of clear name-calling. This is what I believe Dianne did in her ad. In one of the Herald's follow-up articles, they quoted Cam more fully, he stated his concern that UNC might bully their employees creating a conflict for the councilmember, but he added that the problem was especially acute for someone working in UNC's facilities, i.e. development department.

The Other Mark--


The Chapel Hill Herald reprinted parts of the ad in this article, ,

What they quoted her as saying in the ad, which I remember after having read it about a week ago, was: "This shows disrespect for the many university employees who have served Chapel Hill as mayors and council members over the decades, and to those who do so today." It then goes on to say that: "This also shows a serious lack of understanding about who we are as a town. Our town is filled with people who work for the university." After all this, I seem to remember this paragraph set out on it own in bold print that said something to the effect of "Look around you and look at your neighbors. What do you see? Is this what you want for your town?"

My position on this is, if she were concerned about an anti-UNC movement brewing in the race, then she could have addressed it directly after the forum in which it was brought up. Putting everything on Cam is a little bit harsh considering that Andrea also said certain jobs in UNC were contradictory to council service (although she was uber-diplomatic about it), and Rudy and Jim both defended why their jobs were not in conflict with council positions and votes — they never directly said it was impossible for any position at UNC to conflict with council aims (Also, notice that Rudy and Jim didn't think it was worth their time to defend themselves in ads, either because they didn't feel threatened or they had too much class, especially in Jim's case considering what Cam wrote about his incumbency in the Herald's votebook link). What I believe truly makes Bachman's ad an attack ad is that she went beyond refuted a single charge Cam made, which may or may not have been aimed directly at her at the time although it certainly became a he said-she said in the final days. She inferred from these statements that Cam knows jacksquat about Chapel Hill (even though he's lived in CH for 50 yrs) and told the voters that in such a tone as to say: "Don't vote for Cam Hill." And even before that, she judged Cam's answer to the question Neil Offen asked to be patently "disrespectful" of others. These statements are not quotes, (which she has never provided evidence for and has always, and suspiciously, always paraphrases) but judgements on a candidate based on his responses at a forum. Not to mention, they were conveniently timed so Cam would have virtually no chance to respond. My feeling is, she could have printed Cam's "quote" and defended herself against only that sentiment without declaring that Cam is an ignoramus to town history and an avowed sectionalist in the local political realm. Plus, Cam is hardly the only person to see UNC employ in certain and specific posts to be an issue irreconcilable with council service, he just had the cojones to not beat around the bush on the issue. Bachman's direct invective toward Cam made the ad, undisputedly, an attack ad. She had 11 (okay 10 — if you count McSwain) other folks to call out if she so wanted, but she chose one. It was an ugly, desperate, and last-minute attempt to prop up a quickly flagging campaign.

- To Joe C.: You have given years of admirable and effective leadrship and service to the town, and for that I thank you. In no way can I compete with your knowledge to the nuances and intricacies of Chapel Hill politics, and in nearly every case I am out of my element in trying to argue with you. But I disagree with your assessment of Bachman's campaign, I thought she did an atrocious job of connecting with people.

1) The last-minute attack ad — people around here don't seem to put up with that crap. This wasn't a two-person race, it was an 11-person race. Stand out because of your ideas and vision. If Joyce Brown tells the papers that she's "sorry" to witness something you've done, you're in trouble.

2) She fed in to merger mania. The TC can do absolutely NOTHING about merger of the school systems, so to show up at the public hearings and distribute "Down with merger-Up with Bachman" (That's not what she said verbatim, but it's the gist of what the literature said) pamphlets is nothing but wholly disingenuous, misleading campaigning. Not only that, preying on the public's fear to gloss over what is actually relevant and deflecting attention from the real issues is an affront to any legitimate form of participatory Democracy. I think people realized this, and it left a bad taste in their mouths.

3) She preaches endlessly about "state of the art", but she then admits at one of the final public hearings before the election that transit isn't within her area of expertise. For anyone who scrutinized this race (i.e. the type of person neighbors seek out to inform them before they go vote), that was a huge strike against her.

4) Her insistence that she is "uniquely qualified" to bridge a divide between UNC and the council. Well, first off, is there any sort of huge divide between UNC and the council? Yeah, the decks and chiller decision was controversial, but does anyone actually know how much of a rift this created in the town-gown relationship as far as discussion, sharing, and cooperation goes? It seems she insisted to voters that things were actually awful and only she, as someone who works within the UNC administration, could right things. Now that is just dumb — if the gloves came off for any party during the late August controversy, it was the neighborhood residents and townfolk that were ready to brawl with UNC. Do you really want to tell people infuriated with UNC administration that you, as an administrator, know what's best for them?

