Questionnaire

Candidates for Carrboro Town Council

All candidates for local offices were sent the same ten questions, and were given two weeks to complete a written questionnaire. These are the answers that were given by the candidates, with no editorial changes.

Jacquelyn Gist

1. The Orange County transit plan currently identifies only $300,000 for new or expanded transit service in the coming year. This is barely enough money to run a bus that comes every 30 minutes for only 6 hours per weekday, with zero weekend service. What are your thoughts on expanded transit funding?

Many UNC and UNC Hospital employees live in Orange County, among them are many lower wage employees and employees who work hours other than 9 to 5 Mon-Fri.For these employees the lack of accessible reliable public transportation creates an added financial burden and adds stress to their lives. Additionally there is a steady flow of traffic between Carrboro/Chapel Hill and our neighbors in the county. Providing transit service seven days a week for expanded hours would provide an alternative to car traffic and increase accessibility to needed services. As a person without a car, I would love to be able to hop on a bus and go to Hillsborough or Mebane. Funding needs to be expanded to cover needed services that will benefit people throughout Orange County. As the county enters its 23/23 budget deliberations in a few months’ municipal officials and transit advocates, need to work closely with the OC Commissioners to ensure that funding is in place to expand services. I would support a county bond referendum to fund expanded service of OCPT as well as allowing the NS BRT to begin on its original timeline.

2. The NS BRT is a vital service that Chapel Hill Transit is developing for our community. Recently, due to delays in state funding, the projected opening date has been pushed back to 2028. How will you support and champion this project?

This project is important to our community and needs to happen sooner rather than later. We are entering the election cycle for the 2022 NC general elections .Advocacy for restoring the original opening date needs to start now with all potential candidates.(Also see above.)

3. What are the top three things you will do as an elected official to address climate change?

1. Continue working on improving our storm water management systems. I advocated and voted for the creation of the Storm Water utility fee, which supports the work of our storm water management program. I serve as the council liaison to the Storm Water Advisory Commission. Since its recent inception, the Storm Water utility has supported projects such as replacing the culvert on Broad St, restoring and protecting the stream by our public works facility, improving drainage on High and Main St. and work to restore Bolin Creek and prevent its further erosion. The program has also worked with neighborhoods to decrease the impact of flooding through  conducting outreach and education, the creation of a flood report hotline, increased inspection and maintenance of town owned drainage systems, increased inspections of public and private Storm Water Control Measures and the planting of trees along intermittent streams .The Storm Storm Water Advisory Commission will soon begin working to draft recommendations to strengthen the ordinance to eliminate the impact of run off from new development.

2. I have recently started work on a project with NC PIRG to encourage local businesses to eliminate single use plastic bags.

3.  Continue to address environmental justice concerns through providing support for low- income households, both renters and homeowners, to increase the energy efficiency of their home and work to eliminate dangerous heat islands by ensuring that low –income neighborhoods have tree canopies equal to those in higher income areas. 

4. “Complete streets” are streets that provide users with multiple options for getting around by accommodating people on bicycles, walking and in cars with safe facilities such as off-street bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe roadway crossings. To provide complete streets, would you support removing a travel lane for cars? If yes, where? 

Old Fayetteville Rd between Jones Ferry and Hwy 54 is not a 4-lane street but it does have room to be widened to allow for the creation of a Complete St.. There are several apartment complexes on Old Fayetteville along with others on the other side of Jones Ferry whose residents would use and benefit from the enhanced safety of a complete street.

5. Aside from projects currently underway or recently completed (e.g. the Estes Road connectivity project, the Fordham Blvd. sidepath, protected bike lane on Jones Ferry Road), what accessible biking and walking facilities should be a priority? Would you support speeding their development and construction, and how would you do so?

The Barred Owl Creek neighborhood is one of walkers, baby stroller pushers, bike riders, joggers and kids. It also has cars often speeding as they cut through from 54 to Hillsborough. There are very few sidewalks. Traffic calming studies have begun but they need to be speeded up and finalized. The neighborhood also needs additional sidewalks or protected paths. I have been and will continue to work with neighbors to advocate for enhanced safety measures to happen quickly and include funding in the upcoming budget cycle. 

