Sierra Club endorsements!

The Sierra Club announced its endorsed candidates in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough today.

In Chapel Hill the Sierra Club endorses Kevin Foy for Mayor, and Mark Kleinschmidt, Laurin Easthom, and Will Raymond for Town Council.

In Carrboro, the Sierra Club endorses Mark Chilton for Mayor, and Jacquie Gist and Randee Haven-O'Donnell for Board of Aldermen.

In Hillsborough, the Sierra Club endorses Tom Stevens for Mayor, and Mike Gering and Frances Dancy for Town Board.

Having been a part of this process I am thrilled with all of these selections. I think the club definitely made the right choices. Just as a disclaimer, I recused myself from voting on Chapel Hill endorsements because of my positions in several of the candidates' campaigns.




Thank you for your prompt response. You are a gentleman.

Any chance I can convince you to send me the questions?


In answer to John's fourth question.No I am not a member of the Sierra Club.The last time I ran I did not get their endorsement.I was of course disappointed but life happens and it just made me work harder. I feel honored to have received their endorsement this time around.

Thanks for posting the full press release Tom. I am perplexed as to why the endorsements omit any reference to transportation issues. As long as I have lived in this community (close to 30 years off and on), transportation has been the most consistent environmental issue of concern.

From my perspective, growth is the most significant challenge facing southern Orange County. Whether we stay within the rural buffer (increased density) or grow beyond it (sprawl), transportation will be the most visible challenge in supporting responsible growth. Alex Zaffron is the leader I want working on those challenges for Carrboro. Alex has demonstrated, over many years of personal and elected service, his ability to bring creative thinking to transportation challenges as well as technical knowledge and personal commitment. When the Chatham Walmart threat became known this past summer, Alex exhibited his leadership by slowing down the permitting process to ensure adequate time and oversight for a full environmental review of the site and the developer's plans.

More recently, he arranged to move the traffic signaling project up in the MPO's funding order. Traffic signals may seem inconsequential but in reality they play a very significant role in controlling air pollution and making our community more pedestrian and bicycle friendly. Funding the signalling project brings with it two important non-transportation benefits. First, it will be a significant cost savings for the Chapel Hill Engineering Department that manages the township's network of signals. The current system is so old that it is unreliable and very costly to maintain. Management of the signalling network is a service Chapel Hill provides for Carrboro, and one that we should gratefully support. Second, a modern signalling system will lay the foundation for a future township-wide wireless municipal network.

This gets at my second reason for endorsing Alex. Transportation isn't an isolated issue, it impacts and is impacted by decisions about economic development, affordable housing, LUMO, etc. Too often the complexity of these issues leads to fragmented thinking. Seeing the possibilities of capitalizing upon the economic development opportunities of a municipal wireless network with the environmental benefits of a state-of-the-art signalling system is just one example of how Alex has demonstrated his ability to see the bigger picture and move from rhetoric into strategic action.

Each candidate brings his/her own experience into any campaign and incumbents bring a public record. I can honestly say that I do not always agree with Alex and oppose some of his past votes and present positions. However, his overall performance and the values he represents are more important than single votes or issues. I hope voters will consider Alex's strong, positive environmental records when making their choice for Carrboro mayor.

Thank you Joe.

I have several concerns about process and conflict of interest here. After the election, I would be happy to meet with the SC and talk about my concerns. I have ideas on ways to improve and clean up the endorsement process. Again, my family is a Guardian of the Sierra Club for over 10 years.

A point of clarification....

The Orange-Chatham Sierra Club submits endorsement recommendations to the NC Chapter Sierra Club Political Steering Committee, who gives final approval. The NC Sierra Club is a registered PAC. When a candidate is 'endorsed' there are guidelines with respect to what the candidate can do using the Sierra Club name and inversly what the NC Sierra Club is allowed to do for candidates.

Newspapers are not registered PAC's and therefore have far more latitude in what they say about candidates, both endorsed and non-endorsed.

Mary, I would be happy to listen to your concerns after the election.

In every candidate forum and interview, there's much to be gained by listening to fellow candidates and by anticipating the questions we're asked consistently. The surveys are likewise enlightening.

My Sierra Club interview at WSM was conducted by Tom, who read all six questions verbatim, transcribed my answers verbatim, and stopped typing when I stopped talking. No probing, no discussion. The other two judges, Dan and Dana, kept quiet and limited their eye contact with me and each other. I believe Tom when he says the same protocol ruled every interview, all the way down to the table and seating arrangement.

Availability and punctuality demonstrate that a candidate has the time to devote to a four-year term of office.

I just got back from making a sweep of precincts with WillR to put up balloons- we went to Southern Village, Meadowmount, Eastside, Ridgefield, Battle Park, and the library.

Most interesting thing- Ed Harrison has signs up everywhere that say '22 years working for the Sierra Club.' Interesting way to respond to not getting endorsed.

Back out to the polls!



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