2009 Sierra Club Chapel Hill Candidate Forum

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Thanks to Loren Hintz. Matt Scheer, Jason Baker (2005 candidate for Town Council), May Becker, Judith Ferster and the rest of the membership of the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club for both sponsoring the recent candidate forum and making the following video available to the wider community.

Also thanks to my fellow colleague on the Sustainability Task Force Matthew Scheer for moderating the event and James Carnahan for keeping time.



Quick technical note: the current video doesn’t support “quick search” but will start streaming right away.

2009 NRG Chapel Hill Candidate Forum

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Thanks to Madeline Jefferson, Bob Henshaw, Julie McClintock, Janet Smith, Alan Snavely, Mickey Jo Sorrel and the rest of the membership of Neighborhoods For Responsible Growth (NRG) for both sponsoring the recent candidate forum and making the following video available to the wider community.

Also thanks to my neighbor (and former Chapel Hill Mayor) Jonathon Howes for moderating the event.



Quick technical note: the current video doesn’t support “quick search” but will start streaming right away.

Dec. 10th: The Density Discussion

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

In my application for the Council seat, I called again for Council to sponsor a thorough, wide-ranging and comprehensive community discussion on development density.

How high, how dense?

Last Spring, Council decided to end their pursuit of high density development zones. We need to restart that discussion. We should take the recent work on twisting RSSC into a palatable high density zone and start fresh with the density discussion.

Our community might not embrace high density, but if we’re going to allow high-density development to go forward civic duty demands we have a clear, honest and open discussion among not only Council and those developers wishing to use a new zone but the wider community.

We won’t have to wait on Council to initiate that discussion. Dec. 10th, Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth (NRG) is holding a forum meant to begin a community conversation on acceptable limits to density and growth.

Dear NRG neighbors and supporters:

Mark your calendars for December 10, 2008!

Chapel Hill 2020: where are we headed?

Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth will hold a public forum on growth, density, and the future vision for our community on the evening of Wednesday, December 10, 2008, in the Chapel Hill Town Council Chambers, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

As our community has grown, the need for a community-wide discussion on how we want our town to look has become acute. More and more citizens are expressing uncertainty and concern about what degree of density is most appropriate for our community, and where the best locations for it might be.

NRG believes that our region will develop best if it develops based on a comprehensive vision that is understood and endorsed by informed citizens. The goal of this forum is to kick off a community-wide discussion of these issues. NRG will be broadcasting more information as the agenda and speaker list firms up. But for now:

– Mark your calendar for this event

– Please forward this e-mail to any and all potentially interested friends and neighbors

– Please send any questions to NRG by return response to info@nrg nc.net

Thank you, and please watch for more details on this important event!

Julie McClintock and Kristina Peterson

Co-Chairs, NRG www.nrg-nc.net (email) info@nrg-nc.net

Like they say, mark your calendar for what promises to be an interesting event.

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.

Superior Court 15B: Prompt Financial Disclosures from Baddour and Stein

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Superior Court 15B candidates Judge Baddour and Attorney Stein are first out of the blocks with their 3rd quarter campaign reports.

  • Judge Baddour’s report (as data, image to follow) is here.
  • Attorney Stein’s [amended] report (again, as data) is here.

[UPDATE: 1] Leon Bryant is Baddour’s grandfather.

[UPDATE: 2] As of 1PM, Nov.2nd neither Fox’s or Anderson’s reports are posted at the SBOE.

  • Judge Anderson’s report will appear here.
  • Judge Fox’s report here.

The promptness of Stein and Baddour (and possibly Fox and Anderson) is quite encouraging.

I hope that since the Oct. 22nd – Nov. 7th reports will be in too late to matter, the candidates will consider pre-releasing their contributions leading into Nov. 7th on the 6th.

Breakdown of 3rd quarter reports:

Judge Baddour’s

Expenditures of: $55248.77 (of $105506.85 overall).

Contributions based on the summary report for the 3rd quarter: $76144.50 which includes $25,000 loan from the candidate, a $4000 loan from his father and $1150 from Baddour relatives (might be more relatives).

