OP Live Candidate Forum: Carrboro Board of Aldermen

Candidates: Remember, you must respond using the reply button directly underneath the question or comment to which you are responding -- both to keep the conversation threaded and to avoid losing your words when the page refreshes.


Welcome to the Orange Politics online candidate forum. Tonight we’ll be talking with the four candidates who are running for three seats on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.We learned a little from our first forum and we’re going to try and be a little more predictable this time.I’ll be posing new questions on the quarter hour. At 9 p.m., I’ll prompt the candidates for a closing remark and we’ll close the forum at 9:15.Here we go . . .

For making this format available. It's nice to have more time both to contemplate my response and to lay it out. A nice addition to the campaign.

As you’ve campaigned what have you been hearing from Carrboro voters? What’s on their minds?

The voters are mainly talking about taxes, jobs and the Shelton Station project.

There has also been discussion about DOT wanting more footage in the vicinity of BPW Club Road, which will take their fence and entrance sign.  This needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Citizens are concerned about development. I've heard lots of concern about the Lloyd Farm proposal, the CVS proposal, the Family Dollar proposal, and the improvements to Smith Level Road. Throughout, there is a clear sense that Carrboro residents are not opposed to development but want it to fit in with the surrounding neighborhoods. They are interested in projects that add to what they already value about Carrboro: the walkability, the community, the respect for nature, and the sense of place. I have also encountered a fair amount of interest in improvements for biking, pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and the progress of our greenways system.

By far, the biggest issue that voters have been talking to me about is development, especially near downtown. I also have gotten questions about deer hunting and the county tax.

I have been talking to many Carrboro residents through canvassing and neighborhood meet and greets.I've been hearing three things:1.  People are concerned about growth and commercial development and the impact on residential neighborhoods.  For example:People who live on Alabama Ave are concerned about a possible Family Dollar. People who live in the heart of downtown are concerned about a potential CVS. People who live near Lloyd Property are concerned about a large development bordering their back yards.2.  Residents of Carrboro value the education and opportunity a library could provide and the logistics and planning of where the library will go continues to be of concern. 3.  Stakeholders in the community are concerned about the anti-loitering ordinance. The day laborers need a safe place to get work and all residents including the day laborers needs to feel safe.  Some community members would like the ordinance rescinded and some would like it to stay in place. It will be important to build relationships between the day laborers and supporters of the ordinance as we move forward.

There is also alot of discussion about paving sections of Bolin Creek; this would cause damage to the creek.  I am definitely against this and am hoping for another solution.  

There seems to be some serious infrastructure problems literally beneath the surface downtown — Weaver Street is one example and the recent sewerage problems on Main Street another. We know a lot of the infrastructure — public and private — is old and crumbling. How can we get ahead of our infrastructure needs?Also folks, if you would please remember to hit the reply button to the question and not scroll down to the bottom of the page to the comment box.

As you mentioned Weaver Street is an example of how the Town is addressing old water and sewer lines and while this construction is cumbersome to navigate it is essential. This process took a lot of planning and planning is the key to staying ahead of the infrastructure needs.  In addition a request recently came into the Board to use the Revolving Fund to repair the sewage issue on Main Street. The Board should continue to look at a more formalized process for making loan funds available in emergency situations.

We found a stop-gap measure to the recent trouble with our approval of loans from our revolving loan fund, and we may find that we need to think of these kinds of solutions for future problems that impact multiple owners.  Also, we need to be smart when we have complicated road repairs, and perhaps think ahead to doing this type of work when we are already beneath the surface. 

Actually, the Weaver Street reconstruction is an example of the town "getting ahead" on infrastructure. This project has been in the planning stage for many years while we have been collecting funds so it would not be a huge hit to the budget in a single year. Over all, town staff has done a great job anticipating capital needs. We have stayed on top of vehicle replacement but the board needs to be concerned about not delaying essential purchases due to the budget situation. There was a very controversial situation recently in Wilmington when they delayed replacing a fire truck that was frequently out of service.Private needs, like that of the sewer line off Main Street, are another matter. The town is not in a position to monitor the infrastructure of private property in town. We can, in extreme cases like this one, help out when problems arise. I was fully supportive of the town loan to the E. Main Street property owners. I also moved that the board give more favorable loan terms than were recommended by staff. This is because in most cases the property owner is not the person operating the business. I felt the owners should be encouraged to participate as much as possible.

