Category Archives: Chapel Hill Election Campaign

CHALT Endorsements for 2017 Municipal Election

CHALT Endorses Hemminger for Mayor, Buansi, Gu, Schaevitz & Stegman for Council

On October 5, the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) announced their endorsements for the November 7, 2017 Chapel Hill municipal election. They are Pam Hemminger for Mayor and Allen Buansi, Hongbin Gu, Rachel Schaevitz, and Karen Stegman for Town Council.

“CHALT’s endorsements are based on individual interviews and rigorous evaluation of candidates based on specific criteria,” said Julie McClintock, former member of the Chapel Hill Town Council and member of CHALT’s selection committee. “These criteria include a candidate’s commitment to making steady progress toward community goals; an ability to offer practical suggestions about how each goal can be addressed; listening skills, respect for dissenting views, critical thinking and personal qualities that will allow for effective collaboration with the community; and an understanding of the need for a comprehensive approach to town planning.”

Listen to the CHALT candidate forum here.

Summaries from individual interviews here.

Hemminger, 57, is the incumbent mayor of Chapel Hill. Since being elected, she has brought a new tone of collaboration to town hall and has achieved remarkable progress in the challenging areas of downtown parking, tech sector jobs, regional planning for water quality protection and development review.

Buansi, 30, is a civil rights attorney who was raised in Chapel Hill. He also served as the legal redress chair for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP and policy and field director for current North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s campaign.

Gu, 49, is a quantitative researcher at the UNC School of Medicine who has lived in Chapel Hill for 22 years. Gu serves on Chapel Hill’s Environmental Stewardship and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools District Asian American Parents Advisory Boards. She organized the Chapel Hill LIGHTUP 2017, the first town-wide celebration of the Chinese New Year, which took place at University Place.

Schaevitz, 37, is a social justice filmmaker and postdoctoral fellow in the Public Humanities program at UNC. She currently serves as the chair of the town’s task force dedicated to development of the American Legion Property, a 36-acre parcel recently purchased by Chapel Hill. She also serves as a Town of Chapel Hill Cultural Arts Commissioner.

Stegman, 48, a Chapel Hill native, is director of business development for IntraHealth International, a Chapel Hill based non-profit organization. She has also served on the Chapel Hill Housing Advisory Board and as her neighborhood’s PORCH coordinator.

“We believe that the four council candidates we’ve endorsed will bring new voices and fresh perspectives to the Chapel Hill Town Council,” said McClintock. “Along with our mayor, they will provide the strong leadership and values we should expect from those who serve in town government.”


The Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) was founded in 2015 by former members of Chapel Hill town governance, UNC faculty members and other community leaders. Its goals are to apply evidence and data to maintaining high standards for development, solving traffic problems, keeping Chapel Hill’s schools strong and making the town affordable for individuals of all income levels. You can find out more at

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Local Elections Matter

Choose Chapel Hill’s Future

Vote Tuesday, November 3


Luxury Apartments Coming Soon to Elliott Road

Do you want more development like this? The Council approved a 200 acre fast-track zone that will allow more buildings like this 7 story luxury apartment building.  The new district calls for zero affordable housing requirements, public input, or the means to control flooding.

This is a critical moment for the town of Chapel Hill. Your vote can shape Chapel Hill for the generations to come.
Don’t know which candidates to vote for? Keep reading:
If you’re happy about the high-rises and chain stores all over town, vote for the incumbents. Here are some more things the incumbents are accountable for:

  • The Town Council approves luxury apartments touted as mixed use such as Elliott Road, but redevelopment policies don’t include affordable housing units.
  • More and more of the manager’s budget is spent on public relations, less on town services. Click here for story.
  • Small businesses are leaving because of massive rezoning. Click here. Story of Plaza Cleaners here.
  • The Town Council does not listen to its advisory boards and ignores informed citizen input. Click to see incumbent voting record for Ephesus Fordham and Obey Creek.
  • The Council approves projects which degrade air and water quality and worsens flooding downstream. Read this letter.
  • The Town does not make it easy for citizens to find information; minutes are approved months after meetings and documents are difficult to find on the website.
  • Town policies are threatening historic areas, and careless redevelopment will wipe out the charm of downtown.

How can you help to elect new leadership?
First vote. Then:

  • Wear campaign buttons for Pam Hemminger for Mayor, David Schwartz, Nancy Oates, and Jessica Anderson and volunteer to greet voters at the polls!
  • Write a thoughtful letter in your own words to your mailing list of friends;
  • Tell your friends how important this election is. Refer them to for more information.

“Deciding who to vote for was easy. These are my people.” — King Tut

The last day of Early Voting is
Saturday, October 31 from 9 am – 1 pm.
Election Day is Tuesday, November 3.


Information about locations and times can be found here.

