Round two!

Here's a new thread for contintuing discussion of the Carrboro Board of Aldermen's attempt to make themselves whole. The meeting begins at 7pm tonight at Carrboro Town Hall, and I understand it will also be on cable.

Last night's deliberation
Candidate interviews
Candidate discussion
Actual applications (PDF)

Here's Carrboro's chance to show they know how to compromise...



Just a random question:

Is it legal to simultaneously run for two positions in Orange County, or even within one municipality? For example, if Jacquie had opted to run for mayor, could she have also decided to run concurrently for reelection to the BOA? It seems like the answer to this question might have some "is that fair?" relevence to whether those serving but not up for election ought to resign to run. If terms are staggered, it seems like there's not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution for what to do about vacancies which are anticipated ahead of time.

I think we'd lose some good candidates if people had to resign to run.

This would be a problem especially at the local level. For example, it just doesn't seem right that an incumbent Alderman would have to resign to run against an incumbent mayor. And you'd still have the problem of the BOA having an even number of people and possibly deadlocking, for even longer--in this case, from July (isn't that the filing deadline?) to November.

If someone was allowed to run for both Mayor and BoA they could potentially win both races.

I think I learned in civics class long ago that we live in a Republic. A true democracy doesn't have elected officials, everything is decided by a vote of the population. That's generally been found to be cumbersome, so we elect representatives to make decisions. And sometimes those decisions include appointing officials to elected positions until the next election. And sometimes that process is messy.

Robin, feel free to use my first name if you like.

There used to be a "resign to run" statute in North Carolina in the late 80's or early 90's, but the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional because (they decided) that the list of qualifications for running for office is spelled out completely in the NC Constitution. Any law that purports to change the qualifications for running for office is therefore unconstitutional. The General Assembly could, of course, put a referendum on the ballot to amend the NC Constitution to require "Resign to Run."

Maybe you're right David-- I don't know the aldermen as well as you do. (Sometimes I forget that I'm not the only resilient person around-- a tad egocentric of me...)

Mark, I agree with you. Let's change the Carrboro bylaws.

Okay, David - substitute "truly democratic fashion" for "true democracy".

You seem to be a model citizen of the Republic.

As a former journalist covering city politics elsewhere, I would be the first to state that Dan's knowledge and experience is probably second to none.

However, I am uncomfortable, as other posters at this site have expressed, with the "clubby" appearance of his appointment.

Twenty years is a long time to cover government and then suddenly get the urge to hold office. There are many elections into which Dan could have thrown his hat, except that he only became interested when a seat opened which didn't require putting himself before the voters.

One has to wonder whether the choreography of last night's actions was hatched even before November's election. The voters certainly were entitled to fill the open seat that would have inevitably resulted whether Mark OR Alex was elected

Elliot Baron

Hey y'all-

I'm on live blogging duty for tonight. It's ten to seven and the only people here are me and one reporter.

Joal Broun and Randee Haven-O'Donnell just came in together. They're the first Aldermen.

Jacquie's here now.

Alderman Herrera's here now, and just after him Alderman Zaffron. Now we''re just missing the Mayor.

And one of the people of the hour, Dan Coleman, is in the house.

Is R2D2 (camera) there?

R2D2 is here and just as loud as last night. I think Carrboro needs to figure out how to be quiet like Chapel Hill!

Mayor Chilton just walked in the door.

And the Mayor just called the meeting to order. This is the only item on the agenda. Mayor Chilton says he's received a lot of phone calls and e-mails today. He says the commentators on the web think that the process is somehow embarrassingly disorganized, but also that people think the outcome is predetermined. These are kind of at odds.

He says he's sorry it's not as organized as it could be but that the process should be as inclusive as possible.

He wants to know how people would like to proceed. Alderman Zaffron says people should reflect on their thoughts over the last 24 hours.

Randee says the last 24 hours have been 'difficult at best.' She wants to thank everyone who took the time and consideration to e-mail and call her today. She didn't have time to call or e-mail anyone back. (I'll forgive her under the circumstances.)

She's consoled by the fact that people understand her ballot reflected support of Lydia Lavelle. It does not reflect a rejection of Dan Coleman. She says he's a superior applicant and a friend. She says under any other circumstances she would vote for him without hesitation. She says they're deeply aligned in their values and political positions.

But she ain't changing her mind.

Jacquie's up now. She says she has a method for making decisions based on her knowledge and years of experience in Carrboro. She wants to move the community forward. She says we're in a hot spot right now, but that hot spot issues come up all the time. You can't make decisions just based on a hot spot issue (i.e. appointing an NTA resident just to appease them.)

