my "endorsements"

My endorsements for 2009:

First, a bit of background:  I did not support Barack Obama in the Democratic primary last year, because I didn't think he had the strength to bring real change to our country.  Many would agree I've been proven right about that.  I also think that change is needed in our local politics this year.  If you like exactly how things are today, stop reading now.  I've moved into Chapel Hill 4 times in my life, lving here almost all of the last 32 years, so I can certainly say there's a lot I like about this town.  But there are also some disturbing trends I think we need to change.  Amongst them:
  1) Taxes are too high
  2) Lack of commercial diversity in town forces consumers to drive out of town for most shopping (huge environmental issue in my mind), including the issue of decreasing downtown vitality.
  3) Schools that are not educating every child.

The ability and willingness to bring change in these areas is my biggest criteria for voting. 

CH Mayor:  Matt Czajkowski.  Notice that "getting along" is not high on my criteria.  I think Matt has the ability and willingness to bring change in the needed areas.  I also think he is smart enough not to mess with the parts of CH we love.  Mark Kleinschmidt has run as being the status quo.  And that's nowhere near good enough for me.

CH Town Council:   I'm holding off on this until I hear what folks have to say at the social issues forum and OC Justice United assembly, as those are significant issues to me that may sway my vote.  I certainly won't vote for Ed Harrison (he clearly doesn't meet the criteria) and almost certainly will vote for Laurin Easthom and Will Raymond for their courage to speak out and vote against Lot 5.

CHCCS School Board:  Shell Brownstein is clearly the best candidate (prepared, clear communicator, passionate) in this race and will be a great board member.  I expect she'll have the most votes.  MaryAnne Gucciardi can come across as a bit flighty sometimes, but I think is committed to change and has a sharp mind to take on the obfuscation of the school administration.  Similarly, I think Joe Green is well positioned to be a great board member based on his experience in the field, his clear thinking, and the energy he brings.  People I trust think Greg McElveen is a good, quiet behind-the-scenes member of the board, but he seems very accepting that things are going well instead of showing any interest in change to me.  Susancy Dancy and Christine Lee also come across as not effective in a fight for change.




Thanks for your fact-based approach.I got a Twitter from one of the candidates saying that everyone should go out and vote in the early voting. I don't usually reply to that kind of thing, but I did this time: " I am still making my mind up."I was not aware that Laurin Easthom had voted against Lot 5. There is scant amount of actual coverage of local politics in this area. Since I am more engaged than most people I know, it tells me something that most of the information about Lot 5, the Homestead Park Homeless Shelter and the lack of a political will and funding to bridge the Achievement Gap has not been covered.The main picture and story in the Chapel Hill News is a fluff piece about Joe Ferrell. Meanwhile, a serious debate just took place Monday Night about whether locating the Homeless Shelter in Homestead Park is a good idea. There has been no mention of the lack of process or the proposed impact on the Park which is used by Rainbow Soccer, Little League Baseball through Chapel Hill Parks and Rec, Dog Walkers, Skateboarders and is also home to the new Aquatics Center. Instead of coverage of town development, the plan to end Homelessness or anything about providing mental health and drug treatment for the nearly 50% who live on our streets, we get that a guy at the University likes to make jokes.Thank you for expressing your thoughts. This is what used to happen in the public square: People stated why they liked a candidate, then other people stated why they liked their guy, etc. I don't know if your recommendations will directly influence my vote, but they have done more to inform than blind statements of endorsement or stories about a couples love for Magic or whatever it is... As for getting along, it used to be that people could disagree, maybe even come to blows, but still respect each other. We have disagreed here, but that doesn't mean I don't respect what you have to say. I worked for Barak Obama's campaign in Alamance and my son made calls for Kay Hagan (he's 12). When asked why I went out there, it was because it was a red county. Kay Hagan did end up winning Alamance - the only Democrat to do so at the top of the ticket. Had I sat around talking to people who all agree with me, instead of knocking on doors and working phones with people who don't, I don't think it would have been as useful or rewarding. As a parent, I am trying to teach my son to look at both sides of the issue and study the facts. Sadly, this is almost impossible with nothing but Rah-Rah journalism.

