Local elections draw wide field of candidates

tgrubb@newsobserver.comJuly 22, 2013 

  • Election Box Carrboro

    • Mayor

    Lydia Lavelle

    • Board of Aldermen (3 seats)

    Jacquelyn Gist (incumbent)

    Randee Haven-O’Donnell (incumbent)

    Sammy Slade (incumbent)

    Kurt Stolka

    Al Vickers

    Chapel Hill

    • Mayor

    Mark Kleinschmidt (incumbent)

    • Town Council (4 seats)

    Sally Greene (incumbent)

    Ed Harrison (incumbent)

    Gary Kahn

    Maria Palmer

    Amy Ryan

    George Cianciolo

    Paul Neebe

    Jonathan Riehl

    Loren Hintz

    D.C. Swinton


    • Mayor

    Tom Stevens

    • Board of Commissioners (2 seats)

    Jenn Weaver

    Kathleen Ferguson

    Meighan Lela Carmichael

    CHCCS Board of Education

    (3 seats)

    James Barrett (incumbent)

    Michelle “Shell” Brownstein (incumbent)

    Andrew Davidson

    Ignacio Tzoumas

— Ten more candidates filed for town and school board elections last week as the 2013 filing period ended.

No candidates emerged to challenge incumbent mayors Mark Kleinschmidt in Chapel Hill or Tom Stevens in Hillsborough.

Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle is also unopposed in her bid to succeed Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton, who will not seek a fifth term.

Here are the candidates who filed last week. Find a complete list on page 4.


Board of Aldermen

•  Name: Kurt Stolka

Age: 32

Address: 207 Robert Hunt Drive, Carrboro

Occupation: Stay-at-home father, UNC-Greensboro graduate certificate in economic and urban development

Previous political experience: Carrboro Transportation Advisory Board

Relevant community service: Carrboro Bicycle Coalition, Active Transportation Alliance

Why I’m running: Aldermen need to have a voice for a new kind of generation of families and young people that are moving in. It’s one of the best walk- and bike-friendly towns in the state. I have a 2-year-old son in October, and I think we could do a better job keeping our children safe and enforcing speed limits. I think there needs to be a lot more collaboration between the town and UNC in terms of economic development, to keep budding entrepreneurs in the local area.

•  Name: Al Vickers

Age: 68

Address: 151 S. Fields Circle, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Retired environmental engineer

Previous political experience: Orange County Solid Waste Advisory Board

Relevant community service: Lake Hogan Farm homeowner’s association board.

Why I’m running: I’m really interested in how the town does. I’m retired now, and I have time to make a contribution to the community. I believe in effective management of the town’s resources. Right now, solid waste and recycling are transitioning from county management. The town has started to work with Chapel Hill and Hillsborough on that, and I’d like to see them make a sensible decision to move forward.

Chapel Hill

Town Council

•  Name: Loren Hintz

Age: 57

Address: 804 Kings Mill Road, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Retired science teacher, Chapel Hill High School

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: Chapel Hill Transportation Board, Kings Mill Morgan Creek Neighborhood Association; Bike and Pedestrian Task Force; Neighborhood Conservation District Committee; Fordham Boulevard Safety Task Force; Orange County Commission for the Environment; Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador and Honduras

Why I’m running: Overall, I am pleased with our community efforts to assist the homeless, welcome immigrants, provide low-income housing, support the downtown and other business areas, reduce our carbon footprint and address local and national issues. However, we need to do a better job implementing the recommendations of the boards and task forces the town has created. Many residents don’t understand how to contact local government about problems. Town employees and elected officials should be proactive in addressing those problems.

•  Name: Amy Ryan

Age: 53

Address: 209 Adams Way, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Freelance editor

Previous political experience: Chapel Hill Planning Board; Chapel Hill 2020 Plan stakeholder; steering committee member and facilitator, Central West Focus Area; Sustainable Community Visioning Task Force; Community Design Commission; Morgan Creek Trail Conceptual Plan Committee

Relevant community service: Former president and vice president, Family Preschool

Why I’m running: Our challenge is to protect what we value about our town (and the qualities that have placed us on so many “Best Places” lists) as we evolve to meet the demands of the future and capitalize on the opportunities identified in the 2020 Comprehensive Plan. ... My participation in town initiatives has given me a solid knowledge of the issues facing Chapel Hill; my advisory board work has made me deeply familiar with our planning process and provided insights into ways that process can be improved.

