CARRBORO – A member of Carrboro’s planning board is the first to throw her name into the hat for the special election to fill Mayor Lydia Lavelle’s former seat on the Board of Aldermen.
Planning Board Chair, Bethany Chaney says she wants to focus on the affordability of the town if she’s elected.
“If we can’t attract and retain people that can live here, can also afford to buy the products and services that we offer here in Carrboro, and that can work here, too, we lose out,” Chaney says.
Chaney grew up in Chapel Hill and has lived in Carrboro since 2004. She graduated from Chapel HillHigh School and got her BA in interdisciplinary studies from UNC. She later went to Northeastern University where she received a general studies MBA.
Chaney was elected to the planning board in 2011. She’s in the final year of her first term and has served one and half one-year terms as chair. She says here time served has familiarized her with the procedures of advisory boards and local government.
“We don’t want to micromanage at the board level,” Chaney says. “But, we also want to help facilitate people doing their jobs well, doing it in the spirit of our vision, and to the letter of our ordinance.”
She says she’s noticed how important community involvement is when decisions are made.
Chaney also has nearly 20 years experience in the non-profit sector where she says she can bring knowledge of where there are underutilized areas into which the town can tap.
“For example, there are economic development and community development or affordable housing resources out there that are really better utilized for and targeted towards nonprofits or to private developers to use,” Chaney says. “If we have a better sense of where those resources are and the timing of those resources, we can plan in advance to encourage nonprofits and for-profit developers to go after those resources and put them to use here in town.”
The special election for the vacant seat on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen will be held May 6 during the North Carolina Primary. The filing period is February 10-28.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/planning-board-chair-seek-carrboro-boa-seat/
RALEIGH - Public Policy Polling Director Tom Jensen says the 2014 senate race will be greatly affected by the President’s approval rating.
“It’s really kind of amazing,” Jensen says. “Barack Obama’s approval has dropped ten points in North Carolina since September; Kay Hagan’s net approvals has dropped ten points in North Carolina since September. We really are seeing that Obama’s fate is basically dictating Hagan’s fate.”
Democrats are losing points when the Affordable Care Act and its website aren’t working the way legislators said it would. Senator Hagan sent a request to the Obama Administration to launch an investigation into the problems behind the ACA, but Jensen says that hasn’t really helped her numbers.
“She’s not somebody who voters have really strong feelings about one way or the other,” Jensen says. “So, where she ends up in our polls sort of goes up and down depending on other things that are going on politically.”
Jensen says the next 11 months will be crucial for Senator Hagan.
“Really, if it’s a good year for Democrats, Hagan should be fine,” Jensen says. “If it’s a bad year for Democrats, she’s in a lot of trouble. If it’s kind of a neutral year, I think we should expect a pretty close race.”
There are five Republicans vying for the opposition to Senator Hagan. Jensen says the numbers have started to settle, and that over the last three months there’s been a big shift in how the race is looking.
“Kay Hagan is up on Thom Tillis by two points, tied with both Heather Grant and Mark Harris, and down by two points to both Greg Brannon and Bill Flynn,” Jensen says.
Public Policy Polling found 43 percent of voters approve of the job Senator Hagan is doing while 49 percent disapprove.
To see the complete results of the polls, click here.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/sen-hagans-fate-may-rest-hands-president/
Raleigh – The failed launch of the Obamacare website is acting like gravity for the approval ratings of democrats in Washington D.C.
***Listen to the Story***
Senator Kay Hagan’s approval ratings are changing, but Public Policy Polling Analyst Jim Williams says they’re not going the direction the Hagan administration would prefer.
“We had found Kay Hagan with a small, but consistent lead throughout most of this year,” Williams says, “We’re finding now that it’s really kind of crept into a statistical tie at this point.”
The poll shows Hagan in a dead heat with her prospective 2014 opponents; coming in no more than three points ahead of state House Speaker Tom Tillis, Heather Grant, and Rev. Mark Harris. And she’s trailing one point behind Greg Brannon.
So what’s the force behind the trend?
“That stems probably from the botched roll out of the Obamacare website,” says Williams.
The website has been a nightmare for the faces of the Democratic Party since healthcare.gov opened its marketplace for federal health insurance on October 1.
“Obama’s approval rating in September was 48 percent approve, 29 percent disapprove,” Williams says, “Now it’s down to 43 percent approve, 53 percent disapprove.”
Williams says North Carolinians have responded negatively to the health care plan they were already skeptical of in the first place.
