Name as it appears on the ballot: Jon DeHart
Full legal name, if different: Jonathan P. DeHart
Date of birth: 06/09/1967
Home address: 102 Old Larkspur Way, Chapel Hill , NC 27516
Campaign website: www.dehartforcouncil.com
Occupation & employer: Manager, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage
Why are you running for office and what are your top priorities, if elected? Please include information on past public service, posts held, volunteer work completed and other examples of your leadership.
This a crucial time in the history of Chapel Hill. I am running for office because I can provide the kind of common sense leadership that will maintain and improve the special quality of life we enjoy in our community.
When elected, three of my priorities will be affordable housing, sustainability, both environmental and economic, and transparent and effective government.
Please see my website for more details on these issues at www.dehartforcouncil.com.
I bring two decades of valuable experience as a community volunteer and business leader to this campaign. Each of these items show my commitment to community service:
Current Member Town Of Chapel Hill Transportation Board
Member Inaugural Chapel Hill Citizens Police Academy
Housing: Orange and Durham County Habitat for Humanity and Community Home Trust – Served on Finance committee for Community Home Trust in 2007. I’ve been an advocate for this issue through my employer. My employer has donated over $100,000 to the Habitat, Community Home Trust and Empowerment Foundation.
Active Member of Orange United Methodist Church – have served in leadership roles on the Finance Committee, Administrative Council, and the Staff Parish Relations Committee. Also, served as an usher, volunteer with the children’s program and as the pitcher on our Chapel Hill Church league softball team, which made the finals this season. In addition, I chaired the IFC night for Orange for three years, serving at least 36 meals at the shelter.
Previous Member of Larkspur HOA Board, Current member ARB
Volunteer at Seawell School, member of PTA
YMCA – Served on the current “We Build People Campaign – Co- hosted a fund raiser this year. Coached several sports including basketball, baseball, and soccer. Former Chief of the Alamico Y-Princess Tribe
American Red Cross – Frequent blood donor since high school
My career experience includes the following:
13 years Management experience in a retail mortgage lending office for two different reputable national home lenders, supervising dozens of employees and effectively managing a profit and loss statement for each.
Past President of the Triangle Mortgage Lenders Assoc.
Instructor of Real Estate education at Wake Technical College and several private Real Estate Schools
I have held numerous positions since I began working at 14, including the following: teller/customer service representative at BB&T, assistant manager at Hardee’s, courier at a law firm, retail clerk and assistant manager at Kerr Drugs, Surveyors Assistant, State-wide organizer for the North Carolina Democratic Party, selling shoes at Roscoe Griffin and JC Penney, and Bag Boy at Piggly Wiggly and Big Star.
I’m also a husband and father. I learn daily from my wife and children how to be a better person. I learn patience, love and forgiveness everyday and this makes me a better, well-rounded person. This will help me as leader when listening to our citizens.
If you are not currently serving on the Town Council, what will you bring to the body that it now lacks? If you are an incumbent, what perspective have you brought that the town still needs?
We have a good Town Council; however, Chapel Hill deserves a GREAT One. I will bring an unwavering belief that our town government must be open and transparent in all its actions. I will do everything in my ability to make sure that the council listens to its citizens first, before acting.
I have 18 years experience helping people achieve the dream of homeownership. I know more about housing than any other candidate or sitting member, and I will bring a relentless focus to this issue.
In addition, I will bring a strong financial background to the board that will help us plan for our recovery from the current economic conditions.
I would encourage strong neighborhoods and protection of existing ones.
I bring experience in planning for our future. The new comprehensive plan will shape our future and it needs to ensure the highest environmental standards that we are accustomed to as the leader in North Carolina in environmental issues.
I will continue advocating for the issues that I believe most residents believe in strongly, such as excellent schools, affordable housing in a diverse community, and the highest standards for protecting the environment.
In the last four years, what do you feel are the three best accomplishments of Chapel Hill Town Government, and why? Conversely, what are three things you would have done differently?
Appointing Will Raymond to OWASA. He has been a long time public servant and volunteer for us. This will give him a chance to serve in an official capacity and we will all be better for it.
Recognizing that our comprehensive plan needs to be redone so we can protect our neighborhoods and plan for the future.
Recognizing that our current reliance on residential property taxes as an income stream is not sustainable and choosing to pursue smart economic development.
What would I have done differently or needs improvement:
We have great civic pride in our library and I would have preferred pursuing increased County funding for our library.
I would like to see Franklin Street regain its status as our front porch by cleaning it up and making it friendlier for pedestrians, cyclists, and visitors. The Downtown Partnership needs additional financial support to help make Franklin Street a destination.
We need to balance affordable housing stock and payment in lieu. I would like for us to listen to local experts like Delores Bailey of Empowerment and Robert Dowling of the Community Home Trust to see what their current needs are. These needs change and one size does not fit all.
The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
I believe that a just community is obtained by electing leaders like me that are good at listening to all sides before making any decisions. Chapel Hill is losing it’s middle class. I want to ensure that we do not make the gap between higher income and less fortunate individuals so wide, that teachers, police, and fire fighters cannot afford to live here.
How do you define yourself politically (ie) conservative, moderate, liberal, third party, hybrid etc) and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
Moderate – I’m moderate to liberal on social issues and more conservative on financial issues. My platform is a balance between how I feel about social justice issues (e.g., affordable housing and transparency in government) and what I’m really good at, which is budgeting, finance and planning for the future.
Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
Making sure we are working towards a true multimodal transportation solution. We need to make sure we are planning for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus, and light rail.
Do you support the cent sales tax referendum? Would you support future ballot initiatives such as the transit tax? What will you do to educate and involve the public not only in those decisions but in town affairs in general?
Yes, I support the cent sales tax as proposed. I would probably support ballot initiatives that would help us move to a long-term, sustainable multimodal transit system.
This fiscal year saw the town make cut some bus routes and reduce their frequency, the town’s July 4th celebration and Project Turnaroud, among other cost saving measures? Do you agree with the choices? If not, how would you have found the funds or what different cuts would you have made?
I was disappointed in how we handled the town’s fireworks cancellation. The cancellation cost the Town business from attendees that would have provided much needed tax-revenue from nearby towns and visitors. We saved some money, but Chapel Hill lost more as a community. I would look at developing a public-private partnership for events like the annual fireworks show. I would like to see us review how we spend our money on consultants.
The town plans to write a new comprehensive plan this year to guide the next 20 years of development, what process should be used and what driving principles and strategies should the end result include?
The process should clearly state Chapel Hill’s values as a community, translate those values into vision and goals, and then move those goals into a working, action-oriented document.
The process should emphasize the participation from all residents in Chapel Hill, not just those who have historically participated. The process should pay special attention to incorporating ideas from citizens who have differing views and not only those who agree with the majority.
The document itself should be used to plan and manage growth in Chapel Hill and be used objectively, fairly and consistently each time development is considered.
What’s your view of the recent and in-progress additions to downtown, Greenbridge and 140 West and what’s your hope for UNC’s University Square development plans? What else needs to be done to preserve and further a unique and thriving downtown?
Any new development must be judged on how it compliments the surrounding neighborhoods and how those neighbors were involved in the process. I think the sheer size of Greenbridge makes it seem out of place with its neighbors in Northside.
I would like to see as much green space as possible to be included in the University Square development plans. I would like to see shared public space where all could benefit.
I would like to see us continue the work of Downtown Partnership. I would like us to make it cleaner and friendlier. Many voters have told me that they feel uncomfortable going downtown because of the scarcity of parking and perceived safety issues. I would like to see us review and update our aggressive panhandling standards.