Based on the detailed receipts report, $85885.19, of which $55589.50 was individual contributions, came in over the period in amounts and numbers of:

$8.19           1       loan
$10.00          1
$20.00          2
$25.00          21
$30.00          6
$35.00          1
$40.00          2
$45.00          1
$50.00          39
$60.00          3
$75.00          9
$97.50          1
$100.00         160
$150.00         8
$187.50         1       loan
$200.00         9
$250.00         21
$280.00         1
$300.00         2
$442.00         1
$450.00         1
$500.00         19
$700.00         1
$750.00         1
$800.00         1
$1000.00        8
$1100.00        1       loan
$2000.00        1
$4000.00        1       loan
$4000.00        1       contribution from Leon Bryant [UPDATE:] Baddour's grandfather.

Individual contributions came in amounts over time as:

$2015 in March
$2100 in April
$230 in May
$100 in June
$850 in July
$13255 in August
$17270 in September
$19769.50 in October

Contributions to-date: $139626.76 which includes a total of $30599.86 in loans.

Attorney Stein's

Expenditures of $36864.34 (of $93877.54).

Contributions based on the summary report for the 3rd quarter:  $42652.00, no loan proceeds.

Based on the detailed receipts report $51742 came in over the period of which $5000 was a loan from the candidate, $46793 were individual contributions.  The amount and number of contributions break down as:
$10.00          3
$15.00          1
$20.00          5
$25.00          38
$35.00          3
$40.00          1
$50.00          56
$60.00          1
$75.00          7
$90.00          1
$99.00          1
$100.00         130
$125.00         10
$150.00         10
$200.00         11
$250.00         41
$300.00         3
$500.00         14
$828.00         1
$1000.00        3
$2000.00        1   from David Byrd
$5000.00        1   loan

Contributions came in over time as:

$500 in February
$2500 in March
$5840 in April ($5000 loan)
$100 in May
$150 in June
$9019 in July
$11253 in August
$15015 in September
$7365 in October

Contributions to-date: $125084.00 which includes a total of $5000 in loans.

What does this all mean? Further analysis to follow…

A Splash of Campaign Finance, a Jump into the Jury Pool…

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Judge Anderson, after Monday’s forum, kindly gave me a brochure from the American Judicature Society (AJS), a non-partisan group created to “secure and promote an independent and qualified judiciary and fair system of justice.”

He handed me the tract just minutes after I discussed my call for candidates in both the Superior Court District 15B and Board of Commissioner races to voluntarily disclose their campaigns current financial status by Weds. Oct. 24th. Why the 24th? It is 3 days after the Board of Elections July 1st to Oct. 21st campaign report closes, 6 days before the report has to be sent in and 14 days before the election. More on my call for campaign transparency later…

The AJS’s primary interests are: judicial independence, conduct and ethics, selection; the jury; the criminal justice system – convictions of the innocent;public understanding of the justice system;”pro se” litigation and assistance.

The brochure had a few eye-popping factoids: thousands of folks go to court without legal assistance, 1 of 10 inmates – as many as 200,000 prisoners – are factually innocent, %78 of Americans believe that judges’ decisions are influenced by campaign contributions and, to me, a really shocking tale of our failing democracy – overall 1 in 5, in some areas as many as 9 in 10, people ignore jury summons.

As you might guess, I’m a bit starry-eyed on the old democracy shtick. Heck, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington still stirs my heart.

Four decades in, I’ve worked on campaigns, done “get out the vote” drives (GOTV), publicly written and ranted about our republic’s founding principles, even run for office, but, somehow, I’ve never been called for one of the most intimate of civic responsibilities: jury duty.

Sounds like the AJS is trying to figure out why more citizens don’t participate – maybe it’s cynicism borne of too many years of rushed and ready justice.

It has been quite encouraging to see candidates like Anderson and Baddour propose specific remedies to address local disparities. That said, whatever the outcome of our current judicial race, I’m confident the winning candidates will strive to diminish that cynicism and work to strengthen our confidence.

By the way, the American Judicature Society (AJS) and citizen’s of Orange County aren’t the only folks wondering about money and its affect on judicial races

Although heavy interest-group spending on judicial elections is a relatively recent phenomenon in Washington, it’s well-established in other states, he said.

“Special interests that pick a judge based on ideological considerations are automatically not picking an impartial judge: They’re picking somebody who they think is going to vote their way,” said Wiggins, who has donated to the campaigns for Alexander and another incumbent, Susan Owens. “That’s the antithesis of what we should be doing.”

