Randee Pamela Haven-O'Donnell | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week
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Randee Pamela Haven-O'Donnell 

Candidate for Carrboro Board of Aldermen

Full legal name: Randee Pamela Haven-O'Donnell

Date of birth: 5/3/51

Occupation & employer: Science Educator, Durham Academy

Email: havenod@gmail.com

Campaign website: www.randeehavenodonnell.org

Twitter: twitter.com/ranhaven

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ranhaven

1. Why are you running for office and what are your top priorities, if elected?

a. Why I am running for re-election:

These are extraordinary times in North Carolina, times that test our moral compass and confidence in representative government.  I believe the goal of an elected representative in her political work is to improve the quality of living for people. During the past eight years, I have provided thoughtful, proactive leadership on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen. Members of the community and colleagues describe me as trustworthy, collaborative , engaged , and a no-nonsense advocate. I seek to continue my time in office to deepen Carrboro's vibrancy and ensure her resiliency. During this most challenging of state political climates and continued economic uncertainty. I have demonstrated solid on the job commitment and performance on the Board of Aldermen, as well as in leadership roles on town and county boards, all of which has provided me with a substantial base of knowledge about our community and county.

b. My Top Ten List of Priorities:

My priorities going forward include the following:

1. To strengthen and expand Carrboro's tax base

  • Continue to promote our vibrant local economy
  • Further develop and promote Carrboro's entrepreneurial, professional services and creative class niche

2. To persist in environmental conservation and protection, and to pursue alternative-energy options for the Town and Carrboro community

3. To steadfastly uphold Carrboro's commitment to social justice, including its collaboration with El Centro Hispano to provide services and a work center for day laborers, and maintaining the Town's commitments to the Historic Rogers Road Neighborhood. I have long advocated for the development of a community center and the provision of water and sewer services to the historic Rogers Road Neighborhood, and I voted to approve the Town's financial commitment for these purposes.

4. To further develop and make sustainable the stock of affordable housing in Carrboro

5. To continue to expand Carrboro's active-living spaces, including greenways, trails, community gardens, pocket parks, and open spaces

6. To further encourage and integrate multiple modes of transit, bicycle infrastructure and share programs, car sharing and the continued exploration of light rail for Carrboro

7. To expedite the siting of the Orange County Southern Branch Library in Carrboro

8. To ensure that Carrboro protects, conserves and reserves a water supply of the highest safety and quality

  • To enhance and promote further water conservation and quality standards in partnership with Orange County and neighboring communities

9. To maintain Carrboro's commitment to comprehensive recycling, including curbside and for multi-family homes

10. Given the closure of the Orange County Landfill: To pursue a mid- and long-term solution for municipal recycling and solid waste

Please include information on past public service, posts held, volunteer work completed and other examples of your leadership.


  • Board of Aldermen since 2005; former mayor pro tempore
  • Current Board liaison to Economic Sustainability Commission, Planning Board, Greenways Commission,
  • Initiated the Board OWASA Sub-Committee to address concerns for water conservation, quality, safety and supply.
  • Member: Farmer's Market Advisory Committee
  • Former Board liaison to Environmental Advisory Board
  • Co-led Local Living Economy Task Force
  • Working with Main Street Partners to find creative solutions to address development issues and those of redesign for current businesses
  • Member: Initial Rogers Road Community Enhancement and Monitoring Task Force
  • Worked with the Community Garden Coalition on design and engineering for gardens at Baldwin Park.
  • Former Board member: Friends of Bolin Creek. Partnered with community and Friends of Bolin Creek to tight storm water management regulations, expand riparian buffers and creek restoration programs.
  • Board - Friends of the Carrboro Citizen
  • Former President: Chapel Hill-Carrboro Association of Educators


  • Former member: Orange County Economic Development Commission
  • Library Services Task Force
  • Former liaison: Intergovernmental Parks Work Group
  • Climate Change/Air Quality Advisory Committee
  • Former member of Human Relations Commission (co-chair of Social Justice Committee)