She wants someone who can hit the ground running with the decisions that need to be made. A lot of important things are coming up in the next six months. She needs someone who's been here and experienced the history of these issues. If this was a campaign she would probably be supporting Dan and Lydia.

She supported Randee because she had been involved in the decisionmaking process for a long time. Lydia can learn and learn quickly, but Dan knows the nuances and all the different sides of the issues. She's going to stick with him and hopes others do too.

Joal wants to thank the people who called her and left her voice mails. She was busy going to work and picking up her children.

From the minute she walked into her house and went to sleep and woke up this morning she's been thinking about this issue and what the right thing to do would be. She still believes that everyone who applied would have the ability to hit the ground running. She believes that everyone possesses skills and learns differently. She thinks the skill set and experience of someone who led a statewide association for a year provides the Board with a new perspective. She says Lydia has participated in government. She says she likes and respects Dan Coleman but she's not changing her mind.

So far the BOA seems more relaxed.

The Mayor says he received a lot of e-mail about the topic today from various people in the area, and called a bunch of folks in the annexation area. He wanted to know how they're viewing this situation. Some of them had 'remarkably pointed comments to make.' But what he heard from folks was that neither Dan nor Lydia were people the annexation area felt would be good representatives. Those folks like Alena Callimanis and Katrina Ryan and some other names. They felt on some level that Lydia Lavelle was not somebody who in their minds promised to be a representative to them. From their perspective they saw little difference between Dan and Lydia- they're both a 'pair of liberal Democrats.' (Although Dan's not a Democrat anymore :))

Tom - thanks for the posts. Those w/o cable are SOL otherwise. What is everyone wearing? :)

Jacquie is wearing a pinkish shirt.

ahh - she's taking the Katrina Ryan fashion example. What does it mean... :)

From what he understands the argument is that we should appoint someone from the annexation area because the neighborhood deserves some representation, and that those folks feel disenfranchised from the BOA. People are saying we should choose Lydia Lavelle because she is reasonably qualified and politically compatible with this Board- and conceivably can build bridges with the annexation areas.

He agrees that she would be politically compatible but disagrees that she would be well suited to mend fences with the folks in the NTA. He doesn't say that to put down any of her skills, but the sense he gets is that people in the NTA wouldn't be happy with her either.

He doesn't disagree that there could be some real value in appointing someone from the annexation area. His question is if that's important, why not appoint Katrina?

I had an opportunity to speak with two folk today from the annexation area that both said the only person they knew to support their area was Katrina.

They received a petition to name Katrina, as well as her voting record. If NTA is the criteria rather than qualifications, knowledge, and experience then shouldn't we appoint Katrina? Otherwise Dan is the choice.

So Mark wants to know how we get to Lydia rather than Alena or Stephen or Katrina?

Mark - if you're appointing folks based on (my words) "olive branch" philosophy "how do we arrive at Lydia Lavelle?"

Katrina had a petition with 100's of names, she had 100's of votes, she has name recognition - why not select KR if you're using that logic....good point...

Mark is looking at Randee generally, glancing at Joal during his rundown on their logic...

Mark read on the internet that about 800-850 people live in the annexation area and none of them are on this Board. They weren't allowed to vote in the last election.

But he says 800 people live at Abbey Court too. 800 people live at Arbor Meadows. 800 people live in a lot of areas of Carrboro. He values the opinions of people who live in those areas as well as the annexation area. We don't have to pick someone from Abbey Court just because there's no one from Abbey Court on this Board. He doesn't find residency, where someone lives, to be all that compelling. He says this is a decision between two liberal Democrats who happen to live in two different suburban neighborhoods. He's not going to sit here and say one of those neighborhoods is more important than the other one.

Well - duh Mark - Katrina alienated the board by repeatedly insulting them. So - shocker - only Alex voted for her.

He wants to come to a resolution on whether we're making a decision based on geography or not. He says no. He sees the arguments on the other sides, and maybe he can be persuaded, but if he's persuaded to vote on geography then he thinks Katrina has to be the choice.

how is one neighborhood anymore important than another...what about the neighborhoods where folk can't or won't come because of language issues or their working when we're meeting...

I don't get how we can put one neighborhood over the other...

"I do get that people in the annexation neighborhood are upset"

If we use geography as the deciding factor - why aren't we selecting the person that stood up and ran, that had 100's of supporters, etc.

