It’s that time of season again! Municipal election season. I would like to open up this post to respectful comments on candidates, their platforms, differences and similarities, and what they would bring overall to a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council. Even though I am not running this time (as I am midterm), I expect to attend many of the forums and keep up with the whole process. I love this season because of the interesting debate about general Town issues that sometimes gets lost in the day to day business of the Town Council. So what do you think? Who is going to run? Who won’t? ETC! What do candidates think are the pressing issues of the day? (Chapel Hill Town Council only please).


40 responses to “2011 MUNICIPAL ELECTION SEASON!

  1. I’ll start by what I know. Lee Storrow has announced he will run. According to the WCHL website he says his “commitment to public health could help him win a seat on the Chapel Hill Town Council. ” I have not met him but apparently he was involved with the Young Democrats.

    Augustus Cho has announced he will run. He ran for Mayor last time and took on David Price at one point as a Republican challenger. I am still seeing bumper stickers advertising Cho’s run for congress on the backs of some Town stop signs and an occasional street guard rail.

    Jon Dehart has not announced yet that he will run, but I expect that he will.

    The incumbent council members have not officially announced they will run, and I’m honestly not sure who will. Matt C I expect to run, but the others I am not sure. Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt has announced his bid for Mayor.

    We’ll see who else throws their hat into the ring.

  2. thanks for doing this, Laurin~

  3. Interesting commentary from a council candidate this morning on WCHL. Augustus Cho comments that there is “taxation without representation” on the council for “Asians” in Chapel Hill because there are no “Asian” council members. I don’t understand this position. I have many, many friends and supporters who I “represent” that are “Asian,” who come to me and talk to me about issues and whom I listen to and work for, like everyone else. I also represent men as well. and African Americans, and people from India, and, etc. etc. etc.

  4. Voter Owned Elections Information from the Town of Chapel Hill:
    “Next Wednesday night we will be conducting the second of our two public information sessions on the Town’s Voter Owned Election Program. A press release went out on the program on June 24 and information on the session is available at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/voe“.

  5. I don’t know why I thought that Mark Kleinschmidt had already announced his run for mayor. But the other day I got an email from Mark McCurry from the mayor’s office (his assistant) saying only the following:
    “Mark will be making a “big announcement” Thurs night at the Crunkleton. 7pm. Best, Mark”
    Since I get only town business matters from Mark McCurry, at first I was a bit confused. Also, the email was addressed only to me. Then it occurred to me that it must have been an undisclosed recipient list.
    So I am assuming then that Mark is announcing his run for mayor at 7 p.m. at the Crunkleton! No real mystery there. And I’m sure that all are welcome.

    I am not sure of any other candidates for mayor at this point. I haven’t heard a word. I would have thought Cho would have given it a go again, but he is running for council. Mark K may in fact run unopposed. We will find out very soon.

    • The rumor I heard a couple of months ago is too odd to repeat by name, but suffice it to say I heard one of your council colleagues (not Matt) was considering running against Mark.

  6. The weird rumor I heard was Jim Ward was considering it. I won’t be supporting him for mayor if he so chooses to run, nor would I support his council re-election. I had an earlier post that was getting some stuff off my chest about Jim, so I’ve thought about it and deleted it because I don’t want to be too negative. I CAN say though, that when I first got on council, I tried hard to be nice to Jim and emailed him on occasion, even called, and never got any response from him. He doesn’t speak to me even today as I sit by him, unless I speak to him first. If there were to be a race between Jim and Mark, I would be standing behind Mark 100%. Mark has always been very respectful of his council members, even when disagreeing. Mark talks to me, and listens. Even though Mark has more experience in Town politics than I do, he doesn’t treat me as an inferior. The last I checked my vote had as much weight as anyone else’s on the council. Looking forward to learning who the inevitable candidates are!


    From: Tracy Reams [mailto:treams@co.orange.nc.us]
    Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 3:54 PM
    To: Town Council
    Cc: Ralph Karpinos
    Subject: Town of Chapel Hill Election

    Good afternoon. Please find attached information pertaining to the Town of Chapel Hill 2011 Municipal Election. The Orange County Board of Elections will be meeting sometime in August to discuss one-stop voting sites for the 2011 Elections. Since this is a Municipal Election, the towns have the authority to request the Orange County Board of Elections to establish one-stop early voting sites of their choice within the municipality at the expense of the municipality. Traditionally the early voting site for the Town of Chapel Hill has been the Morehead Planetarium. Due to budget constraints I wanted to provide another option that you may wish to consider.

    The Seymour Senior Center was established as an early voting site for the Primary and General Elections. In 2010 voters voting at the Seymour Senior Center location cast the highest number of ballots than all of the other locations. The difference in the sites is primarily the cost to obtain voter parking. At the Morehead Planetarium we are charged for voter and precinct official parking. Our cost to obtain the parking spaces for the 2010 General Election was approx $1,200. There are no parking costs associated with the Seymour Senior Center. I just wanted you to be aware of the additional cost for parking at the Morehead Planetarium.

