Andrew Allden | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Andrew Allden 

Candidate for Pittsboro Town Commissioner

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Name as it appears on the ballot: Andrew Allden
Date of birth: 7/25/1964
Home address: 77 Lily McCoy Lane, Pittsboro NC 27312
Campaign Web site: None
Occupation & employer: Private Track and Running Coach of Elite Athletes; Coaching Educator; Part-time at UNC with Track Program -- Meet Director
Home phone: 919-542-3853

1. What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.

For the past four years I have served on the Pittsboro Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and the Chatham County Recreation Advisory Board. I was the first person ever to serve on both boards simultaneously, and in this capacity I have served as important link between the two boards. As a member of these I cannot take credit for all they have accomplished, but I am proud of the progress that has been made, particularly in the area of facilities. As member of the Town Recreation Advisory Board I am proud of improvements made to the Tennis and Basketball Courts (a cooperative project with the county) as well as improvements to Kiwanis Park, Town Lake Park, and the Community House. The progress towards the new town park in Powell Place has also been exciting. As a member of the County Recreation Board the acquisition of land for and the progress on the Northeast and Northwest District Parks has been rewarding.

Professionally, as a Division I college track and cross country coach I have been a head coach at two institutions. I also was also elected president of my profession's leadership organization the Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association. Over a period of years I also served as Vice President and as a member of the organization's executive board. In this role I shepherded a number of pieces of important NCAA legislation for the sport through to enactment

2. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

Politically, I define myself as a moderate. I believe my work on the recreation board has focused on consensus building and greater cooperation between the town of Pittsboro and the County of Chatham. If elected, my primary focus will be on exploring and enacting what is best for the long-term vitality of Pittsboro, not on being tied to any particular philosophy or ideology.

3. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

As a member of the town of recreation advisory board I supported and voted for an increase in the recreation exaction fee to $1,000.

Some might consider this fee increase a tax increase and a curb on development. I see it as making sure development pays its way as new residents will certainly expect adequate recreational services and facilities.

4. The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?

For many in these challenging economic times, justice is a matter of economic justice. I will support efforts to bring business and industry to Pittsboro to help provide good paying jobs. I support the Pittsboro to Chapel Hill Bus service, because mass transit makes sense environmentally and because it provides transportation for work, education, and medical care in Chapel Hill for those who might otherwise note be able to afford that opportunity. I support public recreation because it is available to all regardless of means.

5. Do you support Chatham County's recent use of stimulus funds? Why or why not? How would you have used those funds differently?

I am not aware of the specific uses of stimulus funds in Chatham County. I am aware that guidelines and regulations limited the application of such funds to a degree the towns and county's options on how to spend such funds are very limited. In general I support the concept of the town and the county getting its fair share. I approve of the town's use of the ARRA funding for the sewer plant upgrades.

6. In the past, residential and commercial growth was held back by wastewater and sewer plant inadequacies. The recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the sewer plant will allow approved projects to begin. But. What about future residential and commercial growth? How will you ensure the sewer plant and wastewater treatment stays on par with the county's growth?

I agree that progress has been made regarding wastewater and sewer issues. But, this is among the top issues as we move forward. We need to look towards a combination of cooperation with the county, cooperative projects with developers, and outside grant funding such as ARRA. In order to insure continued economic and job growth we may need to set aside some portion of future sewer and waste water capacity for commercial and industrial use.

The quality and cost of drinking water is one of the top issues for Pittsboro's citizens. As a town commissioner I would be make continuing to improve the town's water a top priority. In the long term, the cooperative project working with Chatham and surrounding counties to build a new plant is the way to go. But, as that project will take a number of years it is important that we continue to aggressively explore other shorter term options to improve drinking water quality.

7. We are in a national recession, and more than half of Chatham County's residents travel outside the county for work. How do you plan to bring more jobs to Chatham County? How will you encourage economic growth?

We have to work on making sure that Pittsboro has the infrastructure to attract and support the expansion of new industrial and commercial development. We need to work to ensure a quality of life that will make Pittsboro and attractive location for new industrial and commercial ventures. As a member of the recreation board I have worked to make sure we expand and improve recreational facilities, in part to help make the town more attractive to potential employers.

8. Does Pittsboro need a downtown revitalization? Why or why not?

As a citizen who lives with a mile walk of the downtown I am very interested in downtown continuing to be a vital and attractive center of our community. This makes sense from an economic and quality of life, standpoint, but it will take continued action on the part of the Board of Commissioners so that the center of town is not bypassed out of existence, as so many such town centers have been in recent. It may be nescacary to earmark a portion of the town's water and sewer capacity so that existing downtown buildings and business can be put into full use. It is also important that development near downtown is linked to downtown via pedestrian and bike access. The success of downtown is crucial to job growth within our town.

9. Do you support the proposed Major Corridor Plan for the county? Why or why not? How will you ensure Zoning and the Land Conservation & Development Plan required to implement the Major Corridor Plan, is equitable and fair to Chatham County's citizens?

I support the major corridor plan. The town already has a major corridor plan that I support. Fairness is largely a matter of consistent application of the plan. Once the plan is in place, citizens will know what to expect and will be able to plan accordingly. Sprawl has its own infrastructure costs that fall on all of the county's citizens. The corridor plan will help minimize those costs.

10. If you are an incumbent, please share some self-reflection about the pros and cons of the job the current mayor and council are doing leading the town. If you are a challenger, critique the job the incumbents are doing.

I view myself as a challenger for a vacant seat. There are three candidates for two seats and one is an incumbent. Pam Baldwin, the incumbent has done an excellent job. I voted for her in the last election, and I will do so again. I have endorsed the current Mayor Randy Voller. Mayor Voller has done an excellent job given the structural limitations of his position (only voting in event of a tie). He has seized the bully pulpit the office offers and represented the town's interests very well.

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