Name as it appears on the ballot: Eliazar Posada
Party affiliation: Democrat
Campaign website: EliazarForCarrboro.com
Occupation & employer: Founder & President of Posada Strategy Consulting
Years lived in Carrboro: 6
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?
The son of working class immigrants, I learned early in life the importance of representation, especially within communities who have no voice. I have decided my professional and personal life to make space for everyone. I believe that as an openly gay millennial Latino and all the lessons I have learned throughout my work will allow me to bring a new voice to the Carrboro Town Council.
When in office, I will focus on providing more Affordable Housing, address social justice issues to insure Equality for All, and review our transit system to provide Equitable Public Transportation. I strongly believe that decisions made by the council must reflect the needs of the entire community. I will work with my colleagues and town staff to better engage all sectors of Carrboro. I am ready to roll up my sleeves to welcome and celebrate the diversity in our town, energize our community, and help Carrboro continue to thrive. Together we can make a Carrboro home for all.
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?
The current council are great public servants and have worked hard to ensure Carrboro is moving forward in the right direction. I want to join them and ensure we continue to move Carrboro forward. With the implementation of the Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan and all the strategies proposed, I think Carrboro will address so many issues in the best way possible. I want to make sure to ensure the town priorities strategies and goals in that plan that impact the communities most in need in Carrboro.
3) Please identify the three of the most pressing issues Carrboro currently faces and how you believe the town should address them.
Affordable Housing: Affordable housing should be at the top of our priorities. As a town we must find creative ways to build new, and sustain current, affordable housing units, evaluate our land use ordinances and improve our zoning to build new development and opportunities for affordable housing, and encourage new and diverse housing. We must pursue new apartment developments, improve existing units, build tiny homes, support manufactured homes and home ownership programs. Making housing affordable should not be our only goal in addressing housing in Carrboro. I believe we should use our resources to improve our town so that our communities can live, work, and play in Carrboro. By investing in our town’s Affordable Housing Fund, creating partnerships with landlords and developers we can support our neighborhoods in making any improvements needed, and ensure that Carrboro remains the best place to call home.
Equality for All: Carrboro is a growing and diversifying town that strives to be welcoming to all. To ensure our town is a home for all members of our community, we have the collective responsibility to engage all faces of our community. Together we can make our town boards and commission more representative and inclusive, expand the town’s reach to inform and engage our community, and work to find solutions to address our community’s growing needs. I am from this community, have served this community, and am a reflection of the ways in which this community has invested in the leadership of young people of color. I know we can achieve real progress by working together with local leaders, businesses and nonprofits, to build equitable community engagement where we can all thrive.
Equitable Public Transit: Public Transit is vital to our communities in Carrboro. The town must expand and ensure equitable access to bus routes, bike lanes, walkways and greenways to ensure all our community can interact with our town in a safe and secure way. Carrboro’s parks, downtown, businesses and restaurants are wonderful places and ways our community can engage with the town and each other, yet not all of our communities have equitable and safe access. As we move forward and grow we must invest in areas with limited or unsafe connectivity to all our Carrboro has to offer.
Much work has been done over the years to address transit, and we have some great transit advocates on the council today. I want to work with my colleagues to ensure the areas where transit can be improved for those who need it most. Carrboro is a beautiful place to walk, bike and bus into and around town, let’s make sure everyone in our town can do that safely.
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.
There are a few things Carrboro has done in the last year that will be extremely important for our town. For me the most important is the passing of the 203 Project, also known as the library. This development will not only bring a much needed library to Carrboro and southern Orange County, but will be a huge economic boost to Carrboro and will move our community forward. The building will not only have the new library, it will also include a teen center, workers center, community programming and several services that are important to our residents.
