And today's appointees are: Alito and…

Who will the Carrboro Board of Aldermen appoint to the vacated alderman seat tonight? Will it be a good day for ‘conservatives'? Or will Alito have to share his big moment with Dan or James or Catherine or Lydia or... ?

There's been precious little speculation on OP about who we can expect to be appointed. Frankly, I'm stumped. What's the best thinking out there? What voting process do people want the BoA to use tonight?



Chris, please! How could that possibly be true?

Chris, it's not exactly true that Dan has worked on all of his supporters' campaigns. His public endorsement or lack thereof has an impact on election results.

By law, does the board even have to fill the seat before the next election? The possibility at least occurred to me last night of leaving the seat open. Perhaps this is no time for any 4-3 decisions anyway.

I also don't agree with Jacqui's balkanization argument. There is certainly compelling reason (town comity for one) to appoint Lydia. Both Dan and Lydia are fine candidates (though I feel compelled by my ego to note that neither has lived in the new Carrboro for more than a year, which is something I had on them...). But if we are in such dire straights that appointing Lydia will set a horrible precedent, then the straights are already too perilous anyway. And if Lydia is not appointed you can bet there will be a number of "annexed area" candidates running next time around. There may well be anyway, which is fine. But not appointing Lydia sends a message too.

So appoint Dan or Lydia - or leave it open if legal - what kind of messge would that send??? But enough of this balkanization talk. It is distracting and divisive. Be for Dan b/c you think he's the best applicant, not against Lydia b/c she's in the annexed area.

My bad—I meant withhold your vote so that someone (you) would be forced to break a deadlock—not tie. Sounds like you can't do that legally though…

I was disappointed by the process and the outcome: Disappointed by the outcome because the board was not creative enough to break the deadlock and make a decision; Disappointed by the process because there was no discussion of all the best qualified candidates. Pardon my saying this, but neither Dan nor Lydia is such a perfect choice that none of the other applicants merit discussion.

Let me say too, that I have never felt like the appointee must live in the annexed area in order to represent annexee interests, but, frankly, after listening to the discussion last night, I believe I may be changing my mind. I got the sense that some on the board—especially Jacquie---are overly ‘old Carrboro' centered and don't fully understand what is happening north of town. Much radical change is happening for former NTA residents. We may be 5% of the population, but we are (and will be) shouldering a huge brunt of the development in this town--- and that needs to be considered in this selection process. We need to balance the current special interests of the board.

Jacquie, you really lost me last night. I totally missed your empathy. I was offended too by your sentiment that people with whom you disagree belong on advisory boards.

To be fair, I was very disappointed by everyone's unwillingness to talk about other applicant possibilities.

Chris Cameron,

I don't know how much campaign assistance Dan provided to those BOA members, but I do know that he led the highly controversial Sierra Club endorsement process for Carrboro. Unfortunately, all the OP discussions around that process and the outcomes have been removed.

Terri, whole threads do not get removed from OP. That discussion is here:

Nothing has ever been removed from OP except offensive comments, Terri.

Are you looking for this?

Hmmm, do you think it's my browser? All I get when I go to these threads is the name and "Comments Closed"--no access to the discussion at all. When OP has gone on vacation, comments have been closed by the actual discussions were still available.

Ruby has a lot of personal integrity. I have no concerns about her deleting records!
Let me say again how much I appreciate this blog. Last night when I heard that citizens were calling and emailing BoA members to express their views on the appointment, I was taken aback. It doesn't even occur to me to express my views on local government privately anymore!

Interesting. My browser does that with your first link above, but not the second one Terri.

Ruby: "Nothing has ever been removed from OP except offensive comments, Terri."

e.g., the third post on the thread

A direct conflict of interest was alleged. If that's "offensive," then then Ruby's statement above can subjectively apply to anything and is therefore a terminological inexactitude, to use a century old term.


Dan did not 'lead' the Sierra Club endorsement process for Carrboro, Bernadette Pelissier and I did. As far as the endorsement process being 'highly controversial,' one should note that John Herrera was one of Dan's strongest supporters last night despite not getting that endorsement, which speaks to Dan's ability (and John's) to reach out to people even if they occasionally disagree about things.

Getting involved in campaigns is something that many of our most active citizens do, including other qualified applicants like James Carnahan, David Beck, and Catherine DeVine. When you look at Dan's record of experience it's hard to see any of the votes for him as any sort of quid pro quo.

