Fact Checking Matt Czajkowski's Web Site

The first statement you find on Matt Czajkowski's web site is:

"It is very clear that the property tax burden has become unsustainable. Many of the very people who have contributed to making Chapel Hill a special place are now being forced to consider leaving our town, counter to our cherished goal of preserving diversity at all levels."

Being an engineer and a numbers person I wondered two things.  What was the data used to support the statement that diversity in the town was declining and, if so, what is the basis for connecting this to the property tax?

Each year the school district publishes a report that provides ethnicity data for the pupils.  Here is the data for 2001 to 2008 in percentages

                             Asian                Hispanic              Black             White

2001                       9.1                      5.9                     15.7               66.0

2002                       10.0                    6.4                      15.3              64.4

2003                       10.5                    7.5                      15.3              62.3

2004                       11.0                    8.3                      14.8              61.2

2005                       11.7                    8.7                      14.3             60.4

2006                       12.1                    9.6                      14.1             58.6

2007                       12.7                    9.7                      14.0             57.8

2008                       13.5                   10.4                     13.7             56.0

I would submit that this data is fairly indicative of the populaiton of the town and not a compelling data set to show that our town is becoming less diverse in any measurable way.  Furthermore, our mayor and town council have been very successful over the last few years in maintaining services with only modest tax increases. 

Am I missing something?




The CHCCS data includes Carrboro.  Also, lots and lots of our seniors no longer have kids in the school system.

has been a perennial issue in local campaigns. Through the many years that this issue has been raised, little progress has been made. Not only is this an issue that is very complex and has its roots in the corporate macro-economy, but many of the same people who raise this issue as a challenge to the status quo are realtors and business people who put considerable effort into creating a "high-end" economy in Chapel Hill. For these and other reasons, the affordability issue will be a major issue raised in countless campaigns into the future. A solid contribution to the affordability issue and a way to act upon the deep concern for lower income people that MattCz, the Chamber, and many others express is to demand a living wage for all in Chapel Hill. If they are not willing to support the principle that everyone's work is important enough to allow them to purchase food and shelter, then they are revealed to be exploiting the issue of affordability.   

Did not the Council vote on this issue during the budget?  Interesting that you do not seem to hold them all accountable for the number of dollars that they settled on versus the number you think it should be?BTW, can you vote for any of these candidates?

I'm talking about a coalition of private, governmental, and non-governmental agencies committing to a campaign for a living wage for all citizens.  

With all the talk about taxes, many people seem to forget that the Chapel Hill portion of a Chapel Hill citizen's tax bill is less than 1/3 of their total tax bill (32.1 % to be exact).  The remaining 2/3 + of the tax bill is assessed by the county (55.7 %, including schools) and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School District (12.2 %).  If one looks at the increases in taxes over the last several years the major portions of the increases came not from the Town but from the County & School District.  Of course, some (many?) of those increases by the County were necessitated by cuts in the Federal and State budgets which put the burden on the County to provide social services previously provided by the former two government entities.

and the other factor is the valuation set by County that drives all of the taxes.  Take the example of a senior citizen who has been on fixed income for 15 yrs.  The COLAs have in no way kept up with the tax increases on property owned, so even that less than 1/3 of total tax bill takes a real bite. At the same time, their State and Federal taxes may go up while the direct services may go down.See the Town site, Planning Dept. Data Book for some data that might do a better job than the school data.

I agree that my data set, since it includes Carrboro, is not perfect.  However, I believe that Carrboro's property tax is higher than Chapel Hill's.  Given that Mr. Czajowski does not provide a reference to support his assertion, it's difficult assess it's accuracy.  Further, as is pointed out above, even if it is true that people are migrating out of town in a manner which is making Chapel Hill less diverse, it's not clear that the Chapel Hill portion of our property taxes is a leveraging issue.I understand that any campaign is going to have some empty rhetoric.  However, a website is a perfect vehicle to provide some of the data which supports the candidate's assertions.As I continue to page through Mr. Czajowski's website I find a number of statements that call out for some supporting data.  Consider this one. "The majority of voters in Chapel Hill have felt for some time the Town Council has not represented their interests, has become insular and disconnected from the community at large."The use of the term "majority" suggests that the statement is backed up by some numbers.  This statement is demonstrably untrue.  The data which comes from the multi-candidate Town Council elections can be difficult to interpret, but consider the following.  If we consider votes for Mayor Foy to be representative of general satisfaction with city governance, his vote totals of over 70% in each of the last two elections suggests that the people have been generally pleased.With regard to Town Council results, Mr. Czajowski's 4th place finish in 2007  with 2,932 votes is a lower total than was garnered in the last elections by incumbents Harrison, Strom, Kleinschmidt, or Ward.  Again, these vote totals are in direct conflict with the statement made by Mr. Czajowski that the majority of voters are dissatisfied with the Town Council. 