And, Alexander said, “When you start getting huge amounts of money coming in, then I think the public has every right to be skeptical of our system, and that, I think, would be a terrible blow to our society if people no longer have faith in our judiciary.”

Alexander’s only challenger is Groen, and the winner in the non-partisan primary will appear alone on the November ballot. A Bellevue property-rights lawyer, Groen has benefited from more than $1.5 million either raised in contributions directly to his campaign or shelled out in so-called independent expenditures by political action committees working for him or against Alexander — a sum greater than the total spent by all candidates for three Supreme Court seats in 2004.

Seattle Post Intelligencer, Sept. 15, 2006

ps. You can see Judge Anderson waving that pamphlet and highlighting judicial reform in this video.

Here comes the Judge: Superior Court District 15B Oct. 16th Bar Forum

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

There were 20+ folks tonight – with a couple from the media – maybe 4 or 5 organizers – some town staff and the balance being interested citizens. I was already convinced that District 15B voters have a heck of slate of candidates before them – tonight I was more impressed than ever.

Very simply – we can’t lose. Of course, we have to pick and the candidates did a good job differentiating their philosophies, approaches, procedures and performance.

Due to what turned out to be poor placement of the camera and some technical issues I botched Adam Steins opening statement. In my defense, I set my camera up early – on a tripod as per BrianR’s excellent recommendation – well away from onlookers and the moderator. But then “dancin’ Doyle” decide to move stage right. By that point, my bobbing photographic nemesis for the night had taken the high ground.

Opening statements in reverse order appearance on the ballot. Essentially, Adam Stein reviewed his service before the bar, his work on the Mel Watt and Daryl Hunt cases and laid out his career as per the first forum.

I apologize for cutting Judge Fox off during question on political parties influence: essentially he gave a reprise of his answer on parties and politics from the 1st forum.

Some interesting highlights.

  • Anderson on reforming the system for selecting judges – especially the perception of the public about what the effect of money has on jurisprudence.
  • Anderson on keeping current with the law.
  • Stein taking up the transition challenge with his closing statement.
  • Stein on why he’s punctual now – great story of his youth.
  • Fox on managing high profile cases.
  • Baddour on how a short term can hurt our system of justice.
  • Baddour on direct outreach and keeping the “common Joe” in the picture.

Again, I apologize to the candidates for weaving around, botching the focus, not anticipating “dancing Doyle” and, in Mr. Stein’s case, completely zapping a segment. I’m working to get better at this vLog business.

And to my readership, thanks for the feedback. I wasn’t sure if these videos would have any utility.

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: Closing

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

Closing statement.

youTube link to closing statements.

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: Stein’s Short Term

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

This was one of the most interesting questions of the evening. Essentially, what did the candidates think if Mr. Stein was elected to serve only 2+ years of an 8 year term.

Judge Anderson dodged and weaved. Judge Fox left it to the people. Mr. Stein defended the propriety. Judge Baddour, in the most direct and thoughtful response, spoke of how a short-term can harm the system around justice – that beyond the public interest, litigants and court personnel alike will be impacted.

youTube link to video on Mr. Stein’s “built-in” obsolescence – a pre-determined exit less than 1/3 of a way through his term.

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: Electing Judges

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

youTube link to video on electing Superior Court judges.

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: Judicial Temperament

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

youTube link to video on judicial temperament.

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: Staying Current with the Law

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

youTube link to video on staying current with the law, the legal profession and trends thereof….

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: High Profile Cases

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

youTube video on handling of high profile cases.

Oct. 16th Superior Court 15B Forum: Punctuality and Work Ethic

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

youTube link to video on punctuality and work ethic.

Oct. 16th Superior Court District 15B Forum

Monday, October 16th, 2006

A quick reminder of tonight’s Superior Court District 15B forum. This one will be telecast, so I’ll probably not create a bazillion youTube clips like Oct. 11th’s forum.

From the N&O calendar:

The 15B Judicial District Bar will hold a forum for District 15-B Superior Court judge candidates at 7 p.m. Monday in the Chapel Hill Town Hall. The forum will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable channel 18 in Orange and Chatham counties. George Doyle will moderate with questions coming from lawyers Barry Winston, Nat Smith, Ed Holmes and Sam Williams. You may submit questions by e-mail beforehand to Winston at btw@winstonandmaher.com.

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