Yet Carrboro has some work to do. Recently a racially charged event at a local coffee shop owned by a black and queer woman, resulted in charges being press against the person who trespassed onto a private event and the decision from the owners to temporary close down the shop until they can better security measures. After learning of the circumstances and the work the owners have done in the past to secure their shop, I believe we as a town could have done more to prevent the situation and provided support the owners had already requested from the town. While we can not change the past, I believe that the town has a responsibility to support the owners so they can get to a point where they are comfortable in the security of their shop in order to reopen. This shop is a vital part of our community and a critical space for so many of our people of color in Carrboro. Moving forward, I want to see the town take up much needed conversations about how we support our local POC businesses and continue to have conversations about racial equity and how the town can ensure our communities of color feel seen, respected and a critical part of our community.
5) What prior experience makes you qualified for and passionate about the town council and its duties? What made you seek this position?
Since my college years I have held several positions in the political field and here in Carrboro. I have served in committees, boards and commissions for local governments across the triangle, led efforts to educate and register voters, worked with political campaigns, held leadership roles in the North Carolina Democratic Party and served on many Boards and Commissions for both our local government and nonprofit organizations. Some examples of Boards/Commissions and Political Roles are; Board of Directors – The Camber for a Greater Chapel Hill – Carrboro Board of Directors – PORCH Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Directors – Enlace Latino NC Town of Chapel Hill Reimagine Community Safety Task Force – Member Criminal Justice Debt Relief Program Advisory Committee – Vice-Chair City of Raleigh Hispanic and Immigrant Affairs Board – Professional Co-Chair City of Durham Compact Board of Advisors – Co-chair of Community Strategic Engagement Committee Town of Carrboro Emergency Fund Review Committee – 2020 Town of Carrboro COVID-19 Mitigation Business Grant Review Committee – 2021 Town of Carrboro Planning Board – Appointed April 2020 Town of Carrboro, Carrboro Connects, Comprehensive Planning Task Force – Member Orange County Democratic Party – OWASA Precinct – Chair, Elected 2019 – 2021 Orange County Democratic Party – County Executive Committee North Carolina Democratic Party – State Executive Committee
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?
Expanding and creating new affordable housing in Carrboro is vital. Carrboro is a beautiful place to live, but it is expensive. Finding affordable housing is becoming more difficult every year with rent prices continuing to increase, the insecurity around manufactured homes in the area and the need for more multi family housing. As a town we must find creative ways to build new, and sustain current, affordable housing units, evaluate our land use ordinances and improve our zoning to build new development and opportunities for affordable housing, and encourage new and diverse housing. We must pursue new apartment developments, improve existing units, build tiny homes, support manufactured homes and home ownership programs. Making housing affordable should not be our only goal in addressing housing in Carrboro. I believe we should use our resources to improve our town so that our communities can live, work, and play in Carrboro. By investing in our town’s Affordable Housing Fund, creating partnerships with landlords and developers we can support our neighborhoods in making any improvements needed, and ensure that Carrboro remains the best place to call home.
The town has recently approved plans and projects with local nonprofits to add affordable housing units in our town and is currently reviewing the Orange County manufactured home plan. I want to seek more opportunities to partner with nonprofits and developers and review our land use policies to encourage diverse housing.
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?
As a renter myself, I have first hand knowledge of the impact of the continued increase of housing cost. I want to find ways for the town to provide assistance to those facing displacement, especially anyone who is still suffering from the economic impacts of the pandemic. I would also be in favor of finding ways to reduce property taxes and its impact on the most vulnerable in our community, that won’t happen overnight but it is important to find ways to reduce the tax burden of our residents while not impacting our ability to provide essential services. This means we must diversify our tax base by creating economic development which will grow Carrboros ability to provide services and review ways of providing residents with tax relief.
8) In what ways should Carrboro work on growing its tax base?
I want to see Carrboro grow and better develop downtown, by doing that we can grow our tax base. Making space for new development that includes new housing, new business and multi-use development projects in Carrboro can allow us to meet all of our economic needs while moving our town forward. With the 203 project breaking ground on May 5 and the plans from the economic development staff for Carrboro, I think we can move in the right direction.
9) What do you think is the best course of action for the town’s parking issues?
