Smoozefest or snoozefest, either way this weekend’s (Sept. 24th-26th [correction]) trip to Madison by our local “usual suspects” appears to be more about building relationships at home than abroad.

Most of all, this trip is about building relationships. Not only will participants gain knowledge of what has worked and what has not worked in Madison, but a synergy will be created by our trip attendees working, traveling and discussing issues together.

This trip is not a place for any decisions to be made about our future, but rather a place to make connections and gather valuable information. Learning from the perspectives and ideas of other leaders in the community will help to ensure that our community grows and sustains itself.

LTE to CHN from Mariana Fiorentino,
Chair of the Trip Planning Committee and 2004’s Realtor of the Year


Maybe joyous, interesting and possibly rewarding (or not), I hope folks aren’t going expecting to later trade upon the stronger bonds Smoozefest is supposed to engender.

Even as national scenes of “Ney Money Go” spawned by Abramoff’s scandalous behavior continue, the lure of the private/public “business” junket cannot be diminished.

And “business”, local business, forms the continuous sub-text of this jaunt.

The purpose of the Intercity Visit and Leadership Conference is to convene leaders of the Chapel Hill and Carrboro community to learn from the experiences of another successful community and to build relationships among participants that will help us successfully address our community’s challenges and opportunities.

A quick scan of the list of attendees:

  • 18 UNC heavy-weights (including Chancellor Moeser, building czar Bruce Runberg, money man Tony Waldrop – and most of the go-go crew for Carolina North),
  • 31 business folks (a RAM Development rep,UNC BOT member/local land baron Roger Perry, smooth Aaron Nelson, great town supporters Steele, Badrock, Pease and a slew of others)
  • 23 elected folks (Carrboro’s Coleman, Zaffron, Chilton, Haven-O’Donnel and town manager Stewart; Chapel Hill’s Foy, Strom, Harrison, Thorpe and new town manager Stancil; the OC’s Jacobs and Carey),
  • 21 non-profit/activist/general all-around involved citizens

and 3 reporters (Rob, Dan and Lisa) to keep tabs on them all.

Yep, I think I understand.

Sure, trips like there are a hallowed American tradition. I expect (and know) our Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County elected folks will show good sense in dealing with the siren call of “walks down State Street”, “peer-to-peer meetings”, “buffet lunches” and “optional group activities”.

Heck, I know half the folks going. I’ve worked with most on one issue or another. There’s even a few I’ve “sparred with” over the last few years.

I’m sure they’ll all be on their best behavior, though better sense might’ve dictated their saving face time for the strangely entertaining festival of buffoonish and transparent come-ons – Chapel Hill’s Sleazefest.

The Usual Suspects


1. Steve Allred, Executive Associate Provost, UNC Chapel Hill
2. Mary Beck, Senior Vice President, Planning, UNC Hospitals
3. Neil Caudle, Associate Vice Chancellor, Research, UNC Chapel Hill
4. Linda Convissor, Director of Local Relations, UNC Chapel Hill
5. Pat Crawford, University Counsel, UNC Chapel Hill
6. Mark Crowell, Associate Vice Chancellor for Economic Development
7. Carolyn Elfland, Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services, UNC Chapel Hill
8. Mary Felgenhaur, Planner, UNC Chapel Hill
9. Garland Hershey, Professor of Orthodontics and Former Vice Chancellor, UNC Chapel Hill
10. Jonathan Howes, Special Assistant to the Chancellor, UNC Chapel Hill
11. Chad Lefteris, Administrator, UNC Hospitals
12. Elmira Mangum, Associate Provost, UNC Chapel Hill
13. Crystal Miller, Director of Communications, NC Children’s Hospital
14. Chancellor James Moeser, UNC Chapel Hill
15. Bruce Runberg, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities and Construction, UNC Chapel Hill
16. Tony Waldrop, Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development, UNC Chapel Hill
17. Judith Wegner, Professor of Law and Former Chair of the UNC Faculty Council
18. Anna Wu, Director of Planning, UNC Chapel Hill


19. Susan Anderson, Board Chair, Interfaith Council for Social Services
20. Delores Bailey, Executive Director, EmPOWERment, Inc.
21. Ben Balderas, Executive Director, El Centro Latino
22. Fred Black, Principal, FHB Consulting
23. Mary Bushnell, Volunteer Coordinator, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
24. Mike Collins, Co-Chair, Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth
25. Robert Dowling, Executive Director, Orange Community Housing and Land Trust
26. Pat Evans, Board Chair, Friends of Downtown
27. Frances Henderson, Executive Director, Dispute Settlement Center
28. Barbara Jessie-Black, Executive Director, PTA Thrift Shop
29. Janet Kagan, Chair of the Percent for Art Program, Chapel Hill Public Arts
30. Winkie LaForce, Executive Director, Leadership Triangle/El Centro Latino
31. Susan Levy, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity
32. Jonathan Mills, Chair, Chapel Hill Children’s Museum
33. Chris Moran, Executive Director, Inter-Faith Council
34. Hugh Morrison, Counselor, SCORE
35. Laurie Paolicelli, Director, Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau
36. Bernadette Pelissier, Chair, Orange/Chatham Sierra Club
37. Andrea Rohrbacher, Chair, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
38. Sandy Turbeville, Consultant
39. Jon Wilner, Executive Director, The ArtsCenter


