Name as it appears on the ballot: Randee Haven-O’Donnell
Party affiliation: Democrat
Occupation & employer: Carrboro Town Council
Years lived in Carrboro: Since 1978
1) In 300 words or less, please give us—and our readers—your elevator pitch: Why are you running? Why should voters entrust you with this position? What are your priorities, and what would you want to see the town council do differently or better over the course of your term?
An elected representative’s aim is to improve the quality of life of the people they serve. I am running for re-election because I have the lived experience, deep community engagement and the community has confidence in my work to meet on-going challenges as a progressive thought-leader.
I am known as a community activist and organizer. I work for the health, wellbeing and communitized climate action of all. Racial equity and social justice are the bedrock of our strong, resilient community. I am deeply involved in Carrboro’s work to ensure housing, food, and living wage security that sustains a diverse vertical population (from birth to ninety+), capable of growing and aging in place.
My priorities are informed by participatory engagement with community:
• Racial Equity and Social Justice
• Climate and Environmental Action
• Affordable Living and Sustainable Community Affordability-includes and is not limited to: Housing, food and living wage security.
We must deepen the practical, community application of our race equity and justice work. With the infusion and inclusion of the GARE training for Orange County inter-jurisdictional staffs, Councils and Advisory Boards, will be better positioned to advance race equity and social justice goals. Consider the recent tax assessment jump in our local historically black neighborhoods. Carrboro must stand with the NAACP, the Jackson Center and EmPOWERment to advocate support for an accurate and equitable tax assessment. This is racial and social justice at its core.
2) Given the direction of Carrboro’s government, would you say things are on the right course? If not, for what specific changes will you advocate if elected?
Carrboro has been and continues to be on a progressive, forward thinking course. Carrboro has clearly defined values, and works to ensure that our policies, procedures and practices are consistent with our values. Carrboro’s Comprehensive Plan is on the right course, asking the “right” question: “What can we help to create together?” This is what determinative democracy looks like. Broad community engagement will determine the values and guiding principles that will shape the development and growth of Carrboro. Thus far, the Carrboro Connects process has shown significant broad based community engagement and solid, substantive discussion. Coming up this fall, we look forward to the Comprehensive Plan Task Force findings and recommendations to the Council.
Carrboro must address affordability and affordable housing with greater urgency. Carrboro has opportunities to build-up and increase density in our downtown. We have not fully realized opportunities to maximize downtown building heights at 5 stories. We are at a pivotal moment to ensure a range of affordable housing stock beginning with a serious commitment to meet the community needs at or below 30% AMI spanning to low-to-moderate and fixed-income residents to meet diverse needs. We must assertively test the strategies in the tool box and outside of the box, we must forge strong public and private partnerships to advance housing affordability and housing security. We must have the political will to end homelessness, housing, food and work insecurity.
3) Please identify the three of the most pressing issues Carrboro currently faces and how you believe the town should address them.
1. Race equity and social justice intersectionality encompass all other issues. Race equity and social justice are the cornerstones of democracy. In 1963, Rep. John Lewis said, “We are involved in a serious social revolution,” Today, we are at the threshold of that civil rights era endgame. As Lewis often reminded us, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
Carrboro has moved to address racial equity and justice by carefully examining our policies, procedures and practices to dismantle the disproportional racial disparities and cumulative impacts reflected in housing and food security, wealth generation, access to economic development opportunities and financing, health care, education, environmental equity and criminal justice. Carrboro is fully engaged in GARE Training of staff, Council, Advisory Boards in alliance with jurisdictions throughout the county. Together with Council member Barbara Foushee and the Town of Carrboro Race and Equity Officer, Anita Jones-McNair, we co-constructed and are liaison’s to the newly launched Commission. The Carrboro Racial Equity Commission will be doing work similar to that which is being done in Durham by the Race Equity Task Force (RETF).
Under the umbrella of racial equity and social justice are:
2. Affordable Living and Sustainable Community Affordability-includes and is not limited to: housing, food and living wage security, and boosting a vibrant local living economy
3. Climate action and environmental protection, outreach and community engagement, resiliency, mitigation, sustainable growth, green building and enhanced macro and micro multi-modal public transit.
