Chapel Hill voters will pick four candidates out of seven choices (plus some write-ins). Harrison, an incumbent, deserves reelection. He’s smart, versed on the challenges facing the city, and is willing to make difficult decisions on issues like affordability and growth.
After that, though, the decisions become more difficult, as there are several qualified candidates. In this race, we’re siding with Hongbin Gu, Rachel Schaevitz, and Karen Stegmanthough Allen Buansi, a thirty-year-old civil rights attorney, merits consideration as well, and would make a fine council member.
Gu is a Chinese immigrant who arrived in Chapel Hill two decades ago with $50 to her name and has become an autism researcher in the psychiatry department at UNC. She promises to bring her analytical skills to bear in an effort to make Chapel Hill more inclusive and sustainable.
Shaevitz, a social justice filmmaker and postdoc scholar in the public humanities department at UNC, is a relative newcomer to Chapel Hill, having only arrived here two years ago. Yet she has a firm grasp of the issues, understanding that affordability extends beyond housing into transit and planning. She also serves on the town’s task force overseeing the development of the American Legion property and is the town’s cultural arts commissioner.
Stegman, a Chapel Hill native, stresses inclusivity as the most important issue: “Will we choose to be a community of including people who might otherwise be marginalized, or will an increasing lack of affordability erode our long-held values?” she asks. She talks smartly about affordable housing, economic development, and land-use planning.
It’s worth noting here that we are not endorsing incumbent Maria Palmer, whom we believe to be too deferential to the town’s staff.