Richly Deserved: Czajkowski and Rich Get The Daily Tar Heel Endorsement

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

As I wrote recently, it’s been quite interesting to see how folks respond to the challenge of campaigning.

I know it’s not conventional to salute your campaign opponents – which explains why the incumbents don’t mention my role in hiring an economic development officer, green fleets, re-balancing the size of affordable housing on Lot #5, etc. – but, as I imagine most folks have figured out, I’m not big on following the status quo, especially when it means passing up an opportunity to improve our community.

Which brings me back to Penny’s and Matt’s well-deserved recognition and endorsement by the Daily Tar Heel.

I’ve gotten to know these folks and they’re both the real deal. They’re not running to be the next Mayor or position themselves to run for State office – ego building is just not part of their portfolio.

Instead, Penny and Matt are quite concerned about our community and have presented solid, pragmatic proposals for addressing some of the tasks left undone these many years.

This year, they also were the only two folks, other than myself, willing to engage in a real debate – an exploration if you will – of the ways we could realistically address many of the challenges still before us. As Matt notes, the incumbent monologue might have been an effective campaign tool but it was a miserable strategy for educating and engaging the wider community.

Here’s what the DTH had to say about Penny:
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Election 2007: League of Women Voters Forum Unplugged

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

In keeping with their charter to “encourage the informed and active participation of citizens in government” and “influence public policy through education and advocacy”, the the League of Women Voters of Orange-Durham-Chatham held a forum for Chapel Hill Town Council Oct. 1st. Also, in keeping with that charter, they provided me the raw footage so I could “webify” it for wider distribution.




The local Sierra Club, so far at least, has decided not to accept my offer of assistance. They plan to post their forum sometime soon. I’ll post a link when it goes live.

Election 2007: Recycle, Reuse

Monday, September 24th, 2007

Recycle and reuse are two environmental principles our local community follows fairly well. In that spirit, I believe our citizens will appreciate my putting frugality over novelty.

Signs are sprouting up around Town. Several of mine, it appears, were saved by some of my 2005 supporters and trotted out a little early. Thanks folks for showing some early enthusiasm.

My specialty, since 2001, is to round-up campaign signs after the election. No reason to clutter our road-sides after the deed is done.

In 2005, as I wrote here, I managed to pickup all but two signs of my signs by 7:21 am the day after the election – the final two by 9:30am.

I said then:

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.

I said it and then I did it. If you look at my activism on behalf of our community, you’ll see a clear track record of “walking my own talk”.

In 2006 I managed to pick-up over 2,000 signs (and several bags of adjacent litter – unfortunately, I’ve already filled two this year!).

Every year I offer to pickup any candidate’s sign and, once again extend that offer to everyone – my colleagues in the Town Council race – Carrboro races – the school board (contact signs AT citizenwill.org ).

It’s a fun way to do my part to keep our community attractive.

A common question I get is “Who designed your sign?”

I actually did, using a variety of free software tools – including GImp (Gnu Image Program) and OpenOffice. These are the kind of tools I’ve been asking our Town to adopt for the last six years. Using OpenOffice, for instance, would save hundreds of thousands in Microsoft licensing fees, something our Council is well aware of, something our Town continues to drag its feet doing.

Election 2007: Sierra Club Interview

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

X-Posted from Will Raymond for Town Council 2007:

The local Orange-Chatham Sierra Club participates in the local election process two ways: endorsing candidates and sponsoring a forum.

Last Sunday, Chairman Bernadette Pelissier, Political Chair Loren Hintz and member Matthew Scheer interviewed me on behalf of the Sierra Club to determine if I qualified for an endorsement.

Questions spanned local zoning policy, a discussion of good and bad infill, personal commitment to environmental protection and Carolina North.

Folks that read CitizenWill already have a good idea about where I stand on many of these issues.

Surprisingly some issues, like local waste management, the trash transfer station and Rogers Road community’s complaints, our storm water utility policy or in-town open space preservation didn’t make the list. Of course, you can only fit so much into a 45 minute interview.

I appreciate these members taking the time to review my thoughts on Carolina North, zoning policy, pragmatic carbon reduction strategies, transit, etc. (I tried to cram way too much into my answers and digressions).

The Chapel Hill forum takes place next Tuesday, September 25th, 7-9pm at the Chapel Hill Town Hall. The event will be broadcast on our local public access channel.