The owners of private property are responsible for maintaining their infrastructure isssues i.e. the properties along Main Street from Armadillo Grill to Bank of America.  The public infrastructure is the responsibility of the town and OWASA.  OWASA does studies to determine what infrastructures need replacing and have a schedule to do that.  The town is responsible for the sites that they would like to develop; we need to make sure that there is sufficient infrastructure in place so that these sites will be marketable.  

It’s a given that commercial developments are going to receive a lot of scrutiny in Carrboro. The CVS proposal is one example where there are significant concerns about the impact. What will guide your thinking as you try to strike a balance between boosting economic growth and maintaining the characteristics that make Carrboro, well, Carrboro.

Commercial growth particularly in downtown near residential neighborhoods and protection of residential neighborhoods is a dynamic tension that Carrboro will continue to struggle with. Carrboro has outlined in the Vision 2020 that we will double our commercial tax base and a value Carrboro holds is density in the urban core where it is appropriate. Carrboro values the character of our town which includes the historic nature of out town.  It is important for residents to access the Town's planning department and process as much as the developers do. Developers should be encouraged to collaborate with residents and to reflect to values of sustainability, green smart building, walkability and bikeability, mixed use, and density. I will be looking for these attributes in the process of approving development proposals.

When you talk to the folks at the Orange County Visitors Bureau they will tell you that maintaining the kind of unique characteristics of a town like Carrboro makes their job easy. People want to come to a town where you can walk around and find lots of unique local businesses and local culture. It is easy to overlook that the qualities of our town are themselves an economic development factor.Last year, a business owner came and spoke to us on the Economic Sustainability Commission and explained why he relocated his tech business here from Rhode Island. He believed his employees would love the walkability and vibrance of downtown Carrboro.So, I am a big booster of all things Carrboro and am interested in commercial (and residential) development that furthers our Carrboro-ness. I've been known to be pretty tough on developers who come in with cookie-cutter proposals that they want us to accept, big companies that are used to doing the same facility all across the state (or nation). My belief is that Carrboro is a strong market and, if they really want to be here, they must recognize the need for creativity and flexibility in their projects. Such a course will ultimately be best for their business as well.

What a great question, and this gets at the heart of every development we review.  First, I have said on many occasions that I believe every new development that comes before us should be evaluated for a commercial component.  How are we assured that the development will still be a "Carrboro" one?  We will urge (or ask for or require, to the extent we are permitted) green features, affordable housing, scale that fits in with the neighborhood, and a "community" feel.  I think the East Main Street project, as massive as it is, is a good example of these guiding principles.  One disclaimer I have to keep mentioning at forums is that since the CVS project is officially in the review process, we cannot comment on it specifically.  However, I will say that one feature we can't always control is who will actually hang up the sign above the door, because we need to fairly review each project on its merits, not just its name.

The proposed Family Dollar in the residential area of Alabama Avenue is another good example.  This will take away from the character of this neighborhood, it  is not in good keeping with the vision of Carrboro.  We should keep projects in the central business district where we can have the necessary traffic to sustain other businesses as well.  What guides my thinking is the impact that these businessess will have on the neighborhoods; we must always think of our citizens and the communities they have worked to build.  Our growth should also be in outlying areas; a good example is Carrboro Plaza. 

Carrboro and Orange County don’t seem to be in sync. The recent dust up over the library site is one example. Economic development and OWASA's proposed changes are also areas where there are disagreements over direction. What can and should be done to improve communication and coordination with the county?

Our joint meeting last week with the Board of County Commissioners was a good start.  I think it was a more effective medium than the Assembly of Governments for really getting to hear each official speak on targeted topics.  A few of us urged the Commissioners to have more of this type of dialogue.I think there is always going to be a natural tension between our governing bodies, simply because we have differing needs, geographic area and constituents.  It is our job as Aldermen to convey our concerns from our very informed positions directly to the Commissioners, so that they can consider them when making county decisions.  I believe my service on the Transportation Advisory Committe and the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau Board of Directors, as well as my attendance at other events where Commissioners are present, helps in forging relationships so that when we have to talk, we are better situated, because we are more familiar with each other.

Communication is key in any type of relationship.  We should always try to make ourselves available to sit down and discuss topics in a reasonable fashion.  Sometimes the "easy email" may not be the solution. We should be willing to talk about matters of great importance face-to-face (when possible); always respecting each others opinion, whether you agree with it or not.  Good ideas come from everyone; not just a select few.  Every situation has more than 1 side; the goal is to find common ground.