4) What’s the best or most important thing the town council has done in the past year? Alternatively, name a decision you believe the council got wrong or an issue you believe the town should have handled differently. Please explain your answer.
We are still in a pandemic. In early March of 2020, Carrboro Council was a prompt, assertive and resilient responder to the quickly unfolding pandemic crisis. With tight collaboration, cooperation, and communication, Carrboro Council, Town Management and staff enacted a solid pandemic response. Within the constraints of municipal authority, Carrboro addressed the pandemic quarantine, remote governance and engagement, required masking, distancing, local small business financial support, food supply and distribution, promotion of and access to vaccines. It has been tough navigating the pandemic uncertainties, zig-zagging spikes and variant threats. The Carrboro community stuck with us and followed-through, quarantined, masked and socially distanced. Our pandemic response was the most important thing our Council has done to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our community.
We did not anticipate what we did not know. Within and amongst jurisdictions, we did not have a set game plan to address the widespread need and provision for a long term pandemic emergency food supply. Orange County is well endowed with non-profit and for profit expertise and resources. We have at least 25 community food programs and resources to meet folks who are food insecure. During the months of pandemic lock-down and quarantine due to the sheer number of active food resources engaged and the need to meet virtually, it took a while to orchestrate food resources, ensure supply chain sustainability, communicate the supply and access with the community, secure volunteers and coordinate distribution throughout the county and municipalities. We’ve learned so much about having an emergency food supply response plan during a pandemic. It was an unexpected challenge that created a unique response from neighborhoods and the community, working together and supporting each other; the non-profit agencies, Farmers Market, and innovative leadership of the Carrboro United restaurant group.
5) What prior experience makes you qualified for and passionate about the town council and its duties? What made you seek this position?
I am a community activist and organizer. I am an experienced Council member and served on multiple Carrboro advisory boards prior to being elected. I am a science and environmental educator, community organizer, activist and social justice and diversity trainer. Throughout my career I have been passionate about and dedicated to the care and nurturance of people, ensuring equity and justice and sound environmental stewardship. I am a science and environmental educator, trained climate activist, certified diversity trainer. I have been active in Carrboro Town government visioning, policy discussion, community engagement, crafting, development, and enactment. I have wide advisory board liaison experience Carrboro Race Equity Commission, with colleagues co-constructed the charge and resolution to enact the Carrboro Community Safety Task Force, Economic Sustainability Commission, Environmental Advisory Board, Greenways Commission, El Centro Hispano’s Casa for Employment and Leadership Advisory Board, delegate to the Triangle J Council of Governments, Board Member NC DEQ Environmental Equity and Justice Advisory Board and a member of: Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, EqualityNC, EENC, Sierra Club, Mentor: Climate Reality, NAACP Chapel Hill-Carrboro Branch Environmental Justice and Economic Development Committees, PORCH neighborhood/community donation organizer.
6) As with most places in the Triangle, Carrboro is grappling with issues related to affordable housing. How would you like to see the town approach affordability issues over the next few years? Should it promote apartment living, duplexes, and/or triplexes? Encourage density in single family housing? What do you believe the town is doing right? What could it do better?
Housing security is a benchmark of racial equity and justice. The race equity and justice lens must be applied to all affordable housing development plans. We can and must address homelessness, the need for rapid rehousing, transitional housing and the range of housing for those in need at or below 30% AMI. Communities must provide housing for all people, across the wide and changing needs of a lifetime. This requires deep, coordinated, and diverse resources. Town budgeting and expenditures must advance racial equity and justice in affordable housing. At any time in our lives we are all vulnerable to housing insecurity. We must ensure that the housing insecure and the low-to-moderate workforce of our community are respectfully housed. Fifty percent (50%) of Carrboro renters are rent challenged. This fact highlights the ever present edge on which our community lives. Carrboro is on a strong path. We continue to advocate the urgency and firmly pursue dismantling factors that undermine our ability to provide affordable housing. Our Carrboro Affordable Housing Advisory Commission leans into the leading edge on affordable housing opportunities. Our municipal budget stridently supports and works to advance the unified goals of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, the coalition of affordable housing organizations. The housing affordability work includes, and not limited to:
• Providing resources and funds to sustain and up fit the existing affordable housing stock. Address maintenance and utility costs needs by providing heating/cooling energy efficiency and weatherization resources and subsidies. This applies to Carrboro’s existing affordable duplexes and triplexes which can be supported through public/private partnerships for sustained viability, weatherization and maintenance.
