It's official

I went up to Hillsborough at lunchtime today and I saw Jacquie Gist, Mark Chilton, Mark Kleinschmidt, and challenger Laurin Easthom file for Carrboro Alderman, Carrboro Mayor, and Chapel Hill Town Council respectively. I understand Kevin Foy came by and filed for Chapel Hill Mayor shortly afterward, and Ed Harrison also dropped his hat in the ring a little later.

The Board of Elections has a nice little chart to help you keep track, check it out:



With 131 days to get their message out and not wasting a moment to do it, Ms. Easthom, Ms. Gist, Mr. Chilton and Mr. Kleinschmidt were so psyched to get going on their next round of public service they all showed up early, raring to go.

Prompt is cool but enthusiasm is cooler.

An indicator of good things to come for this, hopefully, vigorous election cycle?

Is it a typo in today's HeraldSun article

In Chapel Hill, the mayor's office will be contested, along with four Town Council seats.

And then there were Two...

Hey, gang---Thought I'd get this to my fellow OP'ers before the papers, and /or Rumour Control:

Today at noon, after careful consideration (and not inconsiderable prodding...) I formally announced my candidacy for Mayor of Carrboro (okay, it's not 'official', but the related string does seem to be going a bit astray, yes?). We had a great event with 25 or so folks, including fellow poster Mary Rabinowitz, Ellie Kinnaird, Frances Shetley, Fred Battle, and more. Thanks to all of you for coming out.

What follows is the text of my remarks. I look forward to a spirited, informative, and (I trust) friendly discussion in the months ahead:

Welcome to Carrboro! I have chosen this place and time to demonstrate how vibrant, exciting, and yes, Joyful is the place we call home. As you can see, this morning, friends and neighbors gather here at our Farmers' Market to enjoy the fruits and fellowship of our neighbors. This afternoon, folks will gather at Weaver Street, our Parks and Natural Spaces to enjoy a summer day, and tonight our downtown will be teeming with folks in our restaurants, attending performances at the Cradle and ArtsCenter.

This is no accident, and has not always been so. When I began my involvement in our community fifteen years ago, ----while having made major strides in environmental protection---our community was struggling to emerge. Through visionary leadership, and open community involvement we have transformed our community into the vital place it is today, while honoring our heritage: The Small Area Plan has given us a more sustainable road map for the future of our community, resulting in our first compact mixed-use development: Our Alternative transportation system, using extensive cycling networks, Fare-Free transit and pedestrian facilities is second to none for a community of our size. Our affordable housing policies have resulted in the inclusion of 15% affordable units in every major application since Winmore. Our just completed New Vision for Downtown Carrboro is already producing exciting new proposals to enhance our cultural and social center and economy without resorting to sprawl.

Further, Not long ago, Carrboro was largely dismissed as a small bedroom community of little consequence. Today we are recognized as a regional leader and collaborator with our neighbors in sustainable planning and policies, and a national leader in the merging of culture and economy—(hence our listing as one of the top 100 Towns for the Arts) . It has been a privilege to have played a leadership role in all of these areas, in collaboration with my colleagues. To continue the tradition of visionary, collaborative leadership so ably expressed by my predecessors, Ellie Kinnaird and Mike Nelson, I announce my candidacy for Mayor of Carrboro., because there is much yet to be done to realize these visions:

1. Move forward to implement the New Vision for Downtown Carrboro to create a walkable, sustainable social and economic center to help bring some balance to our tax base to allow us to undertake new initiatives, and stabilize our tax rate, while ensuring the results are compatible with neighborhoods. We have a draft plan to accomplish this (work in progress).
2. Move forward with a plan to identify sustainable, neighborhood-friendly enterprises compatible with our Downtown Vision, as well as the Northern Transition Area to serve our community and diversify our tax base.
3. Simplify and Strengthen the Small Area plan---Not ‘Completely Rework' it. This plan was the result of a six-year process involving hundreds of community members, and its basic concepts are sound. Rather, I believe we can update the plan in a limited, targeted scope, and portions of the working ordinances to make it more effective. The Board already has this on our plate from our retreat in January---
4. Develop and fund a plan to preserve the Bolin Creek corridor---In a bit of irony, some NCDOT funds can be used for development of greenways, and may be used for property acquisition.
5. An emerging challenge is the potential encroachment of ‘dormitory-style' student housing in neighborhoods and our downtown. I have proposed a moratorium on development in the districts that are currently zoned for this use, but in my view, incompatible with our Downtown Vision and our economic goals for the community.
6. Add to our toolbox new strategies to increase our stock of affordable housing, and to bring it within reach of those who work in our community who remain left out, through greater collaboration among non-profits, the Town, County and greater use of tools such as Low-Income Housing Tax credits
7. Continue to work with our neighbors in the region for truly sustainable solutions to our environmental and infrastructure challenges, and build partnerships to meet potential threats to our communities' health.