6. Free parking is a manifestation of white supremacy culture. Explain your understanding of this statement.

Sometimes a question prods us to learn rather than drawing on our existing knowledge. This question did that for me. So thank you for asking it. I learned that the first free parking requirements came in the 1930s as an effort to raise the cost of building and living in apartment complexes thus pricing out immigrants and other so called “undesirables”

7. The town recently committed to funding a parking deck, estimated to cost $6.3 million. Yes or no – should the 203 Project Parking deck be the last parking deck the town of Carrboro ever builds?

Yes 

8. Recently, the City of Durham engaged the community in a participatory budgeting process in which ordinary people identify, discuss and prioritize public spending projects to allocate a portion of the city’s budget  (https://www.pbdurham.org/) . If elected, would you support engaging the community in a similar process? Would you do this in the same way as Durham? 

I was excited when I first learned of Durham’s participatory budget process. It allows for much greater involvement and inclusivity than budget public hearings, which usually attract less than five people. In Carrboro, I envision the town engaging in department specific conversations with communities and neighborhoods around funding allocations such as recreation and parks, public works and human services funding .Neighborhoods and communities know best  what they need and want. For example, portions of the recreation and parks program and public works budgets could be allocated to low wealth communities to create or suggest programs and services, which best meet their needs. Consumers of human services could allocate portions of the human services budget to make sure that the funds are meeting their needs.

  1. Have you taken any anti-racism training? If so, which one(s)? 

Yes, I have taken part in the full 2 day REI training. I have also been involved in on going equity and inclusion training /conversations in my department at UNC. I have helped to lead the UNC Student Affairs Professional Development Committee’s on-going anti-racism work including the design of a racial equity audit and programing around topics such as “Difficult Conversations”

10. What are your thoughts about how budgets for law enforcement are allocated and what services should be provided by other agencies outside of law enforcement?

I am excited that our Community Safety Task Force will soon begin meeting to re-imagine policing and safety in Carrboro. Much of the work our PD is called on to do would be better done by other agencies. In many cases, such as domestic or neighborhood disputes the appearance of a police officer often escalates rather than de-escalates the tensions. Mental health professionals and trained peer supporters better serve people experiencing crisis brought on by mental illness or substance abuse disorders.  Indeed, for some people in crisis interactions with police, the sight of police cars and officers in uniforms can worsen their crisis. Such interactions with police can also be the gateway into the criminal justice rather than human services system resulting in court appearances, legal fees, arrest records and even incarceration. Crisis intervention mediators and social workers are better trained and equipped to provide the support and care individuals and families in crisis need. I support using the current funding for a police officer position to fund a Social Worker to both work with people in crisis and create a network of human services professionals on call  to assist people experiencing crisis.

Randee Haven-O’Donnell

1.The Orange County transit plan currently identifies only $300,000 for new or expanded transit service in the coming year. This is barely enough money to run a bus that comes every 30 minutes for only 6 hours per weekday, with zero weekend service. What are your thoughts on expanded transit funding?


Orange County has a small urban footprint and is mostly suburban, ruburban (suburban in the rural areas) and rural Orange County, Chapel Hill Transit Partners and UNC have demonstrated creative leadership in providing our public transit, with tight and limited resources. Chapel Hill Transit is a sterling example of providing free public transit for our communities and connecting us with our regional partners. To stretch the dollars available and potentially expand transit funding consider these four points:
* Advocate property tax to support bus and local microtransit focused funding. Urge public support by highlighting the keen public interest in: flexible, on-demand, demand responsive, mobility on-demand
* Deep dive into developing a robust bike and car-sharing network that links to bus transit on-demand programs such as the former Sandbox Program (now IMI): https://www.transit.dot.gov/IMI
* 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.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 FundsTemporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

2. The NS BRT is a vital service that Chapel Hill Transit is developing for our community. Recently, due to delays in state funding, the projected opening date has been pushed back to 2028. How will you support and champion this project?

The delay and push back in state funding until 2028 is unacceptable for the Carrboro-Chapel Hill and UNC communities. We must act to secure the proposed development of the vital service BRT will provide through property tax revenue.

3. What are the top three things you will do as an elected official to address climate change?

I have long been an activist working on climate action and environmental sustainability, renewable energy and implementing community engagement.