• Pursue public/private financial partnership opportunities and funding for publicly held land for affordable housing. Coordinate local governing bodies to identify public lands in Orange County. The Orange County Home Consortium report has identified this as a potential resource. Each of the governments can identify and land bank sites that would be appropriate locations for affordable housing (ex: access to public transit, schools, etc.).
• Meeting affordable housing stock needs at or below 30% AMI with the inclusion of PeeWee, Tiny Homes, auxiliary dwellings designated for 30% — 50% AMI, modular homes, to provide dignified housing for the housing insecure.
• Downtown housing density adds to the robust vibrancy that bolsters the local living economy and is an efficient land use. Dense, compact, spaces with an appropriate square foot, expanded to five story height, is a wise use of the urban footprint.
• Reimagine the possibilities of affordable housing incentives for developers including and not limited to; the density bonus, payment in lieu, open space reduction, density bonus-linked size limited requirement waiver.
• Explore the potential of an Affordable Housing Bond, Evaluate extending the half-cent property tax to boost the Affordable Housing Special Fund.
• Multi-family housing Consider our big sister neighbor, Durham, and how well compact, dense housing has proactively re-ignited and re-emerged downtown Durham and freed up spaces that are dedicated to amenities that enhance downtown urbanized living with an appropriate unit square footage.
7) For those who rent or own homes in Carrboro already, how should the town and county address tax revaluations that increase property taxes and rising rents, particularly for residents in public housing and those low-income residents who face displacement?
The overarching question is how do we go about changing the existing privileged culture of housing to ensure that all people are housed in dignity? The housing culture needs to be dismantled plank and beam, by plank and beam. Regarding the recent tax revaluations in Carrboro? Chris McLaughlin noted a national tax study: in relation to sales price, Black and Hispanic neighborhoods have a higher tax assessment. Their properties were overestimated for market value growth. In Carrboro, property tax assessments over time have caused residents to sell their home and move beyond the municipal tax district. The entire system must be overhauled for equity and inclusion. The culture of housing is exclusionary and systematically racist. The culture of housing must change. To address the inequities in property taxes, start with how the resident is taxed, identify bundled public services in the tax. Reduced disparity in tax assessments are shown when the assessment is formulated with the neighborhood zip-code, overall neighborhood conditions, (the amenities or lack thereof), and the up-to-date neighborhood property sales prices. The towns and Orange County must get out ahead of the shrinking stock and redevelopment of manufactured home communities. Our municipalities and county must unify to pursue publicly held land for affordable housing dedicated to house residents who will face displacement. We must overhaul the system to intentionally be predicated on and reflect equity, justice and wealth generation access.
8) In what ways should Carrboro work on growing its tax base?
Work local and work deep in the community. The last five years have created a seismic shift in the economy and economic development landscape. Two key ripple effect factors are: the pandemic and climate crisis and the budding transition to regenerative energy. The pandemic and the climate crisis has dramatically changed what work needs to be done, how and where we work. An exquisite example of Carrboro’s local living economy pandemic business innovation and cooperative problem solving was the creation of the Carrboro United restaurant group: https://carrborounited.com/. Carrboro United thought leaders modeled the way to navigate the uncertain economic terrain. They demonstrated that the ripple effect is still in motion and we must continue to be fluid and resilient through the change. As a result of the pandemic, many former retail and hospitality employees in our area are seeking to re-career and have reached out for skill-based mastery training and work. There is renewed interest in core community-based businesses of business and home maintenance and repair services. Data shows that re-career moves are occurring throughout careers and age ranges. The shifting economic landscape has sparked innovative opportunities for nontraditional entrepreneurial enterprises.