Again, I'm admittedly much less astute than the majority of the other posters on this site. This is just how I saw things, please correct me if you disagree and see my views as misguided.

Oops, so the link I just posted forces you to give a password. To circumvent this, just go to the paper's homepage at and click on the "hot topics" link to the left, once on the hot topics page click the link for Orange County elections and you can pull Rob's article from the list. I think it's dated Nov. 1.

Alright, let's wrap this up.

Here's what Rob Shapard of the Chapel Hill Herald quoted as the question at the forum:

"Do you believe a job at the university should, if not legally, then as a practical and political matter, disqualify a person from serving on council?"

And here's what he quoted as Cam Hill's response at the forum:

"How could it not disqualify you? Given UNC's propensity for heavy-handedness in bullying the town, why would they stop at bullying their own employees who were on the council? Certain jobs are more in conflict than others. I think the higher up in UNC you go, the more in conflict you would be. I think that certain, specific jobs, in Facilities, for instance, would be in direct conflict. For example, how could you one day be negotiating for UNC with the neighbors, and the next day sit with the council, voting on the very same issues?"

Personally, I don't read that as Cam saying that UNC employees should be prohibitted from running for council. I think he also clearly says that the problem is more serious for UNC employees in certain staff positions.

Dianne's ad says "Town Council candidate Cam Hill has said that Chapel Hill citizens who work for the university should not serve in town elected office." That is a bit of an exagerated interpretation of Cam's statement. There are parts of Cam's statement which could be read that way, but taken as a whole, Cam's is clearly saying it is more of a problem for some staff positions than for others. So I have to conclude that Dianne's characterization of his comments is unfair.

I still haven't read the whole ad, but the other parts quoted in the Herald say:

"This shows disrespect for the many university employees who have served Chapel Hill as mayors and council members over the decades, and to those who do so today. This also shows a serious lack of understanding about who we are as a town. Our town is filled with people who work for the university."

So, assuming that that is more or less the whole ad, I can only view that as a negative ad in that the candidate who paid for the ad is only addressing her opponent. So far, no one has quoted any part of the ad that points out any of Dianne's virtues. The parts of the ad quoted in the Herald are merely critical of one of her opponents. Therefore it is a negative ad (unless there are some major parts of the ad that were not quoted in the Herald article).

-Mark Chilton

Mr. or Mrs. Incognito (what a wonderful name):

You and I are not in disagreement about the quality of the

Bachman campaign. My point is that she used the various

channels well to get her message out, not what the message

was. Indeed and obviously, her message was not the proper

one for CH at this time, for she lost by a large margin.

Another negative aspect of the ad is that those listed below the text quoted thought they were only endorsing Dianne.

Most of them had no idea that their names would be listed in an attack on Cam.

This was a major breach of trust by Dianne and her campaign with her endorsees.

How many dropped their names in the next ad?

How many wished that they had?

Read it and weep?


Town Council candidate Cam Hill has said that Chapel Hill citizens who work for the University should not serve in town elected office.

This shows disrespect for the many University employees who have served Chapel Hill as mayors and council members over the decades, and to those who do so today. This also shows a serious lack of understanding about who we are as a town. Our town is filled with people who work for the University.



People like me run for Town Council because we want to serve this town, to protect this town, to enhance this town.

And you do not need to worry about the University pressuring me. As a state employee protected by the State Personnel Act, I cannot be fired unless I commit a crime (choosing what's best for Chapel Hill over what's best for the University is not a crime last time I checked)."

Two quick observations.

One, there are other types of pressure an employer can bring that are far short of firing. For instance, Ms. Bachman manages a large portfolio of projects for UNC (see previous comment). Would it be a 'stealth' demotion to take her off the Residence College - Phase II,, $65M project and put her on a $800k parking lot project?

What if the only 'pressure' was to slow her promotion through the administrative heirarchy. I imagine that Ms. Bachman, a skilled professional, would like to make the top echelon someday.

Two, it's a rather broad leap from what Mr. Hill said at the forum (including the context the answer was given in) and the broad statements of saying he disrespected past, present (and by implication) future UNC employees and that he found any type of UNC service an automatic disqualification for town service.



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