Education: Engage and educate the community to lean-in and address the addiction to fossil fuels and shift habits of living through the continued implementation of the Climate Action Plan (CCCAP). As a liaison to the Environmental Advisory Board and the Climate Action Plan Task Force, I envisioned, implemented and continue the work to implement the CCCAP by designing aligned educational outreach modules. I was the architect and curriculum content planner, I co-constructed the presentations with community module model builders.

Energy Efficiency – electrification and solarization, solarizing the roof and parking deck of the 203 Project. Implement community-wide, neighborhood championed, energy efficiency and weatherization audits and funding for upgrading homes for efficiency. Design thinking public and private partnerships continue work with community members to engage with solar contractors to formulate potential “out of the box” pilot programs testing the viability of communitizing solar linked households to arrays in parks and open space in anticipation of micro-grid, compact recirculation of solar energy.

Energy Localization – I support and will advocate the localization of solar, geothermal and wind power in the development of local energy micro-grids and micro-grid neighborhood sharing based on renewable, regenerative energy. I will continue the work I have done and presently do to address the climate red alert priority and its existential challenge.

4. “Complete streets” are streets that provide users with multiple options for getting around by accommodating people on bicycles, walking and in cars with safe facilities such as off-street bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe roadway crossings. To provide complete streets, would you support removing a travel lane for cars? If yes, where?


Absolutely, yes, it’s a matter of safety and orienting mobility on a human scale, by freeing up roadway for “complete streets” that fully accommodate pedestrians and cyclists is vital. Street-side car parking that choke the roadway can be eliminated. As part of the Carrboro Comprehensive Plan, Carrboro Connects, I would re-ignite the public discussion of Safe Routes to School, establishing bike-safe routes and complete streets that began in 2014, when the Town of Carrboro held a Complete Streets Summit:
https://www.completestreetsnc.org/summit/
Locations for complete streets and safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists:
Main Street, Weaver Street, Jones Ferry (from Collins Crossing to downtown), North Greensboro, Hillsborough Road especially from N. Greensboro to Fayetteville Rd. Old 86 intersection, Side-path Seawell School Road, side-path Hwy 54, bridge Hwy 54 to Plantation Shopping Plaza.

5. Aside from projects currently underway or recently completed (e.g., the Estes Road connectivity project, the Fordham Blvd. side-path, protected bike lane on Jones Ferry Road), what accessible biking and walking facilities should be a priority? Would you support speeding their development and construction, and how would you do so?

Yes, I support and would urge the development and construction of side-paths and protected walking and bike lanes. A priority is to free up roadway and expand access to downtown with complete streets, side-paths, safe bike and pedestrian shared use paths, formal and informal community paths and trails.

6. Free parking is a manifestation of white supremacy culture. Explain your understanding of this statement.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.” TNSTAAFL. Parking costs, it is not free. Car dependency is a product of white supremacy culture and with it “free” parking. Parking regulations are an intersectional component that perpetuates the disproportional benefits of white privilege. Parking regulations disparately affect Black, Brown and BIPOC communities. Donald Shoup wrote about the high cost of “free” parking probably a decade ago. It is a major truth. A few blatant examples of white privilege embedded in municipal land use parking regulations that come to mind are: how and where parking is monitored and enforced, what the policies are on minimum parking requirements, how much parking and where it is allowed on a street. These are examples of how parking is designed to be exclusionary and benefit the privileged while adding to the cumulative impacts on the most burdened.

7. The town recently committed to funding a parking deck, estimated to cost $6.3 million. Yes or no – should the 203 Project Parking deck be the last parking deck the town of Carrboro ever builds?

Yes. The Town of Carrboro should not be in the business of building parking lots. Downtown Carrboro has parking. The crux of the problem is the perception that parking availability is inadequate. Downtown Carrboro parking lots and spaces are spread out and not necessarily visible or known. The Town of Carrboro needs to do a better job of wayfinding, signage and broadcast communicating to identify parking lots and space availability. Why not have an App that identifies our lots and availability and distance from the App user ? We need wayfinding, branded 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 Town found itself in this position because the McDougle School was no longer going to host the Orange County Southwest Branch Library and the community preferred a downtown library site. The Town of Carrboro would not have sought to build a parking deck were it not for meeting the requirements of a library that will draw residents from the southwest corridor of Orange County.

9. Recently, the City of Durham engaged the community in a participatory budgeting process in which ordinary people identify, discuss and prioritize public spending projects to allocate a portion of the city’s budget (https://www.pbdurham.org/) . If elected, would you support engaging the community in a similar process? Would you do this in the same way as Durham?