Just prior to the pandemic, Carrboro initiated an RFP (request for proposals) for economic development on town owned property north of downtown. In an effort to diversify and expand our tax base, Carrboro seeks to ignite a center for locally owned, skilled service and trade businesses. Carrboro’s commitment to local living economy and economic sustainability informs our interest to undergird local entrepreneurial enterprise in skilled service and trades, crafts, arts, artisanal foods and a food vendor prep kitchen cooperative. Local living economy businesses such as these support living wage salaries, spark further innovation and creativity, build a strong community and uplift Black, Brown, BIPOC businesses through small business and family entrepreneurship. On the horizon there is fertile ground to cross pollinate the work and innovation public-private partnerships amongst organizations such as the Carrboro 203 Project Orange County Skills Center, Orange County Durham Tech Campus, El Centro Hispano Casa for Employment and Leadership (CEL). As a liaison for the town of Carrboro to the El Centro CEL we are working with Durham Tech to ensure that workers have expanding skill and certification courses that promote trade and craft entrepreneurship. https://elcentronc.org/cel/
The climate crisis and transition to regenerative efficient energy is a second significant factor impacting and altering the nature of work on a planetary scale. The energy and transit transition to a green economy, climate resilience and mitigation measures in the economy are sectors of trades, crafts and artisanship that are taking hold and flourishing. Consider the potential as we move toward solarization of town buildings and new constructions, microgrids in park arrays and neighborhoods with communitized solar, weatherization, electrification, electrified macro and microtransit opportunities. We are at the threshold of a dynamic economic change and Carrboro is energized to pursue it.
9) What do you think is the best course of action for the town’s parking issues?
There is parking in downtown Carrboro. The perception is that parking availability is inadequate. Downtown Carrboro parking lots and spaces are spread out and not necessarily visible or known. We can do a better job of wayfinding, signage and broadcast communicating to identify parking lots and space availability. Prior to the pandemic we were working to establish a robust Wayfinder plan. We must rekindle that effort. Why not have an App that identifies our lots and availability and distance from the App user ? We need wayfinding, branded, multi-lingual, Town of Carrboro signage at key locations like Weaver Street Market, Century Center corner, 300 E. Main displays a downtown map of lots (the electronic ones show parking lot space availability, too). The 203 Library will meet the need for the building it serves when it is open and will provide downtown parking when the Library is closed. A key factor to rethink and redesign our streets and streetscape. Chapel Hill is doing it, Carrboro is poised and ready to do so. The Carrboro Comprehensive Plan is helping to advance the parking discussion and amplify community interest in “complete streets” and options for pedestrians and cycling to reshape the parking conversation.
10) In your view, how can the town improve public transit, especially in terms of serving lower-income residents? How can the town recruit and retain more bus drivers? How can bike lanes be made safer and more efficient?
To stretch the public transit dollars available and potentially expand transit funding consider these four points:
As a liaison to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Transit Partners I can attest to the work currently being prioritized through a GARE and race equity lens. We are sharpening our public transit focus on service for lower-income community residents and neighborhoods. I recommend we address the service need with the following:
1. Advocate property tax to support expanded bus and local microtransit focused funding. Urge public support by highlighting the keen public interest in: flexible, on-demand, demand responsive, mobility on-demand for neighborhood and multi-family outreach.
2. Deep dive into developing a robust bike, car-sharing, and multi-modal network that links to bus transit on-demand programs such as the former Sandbox Program (now IMI): https://www.transit.dot.gov/IMI
3. Scale-up targeted service through public-private microtransit partnerships: A local example of a use of a microtransit system in a rural area is the city of Wilson program, launched in 2020 with RIDE in partnership with TransitTech leader, Via.