Last week the Board of Aldermen and County Commissioners met and discussed many issues ( economic development, the library, and SAPFO).  This is a good start.  Coordination, consensus building,  and communication are key as our municipalities work on water supply, sewer, schools, library system, adequate water and sewer to Rogers Road, the landfill, transportation, and economic development. As a social worker and activist, I have years of experience with consensus building among groups that may approach issues from various points of view. For example, I served on the Board of Directors for the Dispute Settlement Center which focuses on conflict resolution, mediation, facilitation and consensus building. I would bring this experience to the Board of Aldermen and into any joint meetings with other municipalities including the County Commissioners. Citizens need to know that elected officials across municipalities are going to work together in their interest.

I might have answered this question somewhat differently a week ago but we had a great meeting with the commissioners last Thursday.The meeting last week was a great first step in better communications with the county. The county commissioners really want to understand the Carrboro perspective on library siting. Still, they have their own points of view and some of the commissioners do not have the background that would help them understand the new urbanist perspective that guides much of our thinking. I followed up that meeting with an email to the commissioners explaining the density of Carrboro as per the US census and suggesting a trip to the Farmers Market and some nearby walks that will give them a better sense of our town.Commissioners acknowledged that the recent attempt to site a library was a "learning process" for them, one that put great strain on the town and especially on some of our residents. They are committed to working with us on a better process for the future.The county just hired a new economic development director who is a Carrboro resident. He has already been working closely with our ED Director Annette Stone and there is a promise of strong collaboration there. The commissioners also expressed interest in helping support infrastructure needs for commercial development in Carrboro, a very positive development.We agreed to continue meeting together on a regular basis. I am hopeful that a strong partnership is emerging between Orange County and Carrboro.

What do you think should be the future of the town’s revolving loan fund and how does that tie in to your vision for the town’s economic sustainability strategy?

The town will need to contribute more money to the revolving loan fund on a continuous basis because the amount that is currently available is too low.  The fund must contain a provision for emergency usage i.e. the F&F fire.  This increase in loan money will assist the town in obtaining a better pool of candidates for future economic development opportunities.  There should also be a more diverse group of applicants applying for the fund; information should be more available to the public.

The Revolving Loan Fund has been the key material component in supporting new and expanding businesses in Carrboro (our Economic Development Department and its partnerships with other agencies are also key). So many of Carrboro's iconic businesses have benefited from this fund. I have met with the Town Manager to discuss possible mechanisms for expanding the fund, a conversation I plan to continue with the new manager when he or she is hired.The Economic Sustainability Commission (ESC, to which I am BOA liaison) is reviewing the RLF processes with an eye toward providing better support for loan recipients through the life of the loan.The ESC is also looking at other mechanisms to provide capital for local businesses (this was one of BOA's economic development priorities identified at our retreat this year). Because of my involvement with the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), I learned of the book Localvesting which describes numerous ways that local citizens can support local businesses (the Weaver Street Market membership program is an example). I read this book and arranged for Annette Stone to obtain copies which are being reviewed by an ESC subcommittee with an eye for what could work here. Folks can get a more detailed sense of my vision here:http://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2010/09/09/maximizing-returns-on-eco...

Many do not realize that the money for the revolving loan fund started with CDBG funds many years ago - not "Carrboro" tax dollars - and it has stayed this way.  Many, many local Carrboro businesses got off the ground with help from this fund, and while there has been the occasional business that did not make it, in those instances we have worked with the businesses to still get the loans on repayment schedules.  Within the last year, we have taken a more detailed look at the way our program works; I provided specific comments about my hesitation in having goods rather than real property serve as collateral in one instance.   We have also made existing local businesses aware of its existence.  The program is directly tied into creating new jobs, a huge plus in the current economy.  Other communities are looking to try to create similar successul programs.  These type of locally cultivated businesses are inidicative of the Carrboro spirit.  We are also fortunate to have our new Economic Development Director, Annette Stone, on board, as I believe she will be a catalyst in helping this program become even more successful.  Her observations and input will help inform our economic strategies as we move forward. 

