The most important endorsement...

... yours!  The most influential endorsements of all are the opinions of people you know and trust.  This is our annual special-rules post to share YOUR favorites on this year's ballots. Here's OP's 2011 candidate list including links to all of their websites.

The rules: only write who you are voting for (and why, if you like). You can also list the people you would vote for if you lived in their districts. Do not refer (by name or specific description) to any candidates that you are not voting for or publicly supporting. If you do not follow the rules, your comments will be removed. In other words: keep it positive please.

[Note: I published this post and then took it down about a week ago. I got the sense that some folks wanted to wait until after more forums, especially OP's, were concluded to make final recommendation. I hope you're ready to go now!]



Let's get this thing started! I voted last Friday, so I don't have to hypothesize about who I'd support.In Chapel Hill I was happy to vote for my friends Donna Bell and Jason Baker for Town Council.  I've known Donna on and off for 20 years, and we also served on the Planning Board together. Being a politician does not come naturally to her, and that's mostly a good thing. She has also been learning a lot in the her past 2 years of Council service, and she has room for growth, in this arena. But I love the perspectives she brings as a mother of small kids, a social worker, a Northside resident, and a creative and dedicated thinker about how to solve the problems of Chapel Hill. The fact that I invited Jason to be one of the inaugural posse of editors on OP is not why I support his run for Town Council. Rather, it's an indicator of how smart I think he is which is the same reason I want him on the Council. Especially with Sally Greene retiring this year, Jason will provide much-needed background in planning and transportation. He understand the importance of good land-use decisions to make it easy and appealing for us to get our of our cars. His work at Weaver Street Market also provides a valuable perspective on the local business environment. He's such a good business advocate that the Hillsborough Downtown Merchants Association selected him as their chair last year. I also voted for Lee Storrow who has impressed me immensely in the past few months. He has literally out-campaigned the entire rest of the field with his large and well-organzed team of supporters. He'd be a good addition to the Council, and can speak well for the under-represented student population (as a recent graduate), while also having a strong grasp on the concerns of all of Chapel Hill. In the School Board race I enthusiastically voted for Mia Burroughs. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable about the district, she's also great at explaining policies in language I can understand. This kind of straight talk is often missing from the complex world of school policy-making. She's really smart and an asset to the board.I also voted for James Barrett and Annetta Streater, as I felt they are most concerned with social justice in the school system. Finally, I voted FOR the sales tax referendum, even though I agreed with all of the concerns Kirk Ross raised abot it in his Citizen column. I am frankly getting pissed off with the Commissioners' lack of real leadership, but I guess I thought of this as one last chance to give them the resources to do the right thing.  Oh, and if I voted in Carrboro it would be happily for Michelle Johnson, Dan Coleman, and Lydia Lavelle. 

Reading Damon's post I realized that I forgot to mention how very much I appreciate and support both Mayors Mark!  I've knoen them both for many years, and I'm always impressed with their ability to reach across the community and connect with broad constituencies. They're both excellent policy-makers, and also long-time activists for important issues like protecting the environment, ending the death penalty, supporting civil rights and liberties, fighting racism, and so much more.  Chapel Hill and Carrboro are lucky to have Mark Kleinschmidt and Mark Chilton working for us.

I'll take a leap here and endorse Mark Chilton for mayor of Carrboro, the best (and only) choice.My selections for alderman are summarized in an endorsement letter I wrote last week:

I look forward to voting for Dan Coleman and Lydia Lavelle for reelection to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, and for Michelle Johnson to join them.Four years ago, I supported Dan because he had quickly proven himself to be a well-prepared, thoughtful alderman whose commitment to progressive policy making and extensive experience with local issues promised to bring Carrboro closer to homegrown sustainability. He hasn’t disappointed. It is hard to imagine the board now without the understanding and creativity Dan brings to its decision making.Lydia Lavelle is also the right choice for reelection. Shortly after becoming a Carrboro resident, Lydia jumped in as an energetic, constructive board member. In addition to serving on the board of the Visitors Bureau and as liaison to the Planning Board, she has become a valuable advocate for the town’s local and regional transportation interests, including chairing the regional transportation advisory committee of elected officials from Orange and Durham counties. Lydia knows that strong transportation planning promotes economic and environmental sustainability.Michelle Johnson will make an important addition to the team. Like Dan and Lydia, she seeks out opportunities to study the issues. Michelle’s campaign itself has stressed the importance of listening to and learning from the many voices in our community. Her experience as a social worker, artist, and social justice activist will also bring a unique perspective to the board.Please join me in supporting Coleman, Lavelle, and Johnson for Carrboro.


This year I am voting for:

  • Mayor: Kleinschmidt
  • Council: Ward, Baker, Storrow, and Bell
  • BOE: Kelly, Barrett, Bedford, Burroughs

Get out and vote.

For Chapel Hill Mayor, I voted for:Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt - Mark has done a great job for our community during his first two years as Mayor. He has shown that he is willing to work with a number of groups, because like he says, he can't get complex issues resolved by himself. He is engaged in a number of issues with Justice United including living wage campaigns, day laborer conditions, and affordable housing needs - most recently assisting in getting some of our low-income neighbors into housing after the new management put up many roadblocks. For Chapel Hill Town Council, I voted for:Donna Bell -  Donna is a longtime Northside resident and homeowner and a social worker. In her time on the council, she has shown herself to be someone who cares about the perspectives of those who are not often heard including low-income residents, communities of color, and town employees. Jason Baker -  Has lived in Chapel Hill since coming to attend UNC. Even during his student days, Jason was engaged with the town, serving on a number of advisory boards including the Planning Board and the Transportation Board. He is incredibly knowledgeable about town history, policy, and development and I take many, many questions to him and know I will get a detailed accurate answer.Lee Storrow -  Lee has amazing energy and interest in our town. He has got to be the hardest working candidate - yesterday alone he and his volunteers knocked on 500 doors. Lee enthusiastically meets with many groups. I was pleased that both he and Jason came to our Justice United Fall Assembly and from there went to the homelessness debate put on by a UNC debate club and UNC HOPE (Homeless Outreach Poverty Eradication). Jim Ward - Jim has served our town well for 12 years and brings a wealth of experience with him. [All were endorsed by The Independent Weekly and the Sierra Club] For the School Board:James Barrett -  James is a product of Chapel Hill schools and has two children there now. He is very knowledgeable about the education system in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. James has been engaged with Justice United since it's inception and has worked on our education team, building relationships with teachers, parents, school board members, and administration.Mia Burroughs - Mia already has experience on the board and is very engaged with the community.[Both endorsed by The Independent Weekly] If I lived in Carrboro:Mayor: Mary ChiltonCarrboro Board of Alderpersons: Michelle Johnson, Lydia Lavelle, and Dan Coleman[All were endorsed by The Independent Weekly and the Sierra Club] 1/4 Sales Tax: FOR  