It's not the tax data, it's the true makeup of the population that your data doesn't capture.  I think you should ask Matt your questions using his site's contact link, as he doesn't participate here.  Remember too that attitudes are dynamic, not just what the last election indicated.  Think Pres. Obama's situation as Tom Jensen reports, for example.Also, check your facts, as incumbents Harrison, Strom, Kleinschmidt, or Ward were not the candidate set in the last election.I would hope that you will feel the need to do this across the board with all of the candidates.

I did not mean to imply that Harrison, Strom, Kleinschmidt, and Ward where in the same election.  The intent was to compare the vote totals of incumbent candidates in previous election cycles, in this case 2005 and 2007, with Mr. Czajowski's 2007 total of 2,932.  While I have not asked these specific questions to Mr. Czajowski, I have sent others which have yet to be answered.

"The use of the term "majority" suggests that the statement is backed up
by some numbers.  This statement is demonstrably untrue." You've just made a claim that you can prove the first statement is untrue. Can you provide your data? :)  BTW--I'd say based on low voter turnout that Matt's statement is totally plausible. The only way to use general data is through interpretation. Matt has made an interpretation and you have challenged that interpretation. Is your concern with the candidate personally or with getting a fuller understanding of the issues? 

I made two attempts in previous posts.  The first was that high vote totals for Foy were a proxy for general satisfaction with city governance.  The second was to note that in recent election cycles incumbent candidates received more votes than the Mr. Czajowski who ran on an anti-incumbent platform.This is the data I am using support my position. I can provide the vote totals from 2005 and 2007 if desired.

Consider that the great support Kevin Foy received as a two term mayor was also because people would not vote for Kevin Wolff.  It is a Poly Sci 101 error to ascribe incumbent candidate support to satisfaction with governence; it's sometimes the less of the "evils."  Thus, the few of us who vote are not necessarily saying that our choices mean that we like what's happening. The Council is 9 people; we elect five at a time and the majority of the five are usually incumbents, hence open seat opportunities are not all that abundent. In such an environment, incumbents usually win.  Cam Hill and Julie McClintock are the last incumbents to be defeated if I remember correctly.

Gerry is right with his reminder of the difference between the majority of those voters who actually go to the polls (vote count) vs total number of eligible voters. If you are basing your interpretation on the 30% or so of registered voters who actually go to the polls for local elections, then I assume that, like Mark C, you believe the decision NOT to vote represents satisfaction with incumbents and the status quo. However, I would suggest that you consider how frequently we see people vote against their own best interest economically on the national level (8 years of Bush?) and how frequently we see local situations where populations don't understand the issues until they've had time to live with them (Rosemary Square, Greenbridge). We have no local data on how to weight the value of incumbency, but my personal viewpoint is that Matt C got close enough (803 votes) to the lowest achieving incumbent winner (Bill S) that his election has real meaning. 

A win is a win, so there can be no debating the significance of Matt Cz's win.As for the majority vs. turnout question, let's just say that this is not a new topic by any means.  I posted on this a few years ago, pointing out how consistently this issue comes up, but I can't find my former post.  In any case, suffice it to say that some feel winning an election is not a mandate:http://www.orangepolitics.org/2005/11/rearranging-the-deck-chairs#comment-29846http://www.orangepolitics.org/2005/11/report-back#comment-29713http://www.orangepolitics.org/2005/11/report-back#comment-29718http://www.orangepolitics.org/2003/11/but-what-does-this-all-really-tell-us#comment-14556http://www.orangepolitics.org/2004/07/please-pass-the-salt#comment-18662While others feel that it is:http://www.orangepolitics.org/2003/11/but-what-does-this-all-really-tell-us#comment-14550http://www.orangepolitics.org/2007/11/preliminary-results#comment-120889http://www.orangepolitics.org/2004/07/please-pass-the-salt#comment-18660Presumably the difference has something to do with whether one won or lost.

"The majority of voters in Chapel Hill have felt for some time the Town Council has not represented their interests, has become insular and disconnected from the community at large."

