Indy Endorsements

The endorsees in Chapel Hill are Kevin Foy for Mayor, and Sally Greene, Cam Hill, Bill Strom, and Jim Ward for Town Council. In the endorsement the Indy states:

They are successfully steering Chapel Hill through this critical period of rapid growth, and intelligently steering the town's development: they've pushed for strong environmental, land use, and future zoning standards at Carolina North, established a temporary moratorium on building in the northwest study area, advocated for the Rogers Road neighborhood, supported downtown projects, and set strong affordable housing standards.

Foy, Greene, Hill, Strom, and Ward add the Indy to the list of endorsements they previously received from the Sierra Club, Hank Anderson Breakfast Club, and Friends of Affordable Housing.
The endorsees in Carrboro are Mark Chilton for Mayor, and Joal Broun, Dan Coleman, and Lydia Lavelle for Alderman.
Like the Chapel Hill candidates the quartet of Chilton, Broun, Coleman, and Lavelle also received the Sierra Club and Hank Anderson Breakfast Club endorsements.
For the School Board the endorsees are Jamezetta Bedford, Annetta Streater, Mia Burroughs, and Gary Wallach.
In Hillsborough the endorsees are Eric Hallman, Evelyn Lloyd, and Bryant Warren Jr.
Of the Hillsborough candidates the Indy stated:

Our endorsements focus on candidates we feel can shepherd the town through this challenging period.

I didn't quote any from Carrboro or the School Board because there were no good one liners. The Indy is on the newsstands and should be available online later this afternoon.
Update: The endorsements are now up on the web: Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, School Board.



Thank you for posting this, Tom! No big surprises here, I think.

Interesting that incumbent Brian Lowen was not endorsed for Hillsborough Town Board.

Nor incumbent Mike Kelley for the school board

They explained their thinking on this, as well as why they didn't endorse Will this year. Also of interest is the ''disclaimer'' on the Chapel Hill page.

I understood from the beginning that I wasn't going to get endorsements - too many fingers in too many pies for that to happen.

I expected the Indy to disapprove of my style - echoing the party line from the Strom camp - it works as a great tactic by folks to squelch dissent.

But I never, ever thought they would say I called for environmentally inappropriate development on Booker Creek!

Ward and Strom are part of the leadership that created the Booker Creek/Eastgate mess.

The current Council created the Stormwater Utilitiy, in part, to cleanup that continuing reverberation from earlier poor storm water policy - policy that damaged Booker Creek.

Strom and company have approved projects at Eastgate.

The new economic development officer and others have suggested redeveloping in this area.

I agreed that we've let this area diminish as an economic resource and suggested redevelopment that would heighten our environmental protections for Booker Creek. That the next round we could do a much better job than the earlier stewards - like the current incumbents - did.

So, Indy, you don't like my style. I get that. You don't like my criticism of the Lot #5 moneypit - understandable since agreeing with me would damage those close to home that led that project.

I'm sure there's a ton of other things I actually called for, actually fought for, actually got but saying that I sought to damage Booker Creek is just a load of hooey.

That confused me too, Will but I seem to that way a lot these days. Like everything was A-OK with our percent for art management, yet we changed the structure the other night.

BTW, there's still a chance for the DTH and the CHN to break the incumbent stranglehold on the endorsements. I've gotten to know Penny and Matt fairly well during the campaign - they both deserve an honest review of their potential - and the possibility they'll bring a welcomed, and complimentary, change in perspective to our Council.


Don't take it personally. At a Democratic Party fundraiser in late 2005, I met a writer for the Indy, and specifically asked him about their endorsement process. His comment to me was that they just sit around a table and decide who they think is best, THEN look at the answers to the questions they've sent out for editorial content.

Thus the reason I opted out of the Indy endorsement this season. It was time consuming and in the end would me no good.

Fred, one charge you can level at me is consistency. I haven't modified my message or my actions to suit a particular political outcome.

The arts reform I found interesting as I was chastised for touching that 3rd rail of local politics. You would think, on the face of it, that a Town that has spent so much on purchasing art yet lets its one hands-on arts program flounder is out-of-balance.

No, no, no - went the party line.

We're doing just fine - no reform needed (at least those suggested by folks like myself).

Too much out-of-Town consumption, no support for local production (isn't that what we're championing on the economic sustainability front?). Now that the door is open, I hope they let Butch push forward with an arts initiative - that would be a real win for the community.

Katrina, I don't take it personally - I knew how the "game" (as some of my opponents see it) was to be played this year.