I should note I did work my rear off for Obama in the general election as he's a clear sight better than the other guy, but sat out the NC primary. 


So did I. My original choice was Edwards, but that didn't work out so well.

although perhaps it did work out for the best, given what we didn't know then.

The homeless shelter is not proposed to be in Homestead Park. It is proposed for the old Duke Power property on the corner of MLK Blvd and Homestead. The shelter, as an issue, is unworthy of this community when it paints the homeless as criminals, predators and a danger to children. Nothing that goes on at Homestead Park is threatened by these down-on-their-luck people. 

It wasn't until this year that they started saying off MLK. Previous comments from Chris Moran say it's Homestead Road. So it is the The Homestead Road Homeless Shelter.As for your thought about the impact, clearly you have never had to walk past a park full of men down on their luck on your way to work.I have never painted the homeless as criminals. I resent your assertion. However, to say that some are mentally ill and abuse substances is based on actual data by the Downtown Partnership.There are those of us who truly believe that a shelter, soup kitchen belong downtown, because that is where people trying to get back to work can work and that is where people congregate.I am disgusted by the way we throw out the mentally ill and substance abusers, but that doesn't mean they should be sleeping in a park. Without proper Police presence, there will be problems.I wish we could stop acting like Food and Shelter are a Panacea. Until we take real action to end Homelessness, moving people out of site of Rich Condo owners (the one or two that might buy one) does nothing to solve the root problem.So once again, I oppose the Homestead Park site for the Homeless Shelter, but not the Homeless. I speak from experience, not fear.

I have done more than walk past a park full of men down on their luck. I have been a volunteer (on behalf of UCCH) at the IFC shelter for 9 years; I grew up on the south side of Chicago and worked for a summer at Cook County Hospital in the middle of Down On Your Luck Central.So what if it's the Homestead Road Homeless Shelter? that doesn't put it in the Park. Should the people in Mt Bolus complain about being next to the Police Department? All kinds of unsavory people there...shudder...shake.......And I have to live next to those people in The Oaks......pity me!  

So have I. I spent most of my early career working with and supporting HIV+ gay men when most people shunned them. As for your snide remarks, let me just say that I wish we had a Police substation. It's funny how you can be so sympathetic to the concerns of the Homeless, but not understand the legitimate concerns of your fellow citizens who have homes. Are we bad people for having homes? Let's face it. It is a terrible location. The two Registered Sex Offenders will have to be kicked out which is wrong, because they are playing by the rules. Just don't go off accusing a donor of not caring about the Homeless. You need to drop your preconceptions. No one with anything to do with the park thinks this is a good idea. Saying it's off MLK was simply an attempt to force this through without people realizing it is right next to Homestead Park.  

I think we've worn this dialogue out. Sorry for the snide remarks, I love snide remarks.I agree with you that the shelter should remain downtown; that is the best location but there is nowhere for the IFC to move downtown and all of this, including a search for a new shelter location, has gone on for 15 years. Ditto the whining of neighborhoods when they perceive the relocation to be near them.I don't think any of the neighborhoods near the proposed shelter existed 15 years ago, many not 10 years ago. But there they are, and while I don't think they've contributed an ounce of quality to our community, I don't think the IFC shelter has taken away an ounce from our community. Freedom House has been near these neighborhoods since their birth and I haven't heard a peep from this proximity.You have a right to be concerned for your home but I have a right to point out the inaccuracies and misinformation you have put on this web site. I don't give a flip for those with anything to do with the park. That park belongs to all of us and some of us think it's a great thing to have the shelter at the Duke Power property; if we can't have it downtown.The Oaks reference was my sly participation in the Mayor's race. Go Mark! they have to demolish buildings, it certainly appears to the untrained eye that Homestead Park Drive runs next to it. Since the Church itself also connects to Homestead Park Drive.Maybe I am missing something on the map that shows Homestead Park Drive connecting to the UCC?

Well organized article. I think they endorsed him two years ago when he ran for council. They mention strengths and weaknesses (in their view) for each mayoral candidate. 

It's quite revealing of the DTH editorial perspective that they endorse Czajkowski by juxtaposing economic prosperity and social justice, as if the two are mutually exclusive or even separable. It's also interesting that their comments about Kleinschmidt are so positive--almost to the point of undercutting their statements about Czajkowski.Reads to me like it was crafted by a deeply divided editorial board.