Of course, the majority of voters in Chapel Hill have always favored whoever is on the council, back to 1852 or whenever it was that the town was incorporated.  This is because a majority of voters elected the council. A majority of voters favored me twice and opposed me twice in my four  campaigns. Did they get it half right or half wrong?Maybe it is the silent majority of those who do not vote in town elections that in fact oppose the incumbents?

Well, Gerry, I think Terri's point is that the majority of eligible voters don't actually show up to vote (in odd year elections).  But I think the fact that 80+% of voters cast no vote in local elections means that they are basically satisfied with the way town government is run.  If they were dis-satisfied, then they would show up on election day.  No doubt some readers here would argue (and have argued) that some folks may not show up because they feel disempowered and believe their protest vote would not matter.  But even assuming that that is true, it seems VERY unlikely that there are really all that many people who are terribly dis-satisfied, but choose not to vote.  That such a group of people would amount to a majority of CH residents is totally implausible.I suspect that what Matt Cz really means is that he and his friends are highly dis-satisfied and that I can believe.

I'd argue that he greatest drop off in voter turnout in Chapel Hill between full turnout presidential elections and municipal elections are younger voters who are MORE liberal than the general voter base.


The problem is not that the voters are all unhappy, the problem is that many of those who are able to vote but choose not too are unhappy. By the way, considering that Czajkowski went to Harvard(twice: undergrad and business) I think he is clearly a smart guy.

It tells me what he believes and where he thinks changes need to be made. Compare Matt's website to that of Mark K's. Matt speaks of fiscal sustainability and the need to control the town budget and build a non-property-tax based local economy. Mark says that given the current economy, town residents will have to make sacrifices. Matt says growth needs to be managed using real data and specific milestones. Mark says the town has done great in restricting growth to inside the urban boundary but now we need to look beyond limiting the growth of strip malls. Matt says downtown can be improved by addressing safety, parking, and recruitment of new businesses. Mark says he wants Carolina North to achieve the goals of the University. The issues both candidates have identified are pretty similar. But Matt provides more detail in why he believes these are the issues and generally what he believes need to be done around each. If you don't accept the claims, I feel pretty sure you could ask for references and get a response. For those who would like to compare the two websites:Mark Kleinschmidt: http://www.mark4mayor.com/Matt Czajkowski: http://mattformayor.org  

that if you want to get his opinions in person, Mark has a pretty full campaign calender if you want to hear him speak, ask a question, or talk to him directly. http://www.mark4mayor.com/calendar/

The last 8 years haven't had a huge growth in CH (11%), so how about we go back to 1990 census #s.There's no easy way to copy this data in, but here are a couple of relevant comparisons:1990:  black - 15.2%hispanic (all races) - 1.8%asian - 5.3% 2005-07 ACS:black - 10.5%hispanic - 4.9%asian - 9.0%
Not sure we can conclude from this that Matt is correct or not, but at least the data is more relevant than the school #s above.  It does certainly show change in our racial makeup. 1990 data 2005-07 ACS data 

In a growing community, a dropping percentage of blacks does not necessarily correlate with blacks leaving.  If there is a large influx of whites (as is true in all three Triangle counties) a drop in black % may not show that blacks are leaving, just that whites are arriving. Holly Springs in Wake County was 50% black in 1970, now it is just 10%. But there has not been any decrease in the NUMBER of blacks, it is just that 20,000 whites have moved in. An increasing NUMBER of black students at Carolina may also mask a decrease in the number of longer term resident blacks. 

Anyone can explore the relationship between total population, age brackets, race, and a number of other socioeconomic and demographic factors through the state Log Into North Carolina (LINC) database:http://data.osbm.state.nc.us/pls/linc/dyn_linc_main.show

And here's what LINC shows:Looking at 1980, 1990 and 2000 census data (too bad we don't have 2010 yet):Chapel Hill's White, Black and 'Other' (Census's term, not mine) populations all rose with each new census.  The white population rose by 14.5% and 19% during these two decades.  The black population rose by 23.3% and 14.6%.  The 'other' population rose 202% and 158%.It's also notable that the population of Chapel Hill was:in 1980 86% white, 12% black, and 2% 'other.'in 1990 82% white, 13% black, and 5% 'other.'in 2000 78% white, 11% black, and 11% 'other.'So Chapel Hill would seem to have become notably more racially diverse over that 20 years.  And although the percentage of Chapel Hill residents who are black went down slightly, the absolute size of the population rose roughly on par with the white population.

as Gerry noted yesterday. In terms of pure numbers, the growth in the "other" population is about 3,000  from 1990 to 2000 compared to an increase of around 7,000 whites. So the white population is growing faster than all other ethnic groups.The other point I'm not clear on is whether the UNC student population is counted in the Chapel Hill census data. If it is, we would need a more finely tuned analysis to separate out growth at the university from growth in full time town residents. 