“Obamacare has never been particularly popular in North Carolina, but now only 38 percent of voters say they approve of it, compared to 48 percent who disapprove,” Williams says.
“Even worse 69 percent of voters say its rollout has been unsuccessful so far.”
The 2014 senate election is still a year away. Williams says there’s a large group of undecided voters who could come to Hagan’s rescue.
“The race is sort of unformed as far as the senate race,” Williams says, “A lot of the folks who either are running or may run are not well-known to the voters yet; so that’s why you’re seeing high numbers of undecided voters.”
Senator Hagan originally supported the Affordable Care Act. But she announced Tuesday that she is asking for an investigation of the failed website launch.http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/sen-hagan-approval-slipping-in-wake-of-obamacare-web-launch/
(Just got back from a busy day at the station: a fire on campus, a bus accident, and Bryn Renner’s injured shoulder, plus it was Election Day on top of it all. I fear this Blog-A-Day post will be light on the content. Oh well. If this doesn’t satisfy, there’s always tomorrow. Or later today, as the case may be.)
Election Night is over. Is there anything left to say?
Nothing we didn’t expect. (I think most people expected a closer battle for fourth place in the Town Council race, but even that was only a matter of degree.) All told, it was a pretty clear victory for the status quo in Orange County: every incumbent won easily and turnout was low. Often we take low turnout to mean that voters are dissatisfied, but in this case the apathy seems to indicate that Orange voters are basically fine with things as they are.
But there is that tenor of discontent in Chapel Hill–especially in the areas of Central West and Southern Village/Obey Creek, where the biggest development debates are either on deck or already underway. Those are the precincts where Amy Ryan beat Maria Palmer–Palmer won everywhere else–and Central West is also where a greater percentage of voters wrote in a name for mayor (presumably Tom Henkel) rather than vote for Mark Kleinschmidt.
So neither of those discussions will be going away anytime soon, and we already knew that too. The ‘vocal minority’ speaking out against Central West is a minority of the town as a whole, but a pretty sizable percentage (a majority? not sure) of residents living in that immediate area. Same goes for Obey Creek: most Chapel Hillians will probably be fine with whatever happens there, but residents in (and around) Southern Village will be more on their guard.
So that interesting philosophical question is going to keep coming up: how much do we weigh the interests and opinions of those who are likely to be most heavily affected by a given policy? And for that matter–following that vein–how do we weigh the interests/opinions of those who are affected by a policy but don’t have a say in the electoral process? Carrboronians too will be impacted by what happens at Obey Creek and Central West, no less than Chapel Hillians, but they don’t get to vote for the people who make those decisions. (Likewise, Orange County residents didn’t have much of a say in Chatham’s decision to site a Walmart along 15/501.) Do elected officials have a responsibility to think about those folks too–or are they only to concern themselves with the interests of those inside their own borders?
Those are interesting questions, but it’s too late for me to even think about how to answer them. For now, just congratulations to all the winning candidates, incumbents and newcomers alike.
Now. How ’bout that UNC basketball team!http://chapelboro.com/columns/aaron-keck/election-2013-post-mortem-thoughts/
CHAPEL HILL – Mark Kleinschmidt received 89.7 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s election, easily winning his third term as Chapel Hill’s mayor.
Kleinschmidt thanked the community for the turnout during the elections.
“First of all I want to say how grateful I am for the support that the community showed, and I’m very grateful for being re-elected,” Kleinschmidt said. “I always said that there are about 20 percent of people who vote in Chapel Hill who will never vote for me ever, and well, I beat that.”
Along with incumbents Sally Greene and Ed Harrison, two newcomers will be joining the council. Maria Palmer and George Cianciolo beat out Loren Hintz and Amy Ryan. Kleinschmidt said he was pleased by the outcome.
“I’m really surprised, although I think that the ultimate results reflect the strong campaigns, particularly of the top six vote getters, all the way down from the four winners through Amy and Loren,” said Kleinschmidt. “I think we had some great campaigns that really engaged the community. I’m really looking forward to working with this set.”
Although Kleinschmidt was running unopposed, 500 people wrote in another name. Some of those may have been the result of a last minute write-in campaign from people upset with how the Central West development has been handled. Kleinschmidt says he’s glad to hear feedback from people about the Central West area.
“Well I’m glad folks are engaged, the only thing that’s kind of disturbed me at all are some of the ways that this process has been described inaccurately,” Kleinschmidt said.
He stressed that the Central West plan is general guidance for future development and it has not been approved by the town council.
