In our October 18 paper, we published a deep dive by Chase Pellegrini de Paur into the world of Chapel Hill politics and the dynamics driving the upcoming municipal election next week. We also published our endorsements for Chapel Hill mayor and town council, Carrboro mayor and town council, and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools board (we’re republishing those endorsements again this week, along with our endorsements in Durham’s municipal election, beginning on page 17). 

Chapel Hill reader Margaret McGuinn had some thoughts about our endorsements, sent along via email:

I am deeply disappointed in your staff’s endorsement recommendations for Chapel Hill Town Council, and even more concerned about the rationale you offer. It could have been lifted verbatim from any email sent by the Triangle Blogblog, a notoriously vituperative group, repeating oversimplified and distorted representations of the positions held by Candidates Searing, Adams, Eckhardt, Sharp, and Soll. It also suggests that any supporters of these candidates are “stuck in time,” or could be “stealth Republicans”, and it repeats the unsupported claim that the recent rezoning proposal (and the candidates who supported it) will accomplish housing changes benefitting “students, renters, and public workers.” 

There is no factual support for this claim in the experiences of other towns who have tried such a measure. In great contrast to the stated claim, similar rezoning proposals across the country have further facilitated the influx of developers creating very expensive rental units, and leaving towns to deal with the many damaging consequences: unsupported needs for parking, further problems with greater traffic than roads can support, loss of tree canopy, great stormwater runoff, and yes, the destruction of the special character of place that towns like Chapel Hill offer.

Previous letters (from E. Thomas Henkel and Maxkath 21, in the issue of 10/18/2023) outline the misleading and duplicitous allegations concerning PAC money made by the Blogblog and its supporters and candidates. I won’t repeat these here.

Chapel Hill needs to continue to grow, but not in the arbitrary, thoughtless, destructive ways reflected in our recent council decisions. I hope that your readers will inform themselves of the nuanced positions of candidates Searing, Adams, Eckhardt, Sharp and Soll, first, perhaps, by reading their candidate statements, and subsequently by reading the endorsement of CHALT and CHL-PAC. 

By doing so, voters can learn that development can be accomplished in a thoughtful, responsible, and most important of all, responsive, way.

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