  • Academic Director: Duke Action Science Camp for Young Women
  • Certified: North Carolina environmental educator
  • Former Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools educator and diversity trainer (1978-1997)
  • Member: El Centro Hispano Day Laborer Task Force
  • Leadership Triangle: Alumna and former Board member


  • North Carolina Recycling Association: Former Board member
  • Office of Environmental Education: Environmental Education Certification Committee
  • North Carolina and Orange County Soil and Water Conservation: Teacher of the Year (1990)

2. If you are an incumbent, what perspective have you brought that the town still needs?

I am an incumbent on the Board of Aldermen. My perspective is that of a thirty-five yearlong community citizen, educator, diversity trainer, with family experience as a small business owner in Carrboro. In addition to having taught in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools for 19 years, our son attended the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools K-12.

What does the town still need from me?

The Town of Carrboro still needs me to continue the work begun, the in process and to solidify the vision forward. I am responsive and understand the wide range of needs in our community. I have expanded the community conversation on Local Living Economy, sustainability and resilience. I have introduced resources and integrated resources into our community. I help problem solve by advancing creative solutions. I have demonstrated solid skills in community dialog, advocacy, collaboration in Carrboro and amongst colleagues in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Orange County, Durham, Pittsboro and the surrounding region. I am dedicated to deepening and widening access to and inclusion of the greater community in decision-making. When I was first elected, I initiated the New Horizons Task Force to ensure the inclusion and infusion of the newly annexed neighborhoods into the Town of Carrboro community. Additionally, Dan Coleman and I acted as liaisons, Lydian Lavelle Chaired. This effort smoothed the way during a tough transition. Some areas I seek to expand are:

1. the restructuring of the neighborhood association gatherings and input sessions

2. the current re-organization of the Town of Carrboro website

  • the establishment of an electronic community bulletin board
  • the use of social media to engage and further cross-pollinate Carrboro's widely diverse and vibrantly vertical community.

3. Carrboro has an extraordinary base of volunteerism for events. That said, the Town government is an area that needs capture the interest and expectation of Carrboro citizens to be actively engaged and involved in decision-making. Town Advisory Boards and committee's need a broad spectrum of voices and views.

4. Continued community dialog and programs such as the Town of Carrboro Planning Board's community sessions paired with National Planning Month's focus on affordable housing, (2012) and this October (2013), on zoning.

5. Broadening the Town of Carrboro's partnership in programing with businesses and non-profits to further knit together the quilt of the Carrboro community. This work includes projects and programs with Carrboro Farmer's Market, Arts Center, El Centro Hispano, to name a few.

3. In the last four years, what do you feel are the three best accomplishments of Carrboro town government, and why?

The three best accomplishments of the Carrboro town government in the last four years are:

1. Sustainability and Resilience: Local Living Economy

  • Task Force and implementation of the Local Living Economy Task Force recommendations.
  • Revolving Loan Fund updating and expansion to include micro-loans.
  • Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan

2. Expanding downtown commercial business and tax base. Three key projects evidence Carrboro's attractiveness and vibrancy:

  • 300 E. Main Street and the magnificent Atma Hotel Group Hampton Inn. It has been a long road from concept to ribbon-cutting, at least eight years. The result is a beautiful Carrboro hotel, our first. The development of the hotel brought with it a parking structure that will be utilized for free by the Town of Carrboro for the people of Carrboro for the next five years.

  • The PTA Thrift Shop redevelopment with support from many partners including the Town of Carrboro. Barbara Jesse-Black and the folks at the PTA Thrift Shop thought out of the box and came up with a creative redesign for the Carrboro PTA Thrift Shop footprint. In addition to anchoring the west end of Main Street in Carrboro, the new PTA Thrift Shop design is an eye-catching gateway into the central downtown of Carrboro.

