Category Archives: Chapel Hill Elections

We did it!

We are absolutely thrilled at the November 7th election results!
You can’t do better than 100%!CHALT is so grateful for our talented candidates who are willing to dedicate their time to serve our town.

We truly appreciate our many poll workers, pavement stompers, voters, and supporters who helped elect all five of our endorsed candidates.

Chapel Hill has a better future because of your efforts and we thank you!

Now the governing begins! Our new town council will need our help. Upcoming topics of interest are the new proposed conditional use zone, addressing the major flaws in the Ephesus – Fordham Code, and plans for dealing with congestion on our major highways. An active citizenry will continue to make our town livable for everyone. We look forward to your continued involvement and support.

Durham Herald article

Daily Tarheel

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Lots of Interest in First Candidate Forum

Town Council Forum Video: https://vimeo.com/139593876
Mayoral Forum Video: https://vimeo.com/139593875

Last Tuesday evening (9/15) the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town (CHALT) sponsored the first in a series of public forums for candidates running for Chapel Hill mayor and town council. Not surprisingly, given a groundswell of public concern about recent council decisions, the house was packed. More than 150 people crowded into the theater at the Seymour Senior Center on Homestead Road, and CHALT volunteers scrambled to bring in more chairs.

The two-part forum began with an invitation to all nine of the town council candidates to give short prepared statements on why they are running. (All appeared onstage except Paul Neebe, who was out of the country.) Moderator Theresa Raphael Grimm limited each speaker to a minute and a half. It was a challenging task for the incumbents struggling with an even more extreme version of the Council’s three-minute rule for public comment. Moderator Theresa Raphael Grimm led the candidates through a full agenda beginning with open ended statements about motivations for running to targeted questions for each candidate.  See forum questions

The moderator followed up the candidates’ introductory comments with questions about some of CHALT’s key concerns, such as council decision-making, town fiscal management, and the need for commercial development. Each candidate had 90 seconds to reply. After that, the moderator read questions from index cards submitted by audience members. That session ended at roughly 8:30.

Everyone stayed through a two-minute break to hear the three mayoral candidates, who then took the stage: Pam Hemminger, a former Orange County commissioner and school board member; incumbent Mark Kleinschmidt; and Gary Kahn. Kahn ran unsuccessfully for town council two years ago.

Pam Hemminger, who supports many of CHALT’s positions, spoke about her wide ranging experience (positions in environmental groups, school board and the Orange County Commission.) and her collaborative skills of bringing people with different agendas together. It was a spirited exchange, punctuated by some moments of humor. Asked by the moderator to pose a question to his fellow candidates, Kleinschmidt got a big audience laugh by asking Pam Hemminger, “Why do you want my job?

To hear the answer to that question, Chapelboro readers are encouraged to watch a full video of the event by clicking the links posted above.

The election is November 3, 2015, and early voting at selected locations begins October 22, 2015.

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Elections Matter

elec20151-e1436906426806Chapel Hill deserves leaders who represent the values of the community, and CHALT aims to help the town get them.  This year’s election for mayor and council seats is extremely important to the future of Chapel Hill.  As candidates communicate their positions, CHALT and its many supporters will be listening closely.

Candidate forums are a tradition in Chapel Hill. We will be posting the dates of all of them as soon as they are scheduled. Following the forums, CHALT will communicate with active citizens from all over town and endorse the candidates we believe will best serve our citizens.

Of course, every voter makes their own endorsement when they cast their ballot, either during early voting early (schedule here) or on election day. Wouldn’t it be great if participation in this year’s election doubled the anemic 12% turnout we saw in 2013?

In recent years, we have been disappointed to discover that candidates who espoused certain popular views while campaigning ended up promoting very different things once in office. The incumbents seeking re-election this year—Kleinschmidt, Bell, Storrow, and Ward—are a case in point. Each of them on one or more occasions disregarded citizen concerns when casting votes in favor of major land use changes, such as Charterwood, Ephesus-Fordham, and Obey Creek. Columnist Terri Buckner thus encourages us to vote for candidates who “will listen to you and your neighbors after the election.” Fortunately, this time around, several such candidates have come forward and offered to serve.