Finally, I believe the most important role for a Mayor, is, in addition providing a coherent vision and follow through, to recognize that he or she is one of seven Board members, each with talents and visions, and to encourage and foster the unique leadership and vision of his or her colleagues, as well as to ensure that the entire community participates in major decisions.

In my fifteen years of service to Carrboro I believe I have exemplified this leadership style: Early in my tenure, I was considered the resident ‘Transportation Wonk'—My colleague Diana McDuffee expressed keen interest in the field, and rather than manifest the territorial tendencies that seem to pervade those in this business, I welcomed the fresh approach she brought, and got out of the way. The result is our Fare-Free bus system. Diana was the preeminent leader in this effort and deserves the credit.

All of the major initiatives I described earlier were developed by, and with the entire community. If elected Mayor, I will bring that spirit of collaboration and optimistic vision---Looking for what we can accomplish together as a community in collaboration, with openness, and inclusiveness.


It's a busy weekend with low OP activity.
A few thoughts before getting lost in festivities…
I am glad Alex has decided to run. He is a strong candidate with an impressive record of community service and deep commitment to Carrboro.
Mark is also a strong candidate with a progressive vision I can identify with.
My wish for both is that they enjoy the campaign season and use it as an opportunity to learn more about all Carrboro constituents. The goal is to make our community more cohesive, caring, sustainable, broadly prosperous, and respectful of our individual preferences.
Enjoy the long holiday weekend!

OP has given me additional insight into our local politicians. It takes a certain courage to post and comment here, and risk others misunderstanding and anonymous ire. I'm sure some Rove- or Carville-types would advise steering clear of public comment here. That's why I applaud Alex, Mark K, Mark C, and others both elected and campaigning for joining in this discussion.

I gained a better understanding of what sort of person Alex is from the way he handled a potentially volatile topic with humor. That said a lot about him as a person to me, and it was even issue-related.

This is going to be an interesting race. Good luck to both of you.

Carrboro is incredibly fortunate to have two such well informed, dedicated candidates for mayor. I'm reading the Small Area Plan this weekend in preparation for the debates!

Terri, I can tell you're excited but I don't think there are any debates scheduled this week.

Dan--there's a debate here every day!

Thanks, gang.

Terri, in your research, a couple of items I'd point out:
A key issue at hand is the problem with the 'floating zone' concept. That this needs to be revisited is not a new idea: Mike Nelson raised the issue at our retreat in January, suggesting that we would get better results if tracts were identified for the uses outlined in the Plan, and the appropriate zoning implemented. As I recall, we all agreed that this was a good idea, with the proviso that it would likely be controversial. The whole plan , and it's basic concepts were controversial, and that's why it took hundreds of people several years to hammer the thing out.(I was in the middle of it for the entire process, so I oughta know).

My dispute with Mark is that we don't need to tear the whole thing up and start from scratch to fix this problem, and make other necessary adjustments. I'll go into more detail later.


Crap---I hit 'submit 'fore I was finished: As we go along, I'll be adding detail on my website, which is really moldy now. Jackie Hayes and I will be updating shortly.


Belay that last comment---Jackie Helvey's been a busy bee. Check it out.


Just back from the Carrboro People's Parade (which was bigger than ever) where I met Katherine Devine.

Ms. Devine was taking a break from her sweltering duty of the last couple days, working the Dems tent at the annual Eno Festival, and was visiting with the folk she hopes will elect her Carrboro Alderman.

Looks like she's the first non-incumbent to join the race for Alderman this year. I asked if she was "officially" announced and she said that since it had been announced at the Festival's mainstage yesterday that was the case.

She told me she expects her web site to be up and running "sometime", hopefully, between the local media and the web site we'll learn about her take on Carrboro's issues.

I also ran into Mark Chilton, who was in picnic-mode and saw Jacquie Gist, who was in campaign-mode (she, her SO and a few other folk were wearing big "traffic orange" stickers saying "Ask me about Carrboro").

I silently wished the OP would have a "meetup" as I walked in the parade with my wife and kids. We enjoyed the day, and the events. My son was a bit perplexed by the balloon relay, but loved the clay and scrap tables. My daughter enjoyed the juggler and "tall-man".

A question for you. On the board of elections spreadsheet, what is the "Thres" heading for?

Not sure Robert, but it's probably got something to do with the fact that candidates have to raise a certain amount of money to be required to report their camapign finances. So it may indicate whether they have met the threshhold for reporting.

Next year at July 4th, everyone wear your t-shirts and we'll be able to find each other! ;-)

Ruby is correct. As I understand it, when you file, you have to indicate whether you plan to spend more or less than the $3K threshhold, hence the oven and under notations. If your situation changes, you must amend you filing declaration.

In Chapel Hill, all candidates file reports regardless of the amount they spend and they must report the names of anyone contributing more than $20. No candidate can accept more than $200 from any individual or political committee. The rub, of course, as the other thread points out, is that we often don't know what a "contribution" is or the outside spending done on behalf of a candidate.

Two other quick "rubs". One, for contributions under $100 the contributors employement isn't required. Two, with self-financing candidates, it's possible that their financing will be post-dated to after the election.

