May 2nd, the good folk of Chapel Hill have an opportunity to keep Allen Baddour on the Superior Court bench.
Allen will not only continue his sterling service to Orange,Chatham and the wider regional community (Superior Court judges move around), but will also bring the energy, empathy and experience to forge a new vision of how a Superior Court judge can proactively address our community’s problems before they end up in his court.
I know Allen not as a judge, but as a parent. He and his wife Holly, active members of our school’s community, have both demonstrated their commitments to our developing youth; Allen notably by being chair of both the Chatham County Parks and Recreation Board and the YMCA Steering Committee.
Allen is “kid-friendly”. Allen took the kids from our school on a tour of the courthouse (before he was appointed by Gov. Easley) to acquaint them with our judicial system, dispel some of the mystery and start a discussion on “wise” decision-making.
His relative youth, which some have criticised, is a strong asset as far as interacting with kids (and is probably a bit less intimidating to younger folk than some of the more grandfatherly of candidates).
This desire to positively intervene before folks reach a personal crisis, ending up appearing before him in superior court, is reflected in his proposal to form a drug court for non-violent, first time offenders. Profering treatment, rehabilitation and accountability , folks will be given a supervised path up-and-out of their troubles. Beyond the humanity of this therapeutic approach, this program offers greater comprehensive case management and overall supervision with the practical appeal of cost efficiencies.
I live in Orange county, but Chatham is close to my heart. The rapid growth of Chatham, the escalating needs of their law enforcement and plain old equity demand that Chatham residents have the same access as Orange county folk to their superior court judges. Allen will work to get a Pittsboro office, built using green design principles (day-lighting, for instance) to extend access to the all the constituents of our Superior Court.
In 2005, one of the planks of my campaign involved improving the productivity of our town’s staff, expand delivery of services and cut costs by utilizing technology much more progressively.
I welcome Allen’s technological initiatives that will streamline court operations while treating defendants more compassionately. One of his suggestions, using email to coordinate court appearances, saves folks, like a hourly wage earner, from missing a day of work (and wages) or the single-parent from getting an unneeded, expensive babysitter.
From reviewing the other candidates platforms, it seems that Allen is the only candidate offering these type of substantive, practical and forward-thinking proposals on running and improving the superior court system.Finally, there’s Allen’s overall experience.This year we have many strong candidates, but within this august field, only Allen has been a prosecutor, defense attorney, civil litigator and judge.He’s a “doer” with a proven strong commitment to the wider community.
The judicial demands of the superior court are tough. The workload is increasing. The need to be proactive, efficient, future-oriented is now. Our Superior Court judges need the flexibility, tenacity, vision and vitality to meet 8 years of judicial challenges.
Allen is the candidate best positioned to meet these challenges.
Chuck Stone thinks so. Freddy Kiger thinks so. And this regular citizen thinks so.