For his third term, Kleinschmidt says he is looking forward to working on the plan to redevelop the Ephesus Church-Fordham Boulevard area.
“One of the things I’ve been working on really hard for the last four years is getting work done on the Ephesus Church – Fordham Boulevard district,” said Kleinschmidt. “That’s actually a really exciting project that’s going to give real meat to the words that have been said by almost everyone who’s ever run for council or mayor for the last 15 years, that they want to enhance our commercial tax base.”
Prior to being elected as mayor in 2009, Kleinschmidt served on the council from 2001-2009.http://chapelboro.com/2013-election-central/2013-election-mayors/mayor-kleinschmidt-wins-third-term/
CARRBORO – Election Day in Carrboro was an anticlimactic affair, as all three incumbents won reelection to the Board of Aldermen.
With five candidates in the race for three seats, the leading vote-getter was Jacqueline Gist, the Board’s longest-serving member. Gist won 1,657 votes, about 28.5 percent of the overall total. Just behind her in second was Randee Haven-O’Donnell, who won a third term on the Board with 1,548 votes. In third was Sammy Slade, who won his second term with 1,505 votes.
First-time candidate Kurt Stolka finished well behind in fourth with 643 votes, more than 800 behind Slade. Al Vickers took fifth with 406 votes.
It was a victory for the status quo in Carrboro—and Jacqueline Gist says that’s a sign residents are happy with the direction the town is taking.
“I’d been worried about low voter turnout,” she says, “(but) then somebody said to me, ‘well, you know that means people aren’t mad about anything’…
“People seem to like the direction the town’s heading in.”
Also in Carrboro, Alderman Lydia Lavelle easily won election as mayor with more than 96 percent of the vote—no surprise, as she was running unopposed. She’ll replace Mark Chilton, who’s stepping down as mayor after four terms.
But election season isn’t quite over in Carrboro: Lavelle’s victory means there will be an open spot on the Board of Aldermen when she takes her seat as mayor in December. Board members will need to decide whether to fill that seat by appointment or by special election; if the town holds a special election, it will likely take place at the same time as the general statewide primary on May 6.
Kurt Stolka suggested he may throw his hat in the ring for that seat, but hasn’t announced definitively yet.http://chapelboro.com/2013-election-central/2013-election-boa/incumbents-and-lavelle-win-easily-in-carrboro/
With Election Day upon us here in Orange County, I think I speak for all of us when I say to each of this year’s candidates:
Good Lord, people! Why you got to be so nice?
I mean, seriously, guys. You are making my job impossible. As a journalist, I belong to a large and long-established coterie of highly-trained professionals who spend each and every waking moment tirelessly documenting every gaffe, every verbal slapfight, every well-rehearsed zinger that passes a politician’s lips. My livelihood depends on my ability to document those moments when candidates and Council members interrupt each other, wag their fingers, raise their voices and refuse to cede the floor. I’m racked with despair if I can’t rush on the air with allegations of scandal or vague hints of borderline misconduct bolstered by a ten-second sound bite of shocked chagrin from the leader of the opposition.
I need red meat, you guys. And it’s your job to give it to me.
But instead, what do I get?
I get people who like each other.
Twenty-four candidates in this race, twenty-four, and not a single cutthroat in the lot. I’m seeing Facebook pictures of George Cianciolo and Loren Hintz, candidates who ought to be out digging through each other’s garbage, instead standing together, in public no less, laughing about some shared joke and calmly discussing serious issues as if they were the best friends in the world. Bah! I’m hearing Andrew Davidson, asked why he’s the best school board candidate in the race, responding “I don’t think I am the best candidate. I think Michelle Brownstein is the best candidate.” What?! HUMBUG!
Have you people learned nothing from Washington? From Raleigh?
That’s how politics is done, folks.
God, it’s like you’re watching Congress and the NCGA and then deliberately doing the opposite.
And I for one have had it.
So here’s my challenge to you. We’ve got one day left to salvage this. One day left to have a real, hard-fought, knock-down, drag-out, yelling-screaming, accusation-hurling, life-ruining, campaign-finance-law-breaking election. Like our Founding Fathers intended.
Happy nicey-nice time is over.
So. First things first. I want to see you fight. No more of this “oh, I totally agree” or “that’s a very good point” or “I want to piggyback on what Sammy just said, because I think it’s really important.” Twaddle! These people are your enemies. They must be opposed, blocked, and thwarted at every turn. You work with them? You serve on boards with them? You like them? Forget that. You hate them. They are evil. Whatever comes out of their mouths, you disagree with it. And act shocked that they’d even think such a thing. Even if it was your idea in the first place. You don’t hear Mitt Romney or the Heritage Foundation running around going “I want to piggyback on Obamacare,” do you? Ha!