Booker Creek, though, is quite an artificial choice and has the feel of someone casting about for some lame issue to justify their criticism.

I feel sad for the Indy, as they could've picked on a number of other issues - like my bleating on about the Lincoln Arts Center - to dun me with. As a close observer of the local scene, got to say I'm somewhat disappointed by the lack of substantive debate on some real key issues this year.

Hey Katrina, since you piped up, how's Sugarland going? Now that the incumbents are finally taking commercial expansion seriously, are you feeling the love yet? Can't wait to add you to our commercial tax rolls.

Well, I can't speak on a macro level, but after almost 5 weeks we finally got a building permit. ( for reference sake the residential project McCorkle Place took 5 days)

I will say that once we made Roger Stancil and Dwight Bassett aware of the problem with the advocacy of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Partnership, and UNC, we had the situation solved in 2 weeks.

We are now looking at an early December opening.

Thanks for the concern.

The Indy ditches Mike Kelley, a candidate they endorsed last time, saying: "While his advocacy for gifted children is admirable, as their needs shouldn't be overlooked, when voting, he hasn't always kept all children in mind."

Wow. I'm not sure I've ever seen a more skewed depiction of somebody's record.

Eric, I thought the last line was even more questionable!

His rigorous job as a physician scientist at Durham's veterans' hospital also has prevented him from attending many forums and activities beyond his basic board duties.

Well, we now have another data point on who is and who isn't qualified to serve in elective office. This is right up there with the Cam Hill 2003 prouncement that Dianne Bachman shouldn't be elected to the Town Council because she works for UNC!

Fred, you're right.

In fact, one could say even more.

The man's wife and daughter were run over by a car while he was serving on the Board! Both were quite seriously injured. Many people would have resigned in such an unthinkably horrible situation, but Mike honored his commitment to the Board and the people of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

To turn around and criticize him for not having attended unspecified additional forums and activities is just cold. Really cold.

I haven't seen these endorsements yet, but I noticed that the Raleigh ones a few weeks ago were written in such a way that you really didn't know why the Indy was endorsing that particular candidate-- it was all in generalities. What was said above about the Indy choosing the candidates first and then coming up with reasons for the endorsement after the fact makes sense.

Strange season this year. I've been catching up on Mike's history - saw what he had to say at the LoWV forum. From what I can tell, his concern for the kids was front and center. Of course, anything I say on the endorsements is open to criticism....

On that front, in 2005 I was interviewed by Joe Capowski who, whatever he thought of my candidacy, was thorough and informed. Having seen the Sierra Club leaderships cliquishness, I didn't know if I'd get a fair shake. His performance help remove some of the trepidation I felt about the process.

In today's DTH, Bernadette Pelissier is quoted as saying ""(The voters) may not know about all the local issues, but they know that we do our homework," Pelissier said."

Maybe the voters have faith the Sierra Club does its homework but based on my interview their faith should be shaken.

One example - Rogers Road. When I asked why I wasn't asked about Rogers Road, considering it's an environmental justice issue, I was told that it wasn't a Chapel Hill issue! I pointed out the Council would have a direct responsibility for approving the SUP - which got me a shrug.

Pretty big mistake for the selection committee to make.

Like I said before, I knew I had zip chance on the Indy and Sierra Club endorsements though, even knowing that, I gave each my full attention. My expectation was that the folks who interviewed me would be aware of the relevant issues and might even know where I differed from the incumbents. Oh well.

Whatever happens this year, I plan to post a series of articles on my 2005 and 2007 runs in the hope to stir some discussion on how we go about electing our local leadership and what we could do to improve upon that process.

I'll be ignoring the Indy's advice to dump Mike Kelley, but I appreciate the service their endorsements provide. I don't have room in my life to stay thoroughly abreast of town issues, especially things like the school board, which has little bearing on my day-to-day existence. Nevertheless, I intend to exercise my right to vote for the school board, and the Indy has provided a valuable service by scrutinizing the candidates.

If the Indy's editorial judgment were called into question, as some here have done, I would feel somewhat adrift - I'm not aware of any other non-advocacy-group organizations that make endorsements in local races.

I wish someone would publish a guide to local races that didn't so much make vaguely-worded endorsements as give an expert assessment of the candidates' history and performance - "so-and-so voted 70% of the time to delay or reject new development," or "so-and-so's background would fill this particular gap in the board's expertise," or "so-and-so missed 45% of the meetings and did not appear to have a thorough understanding of the board's agenda." That way I could apply my own priorities in my voting choices without being dependent on a candidate's own publicity for my information.