Jeff, I think lying about people and making unfounded personal attacks is rude and inappropriate. Squeeze The Pulp is there for those who disagree.

Terri, the second link you posted was a calendar item, therefore there were never any comments permitted on it.

Actually I just looked again, and those are both calendar items. (It was an experiment I tried, they displayed differently than other posts. I abandoned it after the election.)

I think the thread you want is or

Sorry the search interafce here kind of sucks. Try the navigation menus or the site index at

Thanks for the clarification Ruby. Still can't figure out why one works for Mark and doesn't for me. I use Firefox and you recommend.

Mary, I think you misread what Jacquie meant as far as folks she or others disagree with joing boards. She spoke of the necessity for "creative tension" (was that the kind John H. was talking about vis-a-vis the BOA) to produce the best ideas. She was welcoming anyone, particularly those she or others wouldn't normally agree with - to join the process - whether on boards or not...

I'm not doing her justice in my explanation - but I think her intent was good and maybe she'll clarify my mangle if she gets a chance...

Whew, I was starting to think I was losing it. The search doesn't work well at all. But all the other features are great so I guess Wordpress can be forgiven for one little weakness.

I've got to go to work now, so this is my last contribution today. I still support Katrina Ryan as the 4th highest vote getter for the open position, but since I doubt if the BOA will recycle that argument as they try to resolve the current impasse, I hope they will come to consensus on Lydia. After re-reading the applications, Lydia is my clear 2nd choice, especially for her experience in working on the Durham Greenway master plan. Bolin Creek was the biggest winner in the November election and the next logical step to protecting it is a master plan. As James Carnahan well knows, one of my other concerns in Carrboro is open space. I love that we have a policy requiring developers to leave open space, but I think we need to re-think how that policy is implemented (we need a plan for how the open space between developments will connect to each other in order to create wildlife corridors and greenways).

Like some on the BOA, I think the appointment process is a golden opportunity to reach out to individuals who were not able to run in the last election. Selecting Lydia would bridge relationships with the new northern citizens and would bring a 'suburban' perspective to the board, a glaring omission among current members and one, as Mary notes, that will be invaluable since the majority of all growth in south Orange over the next 20 years will occur in that area. I'm sure her legal background will also come in handy as the BOA continues the struggle on zoning ordinances and affordability.

Welcome to Carrboro! I just watched outside my office window, our first official Carrboro trash pickup. My, those trucks are efficient. Anyway, Mary, I turned your trash can around so that it could be picked up properly this morning! ;-)

What a good neighbor you are! Welcome to Carrboro too! BTW, I thought your comment about new blood turning an organization around was very appropo.

Mary wrote...
"Let me say too, that I have never felt like the appointee must live in the annexed area in order to represent annexee interests, but, frankly, after listening to the discussion last night, I believe I may be changing my mind. I got the sense that some on the board—especially Jacquie—are overly ‘old Carrboro' centered and don't fully understand what is happening north of town."

Can you elaborate on what you heard that may be changing your mind?

Charlie Buckner

Perhaps I misunderstood, but I thought Jacquie wanted to reserve a space on each advisory board for a person living in the NTA regardless of who the next alderman might be. I read it as a way to make sure the NTA is represented on all issues. There is only one Alderman seat and many applicants from the NTA/North of town.

Many of the applicants for Alderman had impressive resumes, but - in my opinion - needed to come up to speed on Carrboro and her neighbor, Chapel Hill. It's important to understand the immense changes these towns have undergone in the last fifteen years. Growing pains may be our common ground.

Mary - I'm following your example of last year and making a quilt with the kids at the school. Congrats on getting back into your own work.

Alena and Mary - welcome to Carrboro! Alena, I enjoyed sitting with you both last night and at the applicant forum. I also want to reach out to Sharon Cook and Katrina Ryan (and everyone else in the annexed area) and welcome them to Carrboro. The place ain't half bad...

Perhaps more interestingly and almost certainly more important than the board opening, what do folks think of the fire dept. merger idea? (see today's N&O). I think I sorta like it, though I'm opposed to a CH Carrboro merger and I think combining services has some potential to be a slippery slope. I like small, local gov't b/c I think the smaller, the more accountable (despite what some may think about the Carrboro board).