Carrboro businesses are relying on parking and public transit to ensure they can prosper and have residents interact with them. Carrboro has done a parking study that is going to be presented to the Council in the next few months, including a better understanding of available parking and where improvements can be made, but I would like to move past parking. I want us as a town to look at multiple ways to encourage our residents to interact with our downtown. That includes our public transportation and the ability for all members of our community to walk or bike into Carrboro. I am curious to read the parking study and see possible solutions for our town.
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?
Similar to housing, transportation is an integral part of life in Carrboro. Currently many of our community members are unable to access downtown without putting themselves in danger because they have to walk alongside a busy highway. Council must find ways of expanding ways for community members to interact with the town by expanding options to walk, bike or bus into downtown while staying safe. In the comprehensive plan, we have outlined several strategies that will increase the ability of our communities of color and low income residents to fully engage with Carrboro. The Transportation Strategy Map and subsequent strategies outlined in the plan makes great efforts to ensure equitable access for our residents.
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?
One of the largest challenges for local businesses has been finding affordable space to have a business. It is also no secret that people of color have had significant institutional barriers to owning their own businesses. We also must look at what resources are available from the town to support business of color to be successful. The recent statement from the Carrboro Business Alliance highlights the importance of supporting and providing ways for business owners of color to feel safe to run their business in town. As a member of the covid-19 business mitigation grants review committees, I worked with my colleagues to provide much needed financial support to Carrboro businesses with a special focus on businesses of color. I am looking forward to working with the CBA and the town’s economic development staff to ensure we attract and maintain business of color as we move forward and seek new development projects.
12) The Town of Carrboro currently contributes around $340,000 to affordable housing projects each year. Could or should the town contribute more?
I would like to see the town find ways to implement the funds we already contribute to ensure the most impact for those funds. With the cost incurred in the 203 project, I do not think we should increase our contribution if it will be a burden for the town or increase taxes on our residents. I think there are ways partnerships can be made with nonprofits and land owners to encourage new and affordable housing.
13) 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?
I believe that the Greene Tract would be a great opportunity for Carrboro to pursue our goals. I would support the development of affordable housing that would benefit our community and ensure to preserve part of the land for green spaces and recreation. Since 1984 the county and towns have been considering in which ways or if there should be development in the Greene Tract, I am in support of the latest plan for development and had I been on the council last November I would have agreed with Susan Romain’s comments about the resolution being a step in the right direction.
14) How is the Carrboro police department doing in building trust between the community and the police officers? What, if anything, should the town be doing differently in regards to policing?
In my time at El Centro Hispano I led the work in building trust between the community and police department and I also served on the Reimagining Community Safety Taskforce. Through that work I gained a better understanding of the police here in Carrboro and how much better our police department is than other places in North Carolina in providing training on mental health, problem solving and racial equity. Of course we have some work to do and we will never be perfect, but I believe we are on the right path when it comes to your police department. As we come out of this pandemic we will have to do more community engagement and ensure that our community feels like they can be intact with our police officers and feel safe living in Carrboro. I was glad to see the council approve of an increase in the salaries of our town staff earlier this year and I would like to see them also institute a community task force to ensure we explore other ways of policing other than traditional policing.
15) If there are other issues you want to discuss, please do so here.
Carrboro is a town that strives to make space for everyone. I love Carrboro because of how openly it has loved me – an openly gay millennial Latino. I want to bring that Carrboro experience to others by joining the Town Council.
My career has focused on ensuring historically marginalized and underrepresented communities are heard and have a seat at the table. As a son of immigrant farmworkers and part of several marginalized communities, I have many unique experiences and lessons I will bring to council.
On council, I will work to ensure when decisions are made at the council table, they are a reflection of the entire community. The time is now for perspectives that reflect our growing and diverse town. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and help Carrboro continue to thrive.
Learn more about me and chip in what you can at EliazarforCarrboro.com. Together we can make Carrboro a home for all.