On September 15th, 7 – 8:30 pm, CHALT will host a candidates’ forum at the Seymour Senior Center, for the Chapel Hill candidates. Audience participation will be a part of the format. Save the date!

–julie mcclintock

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And the Candidates are…..

candidates-file-in-wake1In Chapel Hill, Council members serve four-year terms, so every two years, half of the eight council seats are contested. This fall, six challengers have joined incumbents Donna Bell, Lee Storrow and Jim Ward to compete for four seats. (When Matt Czajkowski resigned before the end of his term Council declined to appoint a replacement creating an electable seat for voters to fill.)  Details of the candidates are below.

Chapel Hill voters also elect a Mayor every two years.  Mark Kleinschmidt has completed his third term and is running for a fourth term.  He has two challengers for Mayor.

Here are the new candidates for Mayor:

Pam Hemminger, the owner and manager of Windaco Properties LLC, has served one term as a County Commissioner and four years on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board as vice chairwoman and chairwoman. She is a former member of Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation Commission and the Greenways Commission.

Pam has been active in Triangle United Soccer Association, Rainbow Soccer and at Ephesus Elementary and Phillips Middle schools. She is past chairwoman of the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club and is now a Habitat for Humanity of Orange County board member. Read more about her here.

Gary Kahn – a 2 year resident of Chapel Hill, Gary has run for Council in the past and applied to fill the vacant seat on the council earlier this year.  A campaign website could not be located at press time.

Here are the new candidates for Town Council:

Jessica Anderson – a parent and homeowner who has lived with her husband and daughter in Chapel Hill for 5 years. Anderson holds a Master’s in Public Policy, with a concentration in social policy, from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and has spent her professional career immersed in education policy at the national and state levels.

Jessica has volunteered for the Chapel Hill Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor- Advocate Program and the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Mother’s Club. Read more about her here.

Adam Jones – a 30 year resident, and owner and manager of Mill House Properties, has no prior political experience. He applied for the empty council seat earlier this year.   A campaign website was not available at press time.

Paul Neebe – grew up in Chapel Hill and returned as an adult; he is a professional freelance musician and real estate broker.  He has served on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board, and is currently on the Chapel Hill Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board, and the Bicycle Alliance of Chapel Hill (BACH). He has run for the Council before and applied for Matt’s seat earlier this year.  Read more about him here.

Nancy Oates – a resident since 1996, Nancy is a freelance writer and editor for magazines, university publications and local newspapers.  She has volunteered in schools, the PTA Thrift Shop and the IFC shelter kitchen and has held leadership positions at University Presbyterian Church.

Nancy started ChapelHillWatch.com – a popular blog about local government that holds the Mayor and Council members up to scrutiny and allows others to express diverse views. She watched Council meeting for years and realized that important decisions are made there affecting quality of life for residents.  When Chapel Hill Watch became widely followed  the Weekly and the Chapel Hill News asked her to write for them. Read more about Nancy here.

Michael Parker –  a resident of downtown and Chapel Hill for 4 years, Michael serves on the Chapel Planning Commission, as well as on the Boards of the Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Downtown and the Arts Center in Carrboro. He applied for the vacant seat on Council earlier this year.  Read more about him here.

David Schwartz – a lifelong resident of Chapel Hill, David holds a PhD in Psychology; he has has worked as a scientific researcher and professor at Duke and UNC, and as a freelance academic editor. He is a Chapel Hill News columnist and regular commentator on WCHL radio station. He led the efforts to obtain Neighborhood Conservation District protection for the Little Ridgefield neighborhood and to improve the Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment plan.

As a co-founder of the Chapel Hill Alliance for a Livable Town, he has worked to promote good governance and a more prosperous, sustainable, and just future for the town. Read more about him here.

Currently serving Council members Ed Harrison, Sally Greene, George Cianciolo, and Maria Palmer are not up for election until 2017.  A future newsletter will highlight the voting records of the Mayor and all the Council members during their past terms.

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