I saw it more as social justice and economic/budgetary focus existing in both candidates, with Mark's first priority leaning towards social justice and Matt's toward the economic/budgetary focus. Different times require different balances, nor are these positions mutually exclusive for either candidate. Mark has taken many courageous and worthy stands for social justice in the past which I admire. 

I had to read the Mark section twice to figure out if it was a dissenting opinion or somehow would end in why he's a lesser candidate.  They are, of course, still learning there... (should have seen the firebrand pieces my wife used to write as editor of the DTH -- calling for Spangler's resignation for example).

but the DTH editorial board is a bunch of young journalism students who are in the early process of learning what they are doing. I've been interviewed by them, so I've experienced it. (I got their endorsement.)

I like Mark K a lot and am very happy that he has been a member of the town council for the past 8 years. Making the decision to support Matt for mayor over Mark was not at an easy decision to make. I don't expect I'm the only one who hasn't seen this as a clear-cut decision. But I have chosen to support Matt because as much as I like and respect Mark, I think Matt will do a better job of dealing with economic development. As mayor, he is part of a team. Ed will continue to lead in the area of transportation; Jim will continue to lead in the area of sustainability; Sally will continue to leader in the area of social justice. And the new council members will bring their individual expertises to supplement what we already have. I trust them all to be intelligent, generous human beings who put away any past animosities and work together to serve the greater good.

The most disappointing thing for me was that the endorsement editorial praised Cz for wanting more automobile parking downtown. They make the usual mistake of thinking that there is a parking shortage, when in fact there is an overabundance of cars.James Coley

I have to admit that I tried walking back from the Walk for Education last year after taking a bus to Phillips Middle School. I found out that most of MLK between the new neighborhoods in NW and Estes lack adequate sidewalks. So, I don't really care about parking downtown. How about some sidewalks so those of us who don't want to drive can walk?

Parking is a problem downtown. It's expensive, there's the threat of towing, and what parking there is could have better signage for clueless visitors (and the rest of us).


I get it now!  When an organization endorses those you want to win, they are serious people who did their homework. When you don't like the endorsement, they are (fill in the blank) and obviously don't know what they are doing.You got to love politics in these parts!

And don't dare complain about anything, because the discussion is "unworthy" of Chapel Hill.Oh and forget the issue and attack the people making reasonable assessments of a situation based on their background, when in fact you have no idea about their background, because you don't care as long is whatever it is, airport, transportation center, landfill is not in your back yard.

Fred,Didn't you give the election season this name (at least on OP)?  So I'm sure nothing surprises you ant more.

I don't know where the term "silly season" in reference to politics started but I saw Obama say it on the Letterman show last year.  Here's the youtube clip.  It's on youtube.  It was the Sept 10, 2008 show.  I'd copy and paste the address but my browser won't let me and manually copying all that would be annoying and then I'd get it wrong anyway. 

than the POTUS using it.  I believe it was applied to elections in New England many years ago.

He says he's not PC and I slammed him in the above.  So I'll reset a bit since I haven't finalized my town council decision yet.

I meant to include an apology here.  I think Ed's a decent guy and may have talked me into voting for him tonight.  I'm sorry I offended him in my remarks.

In response to his post in the special rules thread (, I'm answering here as to not violate the rules there. He asks: "can others here suggest candidates, incumbent or new, that have demonstrated critical analysis instead of going with the flow?" I would specifically offer up Laurin Easthom here.  Both for her vote against the Lot 5 giveaway and her vote against the Living Wage policy.  Both were done because of critical thinking -- Lot 5 because it just isn't a good deal for the town and Living Wage because it isn't strong enough.  She clearly demonstrated going against the flow (she was lone dissenter on each) based on critical thinking.   

Thanks for the info about Easthom -- just what I was looking for -- and for making me look harder for the "special rules". Clicking the "special rules" link doesn't take you to any rules; it's just a list of other special rules posts and I didn't dig deeper. But now that you mention it, I find more info within those other special rules posts. I hope I didn't cross the line; if so I can edit my comment. At least I didn't mention negatives by name.


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