No doubt the Indy's process could be improved, and I think it probably will once the editor has lived here longer. I do miss Kirk Ross' presence there, but of course he has chosen to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond (more power to him).

However, while It's one thing to disagree with the selection of endorsees - we've all done that before - I don't feel that is a legitimate basis for criticizing the entire organization or publication, as many have done regarding the Sierra Club/NAACP/Indy/etc. endorsements this year.

In addition to Eric's comments that critiquing Mike's attendance at forum's etc by the Indy is incredibly insenstive, I would challenge them to document it. I am nearly certain that the statement is incorrect. I served on the high school redistricting committee on which Mike was one of two board reps and he was every meeting and forum.
I would also echo comments above that Mike is the only board member who consistently responds to e-mails sent to "All Board Members" on the district website.

This is not the first time the Indy has published incorrect ancedotal comments in their endorsement without bothering to do their homework. Given their influence in the community this is particulary disappointing.

Ruby, I am not calling for the Indy to retract all of its endorsements, nor condemning the Indy as a whole.

What I am saying -- and I think the facts support it -- is that the Indy handled its school board endorsements irresponsibly, and that it should either apologize to Mike or admit that it didn't do its homework on the school board candidates and retract all of its school board endorsements.

To turn around and criticize him for not having attended unspecified additional forums and activities is just cold. Really cold.

I agree. It would be nice if the whole topic could be kept personal/private and not even be part of the public discussion. But that is kinda hard to do with that not-well-thought-out criticism.

However, while It's one thing to disagree with the selection of endorsees - we've all done that before - I don't feel that is a legitimate basis for criticizing the entire organization or publication, as many have done regarding the Sierra Club/NAACP/Indy/etc. endorsements this year.

Most of the discussion that I have seen involves legitimate concerns about how the endorsement processes are run. It is in the public interest to discuss the quality and possible shortcomings of these endorsements that far too many non-pundits blindly follow. There is no transparency in many of these processes, so it is hard for many to have confidence as to whether endorsements are for "who you know" vs. "whether you are likely to estrange us since you are likely to win" vs. "what you stand for", etc.

Ruby, when an organization or publication decides to endorse electoral candidates, one of their points of consideration must be how doing so will reflect on their brand. They understand that what gives their judgments credibility is their very brand. Therefore, there is a legitimate basis for criticizing the entire organization or publication when they use that brand to legitimize decisions they have made without telling anyone how they reached their decisions, who made the decisions, and who did the research that got them there.

Endorsements are what they are, and people only pay positive attention because of the trust they have for the brand that made the endorsement. Of course the negative is a factor too.

What I do want to know about school board candidates is who amongst them is more concerned about the poor kids, the children of color, etc, more so than about programs for gifted children. Is there anyone who seems at least equally concerned?

Because I am not nearly as polite as Jeff Danner, I will point out that the Indy seriously misrepresented Jeff when he ran in 2005. Had they understood where he was coming from, they still might not have endorsed him, but their misinformation was a disservice to voters.

Also, although I was not a Gloria Faley supporter four years ago, I thought the Indy's reasons for choosing not to endorse her were completely off base.

I completely agree that the process is flawed. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. The Indy really failed to do its homework or provide any useful education to voters.

My educated guess is that Mike Kelly and Will Raymond both knocked themselves out on the Indy questionnaire. It's a tough exam, considered worth taking by candidates who appreciate the value of an Indy endorsement. Most (all?) other influential papers and organizations take the time to interview the candidates in person. I think the Indy should also. They can't assess leadership qualities purely on the basis of written submissions.

Accordingly, the Indy endorsements should not serve as a cheat sheet for voters who haven't done their own homework.

It sounds like it is a tough exam that isn't read before the teacher assigns a grade.

For what it is worth-six years ago the only endorsements I got for re-election to the BOA were the Hank Anderson Club and the DTH.The Indy,Sierra Club and CH News all endorsed John Herra instead of me.I came in first that election!
Jacquie Gist

That is what it sounds like, Chris. The Indy questionnaire is an empty exercise.

"It sounds like it is a tough exam that isn't read before the teacher assigns a grade."

I'd say its a tough exam used to justify the teachers already assigned grade--regardless of performance on the exam.

The best solution to this is for candidates to stop participating in the questionnaires or the interviews so that the voters have to do their own homework. Of course, I don't expect that will ever happen any more than I expect Jim Ward's excellent example of not taking campaign contributions will become the norm.