• Name: Jonathan Riehl

Age: 37

Address: 2 Mt. Bolus Road, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Communications consultant, communications professor at Wake Technical Community College, also taught at UNC and N.C. State University

Previous political experience: Consultant to congressional and local lawmakers and nonprofits, former Congressional Quarterly staff writer

Relevant community service: None

Why I’m running: Having been here in Chapel Hill, and loving the community, I thought it might be the perfect time to work in a way that’s more direct. (The Mt. Bolus neighborhood is) very concerned about the environmental impact (of developing the Estes-MLK corridor), as well as how it will impact the town. ... Working at Wake Tech, which is in north Raleigh, I’ve seen the changes that happen when development happens haphazardly. ... (I’ve also) worked in politics and being pretty successful at building bridges with politicians on both sides of the aisle.

•  Name: D.C. Swinton

Age: 25

Address: 116 Hamilton Road, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Program assistant with Chapel Hill’s Parks and Recreation Department

Previous political experience: Two-time candidate for the South Carolina House of Representatives

Relevant community service: former member of the Environmental Action Coalition in South Carolina, Moral Monday protester, volunteer at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center

Why I’m running: I feel like I’m the kind of person (who can bring) diversity on the council and politics in general. I want to work with (UNC) to create a course on sexual violence and prevention. I feel like the school and town have not done enough to make it safe for women. Jobs ... so (everyone has) a chance to increase their economic standing. ... I also want to make sure everyone in Chapel Hill has a say in the town ... and have their suggestions be taken into consideration .


Board of Commissioners

•  Name: Kathleen Ferguson

Age: 50

Address: 517 Central Ave., Hillsborough

Occupation: associate director of delivery strategy and budget at Quintiles

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: Orange County Economic Development Commission, Orange County Small Business Loan Program, Community Watch, U.S. 70-Cornelius Street Corridor Task Force; Carolina Theatre Volunteer Advisory Board, Community Leadership Collaboration

Why I’m running: I’m really passionate about a healthy economy and healthy neighborhoods. The quality of life is so strongly driven by a family’s ability to earn a living and meet their obligations. … Hillsborough’s neighborhoods also are quirky and have a lot of personality. I’m pleased with the direction that Hillsborough has been taking. We have a nice track record of data-driven growth.

•  Name: Meighan Lela Carmichael

Age: 37

Address: 229 W. King St., Hillsborough

Occupation: Self-employed

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: Former finance director, Orange County Habitat for Humanity

Why I’m running: My background in accounting provides an understanding of the importance of fiscal responsibility and thoughtful management of our local resources. We have a responsibility to maintain and improve our town’s infrastructure and strategically invest in its continued growth. As a mother, I am keenly interested in creating sustainable prosperity that will benefit our current residents and our children for decades to come.

CHCCS Board of Education

• Name: Andrew Davidson

Age: 39

Address: 110 Westbury Court, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Database administrator with Verizon Terremark

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: Frank Porter Graham School Improvement Team, CHCCS Technology Advisory Council

Why I’m running: My public involvement began with my election to the School Improvement Team at Frank Porter Graham Elementary three years ago. My No. 1 focus is to address the achievement gap that exists for fragile populations. The Dual Language program at the Frank Porter Graham Magnet School is a good first step. But we have two other significant populations who also require the same creative thinking in order to deliver culturally specific enrichment programs designed to help improve their academic achievement. I wish to do everything I can to help these students, while still working with the rest of the district to deliver the world-class education that Chapel Hill is known for.

• Name: Ignacio Tzoumas

Age: 39

Address: 116 Millbrae Lane, Chapel Hill

Occupation: Business start-up investor, former hedge fund manager

Previous political experience: None

Relevant community service: strategic consultant, with PricewaterhouseCoopers advising the state of North Carolina in 1997 on best practices for government agencies.

Why I’m running: I specifically hope to assist with the budgetary problems that are challenging our district. Without a sound budget, addressing issues ranging from supporting fragile populations to adding new schools will come with prohibitive restrictions. Having the perspective of first-generation American student from a multicultural family, I want the public school system to thrive while managing the needs of the ever-changing demographics.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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