3. No tax increase from the Town of Carrboro. Despite the economic downturn of 2008 and the glacial pace of economic turn-around, the Town of Carrboro has not had a tax rate increase in the last eight budget cycles. Furthermore, not only were Carrboro budgets met and Carrboro taxes held in check, in a time of economic free fall, the Town of Carrboro increased her spending on human services seeing that on a County and State level services and service dollars were cut.

Conversely, what are three things you would have done differently?

1. Re-thinking the vision of commercial space in the northern transition area. In an effort to provide goods and services to neighborhoods in the northern transition area and minimize driving, we worked to identify potential commercial areas. While the concept in theory has merit. I no longer find the overall vision as expressed is in concert with our core values and our goals. Evidence of this is the lack of public transit bus routes and frequency for those that do exist in the northern transition area. Business viability depends on a critical mass. The Homestead Rd. to Eubanks Rd. area flanked by Old 86, is a suburban to rural area. The work of the northern transition area remains a work in progress.

2. It is maddening to know we could not have done more for the people who lived at Colleton Crossing who were edged out of their affordable housing. We should have seen it coming. Board members are interested in looking at ways we can creatively address affordable housing. We are working hard to address the ever-mounting need for varied levels of affordable and section eight housing that seriously impacts the most vulnerable of our community.

3. I suspect there was more that could have been done to prevent the closure of the Orange County Landfill and the dismantling of the residential recycling program. It was an award winning, comprehensive recycling program. It is a huge loss of an infrastructure of sustainable practices. It is my wish that in the short run, the model will be re-launched and expanded. I'd like to see the four governments enter an inter-local agreement for five years minimum, ideally more. Including:

  • lock down the roll-cart purchase with a guaranteed funding stream for purchasing them over the five year-term.
  • create the flexibility for transitioning a countywide recycling program into the developing comprehensive solid waste plan.
  • continue a uniform program so that the county as a whole benefits from the same high level of efficiency and effectiveness.

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

Having participated in Leadership Triangle, being a Alumna and having served on its Board, I am keenly aware of and have strong networks within the Triangle. I continue to work with Leadership Triangle on events and programming to connect Carrboro with Triangle and regional visioning, planning an programming. I was on the Orange County Human Relations Commission, and served as co-chair of the Social Justice Committee with Damon Seils. I have a long association of work with our former local El Pueblo, currently with El Centro Hispano in Carrboro, and with Justice United on the Day Laborer Task Force.

5. How do you define yourself politically (i.e. conservative, moderate, liberal, third party, hybrid, etc.) and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am clearly a progressive liberal. I am a life-long registered Democrat. My political philosophy expresses itself in my dedication to social justice, equal access and inclusion, diversity and labor rights, environmental protection and prudent stewardship. I am a former President of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Association of Educators. As such, I advocated for education, children and educators in locally and at the North Carolina State legislative level. To me, being politically progressive means ensuring equal access and equal rights inclusion for all the people, all the time. My political philosophy expresses itself in my engagement and outreach in community. I connect, engage and encourage community folks to proactively participate in community and decision-making.

  • Initial Rogers Road Community Enhancement and Monitoring Task Force
  • Former Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools educator and diversity trainer
  • El Centro Hispano Day Laborer Task Force
  • Worked with the Community Garden Coalition on design and engineering for gardens at Baldwin Park.
  • Partnered with community and Friends of Bolin Creek to tight storm water management regulations, expand riparian buffers and creek restoration programs.
  • Initiated the Board OWASA Sub-Committee to address concerns for water conservation, quality, safety and supply.
  • Library Services Task Force
  • Climate Change/Air Quality Advisory Committee
  • Former member of Human Relations Commission & co-chair of Social Justice Committee)

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

There are times that as a community representative we are called upon to bridge what appears to be competing interests. An example of this is the plight of the day laborer workforce in Carrboro. I have been actively working since 2002 to establish a worker center in Carrboro. In absence of a worker center, the day laborer workforce has improvised an area for work pick-up. This area is immediately adjacent to a residential neighborhood. The neighbors in the community support the right of workers to seek work though they are negatively impacted by the proximity to their homes. I continue to work with both the neighbors and the workers through the Community Resource personnel the Town of Carrboro and El Centro Hispano have provided to address this issue. It is complex, many folks with needs that must be met. In the short run there have been unpopular decisions made, the anti-lingering ordinance for one. It is good that that ordinance has sunset. There is progress, however glacial. The workers have been engaged with both the Prof. Judith Blau and the Human Resources Center (HRC) and El Centro Hispano. We are edging toward our goal of a worker center to provide workers' a safe environment with which to seek and secure work with dignity. Meanwhile, we must meet the needs of our neighbors who seek the same safety and security within their homes and on their property.

