Filing period opens for town, school board elections

tgrubb@newsobserver.comJuly 9, 2013 

— Residents and town leaders in Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough began filing Friday for the 2013 municipal and school board elections.

The filing period at the Orange County Board of Elections ends at noon July 19, with early voting scheduled to start Oct. 17. The general election is Nov. 5.

In Carrboro, Mayor Mark Chilton said earlier this year that he would not seek a fifth term in office. Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle announced her intent to seek Chilton’s office in April. If she is elected, her replacement on the board could be chosen in a special election or appointed by other board members. Lavelle’s term as alderman ends in 2015.

Three other seats on the Board of Aldermen are open this year.

Chapel Hill has four Town Council seats available, and Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt also will be running for re-election. Two council members, Laurin Easthom and Gene Pease, have said they are not seeking re-election.

Two additional council seats are available. Council member Ed Harrison has not said whether he plans to run again. Council member Sally Greene, who was appointed to former Council member Penny Rich’s seat in January, will seek re-election.

Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens also will seek re-election this year. Town Board member Frances Dancy also is facing re-election this year but has not announced whether she will run. Michael Gering announced in June that he would not seek re-election to the board.

Three seats on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education – Vice Chairwoman Michelle Brownstein and board members Gregory McElveen and James Barrett – also will be on this year’s ballot.

These candidates filed Friday:

Chapel Hill


• Name: Mark Kleinschmidt

Age: 43

Address: 102 Boulder Lane, Chapel Hill


Occupation: Partner, Tin Fulton Walker and Owen law firm

Previous political experience: Chapel Hill Town Council, 2001-09

Relevant community service: N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Transportation Advisory Board, N.C. American Civil Liberties Union, International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials, N.C. Democratic Party and Equality NC.

Why I’m running: “Being mayor of Chapel Hill over the past three years has been the one of most challenging, yet rewarding experiences of my life. It is my intention to (run) for re-election in the hope the citizens will allow me to continue to serve and move forward with the hard work we have invested in Chapel Hill together as a community.”

Town Council

• Name: Sally Greene

Age: 57

Address: 406 Morgan Creek Road, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Visiting lecturer in UNC’s Department of English and Comparative Literature

Previous political experience: Chapel Hill Town Council, 2003-11, 2013

Relevant community service: Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, Council Committee on Affordable Housing, Historic District Commission, IFC Comprehensive Service Center Work Group, Inclusionary Zoning Task Force, Library Building Committee, Mayor’s Committee on Strategic Planning, Mayor’s Committee on Campaign Public Financing, Northside Conservation District Advisory Committee, Planning Board and Sustainable Community Visioning Task Force, among others.

Why I’m running: “As we go forward under a new comprehensive plan, citizens continue to embrace such important goals as affordable housing, environmental protection, and access to core services such as the library. In an economy that continues to falter, such goals can seem elusive. Building on a track recored of results, I am asking voters for the privilege of continuing the work toward a more inclusive and livable Chapel Hill.”

• Name: Gary Kahn

Age: 57

Address: 703 Copperline Drive, Apt. 306, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Retail associate for department store, background in real estate and fundraising

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: Past president, Vineyard Square Homeowners Association; Board of Directors, Copperline Square Homeowners Association

Why I’m running: “Obey Creek, transit problems, development in general. Since I live right here in Southern Village, Obey Creek should be my No. 1 concern.”

•  Name: Maria T. Palmer

Age: 52

Address: 303 Forbush Mountain Drive, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Chaplain intern, Alamance Regional Medical Center; translator, Vanguard Publications

Previous political experience: N.C. State Board of Education, appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt; N.C. Nursing Scholars Commission

Relevant community service: Seawell Elementary School’s School Governance Committee; Orange County Human Relations Commission

Why I’m running: “To work on implementing Chapel Hill 2020 and work with the Town Council to help guide the growth of Chapel Hill. To keep Chapel Hill beautiful and welcoming, but also make it a more modern place that doesn’t require a car for everything and more diversity of housing. ... I would also like for the Town Council to have a bigger impact on our schools.”