Cat, I think I did a fairly good job on the Indy questionnaire (I've had to do two now) and will be publishing a bit to give folks a clear understanding of what I said.

I was concerned about the Indy's process, for obvious reasons, and asked for a clarification early on - the Indy decided not to reveal to me their process or what protections they would take.

I agree, with Richard and Kirk out we lost some institutional memory and, as I said, there's plenty to critique me on.

If the Indy wants to ding me for trying to wrangle some reality into the Lot #5 debate or doesn't like my style of advocacy on behalf of hands-on arts, bridging the digital divide, economic development, simple Downtown revitalization strategies, a new budget process, open governance or any of a number of issues I've brought before Council - then have at it.

I don't particularly like their use of "strident" over that of "passionate" but their job here was to shape opinion - to endorse the folks close to home over those that are challenging them - and the use of emotionally charge rhetoric does that.

But claiming I'm wanted to damage Booker Creek further is an inversion of my historical stance - and cannot be extrapolated from what I wrote in the questionnaire. Worse, it flies in the face of the incumbents own culpability in that matter!

A little homework would've easily shown my concern for all our Town's watercourses. My call for additional protections would be more than evident - and was part of my previous platform and questionnaire. Heck, the Sierra Club even mentioned it in their endorsement 2 years ago as one of my strengths!

Will Raymond has been one of the most outspoken and effective citizen activists in Chapel Hill in recent years. We look forward to him using his talents to advocate for the environment as a member of Town Council. In particular we are excited about his initiatives to promote energy efficiency in town buildings. He will also work to protect lesser known creeks in the Chapel Hill area and to minimize the number of single occupancy vehicles causing air pollution and traffic congestion at Carolina North.

Funny thing, I've done everything the Sierra Club said I'd do - the problem was it didn't always line up with what Council wanted.

Unfortunately, I wanted measurable energy efficiency requirements on Lot #5, Bill, Cam, Sally didn't. I wanted AIA2030 to be a guiding principle - the Council didn't. I wanted the HWCC sub-committee on environment to carry on with their work to build a framework for discussion of measurable environmental standards - covering air, noise, light and other environmental impacts, both on and off-site of Carolina North - the Council didn't. I wanted targeted fuel reductions, emphasis on energy saving strategies, Chapel Hill to commit to being the first customer for landfill gas and bio-fuels production by the County. The Council didn't. Heck, even my suggestion to replant some of the trees were removing from Lot #5 - trees that help scrub Downtown's air - somewhere nearby was rejected.

Again, you can tar my critique of the Council's environmental missteps, as we've seen the far Right do, as strident dissent - it makes good political strategy to marginalize those that hold a mirror up to your actions. And with a big booming voice, huge body and gregarious style I can almost imagine that mis-reading (especially if you're not looking to understand what I said or care to interpret beyond the most surface of reads how I said it).

But to claim I haven't been calling for specific improvements on the environment is wrong - and that's why I'm disappointed in the Indy.

All the candidate questionnaires are available here:

I spoke to Jennifer Strom at the Indy today who seemed unable to believe me when I told her, several times, that I wasn't unhappy with the paper's politics; I was unhappy with their poor research.

I find it particularly egregious that the Indy dinged Mike for working too hard--if they really didn't know about his family situation, they were poorly informed. If they did know, they were factually incorrect and callous.

Jacquie - Did they only endorse John Herrera for three seats in 2001? My recollection is that the odd man out 6 years ago was Alan Spalt and that John Herrera got endorsed ahead of Alan and Alan lost.

Regardless, perhaps the Indy should try to sponsor some sort of public candidates forums that at least ensure Indy staff meet the candidates. It's tough as there are so many local races they are trying to cover. But given the influence of their endorsements perhaps they should do better to get their facts right or not endorse in some races.


Your recollecion is correct. Allen Spalt lost to John Herrera largely on account of the Indy's enthusiastic endorsement of John that year. Allen received also-ran favorable mention in the same paragraph with Jacquie. Go figure.

PS: The Indy was very kind to Dan Coleman.

That year they did not endorse either me or Alan.They said "there was no reason not to vote for"me!
Interesting aside-that year Edith Wiggins did not get any of the Big Three endorsements either and came in first in CH.After the election we decided that the next time we would run on the F U ticket!
Jacquie Gist

Given Jacquie's points above, you have to wonder whether the Indy endorsements are influential, or merely predictive.

