The Weaver Street Market Board: The OTHER important election this fall

We thought turnout for the municipal elections in Carrboro was low, but word on the street is that the turnout for the board elections at Weaver Street Market is abyssmal. Apparently even though many folks in Carrboro are members of the Weaver Street Market cooperative, only a couple of hundred members actually vote in a given election for the board. Considering there are probably 10,000+ members (educated guess based on the membership numbers i'm hearing people give at the register these days), that's a 1-2% turnout rate. Considering that the market is arguably the soul and conscience of Carrboro, it's surprising that so few people take a moment to learn about the candidates and take the important step of voting.

This year we're hoping that changes. So in an effort to promote voting of "consumer-owners", both candidates for the board have written this piece to get the word out about the voting, to tell you a little about ourselves, and to encourage each of you to reach out to your friends and neighbors and encourage them to vote as well.

Here's the skinny:

Tuesday, October 6 - Voting begins, Election displays up in stores
Saturday, October 10 - Consumer-owner table in Carrboro store, 12 pm - 2 pm - come and ask the candidates questions!
Friday, October 16 - Consumer-owner table in Southern Village store (5 - 7 pm) - come and ask the candidates questions!
Saturday, October 17 - Consumer-owner table in Hillsborough store 12pm - 2 pm - come and ask the candidates some questions!
Sunday, October 25 - Meet the Candidates at Annual Meeting - Century Center in Carrboro
Sunday, November 1 - Voting ends at 9 pm
Monday, November 2 - Votes counted at Hillsborough offices (candidates welcome)


Consumer-Owner candidate Robert Short's bio and statement for orange politics:

My name is Robert Short and I am running for a seat on the Weaver Street Market Board of Director. I have served on the Board previously and enjoyed the responsibility of serving our diverse community of owners. Never have I felt a sense of community as when I served on the Board. Once again I am running for the Board of Directors as a consumer-owner because I feel that the Board could be much more effective in reflecting the views of our community. Over the past year as a non-Board member I have heard numerous good ideas about the direction WSM should take over the coming years.

My concern as an owner and previous Board member is that the Board does not have an effective mechanism for gathering the voices of our community and incorporating them in our Ends Statement, i.e. what are our principles, values, and our vision for the future. From my experience, the Board does a great job of monitoring current activities of the WSM management, but a poor job of visioning and linking with our owners. Current Board processes need an overhaul and I have the experience to offer leadership in that evolution. All of the best ideas from our community will be unheard or not implemented without effective Board processes that focus on our collective future. Please feel welcome to bend my ear whenever you see me at the Market and share with me your views.


Consumer-Owner candidate Rickie White's bio and statement for orange politics:

Some orangepolitics "old timers" may remember me as a frequent writer in the begining of this blog. Although my participation in OP dipped while I worked in D.C. for a few years, I've been back in the area and eager to contribute to the Chapel Hill/Carrboro community in a more substantive way. As a downtown resident, Weaver Street Market is particularly close to my heart. The continued success of the market is vital to our sense of community as well as our downtown economy. So when I heard that there was a board position up for election, I decided this was a great way to use my skills as a conservationist, project manager, and community organizer/activist to strengthen the institution that has given us all so much over the years. Despite some serious bumps due to the economy, I see the "Weave" as continuing to be a central part of our town, providing a place to gather, a place to buy food that is local and healthful, and a place that sets the tone for how we as a community do business.

In the Weaver Street flyer mailed out this week, I put forth the following issues as ones that seem important to address over the next few years. These items seemed to pop up to the top of the list whenever I talked to anyone who shopped or volunteered at Weaver Street about their ideas for the future:

  • ensure that the market continues to be the center of the local foods movement in the area
  • increase community volunteer opportunities for member-owners at the market
  • improve communication avenues between the board and shoppers so that shoppers better understand the actions the board takes
  • create a strategy for securing the Weaver Street lawn as a public space for the community.
  • ensure that products and packaging offered at Weaver Street Market are, to the extent practicable, locally produced and low impact to the Orange County landfill.

Regardless of who you vote for, just please consider voting. We really need a high level of participation and energy in the market in these more difficult economic times!

Cheers,

Rickie and Robert

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