I plan to keep and publish as specific and timely a record of contributions as I can this cycle. I will strongly encourage all candidates to report employment info for contributions at any level.

As far as post-dated expectations - that's a real tough nut to crack. I expect that candidates will rely on their in ate ethical sense to guide their actions and temper the temptation to fudge by realizing that at some point all will be revealed.

I have never believed that reporting employment info does a whole lot, other than providing info that can be used for people to speculate about. For example, if I make a $200 contribution (never have, BTW) and indicate that I'm self-employed, what does it tell you? You have no idea which clients "contributed" to my ability to make that contribution. Nor does it tell you that my spouse works for the UNC, and even if I write it on a check with just my name, it still is "our" money.

If a candidate gets lots of contributions from people employed by the UNC, what do you conclude? They in fact can be very much anit-UNC folks, but how would you know?

Thus, I see little being gained, other than making a campaign treasurer do a whole lot of extra work.

In the past (although not in Chapel Hill to the best of my knowledge), businesses would use employees to funnel contributions to campaigns. It allowed them to by-pass the prohibition against corporate donations and limits on personal contributions.

Actually, employment can tell you a lot, at least in terms of patterns. If a candidate who herself was not a developer received a lot of contributions from those whose employers were development-related, you might, along with other information, draw a conclusion.

The example of UNC is a poor one since Chapel Hill is so extensively a company town. The information of many UNC-employee contributions might lead voters to look further as to what departments those employees worked for and what other patterns might emerge. For example, both Dianne Bachman and Dorothy Verkerk may have received many contributions from university employees. An examination of those employees' work areas might tell you something worhtwhile about those candidates.

To "follow the money", you need clues as to where the money might lead. Employment is a good one if by no means definitive.

Fred, I guess I could speculate on why you put forth that argument but....

Sure, it's not necessarily indicative of the candidate's allegiance, but it sometimes gives rise to pertinent questions.

To paraphrase myself on Ms. Bachman's campaign, "if she wasn't the candidate of pro-development or the UNC BOT, what was it in her campaign that the UNC BOT or developers saw that encouraged them to make large contributions mostly to her?"

A reasonable question in light of the heavy contributions from principals of East/West, Meadowmont, Franklin St. Partners, etc. and the BOT.

Her attempts to be coy on this point only detracted from her campaign efforts and her message of independence.

As far as your point about a consultant "laundering" contributions through their consultancy - well, icky, but I imagine that the cap of $200 will ameliorate that problem.

Finally, more work for the treasurer? Maybe.

Well worth it as a firm indication that a candidate cherishes open governance? No doubt.

Will, you jumped to the conclusion that I was talking about "laundering." I am making a simple point: if I put self-employed on my info sheet, you no nothing more than if I put nothing. I also never try to confuse "open goverence" with campaign contributions.

Dan, when I put my wife's employment as "the UNC," you are assuming that it means UNC-CH; the UNC has 16 institutions, so what's the conclusion? Point is, you draw conclusions that may take you in the wrong direction. Neighbors may support a neighbor because they like the person, and their employment by whomever is irreverent. Yet, some people might see a "pattern" that means absolutely nothing.

As one who embraces freedom of speech, I see campaign contributions as a free speech issue. Hard to believe that so many progressives don't. After all, money spent doesn't correlate with victory and correlation and causation are different words for a reason.

BTW Ruby, have you considered the implications of your Blog to campaign finance laws? FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith recently made some comments hinting at a "crackdown" on Bloggers, and Online Journalists:

"Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

"In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign's Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate's press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines."

Extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet will be yet another blow to freedom of speech.

of course the FEC only regulates federal elections, not state or local ...

Chapel Hill news today reports at
Two Chapel Hill twentysomethings have set their sights on one of the three seats available on the Town Council.
Jason Baker, 21, a rising junior at UNC, filed Monday for a spot on the council dais.

Walker Rutherfurd, 24, a May graduate of the university, plans to do so this week.

Baker says he wants to improve public transit and encourage walking and biking, bring a wider array of businesses and services downtown and build affordable housing. He also hopes to build "student enfranchisement."

Active in the UNC Young Democrats, the political science major helped register 3,000 students for last fall's election, and he plans to get students to the polls to vote for him.

Rutherfurd, who graduated with a business degree, works for Liquidia Technologies.

As a student, he was chairman of the student board of elections, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council and was inducted into the Order of the Golden Fleece honor society.

A registered Republican, Rutherfurd describes himself as a moderate who will help foster constructive discussions between town and gown on issues like Carolina North, seek to keep taxes low or cut them and improve downtown by attracting new business and pursuing wireless Internet access for the area.

Jeff Danner is running for school board. He's a Seawell Elementary School parent who was elected to the Seawell SGC this spring. He has been politically involved in recent school issues. He strikes me as a thoughtful, serious person who will vote much the same as current school board members.

Also, Good luck Catherine on the Carrboro campaign. I'm relieved that you have filed.


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.