Read more about these CHALT Endorsed candidates at:

Please put voting on your calendar and forward this email
to your friends and neighbors!  

Vote for new leadership!

Questions? Email us at:

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Candidate Endorsements by Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town

The Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town held a press conference Monday September 21 at 1:30 pm to announce their endorsements for the Town Council. (The four empty seats at the front of the room symbolize the open seats of the council election.)

Tom Henkel made the announcement as an early organizer and member of the Coordinating Committee of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (also known as C.H.A.L.T.).

He said, “Many of us had volunteered our time and expertise to take part in the Chapel Hill 2020 planning exercise and its offshoots. To our surprise, not only were we ignored by the mayor and his supporters on the council, we were portrayed as that noisy minority that complains about everything. We kept asking our friends and neighbors if they liked the way Chapel Hill was changing and nobody said yes. So we banded together and the rest is history – or at least, the history of unpaid hard work.”

“It’s appropriate that we are standing here across from the first project in the misguided and poorly conceived Form-Based Code zone passed last year. Tonight the Town Council is considering tweaks to the Code, including one that will clarify that the town’s Resource Conservation District rules will not apply. We think this zone needs an overhaul to realize our community values, and we need new leadership to accomplish this.”

C.H.A.L.T. held the first candidates’ forum last Tuesday evening and on Thursday the most active supporters gathered to vote on our endorsements. We noted the essential planks of our platform and went down the list: how did each of the candidates stack up against our goals for a livable town in what they said and advocated for during the Forum? These planks are:

  • Deal effectively with traffic and transit problems: Council has still not received from Staff a town-wide traffic study including the effects all approved projects.
  • Encourage local business, start-ups, and light industry to broaden our -tax base: Council’s building of residential instead of commercial development is costing us.
  • Retain and promote affordable housing: High-end residential is pushing out affordable rentals.
  • Make sure all new development meets environmental standards: Example – tonight the town is proposing that the RDC does not apply to the E-F district.
  • Exert proper oversight over the town manager: The Manager seems to be managing this Council.
  • Prioritize keeping Chapel Hill leafy and livable: The Mayor and Council are doing the opposite
  • Support growth that reflects our history as a small, progressive, friendly college town: Many of us came to live in Chapel Hill to get away from the more dense conditions of large metropolitan areas.
  • Spend our tax money wisely and reprioritize how our tax money is spent: Direct it toward essential services, such as more Building Department inspectors, and away from public relations

For the incumbents, the process was easier to analyze as their voting records are on record and are generally contrary to the CHALT platform.

After a two-hour discussion, the group votes. It was unanimous in favor of Pam Hemminger for mayor, and Jessica Anderson, Nancy Oates, and David Schwartz for Council.

Tom closed by saying, “We think these are exceptionally strong candidates. All have demonstrated their commitment to the high ideals that Chapel Hill’s elected officials should embody. And they all possess what I call “inquiring minds”, which will enable them to make the tough decisions in the years ahead.”

“These candidates have run their own campaigns from day one.  We are endorsing them today and will help then.  We wish them the best of luck in the November election. Now please join me in welcoming our new Mayor and Town Council members!”

More information about the candidates follows:

Pam Hemminger for Mayor.

P8200037Hemminger, a former Orange County Commissioner and school board president, runs a small commercial real estate business in Chapel Hill and brings 30 years of volunteer service to this community. She will strengthen ties between Orange County and Chapel Hill, and be a strong voice for local business owners and start-ups, as well as for expanding our parks and greenway system. She will work toward smarter development and restoring integrity to local government.

Jessica Anderson for Town Council

P8200040Anderson, a parent, homeowner and education researcher/analyst, earned a master’s in public policy from Duke University. She currently serves as the principal investigator of North Carolina’s Read to Achieve program. A founder of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Mother’s Club, Anderson will bring the invaluable perspective of a parents’ network to town council. She advocates smart development, more collaboration between the town and the county school system, social justice, and innovative downtown planning.

Nancy Oates for Town Council.

P8200041Oates, who raised two children in Chapel Hill, is a successful freelance journalist who founded the blog Chapel Hill Watch. She knows the strengths and weaknesses of our political system and the needs of our community. She has volunteered in our schools and shelters, and played a leadership role in her church. She will work to enforce affordable-housing mandates, environmental protections, regulatory reforms, and town/gown collaboration.

David Schwartz for Town Council.

P8200045Schwartz, a Chapel Hill native and UNC graduate with a Ph.D. in environmental psychology, was the driving force behind the Little Ridgefield Neighborhood Conservation District. He combines a scholarly understanding of growth and urban-planning issues with a practical ability to get things done. He will be a creative and effective advocate for neighborhoods, environmental safeguards, fiscal sustainability, and safer, more bikeable streets.

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