Coleman files in Carrboro

Dan Coleman kicks off this fall's campaign with yesterday's announcement that he will run for the seat he was appointed to in 2005 2006. Dan highlighted his experience in local issues and said Carolina North would be a major focus for him in the next term.

Getting an early head start, Carrboro Alderman Dan Coleman announced Monday that he plans to run for election to retain his seat during November's election.

Although he has been an alderman for 18 months, Coleman was appointed to the seat by other members of the board to replace Mark Chilton, an alderman who won the mayoral race in 2005, thus leaving a vacancy on the board. Although Coleman is well known for his activities in local government and politics, this will be the first time he actually has run for an elected office.

The first day for candidates to register with the Board of Elections is July 6. Three seats on the Board of Aldermen will be up for election; the one Coleman holds, the one Joal Hall Broun holds and the one occupied by Alex Zaffron.
- Coleman will seek to retain his Carrboro alderman's seat

I've heard personally from some candidates that are running, but I think this marked the first "official" announcement. Probably the most watched seat is that of Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy. Kevin has been out of town dealing with a family illness, so we will have to continue wait and see what he does.



Make that "appointed to in 2006." It seems longer to me too.

Oops, my bad. Duly noted.

Good luck, Dan!

I'm always amused by the word "file." I always think of someone slamming drawers and alphabetizing things. A good filer is gold.

I'll shut up now.

I am glad to see Dan testing the electoral waters. I my humble opinion the election this fall will validate the BOA's choice of Dan to fill the vacany left by the mayoral race. Best of luck with the campaign Alderman Coleman you will surely have my vote come November.

None of the news reports have really done justice to Dan's event. Senator Kinnaird described those present as representing "the best of what Carrboro is and what we want Carrboro to be... when you see the array of people here who are supporting Dan Coleman you'll know why he is the best candidate."

Among the 30 or so folks present here are some of those Ellie was referring to:
Esteemed former alderman Frances Shetley
Carrboro Planning Board chairman James Carnahan
Carrboro's Volunteer of the Year Jackie Helvey
Carrboro Film Festival coordinator Nic Beery
Disability Rights activist Ellen Perry
2005 alderman candidates Catherine DeVine and David Marshall
El Centro director Ben Balderas
People of Faith Against the Death Penalty director Stephen Dear
NCWARN Program Director & former Democracy South director Pete MacDowell
Village Project Chair Patrick McDonough
Carrboro Business Association chair Greg DeWitt
Friends of the Carrboro Library chair Nerys Levy

This turnout is even more impressive given that it was a Monday morning event with short notice.

Mark, isn't it funny how the reported numbers never mesh ;-)

Speaking before roughly 20 supporters who had gathered in the shade at the Carrboro Town Commons, Coleman said he would concentrate on planning for Carolina North, improving housing affordability and would work to bring a free-standing public library to the downtown. He also said he would make sure that as the town grows, neighborhood concerns are heard.

Today's online Carrboro Citizen

A representative from the D.C. National Park Police had 25,000 there, coincidentally the exact same number that they said showed up at the last 5 anti-war rallies.

Will is correct about the #s not meshing. The Herald reported "about 30" and the N&O reported "about two dozen." My own count of actually present folks is 35 (I could be forgetting one or two but I don't think so).

It was pretty humbling to get that showing of support as were Ellie's strong words of endorsement.

Mark, exactly my thoughts....

Mayor Foy as per this valentine from OrangeChat ;-)

Also, it appears Cam is going to go for it...

Wow, it reads like the N & O has made their endorsement before filing even opens!

This stuff is coming in kind of piece meal but:

Cam Hill is running for reelection:

Not sure why WCHL did it through the frame of his not running for Mayor since I don't know that anyone thought that was on the table for this year, but...

The Herald reported Saturday that Bill Strom will run for reelection to Council, but no link and you'd have to register to read it if there was!

And WCHL also has the story on Mayor Chilton seeking a much deserved second term:

I believe another Chapel Hill candidate will be making an announcement tomorrow, stay tuned!

Lydia Lavelle says she's running in Carrboro.

Trying to keep up with the local elections on our new Elections & Politics site.