In 2005 I did secure the local club’s enthusiastic endorsement. Here’s what they said two years ago:

Will Raymond has been one of the most outspoken and effective citizen activists in Chapel Hill in recent years. We look forward to him using his talents to advocate for the environment as a member of Town Council. In particular we are excited about his initiatives to promote energy efficiency in town buildings. He will also work to protect lesser known creeks in the Chapel Hill area and to minimize the number of single occupancy vehicles causing air pollution and traffic congestion at Carolina North.

We strongly encourage Sierra Club members and any residents of Chapel Hill who care about the environment to support these four candidates in the November 8th election. They are the best hope for a Town Council that will always make reducing environmental impact a top priority as Chapel Hill grows bigger.

We’ll know by mid-October if the work I’ve done since – on Carolina North, as a member of the Horace-William’s Citizen Committee sub-committee on environment, tracking and publicizing the landfill/transfer site problems on Rogers Road – will secure an endorsement in 2007.

Election 2007: The Chamber’s Yes, No and Unsure Questionnaire

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

X-Posted from my 2007 Campaign web site.

Even though the Chamber made it clear that extended replies where not welcomed in the 2007 questionnaire ( Election 2007: The Chamber’s Yes, No, Unsure – Again!), I took the opportunity to answer each of their questions beyond the constraints of “yes, no, unsure”.

The questions are broad, open to interpretation and, on occasion, leading. How would you answer the Chamber’s questions?

In case the Director omits my business background, as he did in 2005, I worked for Northern Telecom for many years, winning a couple President’s Awards and a Chairman’s Award for Innovation (the first IT person to do so). I have been a CIO/CTO of a couple successful startups, including Reged.com which sold to FiServ for millions. As an entrepreneur I was part of the crew that guided those companies to multi-million dollar revenues. I currently work for Tibco, an enterprise application integration company, specializing in XML technology and distributed Java application architectures.

Here is the questionnaire and my extended answers. You’ll note I wasn’t unsure at all:

4. Is increasing the commercial tax base in Chapel Hill an important priority for you?

YES

Even before my run for office in 2005 I was agitating for a Economic Development Officer to help develop strategic and tactical approaches to increasing our commercial tax base. Council finally hired an officer, now we need leadership with business acumen to make the best use of his services.

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Election 2007: Public Financing Next Cycle?

Friday, July 13th, 2007

As reported in today’s N&O, Chapel Hill is on track to be granted permission to create and use voter-owned elections for our municipal races.

I’ve supported this and other efforts – cumulative voting, super-precincts, same-day registration – to open up access to local office and generate the greatest participation possible.

The Senate approved HB143 and is sending it back to the House for final ratification.

AN ACT to
define a uniform program of public campaign financing and to authorize the town of Chapel Hill to conduct such a program.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 163‑278.6 is amended by adding a new subdivision to read:

(17a)  The term ‘public campaign financing program’ means a uniform program of a governmental entity that offers support for the campaigns of candidates for elective office within the jurisdiction ofthat governmental entity under the following conditions: (i) the candidates participating in the program must demonstrate public support and voluntarily accept strict fund‑raising and spending limits in accordance with a set of requirements drawn by that government, (ii) the requirements are drawn to further the public purpose of free and fair elections and do not discriminate for or against any candidate on the basis of race, creed, position on issues, status of incumbency or nonincumbency, or party affiliation, (iii) any public funds provided to candidates are restricted to use for campaign purposes according to guidelines drawn by the State Board of Elections, and (iv) unspent public funds are required to be returned to that governmental entity. Funds paid pursuant to such a program are not subject to the contribution limitations of G.S. 163‑278.13 and the prohibitions on corporate contributions of G.S. 163‑278.15 or G.S. 163‑278.19 but shall be reported as if they were contributions in all campaign reports required by law to be filed by the campaigns receiving the payments.

SECTION 2.  Article 21 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:

§ 160A‑499.1.  Uniform, nondiscriminatory program of public financing of election campaigns.

(a)       A governing body of a city may appropriate
funds for a public campaign financing program as defined in G.S. 163‑278.6(17a) for city office in that city’s jurisdiction if the city has held at least one public hearing on the program before adopting it and the program is approved by the State Board of Elections. The State Board of Elections shall develop guidelines for the basic components needed in a program to meet the criteria set forth in G.S. 163‑278.6(17a) and shall approve a city’s program that meets the criteria. Any city exercising authority under this section shall provide full notice to the county board of elections in any county in which it has territory.