Lastly, no response on the legality of leaving the seat open for 2 years? Or how about this possibility - get the enabling legislation from the state in May and run an election this fall. Only 9 months away now! I think it is totally unacceptable for the board not to get someone appointed in time for the board retreat on Sunday/Monday. I hope this doesn't come across as self-serving or sour grapes. I'm of course dissapointed but not bitter. But I don't think last night pushed the ball forward much. In hindsight, probably should've had each board member list their top 3 so more names were in the mix and everyone wasn't cemented to their single choice (save Alex)from the get-go. Live and learn.

Maria - I believe you are correct that Jacqui's suggested reserving an NTA space on each advisory board. In my mind, her suggestion directly contradicts her opposition to a board member from the NTA. Isn't it like saying it's ok to "balkanize" the advisory boards but not the Board of Alderman? I guess one could argue that ther is a distinction b/c advisory boards are volunteer and aldermen are elected (or appointed), but it seems an intellectual stretch to me. If NTA folks are good enough to serve on the advisory boards, it would seem they're good enough for the BOA. I'm not saying I generally support "geographic" candidates, but I just don't think Jacqui's rationale holds water.

I heard what Jackie had to say about creative tension being good for advisory boards, but I thought she strongly implied (if she did not actually state) that this tension was not good for the BoA. I thought she reemphasized her point when she argued her case for Dan. She said that she likes Dan because they “share core values but approach things differently.” I personally have no problem with someone being on the BoA who doesn't share all of my core values— so long as that person is respectful and works very hard to find solutions everyone can live with.
PS- I agree with last David B. post.

As far as what happens tonight goes, it's apparent to me that we have three aldermen who don't think Lydia is the best choice (Shame on me for going negative here.), three aldermen who don't think Dan is the best choice, and five aldermen who don't think Katrina is the best choice.

I think the BoA has some reasonable options—one, they could see which applicant, Dan or Lydia, has the most support from the other side and the mayor could change his vote based on the findings, or two, they could agree to do Mark M.'s instant run-off voting and all commit to voting to appoint the applicant who comes out on top.

Charlie B.,
I can't really tell you exactly what I heard last night. Maybe it's the recent minimizing of new annexees as a mere “5%” of Carrboro population that's getting to me. Maybe I'm being too sensitive when I read into this an implication that small numbers deserve small attention. As I stated before, this 5% is going to get hit hard by growth. I really do want someone appointed who can be a constant reminder to the BoA of what is going on up here: Winmore, Claremont, the Cotton property development, the UNC development, commercial development… all in our backyard. On the other hand, Charlie, maybe my change of heart is from spending too much time lately walking over a thousand cut trees…

David, I wondered the same thing and raised it in a post before the play-by-play started:

What if the Board selects no one? Is that permissible under the Town Code? What is lost by the six struggling along as a Board of six until the next election? One clear outcome - all votes would require an extra-majority if all six are voting. That might be interesting.

Comment at 6:55pm 1/31/2006 by Fred Black

I think this would be a great way fo rthe BoA to demonstrate the utility of Instant Runoff voting. Everyone gets to have a vote that counts!

Just got a call... the 5% may not be accurate... OP and numbers...

I guess I don't see how the instant runoff changes anything at this point. We're down to 2 candidates and until something breaks, they will both be #1 on 3 ballots.

Does anyone know if the meeting tonight will be broadcast?

David, read the description of instant runoff (this might be a better explanation:, and remember there are 12 candidates, not 2.

Every single BoA member has talked about the large number of worthy applicants. Folks need to lay on the table who they can live with and who they can't.

It's time to compromise, Carrboro!

Mary, I calculated the 5% (based on numbers I'll explain below) simply because I felt like there was a general impression out there that the NTA includes vast numbers of people. My intent is not to minimize the experience of those people, but just to keep things in perspective.

Okay, here's how the calculation goes (and I freely admit I am no math whiz!):

Yesterday, the Daily Tar Heel mentioned "more than 800 new residents" from the NTA. I've read this number elsewhere and I believe it was the town's estimate.
Here's the (ugly) link:

According to the town of carrboro website, in 2000, the census had Carrboro with a population of 16,782.

If we round up to 850 (more than 800, less than 900?), and divide by 16,782 (which has surely grown since 2000), we get .050649... or 5%.

If someone has different numbers (other than, "I'm sure there are more people in the NTA"), I'd love to hear them.