Repeat after me:
“My opponent is completely out of touch with Chapel Hill.”
“Sounds like she wants to turn us into Cary.”
“That’s exactly the kind of thinking that brought all the flooding in the first place.”
“Man, if I were the CEO of Walmart, I’d sure be out campaigning for my opponent!”
This would have been a much better forum with at least one angrily overturned chair.
Next. I want attack ads. Enough of this take-the-high-road crap. I don’t want to be able to turn on my TV or open up my Web browser without hearing how some candidate’s going to let the terrorists win.
And zingers. Real good zingers.
“Weaver? More like WAFFLER!”
“When it comes to Chapel Hill, Sally’s a bit too GREENE.”
“Running for Council? Cianci-OH NO!”
Honestly, people, this is not that hard.
So there you have it. We’ve got less than a day to turn this thing around. I’m counting on you. And so are all those good, patriotic Americans out there who won’t vote unless they have a terrible, inane, stupid reason for doing so.
Make it happen, people. You’ve been doing us proud for months now. Enough of that. Take a page from DC. Take a page from Raleigh.
It’s Election Day.
Do us ashamed.http://chapelboro.com/columns/aaron-keck/its-election-day-start-fighting-already/
WINSTON-SALEM – Experts in government law say the chairman of the Watauga County Board of Elections broke no state law when he asked that a heated discussion during a board meeting be dropped from the minutes.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports that UNC School of Government Professor Frayda Bluestein said the board can limit the detail in the official minutes as it sees fit.
After board chairman Luke Eggers learned that a first draft of the meeting minutes contained a description of the discussion at the Aug. 12 meeting, he requested that it not be used.
Board member Kathleen Campbell said the parts of the earlier meeting erased from the minutes include her question on how much money would be saved by consolidating precincts, eliminating a polling location at Appalachian State University.http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/experts-say-watauga-elections-board-broke-no-law/
ORANGE COUNTY – The Orange County Board of Elections approved the four locations where you can do your early voting this year. The locations still need approval by the state’s Board of Elections.
Early voting starts October 17 and continues until November 2. There is no early voting on the weekends, with the exception of November 2, which is a Saturday. The General Assembly’s bill that would shorten early voting periods would not affect these dates.
Hillsborough voters can vote at the Board of Elections office at 208 S. Cameron Street, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On November 2, the polling site is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Carrboro Town Hall and the Rams Head Dining Hall, located at 320 Ridge Road in Chapel Hill, are both open from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except on November 2 when it is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Chapel Hill voters can also go to the Seymour Senior Center at 2551 Homestead Road. The site is open from noon to 6:00 p.m., except on November 2 when it is only open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Absentee voting is still available, with ballots available at the Orange County Board of Elections website. Ballots should be mailed to PO Box 220, Hillsborough, N.C., 27278.http://chapelboro.com/news/election/county-board-approves-early-voting-locations/
CHAPEL HILL – Chapel Hill-Carrboro school board chair Michelle Brownstein is running for re-election and says the state-level cuts that will affect the 2013-14 budget will have deep impacts on local schools, especially with around 80 percent of the budget going to personnel.
“Our state government, at least with the budget they just passed, while I’m waiting for the final translation of that from our budget office, I’m concerned that we’re going to end up not having the funds to keep all the positions we have,” Brownstein says. “It’ll mean bigger classrooms, less teachers, less support for teachers.”
Brownstein says that one of her biggest accomplishments as chair of the school board is raising awareness about illiteracy and instituting programs to improve reading ability among students.
“I think that’s critical, in terms of making sure all kids can then get a year’s worth of growth,” Brownstein says. “And then the kids that are behind, which is really important, need to get advanced growth, and the only way they’re going to be able to do that is if they can read well.”
Brownstein says her other biggest accomplishment on the board is hiring Thomas Forcella as the CHCCS superintendent. She says his plans for the future of the area are the same as hers and he has only begun to implement them.
“He’s starting his third year now and that really is right when he’s going to begin to execute his long-range plan that’s going to move our district forward, I think, on multiple levels,” Brownstein says.
As a first-term member of the board, Brownstein says that she herself has only begun to implement her vision as CHCCS board chair.
“Being on the board just one term barely gets you going,” Brownstein says.
Election Day in November 5.