7. Many of Carrboro's most recent controversies centered around the clash of local businesses versus corporate businesses. What are your thoughts on this dynamic and how can a town official impact this?

We are relentlessly local in Carrboro. It is more than a motto, it is our vision. We are committed recyclers. We'd prefer to recycle our dollars locally. For every $100 dollars spent in a locally owned business, $73 stay in the local economy, only $27 dollars leave in comparison to $100 spent in non-locally owned business where only $43 stay in the local economy and $57 dollars leave.

We seek to plug economic leaks, organize small businesses, provide entrepreneurship training and opportunities and mobilize investors.

Carrboro is committed to a sustainable, locally owned and run economy.

We are dedicated to the 'Small-Mart Revolution' principles of local ownership, buy local first, circulate the dollars locally and regionally. We have worked hard in Carrboro to support local businesses, entrepreneurs and developers and will continue to do so.

8. Affordable housing remains a key issue in Carrboro. What can the town do to ensure affordable housing remains an option?

The Town of Carrboro Planning Board sponsored a series of community conversations fall of 2012 that were illuminating. The Board of Aldermen Task Force is already meeting this year and is planning to propose a final set of recommendations that include, though are not are not limited to:

  • Modified land use zoning and approval process
  • Increased housing density
  • A dedicated revenue stream for affordable housing
  • Innovative and nontraditional housing models; granny-flats, SRO's, Jay Shafer's concept of "small houses", just to name a few.
  • Understanding and accessing NC's new tenant-based rental assistance program for the differently abled.
  • Publicly funded land acquisition and banking dedicated to affordable housing
  • A housing trust fund-for emergency escrow, rent subsidy, down payment, etc.
  • Though controversial, Carrboro has an eye on inclusionary zoning how it's working and whether some type of it is viable for Carrboro.
  • Support non-profit development and programs
  • Explore and identify programs and opportunities to subsidize affordable housing.

9. This year, Carrboro experienced damaging floods due to heavy rainfall. Town officials cannot control the weather, but they can be prepared. What can the town do from an engineering and planning standpoint to be prepared should future flooding occur?

As a result of the rains June 30th, We are asking the very same questions and looking into several anticipatory, proactive methods. An example of this: on a recent visit to the Morgan Creekside neighborhood of Berryhill we met with HOA folks and talked about the potential of using rip-rap to secure the creekside embankments during a rain event. In 2005 I represented the Carrboro Board of Aldermen on the Orange County Climate Change/Air Quality Advisory Committee. We saw the data, we anticipated climate change and worked hard to make anticipate and change mindsets and habits in energy use and stormwater engineering. We can and must do better to ensure the safety and security of our community during these severe weather events that will now become more common. The Town of Carrboro, Board of Aldermen and Advisory Boards have been working together collaboratively in addition to partnering with neighborhoods to address storm water mitigation and anticipate continued major storm events. We must continue the work of educating community to the need to change our energy use habits. We must proactively plan for severe rain events and storm water management. This will take a three pronged plan: community wide awareness of the frequency and intensity of rain events, a comprehensive action place and advocate for:

  • reduction and change in our current energy use habits
  • we all live downstream: a comprehensive intergovernmental
  • stormwater management plan that addresses the larger interconnected issues of stormwater management
  • work with neighborhoods in our most vulnerable areas
  • harness the rainwater and use it! Create neighborhood rainwater catchment systems to recirculate for gray water neighborhood use

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