CHAPEL HILL - Four candidates, including one incumbent, are vying for two seats on the Orange County Board of Commissioners this year.
Two additional candidates – Democrats Mark Dorosin and Penny Rich – effectively won their District 1 seats in the May primary and are uncontested in Tuesday’s general election.
In the District 2 race, Democrat Renee Price is running against Republican Chris Weaver, and in the at-large race, Republican challenger Mary Carter is competing against incumbent Democrat Bernadette Pelissier.District 2 Renee Price
Born and raised in Rochester, N.Y., Renee Price spent the early years of her career helping to reclaim New York City’s inner-city neighborhoods and on historic preservation, land-use planning, affordable housing and environmental impact projects. She also directed a Joint Legislative Commission on Rural Resources for the N.Y. General Assembly before moving to Orange County in 1990 and getting involved in sustainable agriculture. Website: reneeprice2012.com Education:
Cornell University, master of regional planning; Colgate Rochester Divinity School, master of arts program; Tufts University, bachelor of arts Career/community involvement:
Free Spirit Freedom, Co-Founder. Hillsborough Arts Council, Past Chair. Historical Foundation of Hillsborough and Orange County. Commission for the Environment, Chair. Orange Unified Transportation Board. Planning Board, Past Vice-Chair. Historic Preservation Commission, Past Chair. Hillsborough-Orange County Inter-local Agreement Task Force. Human Relations Commission Campaign finance (through second quarter report):
Total raised, $6,574; total expenses, $6401.12; largest donors, Florence Peacock, $300; several $250 individual donors. Endorsed by:
The Independent Weekly. NC Sierra Club. The Daily Tar Heel. CHN:
What’s the No. 1 issue you see the county commissioners facing in the next five years? Price:
One of the primary issues confronting for our immediate future is economic growth as a means of diversifying the tax base, to relieve the burden of high property taxes on homeowners, so that we have the resources to support our schools, community facilities, and essential governmental services. We should invest in ourselves, and encourage and boost locally owned and operated small business start-ups and expansions that provide living wage and high-quality jobs in technology research, light manufacturing, clean energy, agriculture, the arts and tourism, to name a few. I also would continue to work in concert with area academic and vocational institutions to educate and train people in specific fields, and persist in our efforts to attract outside businesses to locate in Orange County. CHN:
You have a variety of professional, nonprofit and cultural experiences. What are the lessons that will most influence your goals if elected commissioner? Price:
In my travels, I have learned that the road to progress is dependent upon on listening to the views of other people and to respecting their values. When people are engaged in designing and developing policies and programs that affect their quality of life, we are communicating and working proactively, rather than reactively which ultimately results in bad feelings and time wasted. When elected commissioner, I want to provide opportunities for commissioners to dialogue with community members because your voice and your vision are essential in defining a viable future for Orange County.Chris Weaver
Born in Isle of Hope, Ga., Chris Weaver says he was raised a JFK Democrat but became “a screaming conservative” while operating SeaWeaver Marine Services for 20 years. Not feeling quite a Republican either, Weaver says he found like-minded individuals in the Tea Party revolution and the Orange County Republican Party. Website:
Armstrong Atlantic State College, bachelor’s degree in biology. Career/community involvement:
Self-employed marine contractor; precinct captain of Caldwell, N.C., for the Orange County Republican Party Endorsed by:
Orange County Republican Party Campaign finance:
None filed with the Board of Elections CHN:
What’s the No. 1 issue you see the county commissioners facing in the next five years? Weaver:
The county is almost exclusively dependent on private property taxes for its revenue. The Orange property owner is currently assessed at an inflated value. The current commission opted to kick revaluations down the road rather than deal with raising rates in an election year. The projected losses from a proper revaluation were $9.9 million as of last March. In 2015 the revaluation will force rates to increase to maintain current spending habits adding pain the property owner, or spending will have to be cut accordingly. A continuation of this economy coupled with the 2013 tax wave could make this incredibly painful. CHN:
How would you find consensus with commissioners who have a different view to accomplish your goals? Weaver:
I do not expect the new commissioners from District 1 to find much common ground with me, however some of the rest may. I intend to protect the remaining liberty and treasure of my constituents. The trend is to run roughshod, and this I will not allow without great resistance. I may be alone in this or perhaps if Mary Carter is elected, she and others can join me in buttressing the rights of the citizens. For certain there will be no more rolling over on the citizens and I hope no more short thrift by the press in delivering substance to the public. I will utilize every medium I can to keep the public informed and if necessary, in the rows of the hall.At-large SeatMary Carter
Mary Carter is a bilingual former Texan and the daughter of Peruvian parents who became naturalized U.S. citizens. Three of her children still attend the Orange County Schools.
She’s also a fitness buff – easy enough with five active boys, she says – and a fan of organic foods. In their spare time, her family bowls in a Youth/Adult League at AMF Durham Lanes and go snow-skiing in the mountains.
Carter is running on a platform of transparency, technology and collaboration with neighboring governments. Her goals include improving economic development and local schools.
“The current board, through their decisions in solid waste, taxing and others, has alienated other local government units. Collaboration is possible if we all begin with the end in mind. There is no reason Orange should fail if we work together,” she says on her website.
Her husband Dave is running for state Senate, District 23, against incumbent Democrat Ellie Kinnaird.
Carter did not respond to Chapel Hill News questions. Website: marycarter.org Career/community involvement:
18-year business owner who recently started a new business, iDesignMobileApps. Endorsed by:
Orange County Republican Party Campaign finance:
None filed with the Board of ElectionsBernadette Pelissier
Bernadette Pelissier was born to French parents in Senegal, Africa. As a baby, she came to the United States and spent most of her childhood growing up in New Jersey. As a teenager, she lived for a time in Damascus, Syria, when her father John Pelissier worked for the United Nations. In 1975, she moved to Chapel Hill to attend college at UNC. Website:
Doctorate in sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill Career/community involvement:
Specialized in evaluating mental health programs in the community and prison settings; director of research and evaluation for Durham County Community Mental Health Center; chief of research at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, retiring in 2006. Also served with Orange-Chatham Sierra Club (Chair), Orange Water and Sewer Authority (Chair), Shaping Orange County’s Future Task Force, Carolina North Leadership Advisory Council, Orange County Planning Board and others. Endorsed by:
Indy Week, Orange-Chatham Sierra Club, Daily Tar Heel Campaign finance (through second quarter report):
Total raised, $1,775.17; total expenses, $388.28; largest donor, John Pelissier, $500. CHN:
What’s the No. 1 issue you see the county commissioners facing in the next five years? How would you deal with that issue? Pelissier:
Economic development which diversifies our revenue sources it vital to our long-term economic sustainability. Additional revenue sources are needed to provide sufficient monies to maintain our quality educational system, honor our social-equity values, and protect our natural resources. I will: a) continue allocating monies to economic development as outlined in the resolution passed for usage of the quarter-cent sales tax, b) work to streamline the Unified Development Ordinance, c) identify land use and zoning appropriate to attract new business and expand existing business d) collaborate with Durham Tech to provide training necessary for new jobs. CHN:
Do you still consider closing the Orange County Landfill in 2013 a prudent decision, and why? Pelissier:
Yes. 1) It was crucial to give a definitive closing date to the Rogers Road community and one which was sooner rather than later. This was important since mitigation plans for this community have not yet been completed. 2) The maximum remaining time for the landfill was limited. Without a definitive closure date, there is little motivation for the towns and county together to begin the process of working on a long-term solution which involves taking care of our own solid waste and not relying on transporting waste long distances by using a waste transfer station in another county.
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