Sally Greene has announced she'll run for reelection:

If Jim Ward (who is out of the country) runs for reelection too, as I think it is assumed he will, this election is probably going to be a snoozer in Chapel Hill.

So, Tom, no one else need apply?

Others can certainly apply Will, but it will be an uphill battle since incumbents rarely lose in Chapel Hill and I don't think anyone on Council has done anything to outrage any broad segment of the citizenry.

Looks like a busy noon-hour for the Board of Elections staff tomorrow. I know Mark and I are both planning on showing up close to noon and I hear that Cam, Sally, and Bill are as well.

Wanted to let you all know that my campaign blog is now up and running. The full announcement can be found on OrangeChat. [note: the link to the blog on OrangeChat is currently incorrect]

I'm hoping to have my first post of the campaign season tomorrow, perhaps commenting on tonight's discussion of the Alberta project.

What an odd story this is.

From the linked article, it's hard to see what would lead an officer to charge assault from what sounds like an accident. I guess we'll hear more in coming days.

Eric: "it's hard to see what would lead an officer to charge assault..." Not if she was on foot and not in a car.

I can only hope that we've all learned something from the Duke Lacrosse case about the dangers of rushing to judgment.

It is my understanding that the officer, summoned to the scene by Dan's 911 call, did not make any charge at the scene. The legal charge is a result of the woman in question going to the magistrate later to file a complaint against Dan. Dan Coleman is a rock solid member of our community and I am looking forward to this matter being resolved quickly in Dan's favor, as I am sure that it will.

From today's N&O:
'Coleman drove from several cars back in line and tried to cross, driving up to her hand before stopping. Kotecki backed away and asked him to park and walk the rest of the way, which was less than a half-mile, she said.

He started up again, so close that her hand was on the hood of his car, Kotecki said, then crossed through the meet's path.

"I'm not injured in any way, but did I feel like there was potential that he wasn't going to stop? Yes, I did," Kotecki said.'

The alleged victim is a software engineer who was volunteering at a high school track meet. She admits she was not injured in any way and it appears that Alderman Coleman's car was traveling at a very low rate of speed (maybe 1-2 mph?) when it approached her so closely that her hand was on the hood of his car.

It sounds to me like the police were correct in not wasting the court's time on what appears to be a simple parking lot dispute. However, the alleged victim is within her rights in asking a magistrate to file charges. I just hope that the courts resolve this quickly and, if this is as frivolous a use of the judicial system as it seems to me, that there is some way to discourage it from happening again.

"I just hope that the courts resolve this quickly and, if this is as frivolous a use of the judicial system as it seems to me, that there is some way to discourage it from happening again."

I dunno, George--driving a car at someone is a pretty aggressive thing to do...and certainly falls under the legal definition of "assault." We don't know what verbal exchanges took place before and during the incident. For all WE know--he told her to get out of the way or he'd run her over. I suggest we all withhold judgment until more comes out. Or did you mean that their should be some sort of police involvement when the Cross Country team is having a meet to prevent confrontations? THAT makes sense to me.


Ms. Kotecki admits she was not hit and Alderman Coleman says his car was not moving when she put her hand on it. I qualified my statements with "as it seems to me" and agree that that we need more facts. But I still believe that common sense and civility can generally be used to resolve such conflicts without resorting to tying up our court system

Melanie, I haven't heard any version in which Dan drove a car AT anyone. To me it sounds like a misunderstanding combined with a lack of patience on all sides, hardly a criminal act. But as you said, we all need to wait and see what really happened.

This would be pretty much be the perfect time for Dan to put that campaign blog to use and let the world hear his side of the story.

The fact that he could have just parked and walked to his destination instead of getting into this mess in the first place indicates, to me at least, that Mr. Coleman's behavior smacks of aggression.

From the N&O this morning (emphsis added in bold is mine):

Coleman said he told Kotecki he needed to pass, then proceeded when he thought there weren't any runners. "Rather than move out of the way, ... she climbed part way on to the hood of my car," Coleman wrote."

Sounds to me as if he drove his car at her--or she wouldn't have need to "move out of the way." And this is his version of the story, mind you. I'll change my phrasing to "Sounds to me as if he drove his car TOWARD her" if it will make everyone more comfortable. Regardless, the car was moving in her direction (by Mr. Coleman's own admission) and a car going two miles an hour can still give one a nasty bruise...