Everyone is counted where they are on April 1 of census year.  All dorm residents are counted in Chapel Hill as the University handles all group housing census forms.  Those in apartments are counted where they are during the school year.  The above has been the policy since 1940. Pre 1940 census for Chapel Hill can not be accurately compared with later as the 1930 and earlier censuses counted students at ther parents home.

Using the UNC Fact Books from academic years 1990-1991 and 2000-2001,  it's clear that the student population has become much more diverse, in both percentages of change and total numbers. In fact, the white population shrunk by 3% between those years (from 20,091 to 19,547). The Asian population grew by 104% (631 to 1,285); the black population grew by 16% (2,060 to 2,398); the Hispanic population grew by 99% (201 to 399). In terms of shear numbers, there wasn't huge change, but enough to explain the increases in the town census. So the statement that the town is losing diversity appears to have credibility unless you chose to count the student population. But since they aren't impacted by property taxes as directly as permanent residents, I don't think their inclusion really helps understand the point Matt is making.I'll try and go through the faculty/staff data later to add further to our understanding.

The growth in Chapel Hill's non-white/non-black population hugely outstrips the student numbers you cite above.  There was plainly an overall increase in Chapel Hill's diversity during the 1990's even without UNC students.  Essentially your data shows that UNC had a net increase of 852 (654+198) Hispanic and Asian students, whereas the actual growth in what the Census calls 'other' races in the same period was 3,172 people for the entire town.  Obviously the UNC and Census data collection methods are different, so we have to be cautious in drawing conclusions, but student demographic changes would seem to account for less than 1/3 of the change.  Student demographic changes are in no way "enough to explain the increases in the town census."Also the rates of Hispanic and Asian UNC student growth are only about half of what the growth rate was for the Town as a whole, according to the census.  And the black population of the Town increased considerably more than the UNC black student population during the 1990's.In fact, Terri, with or without UNC students, Chapel Hill was much more diverse in 2000 than it was in 1990.  And by the way, I don't accept either of the implicit assumptions 1) that all Asian, Hispanic and African American UNC students live in Chapel Hill or 2) that there is something invalid about including UNC students when discussing the population of Chapel Hill.Having said all that, I think this subject is something that is worth worrying about.  But the actual facts show that Matt's assertion is not backed up by the Census data, which was Jeff Danner's point, I believe.

Tthe change in population in Chapel Hill between 1990 and 2000 was 8,933 if you subtract out the UNC population. In 1990 the town of Chapel Hill, minus UNC students, was 79% white. In 2000 the town of Chapel Hill, minus UNC students, was 77% white. So technically, I suppose that makes the town more ethnically diverse. But to understand that change, you need to look at the data closer. The greatest increase by ethnic group was Asian. The black population stayed nearly constant. And the Hispanic population was so small as to be numerically negligible. So while the permanent town population grew, the ethnic groups that most consider to be significant in terms of their socioeconomic status were stagnant. Of course, none of this is exact. I'm sure many of those UNC students actually live in Carrboro, not Chapel Hill. Why don't we agree to disagree without resorting to prejorative terms such as "absurd"? 

You continue to use invalid methods in your statistics.  Subtracting the entire student body of UNC from the population of Chapel Hill means nothing.  Lots of UNC students don't live in Chapel Hill (which you are well aware of).  You have asked before (on OP) for local government to be more driven by objective data, but in this thread the objective data completely refute your point and you willfully ignore it.  I can't agree to disagree when your argument is so intellectually dishonest.  That you resort to calling my post an ad hominem attack only serves to prove that your data does not bear intellectual scrutiny.

What are you getting so upset about? It's a mental exercise. I found data, provided data sources and explained my methods for arriving at the conclusions that jump out at me, including the acknowledgement that all UNC students don't live in Chapel Hill. That's a pretty standard approach to using descriptive data. I'm not sure why you think it is intellectually dishonest, but I assure you that I have no ulterior motives. I've considered Chapel Hill/Carrboro as my home for more than 30 years. As a purely qualitative observation, I find the town to be much more homogenous than it was when I moved here in the 1970s. So Matt's statement rings true to me. However, I am willing to concede that my perceptions could be influenced more by socioeconomic status that true ethnic diversity.  I'm sorry if you thought I was accusing you of making an ad hominem attack. I rejected a word
that I found prejorative, not your overall argument and not you. This is just a discussion. Neither of us have to be right, and we don't have to agree with other.  