The revolving loan fund is a great example of how to encourage and stimulate economic development for local entrepreneurs.  The purpose of the loan is to help start local businesses and any business approaching the Economic Development Director and the Economic Sustainability Commission with a loan application should have a clear long term vision for sustaining their business.  In addition, the Town and Board need to be mindful of sustaining the existing local businesses.   The Board of Aldermen and the Town need to look for creative ways to expand the Revolving Loan Fund and at the same time it should encourage the recipients of the revolving loan fund to raise their own funds to be sustainable.  In thinking about our Town's Economic Development and Commercial Tax Revenue we need to remember that money invested in a local business gets reinvested locally. Studies have found that for every $1.00 spent at a local business, 45 cents are reinvested locally. When that same dollar is spent at a corporate chain, only 15 cents are reinvested locally.

Fairly soon the IFC is going to come to the town with its plans for a community kitchen and food distribution center at its property on Main Street. This proposal has already proved controversial but the discussion doesn’t seem to be out in the open. Isn’t it time we should be talking about this? How will you approach it as an elected official?

don't be shy

It is already in an established location, I would approach this situtation with an open mind.  The clientele is familiar with this site and feel very comfortable coming there.  I would be open to the community kitchen and food distribution center because this community has always taken care of the less fortunate and this is no exception.  We all know that there are people in need of these services because of the tough economic times that are being experienced right now.  We all should be willing to lend a hand in any way possible.  For every fortunate person, there are many others who are less fortunate.  

During my term on the board, I have been cognizant of how important it is to listen, study, and then hear what the citizens have to say before reaching a conclusion about a matter.  I obviously bring my own experience and values to the formation of a decision, but as a steward of the Town, it is imperative for me to hear the viewpoints of my constituents.  The IFC is doing what any prospective developer would do - meeting with folks, getting the word out, working up plans.  To do otherwise would be disingenuous.  I look forward to the conversation once it gets to the BOA.

Yes it is absolutely time we should start talking about this. I look forward to hearing everyone's views on this issue.  This is an important issue and feeding the hungry fits in with Carrboro's values of social justice and equity.  We are already working on feeding the hungry through the Farmer Foodshare Program which brings together Farmers from the Carrboro Farmers Market, volunteers, and community service partners to feed the hungry in not only Carrboro but in Chapel Hill. I am very skilled at hearing different perspectives and understand that their might be some resistance to having a kitchen where the hungry come to eat and at the same time there are many people who are in need of this service. Why not in Carrboro is what I ask? 

The Board of Aldermen has received no information on any plans that IFC has for modifications to their site. IFC has been quite busy over in Chapel Hill. However, it is common knowledge that plans are in the works. IFC believes that the changes they need are allowed "by right" and that they would not need a permit from BOA at all. That remains to be seen.If an application comes before us from IFC, I would treat it like any other application in terms of its impact on its neighbors and surroundings. At the same time, it is important to recognize how vital IFC's services are to our community. The current recession has given new meaning to the phrase "there but for the grace of God go I" as thousands more find themselves needing help. IFC is not just a helpful organization but is the focal point for the humanitarian impulses of hundreds of volunteers and other organizations within Orange County.I also disagree with the negative view that some hold of IFC's clients. The majority are working poor, often temporarily poor as there are so many changes in circumstances (e.g. loss of job, loss of health) that can put a family on the brink. They are members of our community and ought to be received as such. The Board of Aldermen consistently advocates for social justice and for help for those in need. I am sure that those values will inform our thinking when dealing with IFC as well but we will also not shirk in our legal responsibility to enforce the Land Use Ordinance or in our broader vision for downtown Carrboro.

There's a nice drawing of the new building in the IFC boardroom. 

I'll check it out.

I count myself among the many non-fans of the town's web site. It seems like a barrier to engagement. Chapel Hill may not "get" food trucks, but they do get the need for an improved web presence. Please say you agree with me and pledge to upgrade the site if elected.What other ways can the Town do better to increase transparency and engagement in local government? How can we get a bigger variety of citizens on boards and commissions?

How interesting, Kirk.  My "State and Local Governmental Law" class came to our BOA meeting a few weeks ago, and to a person they told me that they thought our Town web site was great.  They found it navigatable, clear and concise. They also were astounded that we had live and saved meetings online. I tend to agree with them (sorry!)  I also think we have a very good search engine, which enables us to not have to use Municode as many towns and cities do.  I might add that our computer and technical staff is very, very small, and we get a lot of bang for our buck.This all being said, the basic look of the site has been the same for many years.  It probably is time to change the appearance of the site, but I would not mess much with the inner workings.Other ways to increase transparency and engagement, and get a bigger variety of citizens on our boards - I have made a concerted effort to try to appoint citizens to our boards with the goal of diversity of representation (geographic, gender, race, experience).  We have lots of citizens who want to serve and it is good to have fresh bodies in these capacities.  Personally, I have also maintained my Alderman website for the past four years, updating it with monthly posts.  I also send an e-mail each summer to my Carrboro supporters.   I believe as public officials we should be as accessible as possible. 