• Name: Lydia Lavelle

Age: 52

Address: 8107 Kit Lane, Chapel Hill

Occupation: N.C. Central University School of Law professor

Previous political experience: Carrboro Board of Aldermen, 2007-present;

Relevant community service: former chair, Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Advisory Committee; Planning Board liaison; Transit Partners Committee, Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau Board of Directors; former president, N.C. Association of Women Attorneys; member, United Church of Chapel Hill; Triangle Land Conservancy, Friends of Bolin Creek, Friends of the Carrboro Library

Why I’m running: “I have a real interest in not only transit but especially biking and walking. … We need to figure out a way to identify revenue streams so our taxes don’t keep going up and up and up.”

Board of Aldermen

•  Name: Jacquelyn Gist

Age: 58

Address: 206-A Maple Ave., Carrboro

Occupation: Career counselor and assistant director of UNC’s University Career Services

Previous political experience: Carrboro Board of Aldermen, 1989-present

Relevant community service: Carrboro Day co-founder; founding board member, Orange County Housing Corp.; Community Home Trust board of directors; Executive Committee, Liaison to Recreation and Parks Department; Liaison to Arts Commission.

Why I’m running: “This would be my seventh term, and during my service so far I feel like I've been a really strong advocate for both neighborhoods and small local businesses. The recession is ending and we can go ahead with some projects that had spent awhile on the back burner. Which is great, but we need to make sure that as we grow, it's in keeping with our sense of community ... and our special sense of place.”

•  Name: Randee Haven O’Donnell

Age: 62

Address: 106 Fairfield Court, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Science educator at Durham Academy

Previous political experience: Carrboro Board of Aldermen, 2005-present

Relevant community service: Friends of Bolin Creek, Friends of the Carrboro Citizen, Leadership Triangle

Why I’m running: “No. 1, because I love Carrboro. It’s my verve town. I love the work. I love working for her.”



• Name: Tom Stevens

Age: 59

Address: 213 W. Tryon St., Hillsborough


Occupation: Consultant and owner of Think Leadership Ideas, writer and professional artist

Previous political experience: Mayor since 2005

Relevant community service: Former executive director, Family Counseling Service of Durham; former chairman, United Way Agency Directors Forum; former president, Durham Council for the Prevention of Child Abuse; former president, Leadership Triangle; former board member, Striving for More childhood cancer support organization; and current president, Raleigh-Durham Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.

Why I’m running: “I believe a widely shared vision for our town has emerged, a vision that emphasizes small-town character, celebrating our heritage, and sustainable prosperity for folks from all walks of life. We enjoy a vitality and sense of community you can feel walking down the street. We are moving in the right direction.”

Town Board of Commissioners

• Name: Jenn Weaver

Age: 39

Address: 323 W. Queen St., Hillsborough

Occupation: Yoga instructor at Durham Yoga and Triangle SportsPlex, freelance copy editor, stay-at-home mother

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: Town Parks and Recreation Board

Why I’m running: “Hillsborough really is a wonderful place to live, but it’s also in a period of transition and we’ve got some really positive changes ahead for our town. ... I want citizens from all neighborhoods to benefit from the changes as we move forward.”

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board

•  Name: James Barrett

Age: 43

Address: 100 Morgan Bluff Lane, Chapel Hill

Occupation: SAP deployment at IBM

Previous political experience: Elected to Board of Education in 2011

Relevant community service: Officer at Holy Trinity Church, Lutheran

Why I’m running: “I came onto the board as Superintendent Tom Forcella joined the district, and we’ve made great strides since then. His emphasis on a growth mindset – focusing on every child showing significant growth every year, not just getting students to proficiency – will prove its worth in the long term. To get there, we need to continue the focus on improved instruction in every classroom for the benefit of every student.”

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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