Mayoral hopeful Mark Kleinschmidt has touted himself as the best candidate to continue the work of Mayor Kevin Foy. Today, Foy made public his agreement with that statement, issuing an endorsement for Kleinschmidt's candidacy.
Kleinschmidt said he is "humbled" and "very appreciative."
"I'm very excited that Kevin shared his endorsement with the people of Chapel Hill," he said. "He's been very supportive."
Foy's full endorsement is below:
I hope the voters in Chapel Hill will join me in voting for Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor. I’ve served as mayor for the past eight years, and I’m proud of our town – we’ve adhered to our values as a place that protects the natural environment, works closely with our university, and respects all our neighbors without regard for their economic status. Over the past eight years, with Mark Kleinschmidt helping to lead the way, Chapel Hill has invested in a safe, vibrant downtown, new greenways, the arts, a major new park, a transit center, a new public works facility, and an aquatics center. We’ve done all this with an eye to prudent money management (we have the highest bond rating) and diversifying our tax base.
And it has paid off – just this year Chapel Hill was named both America’s Most Livable City and Best Place in the Country to Start a Business. We’re doing a lot of things right!
We have a bright future. A vote for Mark for Mayor will keep Chapel Hill on the right track.
Though the Durham planning department hasn't released any new findings on the Jordan Lake watershed rezoning protest petition, which was contested again this week, County Manager Mike Ruffin confirmed this afternoon that the planning department is sorting through signatures on the petition to ensure they are valid.
But, Ruffin said, the planning department still won't have any conclusions to share until next week -- which may or may not indicate whether Durham's planning staff made a mistake in ruling on the petition earlier this month.
At this point, Ruffin added, any new findings would have to be decided by a judge. That is the avenue of appeal for the petitions (the Haw River Assembly and Southern Environmental Law Center) and commissioners already voted on the issue, and can't reopen the issue and vote again, he said.
The Southern Environmental Law Center announced this morning that it is contesting a ruling by Durham's planning director that its recent protest petition on the rezoning of Jordan Lake's watershed was invalid.
The SELC and the Haw River Assembly argue that Durham's planning director miscounted the amount of land owned by people who signed the petition, and therefore the petition actually was valid.
Had the petition been ruled valid, it would have required one additional affirmative vote from County Commissioners to rezone the protective boundaries around Jordan Lake. Without a valid protest petition, commissioners needed only a simple majority, and voted 3-2 on Oct. 12 to shift the protective boundaries around Jordan Lake to the west. Doing so would allow for more intensive residential and commercial development closer to the lake, which is a drinking water source for Cary and Chatham County.
Chapel Hill leaders will wait until after the next Town Council is sworn in to appoint a person to fill Bill Strom's vacant seat. After being prodded by a petition, six members of the current council, four of whom are up for election, stated their support for waiting until after Dec. 7, when the new group takes office. Councilwoman Sally Greene was the only one not to weigh in, though she has stated her support on the local blog, Orangepolitics.org.
Mayor Kevin Foy was the only one adamant in targeting Nov. 9 at the date to make an appointment, though realizing he was in the minority, he encouraged the group to cancel the applicant's presentations for that date.
Under town ordinance, the vacancy must be considered at every meeting until an appointment is made, but there is not a deadline. The group of six, Matt Czajkowski, Laurin Easthom, Ed Harrison, Mark Kleinschmidt, Jim Merritt (who voiced his support later in the meeting, during the consent agenda section) and Jim Ward, intends to delay the appointment each time until December.
As reported today in The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, a Duke University police officer was arrested Monday in Alabama and charged in a "bondage rape," and faces two felony charges - first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy.
The officer, Webster Delenn Simmons, 37, is noted in the article as a resident of Rougemont who had worked for the Duke police department for a year, and also worked for the Raleigh Police Department. The Herald-Sun reported that the sheriff in Dothan, Ala., where Simmons was arrested, said investigators are looking at other similar cases to determine whether Simmons could be involved. He is being held in the Houston County jail in lieu of $120,000 bail.
UPDATE: County records indicate only a Webster Simmons in the Fairfield neighborhood of southern Durham, but it's unclear whether that is the same person. Records also show Webster Delenn Simmons paid property taxes in Durham on a truck in 2006, but a property tax bill lists his address as Apex.
Five Durham candidates filed pre-election campaign finance reports this week, and the lists of contributors didn't include many surprises, but were interesting nonetheless. Candidates raising or spending more than $3,000 in their campaigns this fall were required to file pre-election reports.
Among the highlights: Mayor Bill Bell received contributions from Charles Wilson, of C.T. Wilson Construction, and long-time former Sheriff Roland Leary.
Bell contributed $100 to incumbent Mayor Pro-Tem Cora Cole-McFadden, who is running for City Council in Ward I against newcomer Donald Hughes. Cole-McFadden is seeking her third term on the Council. Her roll of contributors also included retired school board Chairwoman Kathryn Meyers, Steve Toler, a frequent consultant to city and county boards, and Virginia Bowman, CEO of Northgate Mall, and Steve Schewel, primary owner of the Independent Weekly newspaper. She also took contributions from Phail Wynn, an executive vice president at Duke University, and Charles Wilson Jr., CEO of C.T. Wilson Construction.
When I called Orange County Board of Elections Chairwoman Tracy Reams today I thanked her for her time. "You must be very busy these days, so I appreciate it," I told her.
"Well, not as busy as we'd like to be," she replied.
That might seem odd for a woman whose overseeing three early-voting sites, one per Hillsborough, Chapel Hill and Carrboro, but Reams says the sites haven't been used nearly as much as she expected.
At the close of Monday it was 11 days since early voting began in Hillsborough and a full week since Chapel Hill and Carrboro joined in. So, how many have turned out to the polls? In Chapel Hill, 454 came to the Morehead Planetarium. The Carrboro Town Hall has seen 310 voters. Hillsborough has had a scant 48 residents vote thus far at the Board of Elections office on King Street.
No major bombshells in Randy Voller's latest campaign finance report, filed Oct. 26.
The mayoral incumbent collected $2,453 in the last month for a total of $7,841 for the election cycle. He has spent most of his campaign cash since late September: $3,958 of the total $4,058. See the report here (pdf, 924 KB): vollercampaignfinance
Voller's contributors include Pittsboro General Store restaurateur Vance Remick, Jill Ehrenfeld of the Bean And Barrel, who gave $100 each. Chatham Coalition vice-chair John Hammond contributed $64 in the form of an in-kind donation, while the committee to Elect Peter Rubinas ponied up $201 and change. Rubinas unsuccessfully ran for Chatham County school board last fall and received the Chatham Coalition's endorsement.
Voller faces Republican Bill Crawford in the Nov. 3 election. Early voting continues through Oct. 31.
Fliers paid for by the Kevin Wolff for Mayor Campaign popped up at Chapel Hill and Carrboro early voting sites this weekend, leading some to question if Wolff is still actively seeking office despite saying he's dropping out and others denouncing the material's anti-gay content.
On Monday, the fliers, which give a checklist comparing Wolff and competitors Matt Czajkowski and Mark Kleinschmidt, were gone at the Morehead Planetarium site, but a few soggy ones remained in a plastic bag attached to a Wolff campaign sign at Carrboro Town Hall. Among the differences, Wolff notes that unlike Kleinschmidt, one of five openly gay elected politicians in the state, he is not a "gay-rights activist" and "has children."
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