Yo Mark, you're the one who got his picture on the cover last time ..! I'd call that influential AND predictive.

I concur regarding the Indy not doing their homework on candidates, particularly insofar as Jeff Danner was concerned in his run for school board back in '05. As a current resident of Chapel Hill, and a former resident of Durham, I have been disappointed to see the Indy do this in both jurisdictions.

Jacquie, thanks for the encouraging examples. As I said, wasn't surprised by the outcome - very surprised on Booker Creek. Here's my last word on the Indy deal: Election 2007: IndyWeek Endorsement,Booker Creek and the Incumbents.

BTW, thought you'd get a kick out of this Jacquie.

Sally, Bill, Cam, Jim, Matt, Penny and myself met with Pat Evan's Friends of Downtown this morning. The incumbents went first - ending with Jim about 50 minutes in. As soon as Jim began to wrap and the challengers got ready to speak, the Chapel Hill News reporter leapt up and bolted for the door.

What a metaphor for this year's election!

Okay, that helped. But how many people are really choosing whether to support Mike Kelley based on two sentences on page 12 (or whatever) in the Independent? Some, no doubt. But hopefully not that many.

Although now that I think of it, that was essentially Gloria Faley lost last time, so who knows? But I highly doubt that Mike's seat will be seriously in jeopardy. I'm expecting he will come in 2nd of five in that race. Just my guess.

"how many people are really choosing whether to support Mike Kelley based on two sentences on page 12 "

To answer your question just as written, I would have to say "none", because anyone who reads that far into the recent issue is: a) involved enough to know that the Indy assessment of him is garbage; b) follows politics enough that they will continue to become informed and eventually learn that the Indy assessment is garbage; or c) don't intend to vote for Kelley anyway.

However, the real issue is not the reasoning behind the endorsement on page 21, but the simple fact of the endorsement itself. The Indy offers a handy "clip-out voting guide" on page 21. The guide is just a list of names of the endorsees with no additional info. That is the real "finished product" of the endorsement process.

Another issue is that the School Board race is considered by many to be "down ticket" from your race and the town council races. To some degree, as a mayoral candidate, you are sort of running for "President", while the School Board could be regarded (depending upon the interest level of a voter) as a US House race or even a state House race.

Many people with solid ideas about mayoral or town council races have not followed the CHCCS race so they need guidance. In an even year election, people can use partisanship for guidance in "down ticket" races and simply vote "D" or "R" (or maybe "L" or "G") depending on their favorite brand. In non-partisan races, they can't. An endorsement is the next best shortcut.

I would love to see a tabulation of endorsements in the letters-to-the-editors of all local papers to check any correlations with eventual election. I don't really think any particular spate of "we know him/her and he/she is just great" letters can get a non-incumbent elected without other factors coming into play. But I do think -- without any solid research other than instinct -- that people are more likely to be aware of the letters than they are of interest-group endorsements. Next question: do more or fewer people read the letters than read the editorial endorsements?

For what it's worth...I don't read those endorsement letters to the editor. I know what they will say. (Has anyone ever read one of those letters-to-the-editor where the candidate DIDN'T walk on water?) I DO read policy statements/answers to questions/forums. Talk to people who know/have worked with the candidates personally. Watch how the candidates comport themselves in public/on forums. And then I make up my mind.

Hey Priscilla,

I don't know whether it's meaningful or not but here's a letter tabulation (I could have missed some) for Chapel Hill and Carrboro:

Strom 35
Greene 17
Hill 15
Rich 8
Ward 7
Raymond 1
Czajkowski 1

Coleman 21
Lavelle 6
Broun 6
Cook 6
Ryan 1
Abernathy 0

Letters are a good barometer of support but it's more important to have people out going door to door and otherwise spreading the word to voters on a one on one basis.

Tom, letters may be a good barometer of support, but how many are independent of the campaign teams versus generated by the teams?

Also, some have appeared in multiple papers - does that increase their impact?


I only counted letters once even if they appeared in multiple papers.

I think almost all letters are generated by campaign teams, but that having a campaign team big enough or organized enough to generate a large number of letters is a strong show of support in and of itself.

Here's the rundown of letters from 2003 that someone did for OP:

The candidates with no letters finished last and second to last, while the three candidates with the most took the top three spots. But in the middle there was not much correlation to letter quantity and performance. For instance even though Thatcher Freund had a few more letters than Jim Ward, Jim Ward far outpaced him.



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.