Yes. Durham has a solid, organic, grassroots participatory budgeting process. It has widespread community interest, engagement, and support. What I like best about the City of Durham model is what I hear from friends who live in Durham, have engaged in the process and have enjoyed sharing project ideas, cross-pollinating projects and found themselves in support of the ideas of fellow community members. Durham leadership and planners did not expect that engaging the community in a participatory budgeting process would serve as such a strong community-building exercise. But, it has! And as such, I am captivated by the Durham model and would welcome it as a template to design Carrboro’s participatory budgeting process.

9. Have you taken any anti-racism training? If so, which one(s)?

Yes, I have had anti-racism, diversity, multicultural, transforming white privilege and intersectionality training. My experience includes and is not limited to:
In 1990, as an educator in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, I trained with and was certified in Diversity and Multicultural Education and Training by Dr. Forrest Toms.
Through Leadership Triangle trained with Collin Rustin on leading cultures of inclusion, challenging and authentic dialogue and mediation.
In 2016, I completed the Durham OAR – Durham training.
In July 2021, I completed the Town of Carrboro Race and Equity Commission GARE training.
August 2017- Crafted the Town of Carrboro Resolution in Solidarity with Charlottesville Counter Protestors, Condemning and Calling for Action Against Racism and White Supremacy.
GARE Training Town of Carrboro July 2021

10. What are your thoughts about how budgets for law enforcement are allocated and what services should be provided by other agencies outside of law enforcement?

It is 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 also imperative 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 the Chapel Hill, Hillsborough and Orange County, it is imperative 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. Law enforcement must be reimagined, rethought, and redesigned for community safety, health and wellbeing. 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 2014, to begin to address racial disparities in policing, community safety and criminal justice, the Town of Carrboro held a community policing forum. 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 Now the Town of Carrboro is actively recruiting applicants for the Community Safety Task Force.

Barbara Middleton-Foushee

1. The Orange County transit plan currently identifies only $300,000 for new or expanded transit service in the coming year. This is barely enough money to run a bus that comes every 30 minutes for only 6 hours per weekday, with zero weekend service. What are your thoughts on expanded transit funding?  

I support the expansion of transit and the funding that would be needed to support this effort.  There are ongoing conversations about ridership vs coverage, local service vs regional outreach and geographic service equity; all of which play a role within our transit picture.  With our limited funding we have to find a good balance between these interests as it relates to meeting the needs of most of our ridership. Our public transit service also helps to relieve congestion on the highways, can reduce our travel times and reduces greenhouse gas emissions and our dependence on cars to move about locally and regionally.  All are beneficial to the physical and mental health of community members.

2. The NS BRT is a vital service that Chapel Hill Transit is developing for our community. Recently, due to delays in state funding, the projected opening date has been pushed back to 2028. How will you support and champion this project?

The benefits of having the NS BRT in our community are huge!  I can support and champion this great cause by being an advocate for the plan through educating on the value of this important piece to the transit puzzle.  This investment could decrease trip times and ease congestion along transit corridors and also act as a framework for future BRT plans.  

3. What are the top three things you will do as an elected official to address climate change? 

Continue the implementation of Carrboro’s Community Climate Action Plan and Energy and Climate Protection Plan; seek out ways to show the intersectionality and/or synergy between climate change and other community issues such as green development and weatherization of housing and look for other ways to fund climate change mitigation within our community.

4.     “Complete streets” are streets that provide users with multiple options for getting around by accommodating people on bicycles, walking and in cars with safe facilities such as off-street bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe roadway crossings. To provide complete streets, would you support removing a travel lane for cars? If yes, where? 

This is a great approach to moving around in our community but I don’t think it is feasible.  I think it would be more doable on multi-lane roads and our streets here in town are narrow.  Most streets are under NCDOT control which is a further complication.  To answer the question I would support it under the right circumstances and conditions.

5.Aside from projects currently underway or recently completed (e.g. the Estes Road connectivity project, the Fordham Blvd. side path, protected bike lane on Jones Ferry Road), what accessible biking and walking facilities should be a priority? Would you support speeding their development and construction, and how would you do so? 