4. For microtransit to meet on-demand and mobility on-demand needs; Continue to chase any and all federal assistance funds that can act as additional, support funding or as a local match. This may include and is not limited to funds from:
• Elder Care Act: Older Americans Act
• Temporary Assistance Block Grant Funds: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Chapel Hill and Carrboro are in near and long term competition for public transit bus operators. We have a small labor market and the competition for drivers has expanded exponentially across the region. At a recent Chapel Hill-Transit Partners meeting we discussed the critical need to recruit and retain bus operators. We’re facing a competitive field for recruitment. Within our region, municipalities are able to offer higher starting salaries with additional percentages for pandemic hazard pay, as well as, offering significant sign-on bonuses. The booming big warehouse and distribution center businesses present serious competition in salary and benefits. To address the operator shortage, we are focusing on our core services, working with independent livery and discussing the broader, long range plans that may include further partnerships and microtransit options. Larger than public transit is the question of providing opportunities for town employees to live and work in the same community. It is with hope I look toward the Carrboro Comprehensive Plan to guide our planning for and development of town and community work-live housing, services and amenities that we can offer that add value to a recruitment package.
Carrboro must follow-through with its complete streets program to ensure safety and orienting mobility on a human scale, by freeing up the roadway to fully accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Streetside car parking which chokes the roadway can be eliminated. A priority is to free up the roadway and expand access to downtown with complete streets, sidepaths, safe bike and pedestrian shared use paths, formal and informal community paths and trails. Streetscapes must be redesigned and aligned through the view of pedestrians and cyclists with protected street side paths that increase safety. In 2019, the Town of Carrboro established a bike “neighborway” identifying a bikeway through linked neighborhoods. We must expand the neighborway model. I recommend neighborway mapping as part of the Carrboro Comprehensive Plan to interconnect walkways and bikeways. Doing so will reignite the public discussion of Safe Routes to School which establish and support bike-safe routes and complete streets that began in 2014, when the Town of Carrboro held a Complete Streets Summit. We can do this now.
11) Carrboro has traditionally struggled to attract businesses run by people of color. Why do you believe that is? How can the town work to attract minority-owned businesses?
Carrboro has a small retail business footprint. That said, the Black owned businesses are a very small fraction of it. We’ve traditionally struggled because Carrboro emerged from the Jim Crow south with few Black owned businesses downtown. Much has changed in Carrboro as we have been actively engaged in the work of dismantling the systemic racism that has plagued our institutions. An important step took place in 2018 when Carrboro became a member of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE). With the GARE framework Carrboro was able to view policies, procedures and practices through a clear, race equity and justice lens. With a pandemic upon us, in March of 2019, at the last in person Economic Sustainability Commission meeting we requested Council approve shifting revolving loan funds to support loan/grant opportunities for our local businesses. It was with this Small Business and Non-Profit Emergency Loan/Grant Fund that we focused on the needs of Black, BIPOC business needs. The loans/grants have been administered in two rounds, in the spring of 2019 and the second in April of 2020. During the pandemic in 2020, our newly hired Economic Development Director initiated a Black Business Roundtable to create courageous conversations about the struggle to attract and maintain Black businesses in Carrboro. Personally, as a liaison to the Carrboro Economic Sustainability Commission, I have been working with Black and BIPOC artists and business owners, many of whom have non-traditional, entrepreneurial enterprises. We have been networking with the Black and BIPOC community of businesses creating opportunities to showcase their businesses and highlight their business and vending at our Carrboro events. As a member of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP Economic Development Board, we have been working on a broader scale plan to uplift the financial needs of the Black and BIPOC business needs. Access to business financing is critical to catapult Black owned businesses. Another major drawback for Black owned and non-traditional entrepreneurs is business space. One way to bolster the need for affordable business space is to follow the recommendations of the Rogers Road Mapping Our Community Future for a Green Tract mixed use live-work, home and business model. In Carrboro, I am also a strong advocate for the potential development of small square footprint residential live-work homes sought after in the historic Rogers Road community. The Town of Carrboro Council and planning staff are exploring ways properties in this neighborhood, within the Carrboro jurisdiction, can have the flexibility for live-work expanding Black and BIPOC business opportunities and the local living economy. Additionally, the Town of Carrboro has property on Old 86 that can be reimagined and designed as a business accelerator and maker space. The town owned property has enormous potential to establish space for a Black and BIPOC, non-traditional entrepreneurs guild for skilled trades, crafts, food artisans, and commercial prep kitchens, to name a few.