Yes the website needs an upgrade. I'll get back to that in a moment.I value having a diverse group of citizens involved in local government so that as many voices can be heard and represented as possible. I know that some advisory boards and commissions struggle with filling open seats and part of this is possibly due to time and I believe this is also a reflection of how we're conditioned around who can be a leader.  The website is certainly one way to provide transparency and information to the community but what if you don't a computer or access to a computer?  What if you aren't educated about local government in your classroom and what if the people in our community don't know how to access the local political system? I think these are all important questions to consider.  I want to understand the barriers to becoming involved in local government.  Back to the website…. if you have access to the computer and internet ‪can the Town website be updated more frequently to provide answers about recent decisions made by the board and current issues. We could have an easy link to sign up for the public town emails so ‬that the public can stay engaged.  In essence, we need to continue this conversation.

A great question Kirk,this question speaks about the voices that you do not hear.  We need to hear new and different ideas from the Carrboro community on the issues that face the town.  It is important to include citizens from all walks of life.  We have a diverse community; and each group has different needs that should be addressed.  If people feel like they have something to contribute to the different boards and commssions; they should be given the opportunity to serve. The website is not the only avenue for advertising these vacancies; we should be looking for other visible means of communicating this information to our citizens i.e. community organizations, churches, and the local media.   

I don't need to pledge as I have already had numerous conversations with the Town Manager about the issues that Kirk raises and it mostly boils down to staff available to make the improvements. Chapel Hill has the staff capacity that allows it to do more. They have a Public Information Officer which we cannot currently afford. When I came on the board, I asked town staff to create a meeting summary for board meetings similar to that done in Chapel Hill. We now have one but it is in a more abbreviated format.We hired our Town Clerk with an eye to improving our ability with the internet and social media. There has been some progress but it has been slow. For example, you can now view board meetings (after the fact) by the agenda item, not just the entire meeting.I believe that Carrboro needs to increase its capacity in this area but, when economic conditions improve, that will be competing with a number of other areas that also need attention.I have consistently looked to increase diversity on our advisory boards, for example recruiting a Republican (and supporter of my previous political opponents) to the Transportation Advisory Board or encouraging a student to join an advisory board despite uncertainty as to his long term residency in Carrboro. I have also worked with Lydia on attempting to address the need for gender diversity on the Planning Board. (I was particularly focussed on trying to convince Michelle Johnson to join the Planning Board but she set her sights higher.)

Will you vote to lift the anti-lingering ordinance governing the intersection of Davie Road and Jones Ferry Road? What other steps would you take to strike a balance that works for everyone in the neighborhood?

I did not support the anti-lingering ordinance when first proposed and I do not support it now. The current anti-lingering ordinance is unjust (whether or not it is unconstitutional) and should be replaced with a more direct solution. I have advocated that the town work with interested agencies (e.g. El Centro, Human Rights Center) to create a staff position to provide support for the workers and to encourage the orderliness desired by neighboring residents. I expect to receive an update from town staff on this prospect when we next take up the topic on, I believe, November 22. A Code of Conduct is currently being formulated by the day laborers themselves. This will provide a strong foundation for moving forward.Michelle has spoken of the need for community-building and more participatory processes in the broader Abbey Court/Davie Road neighborhood. That suggestion is on the mark. The key will be to identify the facilitators for such processes, whether town staff, agency staff, volunteers, or neighborhood residents themselves.I have also asked staff and interested citizens to look for models in the other communities that have day labor concerns similar to ours. Perhaps we do not have to invent a new solution if one already exists.

I would vote to lift the anti-lingering ordinance governing the intersection of Davie Road and Jones Ferry Road.  I was not on the BOA when the ordinance was passed, and I would not have supported it.  The ordinance is arguably unconstitutional, and not a law that I would want other towns to emulate.  This being said, there is still a  problem with people lingering at the corner, and residents feeling unsafe.  We need to have all members of the community - the folks on the corner, the residents who live nearby, the persons at Abbey Court, our police, El Centro Hispano - work together to find a solution to this problem.  Obviously, this is easier said than done.  Some specific thoughts are to investigate a Day Laborer Center so that the persons on the corner seeking work have a way to do this away from the corner.  This has worked in some communities.  Our police need to make regular patrols in the area of the corner, even walking or biking, so that they can establish a unintimidating presence with the persons on the corner and to help residents feel safe.     