Mary, finally, I'd ask you not to take your annoyance at me and my numbers out on Jacquie.

Actually, Joan I was feeling no annoyance with you. I regret that you perceive things differently than I intend.

Oops, sorry Mary! I thought I had been the one to bring up the percentage. I also regret that I perceived things differently than you intended.

Ruby, I don't know the content of the posted response you excised from OP last fall. Perhaps it had lies in it. The main concern was that you benefitted from publicly subsidized Empowerment housing when Chilton was there, and then you endorsed Chilton in two successive elections, without (as far as I can tell) stating the past connection. A secondary concern was that you could have had access to a family loan instead of tax-subsidized housing, but you took the latter (making it unavailable for someone with no other options); I don't know whether you could have had other financing had you asked (or applied at a bank). This has nothing to do with Chilton, but a lot to do with advocacy to alleviate poverty.

General BOA comment. I didn't watch last night's meeting, so I don't know much besides the voting rounds results. I wanted to point out the following. Unless there's been an explicit agreement to drop the other 10 candidates, they are still in the running. For example, in 1978, John Paul II was elected pope after either of two front-runners failed to produce a majority. Now, with only 6 people voting instead of 100+, so sharp a turn of events is unlikely. But who knows.

Like Barbie said, math is hard.

I should have added the 850 NTA folks to the 2000 Carrboro population of 16,782, for a total new Carrboro population of 17,632.

850/17,623=.04823... or 4.8%, which still rounds to 5%.

Back in 1996, the CH council deadlocked 4-4 on two people
to fill the seat vacated by Rosemary Waldorf when she became
mayor. After some time off, it became obvious that no one
would budge as long as those two candidates were in the
running, and a new and different compromise candidate was
selected. It would not surprise me if this also happened in Carrboro.

While there is no law that requires that the seat be filled immediately, and indeed there have been extended
vacancies in local governments throughout the state, it
would be best for everyone if the seat is filled quickly.
The rules in CH require that five affirmative votes, not the majority of those voting, are required to pass any legislation.
Assuming that Carrboro has similar procedures (I don't know)
it can sometimes be difficult to muster 5 aye votes out of
8 people.

Jeff, those assertions on SqueezeThePulp are huge lies based on small truths. Anyone who wants facts can look, I have no secrets.

I have addressed this personal attack on my personal web site:

Anyone who willfully repeats lies like this about anyone on OP is at risk of being banned from the site. This is simply not appropriate or relevant to the discussion.

Mary, on "creative tension", I took the opposite meaning - that the tension creates a give-n-take that allows new ideas to arise and flourish.

David B. - as part of my campaign I spoke of combining the Fire Depts. I think a good argument can be made for doing this because, unlike the Police Dept., policy doesn't play a dominent role, it's a way to address the unusual needs of UNC and the continuing "suburban sprawl" much more cost effectively and it's a way to bring up our strength in key areas of our towns.

Joan--- Barbie was wrong about math. I'm glad Girl Scouts are teaching this! Sorry I mentioned the number thing. You're probably right. It wasn't smart of me to make a big deal out of something that's not relevant to my point--- that you don't diminish big concerns by correlating them to small numbers. Also, I failed to mention that LHF, Wexford, and perhaps Arcadia will feel the impact of growth out here too.

Jeff - when I've talked to you personally, you seem very reasonable. But so many of your posts seem to carry these nefarious insinuations questioning the motives of people, the board, etc. It seems so unecessary.

Ruby, I had heard this rumor too, so thanks for clarifying. I'd like to make a couple of points that I don't believe are (or intend to be) incrimating of you:
First, I think any house sold by Empowerment (or Self-Help for that matter) has some amount of subsidy in it, if for no other reason than by the very nature of where the organizations get at least part of their funding. Certainly the selling price is usually kept at least somewhat artificially low.
Second, I've long wanted Carrboro to start a soft-second loan program similar to Durham's, but to allocate it by some measure of wealth, as opposed to income, in order to ensure that the subsidy goes to the truly low-wealth, low-income folks and isn't taken advantage of by high education, relatively high wealth people who might otherwise qualify based on a low-income at that particular point in time.