I believe that all of the bike ped projects are important to the connectivity and health of our community.  Certainly our town projects tend to be more under our control than those that are controlled by the NCDOT who tend to be on their own schedule.  Our greenways, sidewalk and traffic calming projects all add further enhancements to the transit picture as does the work around bicycle infrastructure and safety.  I support the completion of as many projects as possible within the shortest period of time as funding allows.

6. Free parking is a manifestation of white supremacy culture. Explain your understanding of this statement.

  Systemic racism permeates through every system and institution in America so the parking system is not exempt.  It’s also important to consider where free parking tends to be and who benefits from it. Free parking encourages the use of private vehicles which has negative environmental impacts. However, communities of color typically suffer heavier consequences of these environmental impacts. This is a good example of why we need diverse voices around the table. 

7. The town recently committed to funding a parking deck, estimated to cost $6.3 million. Yes or no – should the 203 Project Parking deck be the last parking deck the town of Carrboro ever builds?  

Yes, and I hope so, it was a difficult decision to make as I think folks did not want that large parking footprint downtown but also realizing that there needed to be car parking to replace the 100 lost spaces and for all of the uses that will come to the 203 project.  

8. Recently, the City of Durham engaged the community in a participatory budgeting process in which ordinary people identify, discuss and prioritize public spending projects to allocate a portion of the city’s budget  (https://www.pbdurham.org/) . If elected, would you support engaging the community in a similar process? Would you do this in the same way as Durham? 

YES, and Durham would be a great model for Carrboro to follow. The Carrboro Town Council has already planted the seed for this important enhancement to the current budget process.  Having more community involvement gives better direction and guidance and after all, it is the community members’ money that is being spent and I want to hear more from them about their priorities.  An important process indeed.

9. Have you taken any anti-racism training? If so, which one(s)? 

REI Groundwater training and Phase I.  Also, just finished racial equity training through the Town of Carrboro’s G.A.R.E. initiative and with the Orange Partnership to End Homelessness which was led by Jamall Kinard of Conscious Leadership.

10. What are your thoughts about how budgets for law enforcement are allocated and what services should be provided by other agencies outside of law enforcement?

We should carefully consider the budget allocation overall. We ask a lot of our police force. Police officers get called out for any number of issues and sometimes a gun and a badge is not what is needed. Every situation is different and needs to be treated as such. We should consider hiring other professionals who can support community needs such as mental and emotional health as well. The engagement of social workers and other mental health providers could be beneficial to the community and support overall sustained safety in our community.

Aja Kelleher

1. The Orange County transit plan currently identifies only $300,000 for new or expanded transit service in the coming year. This is barely enough money to run a bus that comes every 30 minutes for only 6 hours per weekday, with zero weekend service. What are your thoughts on expanded transit funding?

I will strongly advocate for an increased transportation budget for Carrboro’s partnership with CH Transit. Carrboro’s stated priorities are to improve the levels and quality of transportation service available and extend beyond fixed route service. But the current Town Council approved only a 1.3% increase in its bus transportation budget over the previous year, basically maintaining the insufficient levels of current service, which has recently been imperiled by reduction of bus service due to operator shortages.

My goal is to shift to a participatory budget process in which Carrboro citizens would have a voice in defining the appropriate level of increased funding that would credibly align with and achieve our Transportation priorities. Significantly increased funding could provide for expanded Carrboro bus routes in terms of routes and frequency, accelerate conversion to more hybrid and/or electric buses to the fleet, which would decrease dependency on cars and reduce emissions that contribute to the climate crisis. As most of the current buses are nearly empty at times, we could look at more affordable and efficient options like smaller and more frequent buses. It’s all connected!

2. The NS BRT is a vital service that Chapel Hill Transit is developing for our community. Recently, due to delays in state funding, the projected opening date has been pushed back to 2028. How will you support and champion this project?

The NS BRT is a model of what forward-thinking transportation planning can be. Through upgrading the current public transit infrastructure, it recognizes the interrelatedness of better serving those with affordable housing, reducing the carbon footprint by using electric buses, and encouraging ridership through its digital interface and multi-use paths. It will not directly benefit residents of Carrboro because its route lies strictly within Chapel Hill city limits. However, many Carrboro residents could use Carrboro bus routes or bikeways that will intersect with NS BRT, making their rides to work or other services faster, more efficient and less car-dependent. As a Carrboro Town Council member I would have the opportunity to serve on the Orange County Transit Partners that will influence decision making, funding streams, and accountability for completion of the NS BRT. My goal would be to identify how to optimize existing Carrboro-based routes to serve as express connectors to some NS BRT stops, and look for ways to introduce some of the features of NS BRT to other Carrboro service routes.