Carrboro prides itself on being a diverse, open, and accepting community. Day laborers are part of our community. In the past year, there has been a resurgence of discussion about the anti-lingering ordinance that was adopted by the Board of Aldermen in 2007. The ordinance mandates that people can only stand on the corner of Davie and Jones Ferry from 5:00am to 11:00am. This ordinance was born out of valid safety concerns expressed by neighbors, including concerns about harassment, public intoxication, and other criminal and nuisance behaviors. Although the current discussion is focused on rescinding the ordinance because of concerns about its constitutionality, there is a parallel discussion being guided by many stakeholders in the community, including day laborers, about the possibility of a worker center that would allow workers to be out of the elements (heat, cold, rain etc.) and to have access to a public bathroom. If elected, I would explore a mechanism other than the anti-lingering ordinance to address the needs and concerns expressed both by the day laborers and their neighbors. Dialogue and relationship building needs to be enhanced among everyone in this community, particularly when there is a high conflict situation across lines of difference. I would reflect Carrboro's value of diversity, my belief in community building, use my organizing skills to work with stakeholders in the community, including the Human Rights Center, Southern Coalition for Social Justice, the UNC Civil Rights Center, El Centro Latino, and Justice United, to guide my decision making about how to best address everyone's needs and to come up with a long-term sustainable, equitable, and legally defensible solution.

Yes I would vote to rescind the ordinance.

I am not in support of this ordinance because it goes against the First Amendment, which allows for peaceful assembly. We have to work with all the parties involved to come up with a reasonable solution.  This means, to me, not moving them but providing space and assisting them in finding gainful employment. This assistance would involve providing town staff to help them meet their needs.  It is discrimination against a particular group of people, which is not what Carrboro should represent.  This is a 2-sided issue of course; some are there to look for work and then there are others who are there for other reasons.  The citizens who live in this area are aware of who to contact if there is any problem.  We must continue to bring all parties together in order to solve this problem.

I appreciate your answers and partcipation in the forum. Please add anything you want to add on the question threads and enter a closing thought or two.Remember, at 9:15 it's pencils down and you won't be able to post anything else.

Thanks Kirk, have a good night everyone!

Great job, Kirk, on the questions and great format set up by OP. I thoroughly enjoyed this discussion and was surprised that it can be as challenging to answer a question in 15 minutes as it is to answer it in one minute (a different sort of challenge, of course).I'm not always checking in on OP so I invite anyone with questions on any of my posts to contact me by email or even to give me a call.

Kirk, Ruby, et al.:  Thank you for engaging us in this different kind of forum.  It was a nice change of pace.  To close, I am going to share a bit of what I told the Carrboro Citizen:  Serving on the Board of Alderman lets me combine my passion for service with my experience, interests and strengths. I love our vibrant community, and want to protect and improve the quality of life enjoyed by our residents and continue to promote Carrboro’s interests regionally. Carrboro has wonderful ideals - sometimes their implementation can be costly. I search for creative, fair solutions to our problems. I also seek equal rights for all of our residents.  Carrboro readers, I would appreciate your vote this fall.  I encourage interested persons to read more at www.lydialavelle.com

Thanks to OP for thinking of the brilliant idea of having an online forum. Thanks for Kirk Ross for moderating.  In closing I want Carrboro residents to understand that I am running for a seat on the Carrboro BOA because I value the diversity of the current board and I will bring diversity not only because I am a woman of color, but because I am a practicing artist, yoga instructor, clinical social worker, anti-racist activist, and local business owner. I will be the first alderman whose professional background directly connects town government to both health care and healthy living.  I’m a strong facilitator and as the board discusses growth and development I will lead us towards action and a collaborative process with citizens, local business owners, developers, and the town. I will preserve the character of our community, sustain our value of environmental consciousness and action and I will make sure Carrboro stays true to it’s values of diversity so that our community is safe and accessible to all residents.  I welcome questions, comments, and feedback. You can read more about me on my website  www.michelleforcarrboro.com or visit Facebook at Michelle For Carrboro Board of Aldermen.  Please come out and vote. Early voting starts October 20th and Election Day is November 8th. 


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