    I have already sent an email request to the Morehead Planetarium guests relations manager to inquire the availability of the Morehead Planetarium should you wish to continue to provide early voting at this site. Of course, the Town of Chapel Hill has the authority to request any site and/or facility approved by the State Board of Elections of their choice and we will do our best to comply with your wishes.

    Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone. A hard copy of the attachments will be sent to the town by mail for signature. Thank you.

    Tracy Reams, Director

    Orange County Board of Elections

  8. Hi Laurin,

    Thanks for the commentary and keeping us up to date! I’ve decided after lots of long conversations and much consideration to run for a seat on the town council and hope to join you at the table this Fall. I look forward, as you do, to finding out more about the field – right now, it looks like you know about what I do!


  9. Good luck Jason!! You would indeed be a valuable member of the Council.

  10. Laney Dale has filed to run for Town Council. In all my years working on council or town government I have never heard of him.

  11. Matt C. was an unknown also Laurin.

  12. I’m not criticizing the fact he is an unknown.
    I did check voting records, and unless I’m wrong he hasn’t voted in a municipal election.
    Again, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    If he were to read this, I would say welcome to the fray!!
    And Will congratulations on your OWASA appointment.
    You could still run for council, you know. 🙂

  13. In fact as I think about it, not sure Matt had voted in a municipal election prior to his own. The way I view it, the council would always benefit from a fresh perspective!

  14. Laurin,
    Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate what you are doing here and look forward speaking with you at some point. You probably do not remember, but we met a year or so ago when you attended a Parks and Rec Commission meeting. I am the vice chair. I have voted in municipal elections in the 4 years that I have lived here.

    • Thanks for writing Laney. I looked on the NC Board of Elections website and saw a one time vote in general election in 2008. Perhaps there are two of you out there! Sorry I don’t remember meeting you. Good luck!

  15. I know everyone knows this already but Sally Greene has announced she is not running for re-election. Sally has been such a valuable member of our council, she will be missed. I know that the council will consistently reference her and her accomplishments along the way during regular business meetings and in our every day work. Such an understatement to the time and commitment that she and other council members have made and sacrificed over the years.

  16. Laurin,
    Great blog, thanks for doing it . I plan to file today .

    I will be number 5 . Seems strange to me that no incumbents have filed yet . I know Sally has announced that she will not seek re-election .

  17. Congratulations Jon on filing! Best of luck. I’m sure to see a few of your campaign signs in my neighborhood!
    I think there is nothing to read into incumbents not filing yet. This is sort of a vacation week for some since it was July 4. Either that or there is a whole week left to file and they’ll do it then. (except for Sally)

  18. My guess is this week is incumbent filing week, (except for Sally and Mark K. that has already filed).

  19. No new filings today….

  20. Don’t get too excited Jon! 🙂
    I know one incumbent for sure is running (so I have heard), pretty sure about another, and the other one in times past has not filed early in the process at all and am not surprised by no filings today.
    And as far as whomever else is out there, they have a whole business week to get up there….
    I haven’t heard of anyone else other than incumbents so I have no idea.
    I know Will Raymond filed like on the last day a couple of times? not sure if he is running this year. We just appointed him to OWASA board but I think he would also be a very strong council candidate.

  21. Thanks Laurin for the kind shout out!

    I did indeed file the last minute – about 45 minutes before, 15 minutes before and 5 minutes before closing….

    The path I traveled to get there has been motivated not by any great ambition other than to help out the community as best as possible.

    As you know, I firmly believe if you are going to run for the job, you have to be committed to showing up and doing the job.

    Because of my dozen years of involvement, I think I have always had a fairly firm grasp of what that would mean in terms of time and effort to do that job effectively, at a level which our community deserves.

    Each time it was a very tough decision to make – would my advocacy be more effective on Council?

  22. Will, you’d be an asset in either spot. Your call to make. Good luck!

  23. Donna Bell has thrown her hat into the ring for her first run for council:
    In an email:

    “Dear Friends

    I am excited to announce that I will be filing as a candidate for the Chapel Hill Town Council. I was honored to be appointed to the Chapel Hill Town Council in December 2009 and I’m proud to now be running as a Voter Owned Candidate. Over the next few months, I am hoping to have many opportunities to discuss what I think are the most important issues facing Chapel Hill right now.

    1) The Economy. As we as a community continue to navigate difficult economic times, the Town Council will be asked to make tough decisions about balancing tax burdens fairly, managing growth and ensuring sustainability. My experiences as a Council member as well my time spent serving on the Planning Board and the Sustainable Community Visioning Task Force have prepared.

    2) Making Sound Decisions for the Future. As Chapel Hill moves forward with a new Comprehensive Planning Process (http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=1656), I am excited about the opportunity to participate in a conversation with Chapel Hill’s most important stakeholders, it’s citizens, as we create not only a vision for our shared future, but also a strategic plan to accomplish that vision.