I think Mark makes excellent points about:

1. Whether Lydia represents anexees any more than Dan does. They are both liberal Dems, living in suburban neighborhoods, relatively new to Carrboro.

2. Whether the ~800 residents of the annexation area deserve to be heard more than the same number of people who live at Abbey Court (a.k.a. Old Well when I was in college).

John says he's catching a cold and he has a sick kid at home. He was helping a family that is at risk of deportation today. He prayed last night and today about this process, and he doesn't know if it's the chold or what, but he's running out of patience. He says it's a very serious matter that is taking time away from their families. The taxpayers of Carrboro are paying for everything related to this meeting being held. He was hopeful that the Board would really see some leadership in terms of building consensus and One Carrboro. He's disappointed in his friends and colleagues because he feels like they're playing petty politics. The people of Carrboro expected a decision to be made last night. He wants to compare the candidates on their records and appoint the most qualified person. Carrboro residents don't want to watch the Aldermen fighting. There are more important things toward building community. We need to help Bolin Creek, we need to build unity...

John H. - disappointed in my colleagues - that we're playing politics - "we have a chance to build One Carrboro" - yeah, I know it's good to build consensus - let's compare records and hire the most qualified person...

well, the Abbey Court residents did have the option to run for office, of course. And if the annexees are concerned that they didn't get a voice, then Lydia is one. They're changing their argument to say it has to be Katrina. That's not saying they want a voice, that's saying they want Katrina. It's not the same thing.

John H. - tired of being on a Board that practices personal politics - we need to get on with it for the [sake] of the citizens - Alex you said during the campaign you would mentor and lead - let's get on with it -

He's disappointed with the lack of leadership. He believes in miracles, and miracles happen. he says we should be working on the budget, public safety issues, are we going to extend this process forever? He's sick of personal politics. He wants to get beyond it. We're grown ups. On this Board, two folks ran for Mayor, one won, one last. He wishes that people would show some strong leadership. He's calling out Alex Zaffron in particular. He feels like this is the Republicans and the Democrats in DC. This is a small town and we can get everything done if we have a team together to make it happen. John points out that the Mayor and senior member of the Board (in experience, not years, Jacquie points out :)) are on the same page. He says he frequently disagrees with Jacquie, but they agree here and others need to come on board.

John says he will continue to support the most qualified person, which is Dan Coleman. Now Alex is up.

Well, John, you're on the board - lead. Alex is the only one who has even budged so far.

David, Mark is making the argument that if you're going to let geography be the dominant reason for picking someone over Dan than let it be the person with the greatest demonstrable support in the NTA - Katrina. Wouldn't you select Katrina based on the "geography" argument?

It'd be interesting if the rest of the BOA picks up on John H.'s suggestion that you line up the respective service of each applicant, look at their skills and then hire the best person (I'm assuming based on an objective analysis of the folks service background and dedication - ;-) ).

Alex is disappointed that John H. has personalized the process...

He's talking about his principles and criteria that he used to select KR yesterday - he points out that Lydia is a good compromise based on those same principles and criteria....

Alex says he's heard a lot of interesting arguments and discussion today. He's heard from folks in the annexation area today too. He says some of the responses he received were similar to the ones Mark heard today. Others were different. Some of those people supported the position of appointing Lydia Lavelle.

Alex says he's flabbergasted by John's comments. He says to so intensely personalize a decision making process based on clear, cogent, and articulated criteria that he laid out is ludicrous. He thinks it's curious to be lectured about flexibility by other people who have not been willing to change their minds, when he's the only one who actually has changed his mind during this process. He remains convinced that of the candidates before us Lydia best fills the role of providing that voice which is outside of the clubhouse. Alex says he doesn't have much patience for symbolism. In this case there's a set of circumstances that has been created by the actions of this Board that has caused people to feel a certain way.

Alex says he's worked with Dan for many years, but will not support him this time. He says Lydia has extensive experience in city government as a Board member and on the staff level, and that this expertise is cogent to the discussion. He says for 12 years there has been a gay/lesbian presence on the Board that is important to many members of the community. For these reasons he continues to support Lydia.

The only peron taking notes and intently listening, nodding, etc. to each of the folks comments is Randee...

She's written about 2/3 pages of notes...

Joal is staring blankly at the desk (she's probably bushed)...

Jacquie raising her hand now...

What a shame that the simple democratic solution of holding an election could not have happened and prevented all this mess.

Let me clarify - they're all listening to some degree - it's Randee that's filled a page of notes on the others comments...



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