School Board I get to vote in this race):James Barrett: Joining a governing body and maintaining your independent values is a challenge, but I think James is up to the challenge. I trust him to not go along with the majority vote without thoroughly understanding the big picture. I trust him to not go along with the majority vote when he believes it is wrong for the kids and the community, but to do so in a way that is thoughtful and non-disruptive. My other 3 votes will go to: Annetta Streater, Mia Burroughs and Michael Kelly.  Chapel Hill (if I could vote): Mayor: Mark Kleinschmidt without hesitation. I've enjoyed watching Mark learn and grow within this job. I've also appreciated the fact that he has become more of an advocate for economic development than he was as a council member. He's faced several back-to-back challenges this year (Sanitation 2, Aydan Court, Community House), and while he was a little heavy-handed initially, he learned and, in my opinion, ensured that everyone got a fair hearing.  Chapel Hill Town Council (if I could vote): 1. Laney Dale: I want elected officials who will be independent thinkers. Laney has the background and the skills to deal with the three issues I think are most pressing in this community: homelessness, economic development, and fiscal solvency. As a formerly homeless person and the child of a homeless parent, he has first-hand experience in understanding the challenges of the individuals who are homeless and for this I trust him to bring an invaluable perspective to the ongoing community discussions. As a business person, he understands the needs of our local businesses and as an entrepeneur, he can help balance the public conversations with real-life experience.  2. Jim Ward: I don't always agree with the decisions Jim makes, but I trust him to look directly at the hard issues before he makes a decision.   3. Matt Czajkowski: I disagree with some of Matt's votes, but I deeply appreciate the process he follows of asking hard questions until he feels that he understands the issues. I believe fiscal decisions are one of the top issues pressing Chapel Hill, and I think it is imperative to have someone on the council who has the knowledge and experience to probe staff recommendations. In the past affordability has been handled primarily as a development/housing issue only. Matt has the skills to help council make decisions that are more well-rounded and inclusive. 4. Jason Baker, Lee Storrow and Donna Bell tie for my 4th vote. They are each intelligent, thoughtful, caring individuals and the community will benefit from the presence of one or more of them on the dais. Carrboro Board of Aldermen (if I could vote): 1. Lydia Lavelle: Lydia is the quietest of the alderpeople, but she is a thoughtful and independent thinker.  2. Braxton Foushee: I believe in representative government and while I disagree with some of Braxton's positions, I think it is imperative for all citizens in a community to feel they are represented. Braxton represents those individuals who are long-term residents of Carrboro, those who may not embrace the 'groovy' image as whole-heartedly as newer residents do. In the constant community conversations that pit old and new, I believe Braxton will add balance, especially with Joal Broun retiring (and I'm not talking about the color of his skin).

Mayor:Mark Kleinschmidt Council:Donna BellJason BakerLee StorrowCarl Schuler School Board:Jamezetta BedfordMia Day BurroughsJames Barrett Kris CastellanoMike Kelley  I won’t go into every little detail about why I picked the candidates I did.  In fact, by the “stay positive” rules of this thread I can’t, because I did a lot of weighing of both pros and cons to come up with this list.  Instead I’ll talk about the process through which I decided these are the people I’m voting for. I looked at campaign websites, I talked to friends and family about the candidates, I looked at the nonpartisan NC Voter Guide website, I looked at the indy’s endorsements, at the sierra club’s endorsements, and at the orange dem’s recommendations (As a Democrat I pay attention to their suggestions, but you'll still find an Unaffiliated and a Republican on my list if you look carefully).  I was there for Kleinschmidt’s campaign announcement kick off, there at the OP candidate coming out party in Hillsborough, there at the friends of downtown candidate forum, read the OP for online candidate forum posts and to see what other people had to say.  Based on this process I believe this slate of candidates best reflects the values, knowledge, and skill sets that I would like to see in our local elected public servants. If I had more votes to cast Jim Ward (who I think has it in the bag anyways), Laney Dale, and Annetta Streater would probably be receiving them.

Lee Storrow has my endorsement for Town Council. Not only does he have a passion and energy that would serve this community well, he also has a genuine care for Chapel Hill. I would feel very comfortable with him as a member of my Town Council because he has an unrelenting desire to better this community. It also doesn't hurt that he has endorsements from ''Independent Weekly'' and the Sierra Club! I'm looking forward to the results Tuesday night!

I just wanted to add an endorsement for Dan Coleman and Michelle Johnson for the upcoming election. I have worked with Dan personally on issues and concerns I have had for Carrboro.  Dan is always extremely quick to initiate communication and facilitate a dialogue to provide answers to concerned members of the community.  Dan obviously cares very much about Carrboro and his committment shows. Michelle Johnson brings a vibrant enthusiasm to the campaign.  She is also married to a musician, so that means she must have patience and understanding that will serve her well as an aldermen.  best of luck to all 


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