November 2005

From tonight’s agenda, Chapel Hill’s new communications plan the opening paragraph emphasizes a friendly openness:

The Town Council believes that open communication with all citizens is an important community value. The Town of Chapel Hill makes a consistent effort to be a helpful, accessible, consistent, unintimidating and human source of information; and works to assure that those served always feel welcome.

Further on the staff elaborates on

A communication program built on strong themes is more effective than a program with scattered and unrelated messages. Key themes will be communicated frequently in a variety of ways, using simple, repetitive messages. Messages gain power from consistency and repetition.

· The Town of Chapel Hill is an ethical, effective and well-managed government.
· Town tax dollars are spent wisely.
· Town staff and the Town Council are public information ambassadors.
· The Town of Chapel Hill is an open organization, and citizens know how to access information.

But when asked to preserve some previous openness, the Town Council deferred. The request was simple enough, restore one citizen to the Council’s email distribution list tonight and ask staff to develop a process so any of our citizens can join in the very near future.

As a member of the list, the Council receives timely bite size flash reports on the advisory boards, bulletins on police and fire incidents, complaints and compliments from citizens (very illuminating) and fresh agendas. Access to the list nearly halved the amount of time I spent researching relevant material.

Unfortunately, a simple, no cost, nearly no effort request for an action conforming to both the spirit and the legality of the State’s open records laws has become a bit of a quagmire.

Any other citizens want broad, timely access to the exact same information our Council receives?

Holiday tree trimming comes a little early at Horace-Williams Airport.

Orangish will be trimmed, bluish are nuked.

I will be posting a much more extensive thank you’s, some ruminations on the outcome and various other miscellany fairly soon. For now, I’m busy fighting one heck of a cold from Tuesday, catching up on some work and pulling together some loose ends from my run.

Speaking of loose ends, I’m looking for some very modest contributions to retire my debt of $1,500. You can still donate to my campaign for the next few months.

So, change is on the way, please stay tuned.

By 7:21AM, my signs were out of almost every precinct (Frank Porter Graham/Scroggs were the last two I got after dropping E. at school) and off most of the roads. By 9:30AM, every sign I knew about (and I kept a log!) was safely retrieved.

If you have a sign or see a sign waving around out there, please send me an email or give me a call 932-1380 – I’d like to hang on to them.

Oh, why the quick pickup?

I said early on in my campaign, win or lose, my signs would not linger throughout our Town.

If there’s one discriminator the electorate takes away from this election, I hope they recall that I said it, then I did it.



At this point, with 38 precincts reporting, it appears I’m headed for a solid 5th place. If the trend of a vote for Thorpe is a vote for Harrison continues, I imagine that by the end count I’ll still be out of the running. Of course, it isn’t over until it’s over – 45 of 45 reporting.

Win or lose, the campaign has been great. I’ve had an opportunity to express some ideas and viewpoints not generally found in our races. I’ve also had an opportunity to see some interesting character emerge in our candidate field.

I also made the unprecedented move of releasing all my financial and contributor information prior to the election. I hope this is something the current candidates will do ASAP and that the next slate of candidates will do as a matter of course.

To the 2005 SPCH endorsement class; Laurin and Mark, great top of the ticket. Jason, good experience for your next run. And thanks for all the Pit sits.

I’m sure there will some great post-analysis: Was turnout a factor? Did more money equal more votes? What was the role of all the signage?

That will all be interesting but in the end the Town will have spoken.

Thank you to all my supporters, the folk that voted for me and all the folk that turned out to vote on one of the loveliest election days I’ve ever experienced.

Finally, thanks to my great family – E. and Ellie. Without your support I would’ve never gotten as far as I have….

Goodnight folks, it has been a long day.

The balloon is going up! Headed out from campaign headquarters 😉 to take a quick tour of the key precincts in town. Putting a few last flourishes on and checking for sign “corruption”.