Entire article can be found here:

That should read "wouldn't have needed to move out of the way." I miss the preview function...

J. Nicholls, "The fact that he could have just parked and walked to his destination instead of getting into this mess in the first place indicates, to me at least, that Mr. Coleman's behavior smacks of aggression."

So are you saying that any citizen, acting in no official capacity, has the right to tell another citizen when they should walk, rather than drive? Alderman Coleman could possibly have defused the situation by parking his car and walking the last half mile with his son. But he was also within his right to drive to his destination on a public thoroughfare as long as he drove in a safe and responsible manner. I'm not sure that Ms. Kotecki has the right to consciously obstruct Mr. Coleman right to pass other than her rights as a pedestrian. I have no idea how to classify someone standing in the middle of a thoroughfare with no intention of moving to either side. However, my guess is that neither the police nor the courts would support the idea of citizens standing in the middle of Main Street or Franklin Street and stopping traffic just because they want to.

Again, this situation seems to be totally overblown IMHO.

Geez, George, cool it a little, will ya? I'm not saying Mr. Coleman's a serial killer, I'm only pointing out that he could have avoided this whole mess by walking to his destination, and THEN going back and expressing his opinion in a less challenging manner. I'm not trying to take sides here; I have no idea what transpired other than there was a "confrontation."

Also, George, I'm not talking about whether Mr. Coleman's constitutional right to pass on a public right-of-way was violated or not, I'm only saying the way he handled the situation doesn't seem to be done in a very positive community spirit. There. Now that's all I'll say on the subject. Promise.

I have no idea what the facts are around this case, so I won't comment on them.

What surprised me is that "assault with a deadly weapon" is only a misdemeanor. I would have guessed that it is a felony.

Again, no comment on whether the charge itself has merit, just a surprise that assault with a deadly weapon isn't a more serious charge on the books.

After reading the article the first thing that came to my mind was Mr. Coleman was bullying this citizen volunteer and when she didn't know who he was aka Alderman Coleman he took it a step further. It would appear that when he was given an alternative to park and walk his 6 year old to the field this further upset him.

I guess the question I have is what kind of example did he set for his child and other citizens? We all can use more exercise he should have parked and walked then contacted the cross country meet director to express concerns not call 911.

Maybe because I know Dan and don't know the other person, but she sounds like she was at least equally contributing to the escalation of this confrontation, especially by filing charges after the fact!

I can't imagine any of us taking lightly the suggestion that we walk an unplanned extra half mile with a six year-old in tow. In hindsight, it's always easier to see a better solution. Walking a little further vs. big nasty legal conflict sure looks like an obvious choice now, but put in the same spot, we would have all preferred to get to where we were headed. Ask yourself honestly if you might have done the same?

It could be seen as: When she found out who he was, aka Alderman Coleman, she took it a step further.

I vainly hope the follow-up gets front page news, but it most certainly won't. Most folks have already passed judgment.

Seems to me we have several folks bending over backwards here trying to defend Dan's actions. Let's just agree he should have handled it a bit differently if he wanted to stay out of the news and gossip wires. And leave it at that.

My daughter came home from that XC meet and told of some lunatic driver screaming at the woman blocking traffic for the runners. She went on to describe how this guy was out of control, almost running over the woman, going right into her. My daughter went on to add that if not for this woman, who she didn't know, it could have been her. We had no idea about the identity of the driver until the story was in the newspaper, but the guy sounded like a real winner, a nut case.

I do not know Ms. Kotecki, but I know my daughter, level-headed and not prone to drama, and Coleman will surely suffer from the vibrant description she can offer. I wonder what descriptions other runners might provide.

As a side note, it seems several comments about this on OP show an amazing bias, an inbred favoritism for Coleman. Almost anyone else behind the wheel would be hung up to dry by now.

There are two important things I would like to point out about this case that was not reported in the N&O:
1) the incident occurred at a CROSSWALK which is on a cross country running race course, and this event was approved by Carrboro Parks and Recreation. Ms. Kotecki was a volunteer assisting with this event. The judgment call that Ms. Kotecki was making, as to whether Mr. Coleman and the other motorists should drive through the crosswalk, involved the safety of high school students participating in an athletic event.