12) In March, Orange County’s Board of Commissioners voted to allocate an additional, unexpected $1.8 million to the county’s Southern Branch Library project. Do you support the design and funding of the library in its current iteration? Would you lobby the commissioners to do anything differently in regard to the library?
“Libraries are a cornerstone of democracy—where information is free and equally available to everyone. People tend to take that for granted, and they don’t realize what is at stake when that is put at risk.” — Dr. Carla Hayden, 2016, first woman and first African American Librarian of Congress
This is a challenging question for me to answer because I am a teacher and my work within the local schools and the community connected me with parents, families, children, and librarians who championed an Orange County Carrboro branch library. The current design and iteration of the Orange County southwest branch library has been designed as a synergy of community and county resources and programs. The 203 Project will house the OC Southwest Branch Library, a Teen Center, WCOM, Orange County Skills Development Center, Virtual Justice Center and the Town of Carrboro Recreation, Parks and Cultural Resources Programming. The intersectionality of these entities hold great promise as a community and county amenity. Design, development and construction in the throes of a pandemic incurs expanded costs. As learned during the last thirty years of Library Task Force discussions, the cost kept rising and the County budget kept tightening. In 2006 I met with OC Commission Chair, Mr. Moses Carey, to discuss reconstituting the Library Task Force. The County Commissioners approved reviving the Library Task Force. It has been a long and arduous journey. The dream has been tenaciously pursued because our community believes that libraries are cornerstones of democracy, providing free and equitable access and inspiring free thought. As the presence of the Cybrary in downtown Carrboro demonstrates, access to library facilities and their computers is a true equalizer. For these reasons I support funding the library. A few items I would lobby our Commissioners to do:
• Support green building and energy efficiency initiatives; provide county climate grant funds and invest in solarizing the 203 building and parking deck; in parking deck EV charging stations
• Partner in funding a bicycle “library” for around the town short-term check-out.
• Provide a climate grant to fund a library site bike repair station and EV bike charging stations.
• Facilitate programming and economic development opportunities amongst the municipal Economic Development programs, Orange County Campus of Durham Tech, the NAACP Branch Economic Development programs, El Centro Hispano Casa for Employment and Leadership and the Orange County Skills Development Center.
• Support the presence of the Virtual Justice Project and identify how it can interface with Orange County criminal justice and the new crisis diversion programming.
• Partner with the Orange County Arts to showcase teen and local artists and WCOM for teen center music.
13) How do you feel Orange County, municipal, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School Board officials have handled the COVID-19 pandemic? If you don’t think the pandemic was handled well, what should have been done differently?
Carrboro’s Covid-19 pandemic response has been proactive and strong for our Town employee’s, our community and our businesses. In Carrboro we rapidly exercised our municipal authority and our capacity to unify our response with our sister municipalities and our county to the extent possible within our local control. A few examples of Carrboro’s solid rapid response include and are not limited to: locked down by the second week in March 2020, established a Town mask ordinance, encouraged businesses to comply with local and state mandates, shifted economic funds to support grant opportunities for our local businesses. Carrboro’s Small Business and Non-Profit Emergency Loan/Grant Funds were administered in two rounds, in the spring of 2019 and the second in April of 2020. Carrboro’s emergency response in the face of uncertainty was thoughtful, steady-handed and dependable. In the dire unpredictability of the times, we knew we had to trust the science and work with our colleagues throughout the county to do so. Well aware of the changeability in medical information, data, recommended protocols, Carrboro Council and Town Administration, our Chief Emergency Officer and town employees worked in unison, exhibiting composure and grace under intense pandemic and quarantine pressures.
Carrboro responded with clarity and foresight and in alignment with Orange County and NC State Health Department (DHHS) guidelines. If I could make a change, it would be that municipalities would have the utmost local authority to care for the health and well-being of their community and that zip code data could be disaggregated to the plus-four digits giving populated communities more precise information on the pandemic spikes and transmission spread.