(b)       The governing body of a city
appropriating funds as provided by this section shall prepare a report no later than six months after the second election in which it appropriates funds under this section that analyzes its experience in implementing a public campaign financing program by that date, including percent of candidates participating in a program, sources and amounts of funding, litigation involving a program,
administrative issues, and recommendations for changes in this statute. The report shall be presented by that date to the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, to the Fiscal Research Division of the Legislative Services Office, and to the committees in the House of Representatives and Senate to which election‑related bills are primarily referred.

SECTION 3.  This act applies to the Town of Chapel Hill only.

SECTION 4.  This act is effective when it becomes
law and expires July 1, 2012.

Money can be a big factor, and folks like myself that can kick in some seed money to get their campaigns rolling have an advantage.

Mayor Foy’s 2001 race against Lee Pavao set a troubling standard ( Democracy North Carolina’s “Campaign Costs Skyrocket in Chapel Hill – Spending By Mayoral Candidates Has More Than Tripled Since 1995” [PDF]) that, luckily, has been approached but not yet exceeded.

Council member Mark Kleinschmidt (whom I ran with in 2005) said of the passage

“Campaign public financing will allow our elected officials to better reflect the widespread diversity of ideas and people that exist in Chapel Hill. It will increase the accessibility of running for office for non-wealthy candidates, and allow us to avoid trends in other cities of moneyed special interests dominating local elections.”

Unfortunately, this comes too late it seems to help any contenders wanting to run against the block of incumbents this year.

Speaking of incumbents, according to the Orange County Board of Elections filings, Foy, Greene, Hill and Strom have all not said yet if they plan to restrict their campaigns to a $3,000 limit.

Cam Hill did say “”Actually, we’ve got enough right here. My son’s going to be my treasurer, which will be an adventure. I’m hoping this will be an inexpensive campaign for all involved.” in this recent Chapel Hill News report, so maybe any other candidates will not have to contend with the double whammy of big money and incumbency.

We’ll know what kind of warchest these and the other candidates will bring to their effort as the 2007 Mid Year Semi-Annual report covering “Registered participants & non-participants in the 2007 elections from January 1, 2007 through June 30, 2007” is due July 27th.

Election 2007: Candidates Line Up

Thursday, July 5th, 2007

Filing for office begins noon July 6th and ends noon July 20th.

Confirmed candidates for Chapel Hill Council and Mayoral races are:

  • Kevin Foy, current incumbent Mayor.
  • Sally Greene, 4-year incumbent Council member, ‘blogger.
  • Cam Hill (yes, quite a scary snapshot but there was no official site I could find), another 2003 winner and incumbent Council member
  • Bill Strom, another incumbent and current Mayor Pro-Tem (foiled, it seems this round in his quest for the Mayoralship)

As far as current Council members, that leaves Jim Ward yet to declare.

According to local political pundit and Chapel Hill Herald columnist Tom Jensen “this election is probably going to be a snoozer in Chapel Hill” (OP) because “it will be an uphill battle since incumbents rarely lose in Chapel Hill and I don’t think anyone on Council has done anything to outrage any broad segment of the citizenry.”

Interesting spin from Tom but maybe he’s right – no one will rise to the challenge.

I helped Bill, Sally and Cam during the 2003 election, so this year presents some interesting contrasts. Strangely enough (cough, cough), Bill, Sally and Cam represented the Town in the RAM Development/Lot $$$5 debacle.

One might assume that they saw this as a career enhancer – it’ll be interesting to see how their white whale plays during the election cycle.

Tom, maybe possible contenders, like the Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth (NRG) Mike Collin’s or frequent OrangePolitics poster and the Planning Board’s George Cianciolo or a few more locally active folks will be scared off by the awesome weight of incumbency.

We’ll see, as July 20th is a short two weeks away.

In the “cooler” (at least according to WCHL‘s Ron Stutts) ‘berg of Carrboro

are on deck. Current BOA members Joal Broun and Alex Zaffron haven’t officially said which way they’ll jump though I’ve read that Alex might pass.

Who else might run?

In Carrboro, folks are looking North to Katrina Ryan, a 2005 candidate that more than a few folks thought deserved Dan Coleman’s seat.

Carrboro’s NTA (Northern Territories) have more than a few possible candidates to draw upon, including the newly announced Lydia Lavelle. Lydia, who is coincidentally a partner in Foy and Lavelle (yes, that Foy), threw her hat into the appointment ring with Dan and the Village Project’s James Carnahan.

Will James or former well-liked candidate David Marshall make a run? I haven’t heard though the cool ‘berg of Carrboro would be well-served by their entry.

[UPDATE:] Someone asks “Is that all the potential candidates I can think of?” Not really, but I figure time will tell and, hopefully, we’ll all be pleasantly surprised.

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