2) the police record will show FIVE witness reports were filed following the incident.

In regard to filing charges after the fact, it has been my experience that if a police officer doesn't see what happened, it's up to the individual to file charges with the magistrate. Therefore assault charges usually are filed after the fact, when you are informed that there's nothing the police can do (even with witnesses).

Actually, it feels me like there's a bias against Dan in some of these comments. I hope we can give BOTH parties the benefit of the doubt before we make this into some kind of big deal.

As someone who has dealt with brutal and ficticious personal attacks because of my political positions, I tend to think that certain complaints are not quite as big a deal as some people make them out to be. Is this one of them? I have no idea. But I doubt we would have even heard about this incident were an elected official not involved.

I was not there but a good friend was. He is an adult, and didn't know or recognize Mr. Coleman. In fact, I was told about the incident right afterward, before it was revealed that there was an Alderman involved.

I'll save the description of the diatribe, except to say that it supports the daughter of rick description above. Too much said about the verbal abuse would begin to sound tabloidy.

What I do want to add is that after Mr. Coleman pulled around the other cars that were waiting for clearance, Ms. Kotecki stepped out to prevent his driving through the lane. Mr. Coleman's car bumped Ms. Kotecki not once, but twice, as he was trying to get her to move. As the press has reported, it was not a hard bump. She wasn't hurt. It was as if he was trying to nudge her out of the way. But nudging with an automobile? Pretty scary.

As bad is the attitude displayed. Disrespect for a youth event. Resorting to verbal and physical abuse to make your point, even if it you are in the right, is wrong. Onlookers were taken aback by the vitriol.

Ruby, you may be right that this is receiving more scrutiny because Mr. Coleman is an elected official. Quite frankly, it should. I hope his position didn't prompt his lording attitude. But it sounds like a guy who just has anger management issues. Either way, it's inexcusable and his written explanation doesn't jive with what I was told at all, so I have to question his candor, as well.

Perhaps he will prevail later, but it is important to point out his account is at odds with several unbiased others who were there.

J. Wilder

"Dan Coleman is a rock solid member of our community and I am looking forward to this matter being resolved quickly in Dan's favor, as I am sure that it will."

The woman who was hit is a rock solid member of the community as well. She was volunteering her time for the safety of the kids. Will you still support this matter being resolved in Dan's favor if he is found guilty?

"Ms. Kotecki admits she was not hit and Alderman Coleman says his car was not moving when she put her hand on it."

Please post where she admitted that she wasn't hit. If she wasn't hit then there wouldn't be an assault. She was hit twice. Her hand didn't just go on the hood of the car, her body did.

I was knocked to the ground by a car while running in a high school cross country meet c. 1985 and had to pull out of the race. This happened to more than one teammate during the course of my cross country career. It's hard to lay out a good cross country course that doesn't cross a public thoroughfare somewhere along the route, unless you've quite a few open acres available for the purpose. Most schools don't.

George, I think you're being unreasonable to suggest that the volunteer was doing something wrong in holding up traffic so that the kids could cross safely.

This is a separate issue, unrelated to what Dan Coleman did or did not do. I don't know what he did or didn't do. But I do think that the volunteer was right to bar traffic for safety.

I wish Patrick O'Neil would read this thread, he could add some perspective.

Why didn't this story warrant a headline on OP? Biased? You decide...

I thought about it, Jeremy, but I couldn't figure out what to add besides what was in the paper. Nothing stopping y'all from putting in guest posts...

One other point that I don't see above... Everyone seems to be suggesting that Coleman's only two options were either to park and walk or to confront Kotecki.

But the story points out that there were already several cars waiting patiently for her to give them the signal that all runners had passed. Why not just wait his turn?

He drove around those cars to get to her. That, in and of itself, is at least a little bit aggressive.

Nah, I don't really care... I just like playing devil's advocate. :)

Fred, I agree *IF* the accusations are true and are related to one's ability to govern.

Hey Ruby, how many men's room busts in airports do we read about on the frontpage? There is a reason, fair or unfair, and it goes with being a public figure.



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