we have a campaign statement by a candidate that is opinion stated as fact (might be right, might be wrong). We have statistics that show that overall Chapel Hill has grown a lot in 20 years, and that there are more whites, more blacks, and more "other", and those stats do not in any way show that blacks are leaving. We have people saying that things appear more homogeneous. I bought a house in a Raleigh neighborhood that in 1984 was 90% white. Now it is 50% black.  The percentage of blacks in Raleigh as a whole has dropped substantially, but my view of Raleigh is that is more integrated, and I notice that 75% of the children in the neighhborhood are black, because most all the young families in my area are black, and most older residents are white.  What is the truth?

A couple of thoughts about who votes, why, and how it relates to incumbents in CH.The reason someone doesn't vote is a matter of guesswork at best, and certainly you have to include the cynical belief that one's vote doesn't count so why bother.  But tweak that a bit further, and I have a suspicion that until recently, there may have been a sense of resignation among some conservatives/Republicans that Dems/liberals are going to win here anyway, so why bother (but no, I don't believe that was universal - many DID vote their philosophy, just to make the point)?   I would be interested to learn whether the percentage of registered Dems/liberals who vote actually equals the percentage of registered Repubs/conservatives who vote.  That is, if the total %age of registered voters who actually cast ballots is 30%, does it break down evenly -- 30% each of registered Dems and Republicans?Since 2006, otherwise, there seems to have been a re-mobilization of anti-liberal voters even in supposedly liberal-dominated areas such as Chapel Hill.  Provocative questions such as "is it impossible for a conservative to get into office in CH/OC?" have added to the general PR push and "grassroots" activism to upset the liberal apple-cart -- not just to turn out the vote but perhaps in the belief that the increasing demographic of wealth in CH might correlate with a rising proportion of conservatives who can now command "minority" representation.  On another point, you also have think about whether some nonvoters believe that those who vote are the ones who care enough to inform themselves about the issues; and the non-voters are "happy" to leave the decisions to them.  I admit that on occasion, when I really have not kept up with School Board issues, I have declined to vote in that subgroup - although I have yet to miss an election since moving here.

I was struck by the lack of mention of energy, water, solid waste, more efficient transportation, air quality, etc. It would be interesting for him to explain to voters how his experience as a Wall Street financier would help guide his policies.  

I believe Augustus Cho and Kevin Wolff have both mentioned one or more of those issues though. 

Front page of Mark's site: "advocate for affordable housing, economic development, environmental conservation, transportation, and responsible growth"Or elsewhere on the site:"I will continue our community’s commitment to protecting our environment, reducing our carbon footprint, improve our inter-city and intra-city transportation systems.  I realize our social and environmental goals will require a strong economic climate and to that end Chapel Hill must continue an aggressive approach to redeveloping our under-utilized commercial centers and to increasing our commercial tax base."

I'd like to see him flesh out some issues on his site.

Can you vote for any of these people?  If might help newcomers here evaluate what they are reading.

I can not vote for any of the candidates. Been there, done that.

Although I am directly impacted by both the Carrboro and Chapel Hill town governments, I cannot vote for either.

who is greatly impacted by what happens in Chapel Hill. I do a lot of my work in and around Chapel Hill. A lot of my friends live in Chapel Hill. What happens in Chapel Hill affects my life. I cannot vote in the city election. Red herring?Fred, how exactly does the fact that I will not be voting in the election affect the validity of my views of the candidates and issues?  

given the "views of the candidates and issues," vote for any of them if you could vote in Chapel Hill? PS:  Your "we are all impacted" approach was discounted by some when Mark Zimmerman argued the same point.  Of course, it had nothing to do with it being Mark Zimmerman, did it?

I'll pledge to run myself in 2017 if I get around to moving back. I have a lot of old buttons and signs and would just need to change two of the digits. Does this now give me more credibility?My father tried to move back to Chapel Hill in 1946 but couldn't find a place to live. Maybe I could have better luck.

Fred, how exactly does the fact that I will not be voting in the election affect the validity of my views of the candidates and issues?

was could you vote for any of these candidates.  You answered "some."  There are four but you didn't say which ones and that's OK. So what is the validity issue that you are raising?

Fred - who are you going to vote for?

supporting Matt C. for mayor, a point that has already been made here so it is no secret.

I hope that Mark wins.

& could certainly support some candidates. Don't know what some thought of Zimmerman's view, or what his view was, or what it has to do with me. 



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