3 running for Carrboro Board of Aldermen vacancy

CorrespondentApril 27, 2014 

— In Carrboro, three candidates are running for the unexpired term left vacant when Alderwoman Lydia Lavelle was elected mayor of Carrboro in November 2013. The term ends in 2015.

• Talal Asad

Age: 27

Address: 1202 N. Greensboro St.

Website: talalforcarrboro.com

Education: Bachelor of science, bachelor of arts, Ohio State University 2008, marketing, entrepreneurship (minor) and Arabic (minor)

Work experience: Son Information Systems (Software), director of operations and business development.

Past: The Nielsen Company (Market Research) - senior market research analyst. Also worked in magazine publishing, music management, retail and service industry.

Other activities: Volunteer, coached kids soccer teams with Triangle United and taught business/career to eighth graders for Junior Achievement in Kentucky.

Endorsements: None listed

Campaign statement: In order to progress in Carrboro, the issues we face must be met with ideas that are fresh, creative and feasible. I have done just that.

Instead of continuing to talk and use buzzwords like “sustainability,” “affordable housing,” and “we should talk about ...” the right candidate should already have concrete plans that they plan to propose and work from there.

During this campaign I have demonstrated that I am willing to go the extra mile and actually bring planned out ideas to the table. I have already come up with a comprehensive parking proposal for Carrboro that includes questions to gauge current business owner’s sentiment, alternatives to parking, as well as the artistic rendering of my concept: the Carrboro Solar Deck, a 300 spot, 250 kw/H solarized parking deck. Please see the debate at bit.ly/1jMjHlC to compare the my ideas to those of my fellow candidates’.

During my term as alderman, I pledge to not only continue generating creative ideas for the town, but also finding ways to implement them.

I also plan to educate our constituency about how our local government is run and encourage civic engagement through more town-sponsored outreach efforts. I will also try to implement an iteration of the electronic town hall, a concept developed by Ross Perot that encourages direct civil engagement in the decision making process, empowering the residents of Carrboro to shape legislation.

• Bethany E. Chaney

Age: 45

Address: 217E Hillsborough Road

Website: bethanychaney.org

Education: bachelor of arts, UNC; MBA, Northeastern University

Work experience: 20 years of experience in non-profit, community economic development industry. Self-employed consultant in the field since 2005.

Other activities: Carrboro Planning Board since 2011, chair since 2012; Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition; Board of Aldermen Affordable Housing Task Force; Award-winning writer and basketmaker.

Endorsements: The Sierra Club. The Independent Weekly

Campaign statement: I would be excited to serve Carrboro, and I am confident I can make an immediate contribution in the brief time remaining in the term for three reasons.

First, I have served on the Carrboro Planning Board for three years and have earned valuable experience working with town staff, aldermen, and the land use ordinance. During my tenure, I have played a key role in establishing, organizing and facilitating our annual community outreach discussion series, one on affordable housing and another on zoning processes. Both resulted in recommendations that are informing policy decisions now, and I’m very proud of that.

Second, as a result of my professional experience, I understand the resource environment related to public-private partnerships that could benefit Carrboro. I understand housing providers like the members of the Orange County Affordable Housing Coalition; community development lenders like Latino Community Credit Union and Self-Help; and economic development initiatives like business incubators and Main Street programs. I also understand how tools like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credits can be leveraged to make tough development projects economically feasible. Knowledge of the landscape will help me serve Carrboro better by expanding our collaborative potential as a municipality.

Finally, I have deep roots here, and I understand the need for diverse residents to feel included in whatever vision we promote as a town. I have the active listening and facilitation skills that can make a difference as we envision and manage change, the kind that benefits us all.

•  Theresa Watson

Age: 58

Address: 6003 Meadow Run Court

Website: watsonforalderman.com

Education: Chapel Hill High School; Shaw University, business management degree

Work Experience: Director of a local nonprofit organization that mentors youth and assists families with their problems and challenges in life. I worked for several pharmaceuticals in the Triangle in the area of IT migration, validation, testing and project commissioning.

Other activities: Member of the Chapel Hill Board of Adjustment and member of the Chapel Hill Sustainability Task Force Committee.

Endorsements: Jim Merritt, Kevin Stewman, Geoff Hathaway, Al McSurely, Miriam Thompson, Susan Adams, Pearl Cole, Nate Davis, Braxton Foushee, Helen Figueroa, Regina Merritt.

Campaign statement: We need to explore how affordable housing is being offered and its pricing structures for residents. Often, residents can be priced out of the current pricing structures because the available affordable housing is sometimes too expensive. We need to advocate for better ways to link affordable housing residents with more job opportunities, and we need to work more closely with landlords to encourage or incentivize them to be part of the solution for affordable housing in Carrboro.

We need to address the Rogers Road sewage and water project and how structures are approved for this low-income area. Often, residents in this section of Carrboro are adversely impacted by growth and development near the I-40 interstate.

We need to review sustainability and environmental policies in Carrboro. Carrboro has made reasonable progress in these two areas, but we need to evaluate how well plans are established and implemented relative to the continuing large population growth of Carrboro, which has doubled in size since 2000.

Additionally, we need to have greater emphasis on job creation in Carrboro to help maintain and expand our tax base in order to keep overall rates as low as possible for Carrboro residents. We need to help businesses grow so that more jobs are available, thus, potentially reducing the need for more affordable housing.

Velliquette: bavelliquette@gmail.com

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