3. What are the top three things you will do as an elected official to address climate change?

DeCarbonization of Transportation: In addition to bicycling, walking and taking public transportation, support and encourage the use electric vehicles (EV) vehicles as transportation is considered the number one source of GHG.

Mitigate flooding and stormwater damage: The Town of Carrboro should change from the current 100-year flood standard to a 20-year flood standard for its stormwater systems. This level of protection would provide a reasonable balance between flooding protection and cost. It also develops a realistic expectation that flooding will be happening more frequently and encourage action to prevent future damage. The Town should accelerate the still-pending rollout of its Rain Ready program, including the financial assistance program that would help residents install green solutions to mitigate flooding, which would be paid for by the current Stormwater Utility tax.

Transition from Natural Gas to Electric: We all need to do what we can at home to reduce GHG. Natural gas utilities produce 1.8 times more GHG then electric utilities. We can work on promoting and providing subsidies that can help residents to convert to electric heat pumps to heat their homes.

4. “Complete streets” are streets that provide users with multiple options for getting around by accommodating people on bicycles, walking and in cars with safe facilities such as off-street bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe roadway crossings. To provide complete streets, would you support removing a travel lane for cars? If yes, where?

I am a big advocate for complete streets. I would support removing a travel lane where it makes sense to and doesn’t cause larger issues. For example, I think closing off Weaver Street for bicycles and pedestrians would be ideal. To route traffic through the Main Street and directing automobiles to park at the periphery would make the downtown area safer and more inviting. My disclaimer is that we need traffic engineers to help us with solutions that would support this policy.

5. Aside from projects currently underway or recently completed (e.g. the Estes Road connectivity project, the Fordham Blvd. side path, protected bike lane on Jones Ferry Road), what accessible biking and walking facilities should be a priority? Would you support speeding their development and construction, and how would you do so?

We need to find ways that would improve our ability to bicycle through key areas in Town and nearby – downtown, UNC and through main streets. I think we would need to redesign certain streets from 2 lanes to one, making it a one way with a bike lane. We would need a traffic engineer and study along with input from residents about such projects. I would support expediting projects that support this development.

6. Free parking is a manifestation of white supremacy culture. Explain your understanding of this statement.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Privileged people rarely give up their privileges voluntarily.” Systemic racism infects all aspects of our lives, and parking is no exception. Expecting free parking demonstrates an entitlement attitude that is typical of Carrboro’s majority white population: “I should be able to use this land for my purposes without payment or permissions.” From a business and planning point of view, I believe Carrboro should move to paid parking that equalizes access and contributes to Town revenue base.

7. The town recently committed to funding a parking deck, estimated to cost $6.3 million. Yes or no – should the 203 Project Parking deck be the last parking deck the town of Carrboro ever builds?

No, I would never say “never” to any question because our world is too dynamic and unpredictable. We need the Town of Carrboro to work with the Carrboro Business Alliance to come up with a comprehensive parking plan for paid parking downtown. The 2017 Downtown Parking Plan remains stillborn. It called for starting with development of a couple of case study examples of parking challenges faced by local business owners. Four YEARS later not a single case study example has been completed. While having our own branch library is desired by many, it comes at a big cost. The 203 Project will sacrifice over half of the currently available parking spots in the long term. We could build or create parking in alternate locations using renewable energy (solar) for EV parking stations while charging for parking. It does not have to be at the 203 Project if that proceeds as planned. There are also other solutions that should be explored, for example, contract out valet parking services during peak times downtown by leasing available spaces from private businesses. It costs a lot less to do that then build another parking deck. There would be a huge savings, providing this service to use existing parking at a fraction of the cost.

8. Recently, the City of Durham engaged the community in a participatory budgeting process in which ordinary people identify, discuss and prioritize public spending projects to allocate a portion of the city’s budget (https://www.pbdurham.org/) . If elected, would you support engaging the community in a similar process? Would you do this in the same way as Durham?