14) What role does Carrboro have in developing the Greene Tract in partnership with Chapel Hill and Orange County? How do you think that land should be developed? What are your priorities for the property?
Carrboro is one of three Greene Tract interjurisdictional decision-making partners with Chapel Hill and Orange County. Carrboro has a voice at the table. I stand in solidarity with the Rogers Road Neighborhood Association (RENA) and the Community Unity Board and their “Mapping Our Community’s Future” Greene Tract recommendations. The “Mapping Our Community’s Future” report recommends that land be developed to include: support for existing home owners to maintain their homes, provide live-work housing, co-housing, duplexes and triplexes, and housing seniors. The historically Black Rogers Road Community Unity Board report made these recommendations to align with long held in-depth, community plans for the St. Paul’s Village which is located adjacent to the Greene Tract.
In addition to the “Mapping Our Community’s Future” Greene Tract recommendations, I would add:
• Conserve and preserve the current neighborhood of affordable housing; expand housing stock that serves the 30% AMI community. Create “lifetime housing” providing housing security that meets individual and family needs which expand and contract over the course of a lifetime. Include in the range of housing: PeeWee, Tiny Homes, auxiliary dwellings designated for 30% — 50% AMI, modular homes.
• Provide resources for maintenance and to sustain and up fit the affordable housing stock. Address utility cost needs by providing heating/cooling energy efficiency, weatherization resources and subsidies.
15) Carrboro has a new police chief whose stated goal is to build trust between the community and the police department. How successfully do you feel the police department is realizing that goal? What, if anything, should the town be doing differently in regards to policing?
Carrboro’s new police chief has served in our police department for twenty-two years. The Carrboro community knows Chief Atack, as does he know the community and the values Carrboro adheres to ensure the safety and well being of all. Chief Atack’s positive engagement, community experience, the trust he has built and continues to construct is proactively moving the CPD to reach that goal department-wide. As far back as 2014, the Carrboro Police Department held a Community Safety Forum. It was the beginning of a new kind of conversation and community engagement in community safety and law enforcement. From that forum and subsequent discussions it became clear that Carrboro saw the need to expand the crisis diversion support services. Carrboro realized the imperative to fund community-based crisis diversion services and criminal justice reform. Law enforcement and public safety budgets must be predicated on racial equity and justice. Budget allocations must be formulated to reinforce and advance racial equity and justice. Law enforcement in Carrboro is being rethought, reshaped and reformed with plans to partner with community-based, inter-municipal and county crisis diversion and crisis services. It is critical that a racial justice and equity lens be focused on the criminal justice system. This too, will require funding and budgeting as we are working to dismantle the systemic racism of the criminal justice system as we look at detentions, jailings, and the courts. As the Town of Carrboro implements the GARE training and programming in concert with Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Orange County, it is essential that all of the law enforcement departments be informed by racial justice and equity policy and practices, as well as, demilitarizing the culture of law enforcement. This means reallocating and expanding Town budgets to provide funds for a network of community-based safety and law enforcement services and the professional expertise of agencies who provide care for: crisis intervention, dispute settlement, decriminalizing behavior and mental health, sexual assault, health and medical diagnosis and assistance, treatment, and suicide prevention, to name a few. In June 2020, a Council subcommittee consisting of; Damon Seils, Sammy Slade and I were tasked with crafting a cornerstone charge and “Resolution on Next Steps in Advancing Racial Equity and Public Safety in Law Enforcement in Carrboro” to establish the Carrboro Community Safety Task Force. https://www.townofcarrboro.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1756. The Town of Carrboro is now actively recruiting applicants for the Community Safety Task Force.
16) If there are other issues you want to discuss, please do so here.
Addressing race equity, social justice and the dismantling of systemic racism is the most significant work we can be doing. Everything we do is hinged on it. Climate action and advocacy cannot move forward without race equity and social justice. I’m calling upon the INDY readers to join me in awareness, action and advocacy. Engage in your local and county government GARE initiatives and climate action plans. https://www.racialequityalliance.org/.
Here’s Carrboro’s Community Climate Action Plan.
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