Regarding the fire department question, here is a great response in an email I received from Sharon that I am duplicating here. Reflects my views but Sharon says it so well I decided to use her words: "I was thrilled to read about the proposal to merge the fire departments. This is an opportune time, since the fire chief position is vacant and so no one will need to be displaced. Between all of us we have children at Seawell, Smith and Chapel Hill High. With the new station just outside the Chapel Hill border, I would hope that it will be the first responder for emergencies at the schools, including the occasional bomb threats. Let's use the savings from the duplicate administrative costs to craft one fire department which services those closest and pass the savings on to the fire fighters. Maybe even make the towns affordable for the fire fighters.

No one would suggest two separate bus systems or two separate school systems. A merged fire department makes sense for all practical, training, employee retention and promotion opportunities, and then providing the best possible service to everyone. " Thanks for your comments, Sharon.

Oh, and there's actually more than 12 possible candidates as Mark C. pointed out - there's line 13 which could be filled with, I'm guessing, any qualified citizen.

I had a chance to relook at Dan's and Lydia's applications today and it sharpened my confusion on one of Joal's points last night. She said affordable housing was the number one issue before the Board, but Dan's experience (and proven output) in this area is first class. I didn't see anything in Lydia's impressive resume to justify Joal's selection based on her desire for a strong affordable housing advocate.

Talking about experience, I didn't realize Dan had participated in so many boards, task forces, etc. in Chapel Hill and Orange County. Looks like 8 govt. boards, 4-5 local groups, some policy initiatives and more than a dozen tasks forces of one type or another over the last 20 years. Many of these have to do with social justice, housing, etc. - the very things Joal selected as a differntiator.


Of course other applicants have been busy bees, notably James' and Cat's are full of Carrboro entanglements.

Personally I think Ruby answered the gossip with more information and more grace than most people would have.

If tonight's meeting goes anything like last night's, I fear that this situation will become embarrassing. I hope that Mayor Chilton (or any of the aldermen) will go into tonight's meeting and show some assertiveness and leadership by proposing a specific voting method. There are a number of single-ballot, preferential voting methods available that could make this a short and satisfactory evening.

How about something like a “truncated Borda count”? Each member of the Board writes down his or her three most preferred applicants in order of preference. In the counting of the ballots, a 1 is worth 3 points, a 2 is worth 2 points, and a 3 is worth 1 point. The applicant with the most points wins.

Some benefits of this method: (1) it's simple; (2) it will probably require only a single ballot; (3) it will be less likely than instant-runoff voting to result in a tie; and (4) we'll have a new alderman whom most or all of the other aldermen considered to be among the best applicants.

Challenges of this method: (1) assumes that each member of the Board can honestly and sincerely choose the three applicants whom he or she most prefers and rank-order them in order of preference; (2) requires the members of the Board to accept that the winner may not necessarily be the person with the most “number-one” votes.

In any case, I hope they'll make a decision tonight.

Instant run-off voting does not end in a tie.

Alena, excuse my ignorance, but who is Sharon? Sharon Cook?

Also WillR, Dan has tons of experience and is a fine candidate, but he's certainly not a perfect one; I think his application says he has lived in Carrboro for 8 months? Having lived in Carrboro since 1995 I find that somewhat troubling. Of course Lydia hasn't lived in Orange Cty long either. Also, I really haven't heard any answer on why Dan didn't run in the fall. I think I read a quote that it was for personal reasons, but that is true of all of us. Just for the record, the DTH asked me, but I'm not sure they ran the answer, which was that I was in the Central Night Law school law program and dropped out in September. Of course, Lydia couldn't have run in the fall, save for a residence shenanigan.

But the question before the board is: all things considered, who is the best fit for this opening that can also garner 4 votes? As Ruby says, no one to date is disputing that all 12 are qualified... I can't believe how many posts I've done today. I guess I'm a bit more invested in this than maybe I thought...

This thread is getting long and unweildy, so I've started a new one to discuss tonight's meeting:

BTW, this post has gotten nearly 200 comments in just 24 hours! This is surely a record for OP.

David, I'd say Carrboro has been blessed with many good but not perfect applicants... I'm sure that many municipalities would be envious...

I'm glad you're invested in this more than you's a pretty wild ride to put yourself out there...

You've read my bias towards those that ran...

But this is now and everyone that applied has tacitly acknowledged they have the time and commitment to do the job - even if they couldn't run in Nov.

Good luck folk, it'll be an interesting night.

OK, NOW there are 200 comments.



Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.