40. Anita Badrock, Vice President, Smither and Associates
41. Bruce Ballentine, Principal, Ballentine Associates
42. Bill Bunch, Principal, William H. Bunch CPA Firm
43. Greg Connor, Principal, The Connor Law Firm
44. Kimberley Dawson, President Elect, Chapel Hill Board of Realtors
45. Mariana Fiorentino, President, Terra Nova Global Properties
46. John Florian, Vice President, Ram Development
47. Scott Gardner, Economic Development, Duke Energy
48. Mairead Garvey, Officer, Chapel Hill Board of Realtors
49. Tracy Hager, Director of Membership, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
50. Jim Heavner, President, VilCom, Inc.
51. Jean Holcomb, President, Viking Travel
52. Scott Maitland, Proprietor, Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery
53. Kendra Maultsby Mudd, Director of Government Affairs, Chamber of Commerce
54. John McKinney, Area Director, BellSouth
55. Henry McKoy, President, TCON, Inc.
56. Davis Montgomery, Community Relations Manager, Duke Energy
57. Aaron Nelson, Executive Director, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce
58. Pat Oglesby, Attorney
59. Liz Parham, Executive Director, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership
60. Gene Pease, CEO, Capital Analytics, Inc.
61. Roger Perry, President, East West Partners
62. Thanh Pham, Viking Travel
63. Scott Radway, Principal, Radway and Weaver
64. Mike Roach, Vice President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina
65. Mark Sherburne, General Manager, East West Partners
66. Diana Steele, Owner, Willow Hill Preschool
67. Nick Tennyson, Executive Officer, HBA of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties
68. Rosemary Waldorf, Bryan Properties
69. Zach Ward, Executive Producer/Founder, DSI Comedy Theater
70. Mark Zimmerman, Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Winning Edge
71. Chamber Staff Member to Be Named Later


72. Craig Benedict, Planning Director, Orange County
73. David Bonk, Transportation Planner, Town of Chapel Hill
74. Commissioner Moses Carey, Orange County Board of County Commissioners
75. Mayor Mark Chilton, Town of Carrboro
76. Alderman Dan Coleman, Town of Carrboro
77. JB Culpepper, Director of Planning, Town of Chapel Hill
78. Monica Evans, Assistant to the Clerk, Orange County Board of Commissioners
79. Mayor Kevin Foy, Town of Chapel Hill
80. Commissioner Eric Hallman, Town of Hillsborough
81. James Harris, Director of Economic and Community Development, Town of Carrboro
82. Councilman Ed Harrison, Town of Chapel Hill
83. Alderman Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Town of Carrboro
84. Chairman Barry Jacobs, Orange County Board of County Commissioners
85. Bill Letteri, Public Works Director, Town of Chapel Hill
86. Dianne Reid, Economic Development Director, Orange County
87. Steve Spade, Transportation Director, Town of Chapel Hill
88. Roger Stancil, Town Manager, Town of Chapel Hill
89. Mayor Tom Stevens, Town of Hillsborough
90. Steve Stewart, Town Manager, Town of Carrboro
91. Councilman Bill Strom, Town of Chapel Hill
92. Chairman Lisa Stuckey, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
93. Councilman Bill Thorpe, Town of Chapel Hill
94. Alderman Alex Zaffron, Town of Carrboro


95. Lisa Hoppenjans, Reporter, News and Observer/Chapel Hill News
96. Rob Shapard, Reporter, Chapel Hill Herald
97. Dan Siler, Reporter, 1360AM WCHL

What they hope to learn:

  • The development and operation of their current research park and how they are planning their new park that is currently concept planning stages;
  • How Madison is maintaining and enhancing its downtown and how they have integrated a new performing arts facility;
  • How they are addressing workforce housing and their process for adopting their inclusionary zoning ordinance and how its working; and
  • Their town/university relationships and their creative approaches to increasing cooperation.

All very interesting, especially in light of the stumbling Carolina North process.

Folks in bold are involved in Carolina North’s development.

RAM Development is doing two major land deals: a $100M deconstruction of downtown and a centrally located 322 unit luxury condo deal – largest in town’s history

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