Indy wrong on Chapel Hill

I value the Independent‘s investigative journalism. Where’s the investigative element in the Indy‘s Chapel Hill endorsements (“Chapel Hill: Traveling the right road” and “Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools: Are all students being served?,” cover story, Oct. 24)?

Regarding “the financial ramifications of the controversial downtown redevelopment initiative”: Why no mention that for a year and more Town Council members Bill Strom, Sally Greene and Cam Hill failed to let our downtown development national consultant guide their planning? Why no note that the coliseum-style plan pushed by Greene had to be totally changed by N.C. State University School of Design Dean Marvin Malecha, recruited by Cal Horton, then town manager? The Indy‘s investigative staff should follow the money and time expended. Our current, perceptive Town Manager Roger Stancil has advised the current council that “time is money.”

The Indy‘s fine reporters could cover the many comments that Chapel Hill’s permitting process takes too long, costs too much and restricts our tax base. Why does the Independent so often focus only on what the Sierra Club focuses on?

UNC has already committed to preserving 75 percent of its Carolina North land and to build sustainable buildings. Both towns have met with UNC in Leadership Advisory Committee meetings without the problem Hill fears.

The Indy could connect the dots between Food Lion’s two years, crushed by Chapel Hill’s politics as usual, only reopening an old building in Ram’s Plazaand now taxpayers paying an economic development officer to expedite improvements there.

As a member of the local NAACP, I am also sensitive to all minority concerns.

Chapel Hill, vote for real diversity. Give the whole community a voice on town council.

Mayor: Kevin Foy.

Council: Bill Strom, Jim Ward, Matt Czajkowski, Penny Rich.

School board: Jamezetta Bedford, Michael Kelley, Mia Burroughs, Annetta Streater.

Lynne Kane
Chapel Hill

Indy right on Chapel Hill

Congratulations to the Indy for being right on the mark with its Chapel Hill endorsements of Mayor Kevin Foy and Town Council members Bill Strom, Sally Greene, Cam Hill and Jim Ward. The paper rightly saw that our community has benefited from extremely strong leadership over the last four years.

Chapel Hill has adopted the strongest environmental regulations in the southeast and constantly looks for opportunities to strengthen them. A significant number of new affordable housing units are coming on line that will help to keep the diversity of the community. Meaningful investments have been made in new parks and greenways. And perhaps most importantly, with several other governing bodies in the Triangle allowing irresponsible growth at all costs, the Town Council has ensured that Chapel Hill grows in a sustainable fashion.

That the state of things in Chapel Hill is so good is not an accident. Foy, Strom, Greene, Hill and Ward are all hard-working, visionary leaders who have a passion for making sure that Chapel Hill becomes an even better place to live than it already is. We need to stay with proven folks who have done the job right. The Indy was right to endorse the incumbents, and I hope that voters will choose these candidates at the polls.

Tom Jensen
Chapel Hill

Right again

I was extremely pleased to see the Indy give its endorsement this upcoming election to all five incumbents in Chapel Hill: Mayor Kevin Foy and Town Council members Sally Greene, Cam Hill, Bill Strom and Jim Ward. These five outstanding individuals have served the Town of Chapel Hill and its citizens well. They have performed a tremendous job in managing Chapel Hill’s growth while continuing to maintain those qualities of Chapel Hill that we value so highly. They have managed to do so while implementing strategies to both maintain and increase our existing inventory of affordable housing while protecting the character of existing neighborhoods.

During their terms of service, these five individuals have created strong records of protecting the environment, encouraging sustainability and ensuring the protection of minorities. They have done so while demonstrating a willingness to listen to the citizens of Chapel Hill and to work among themselves and with their other four colleagues on the council to provide a community that both functions well and is a pleasure and privilege to call home.

In addition to receiving the Indy‘s endorsements, all five incumbents received the endorsements of the Orange-Chatham Sierra Club, the Friends of Affordable Housing and the Hank Anderson Breakfast Club. I have seen comments that such overwhelming endorsements of incumbency provide no opportunity for change in Chapel Hill. On the contrary, I believe that these overwhelming endorsements confirm what the majority of citizens in Chapel Hill already believe: These officials have provided and will continue to provide the leadership required for the measured, responsible change and growth that Chapel Hill citizens want for themselves, their children and their communities.

Please join me in the upcoming election to re-elect Foy, Greene, Hill, Strom and Ward.

George Cianciolo
Chapel Hill

Raymond: Indy wrong on me

I’m baffled by the Indy‘s comments on my and Mike Kelley’s candidacies.

I’m mystified by your endorsement of incumbents Bill Strom, Sally Greene and Cam Hill, all who voted to build extensively into the Booker Creek resource conservation district.

I’m perplexed. I haven’t called for environmentally insensitive development on Booker Creek, let alone authorized it.

And I’m disappointed. How do you chastise Chapel Hill school board candidate Mike Kelley’s attendance record, given his personal circumstances? Beyond insensitive, it was ill-informed.

Where was the balanced investigative journalism we have come to expect from the Indy?

I used to give the Indy‘s endorsements automatic credence. Any readers who do so this year will be misled.

Will Raymond
Chapel Hill

Mike Kelley was wronged

I expect your publication’s standards require your endorsements to be based on fact. After I read the reasons offered as to why the Indy is not endorsing Mike Kelley, I know the staff research behind the endorsements was inadequate.

How do I know this? I was a parent member of Mary Scroggs Elementary’s School Governance Committee from 2004 to 2007, serving as a parent chair for the last two years. In this role, I had several opportunities to follow all of the school board member’s track records and directly interact with Kelley. Let me be very clear, I do not agree with your assessment of his past tenure. If you looked at his entire voting record, I am certain your writer’s comment “he hasn’t always kept all children in mind” is slanderous and untrue. Unfortunately, without the writer disclosing the specific votes they are alluding to, a more substantial response is impossible.

Your magazine is wrong to insinuate Kelley’s overall availability, attendance and approachability have been objectionable. In my personal experience, he is the only school board member who voluntarily came to any of our evening parent SGC meetings. He makes himself available for individual parents to seek his advice and goes out of his way to enable them to offer their input. Even these limited examples reflect the public deceit in your publication’s global assessment that his primary job “prevented him from attending many forums and activities beyond his basic board duties.”

The Indy‘s entire endorsement list, pro and con, is now suspect. At a minimum, you need to apologize to Kelley for slandering him. This gesture might responsibly prevent some of the voting community from being misled by the Independent‘s misinformation before they go to the polls on Nov. 6.

Michelle Brownstein
Chapel Hill

Indy wrong on transfer tax

I’m shocked that the progressive Independent would endorse the proposed transfer tax for Chatham County (“Land transfer tax,” cover story, Oct. 24). The regressive tax targets a select populace among those the least able to pay. Any house owned would be subject to this permanent lien against it. Those forced to sell under duress of foreclosure, death of a spouse, divorce, job transfer or relocation to a nursing home would be mandated to forfeit equity in their home.

What is the purpose of forcing payment out of only one group? Why not target government employees with 401Ks? Everyone should share the burden and benefits from taxation equally through their property taxes. Please vote no on this terrible tax.

Ed Weintraub
Siler City