    3) Harnessing the Power of Diversity. I believe that the strength of Chapel Hill lies in its incredible diversity. From long established communities to newcomers from all over the world, I want to make sure that all voices are heard and that good ideas are gathered from everyone. To that end it is important to keep looking for ways to solicit input from all residents, build new relationships and find new channels of connecting residents with information and resources.

    I have been an active member of the Chapel Hill community over 10 years. During that time, I have watched our community struggle over many tough issues and policies. But even when there has been struggle or contention, there has also been a strong desire to create a community to be proud of. I have 15 years experience as a non-profit leader and educator listening and learning from communities to work with people to help solve problems and build collective capacity. This is the role I want to continue to play on the town council.

    Over the coming months, I will be hosting community chats throughout town. I hope many of you come out and share your thoughts. You can also keep up with what is going on with my campaign on Facebook at Donna Bell for Town Council and my website donnabell4ch.com.

    I look forward to an exciting summer and fall.


  24. Who is this? Sorry if I don’t know you.

  25. http://imgsrv.chapelboro.com/image/DbGraphic/201107/1862183.jpg?1310506511

    This is his picture from chapelboro.com.

    Is quoted to having said it would be fun and it costs $5 to run.

    I’m sure there is more to his campaign…..will just have to wait and see.

  26. Matt Cjazkowski announced live on WCHL with Ron Stutts this morning his run for town council…I thought it was a great interview. He brought his family in for the big announcement. Ron and he had a nice discussion about the upcoming campaign.

  27. Carl Schuler has entered the town council race. He has contacted me over the years for various things as he lives in the Northern Area of Chapel Hill. He lives in Vineyard Square, a neighborhood that abuts a new development being built at the intersection of Homestead and Weaver Dairy Ext. comprised of townhomes and roughly 20K square feet of office/retail. Congratulations to Carl for entering the race.

  28. Your “buddy” Jim filed for Town Council today. Guess he’s smarter than everyone was hearing.

  29. No buddy of mine.


  31. Fun happy hour at OP Happy Hour in Hillsborough. Heard some of the campaign talk from candidates for council : “comprehensive plan” and “affordable housing” as major themes. Will look forward to what the campaign looks like and what detailed opinions the candidates have on these and other subjects.
    Will Raymond decided in the end not to run for council, and I know he thought about it. He will be a fantastic board member at OWASA. I hope he considers a run for council in two years.

  32. Thank you Laurin.

    It was a very difficult decision this year.

    Every cycle I find myself struggling with one key question: Can I do more for the community on the Council than from the sideline?

    As you know, I have no great political ambition – being on Council isn’t a waypoint on my path to somewhere else – some kind of achievement I need to bolster the old resume.

    Even though I would be more effective in my advocacy as a Council member, I decided, for a variety of reasons, to wait another cycle.

    Given that, over the last decade I’ve had some success in moving policy from this side of the table and plan to continue to work with you and all the other Council members to help make Chapel Hill a better place to live and work.

    For one, I want to participate directly in the Comprehensive Plan review (which I started lobbying Council to refresh nearly 7 years ago).

    It is important to me that I try as best as possible to represent the many folks who have spoken to me of their concerns about the current state of affairs. The next iteration of our planning framework has to be more effective, more comprehensive, reliably predictable in its guidance.

    I’ve been assured that membership on OWASA’s board won’t conflict with my serving on the Comprehensive Plan committee (it’s actually seen as a plus) which meant I didn’t necessarily have to run for office to continue to work on their behalf.

    I am a bit concerned that some of the key issues before the Town will get short shrift during this campaign season. My hope is that the apparent collaborating slate doesn’t ignore debate while the candidates have our community’s attention.

    Several of those new candidates seem to think we need “more of the same” – several who have pledged to solidify policies which haven’t worked, which have hurt our community.

    Our community deserves a vigorous debate on competing policy agendas. We’ll have to see how that shakes out over the campaign trail. .

    I’ve started writing a fuller ‘blog post on why I didn’t run and what role I might play in local events over the next year. Look for it on CitizenWill.org sometime soon.

  33. I look forward to debate for sure. But the Town’s work continues during the season and we have a municipal election every two years that doesn’t detract much from the business at hand. In fact, incumbents who are running often generate debate during council meetings to set themselves apart from other candidates and take a stronger stand on some issues that they might not otherwise. I also notice they talk more in general during meetings, at least that’s the way I see it.

    On a different note, I have read that Augustus Cho has elected not to use campaign yard signs. Maybe he’ll add more bumper stickers on the back of Town signs, that have lasted for years (his bid for congress).

  34. I want to thank James Barrett for reaching out to me as a voter and elected official in Chapel Hill and scheduling a time for us to meet. We met this morning, and I know he reads this blog but I speak in all honesty that I think he is an excellent candidate for School Board. I didn’t know him before but had seen his posts in blogs, etc and I got to know him better with our meeting this morning. He has lived in Chapel Hill for all of his life, grew up in our school system, has kids now in the system, and has seen the changes in the past and the challenges for the future. I would feel very comfortable with him on our board.

  35. Hi Laurin,
    I enjoyed reading the posts,your comments and updates.