Transitioning to a participatory budgeting process is central to my campaign platform of Valuing Your Voices. This is how the Carrboro community can directly impact and feel a sense of ownership of a portion of the Town’s capital budgeting process. It would also further motivate Carrboro residents to make decisions by sharing ideas, developing proposals, and voting on community projects. The process Durham has used would be a solid foundation to model upon. Research shows that at least 1-15% of a municipal budget should be devoted to participatory budgeting to make it worthwhile and compelling for the community to engage in.

9. Have you taken any anti-racism training? If so, which one(s)?

Yes. Most of the anti-racism training I’ve taken is corporate-based training on the job. As a Korean-American, I have a lifetime of experience on the receiving end of racism.

10. What are your thoughts about how budgets for law enforcement are allocated and what services should be provided by other agencies outside of law enforcement?

According to League of Municipalities data, Carrboro actually has a well-paid and high ratio of police to per capita for our town when compared to like-sized towns. The current budget has enabled many of our police officers to take Community Intervention Training, which was developed with input from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.. I would like to see this training become a job requirement so all of our officers know how to de-escalate and use non-violent intervention techniques in many situations. I would like to see even more social support services provided for our residents by other agencies outside of law enforcement. A good example is the county’s new Street Outreach, Harm Reduction, and Deflection (SOHRAD) program, which is a team of clinical and support staff who connect people with such services.

Danny Nowell

1. The Orange County transit plan currently identifies only $300,000 for new or expanded transit service in the coming year. This is barely enough money to run a bus that comes every 30 minutes for only 6 hours per weekday, with zero weekend service. What are your thoughts on expanded transit funding?

Our transit funding needs to be higher as a town across the board, and in particular our need to expand new services vastly exceeds the paltry sum provided by the County. We need to make transit a higher priority in every annual town budget, pursue new resources from grants and partner organizations like Triangle Transit Demand Management, and consider other, more aggressive measures to generate new funds, such as an increased municipal car tax or a town-wide bond to fund the infrastructure and systematic approach necessary to meet our climate goals.

2. The NS BRT is a vital service that Chapel Hill Transit is developing for our community. Recently, due to delays in state funding, the projected opening date has been pushed back to 2028. How will you support and champion this project?

While I understand the state funding poses real challenges, one of my highest priorities as a Town Council Member will be organizing from office—that is, using the office as aggressively and imaginatively as possible to bring our neighbors’ attention and action to crucial issues like this one. The NS BRT is a vital project, relieving congestion in an important and relatively ecologically precarious corridor, connecting important routes for area workers, and filling vital gaps that prevent our highly-rated transit services from being a practical, day-to-day, comprehensive solution for the widest possible variety of residents. I’d like to use my platform as an elected official to highlight the inadequacies of the state’s approach, and to mobilize a coalition of our neighbors to apply pressure and urgency to receive this vital funding. 

3. What are the top three things you will do as an elected official to address climate change?

First, I believe we need to systematically and sustainably densify our town by reducing the amount of our town zoned for single-family houses and increasing zoning for multifamily housing and small business in transit-connected corridors. Not only would making better use of our existing town footprint minimize ecological impacts of further growth, increased density is absolutely vital to reduce car dependency and spur wider transit use.

Transit service increases and expansions—Adding service to existing routes and expanding our transit network outward need to be among our town’s highest budgetary priorities, and as previously indicated we need to avail ourselves of every possible tool to increase this funding in a hostile state. While I am still educating myself about the mechanics and feasibility of such a solution, I am increasingly persuaded our town needs to pursue a bond designed to fund a comprehensive decarbonization process, and radically expanding our transit network would be a major pillar of that effort. 

Connecting bike and pedestrian infrastructure—While we have a laudable amount of green space, and a few high-profile cycling corridors that provide bare minimum design and safety accommodations, our reputation as a cycle- and walk-friendly community is largely overstated. We need to invest in physical barriers protecting high-traffic bike and pedestrian corridors, and we need to work harder to connect our green spaces to our transit systems. If we’re going to meet our climate goals, it needs to be possible to navigate our entire town on bike or foot. 

4. “Complete streets” are streets that provide users with multiple options for getting around by accommodating people on bicycles, walking and in cars with safe facilities such as off-street bike lanes, sidewalks, and safe roadway crossings. To provide complete streets, would you support removing a travel lane for cars? If yes, where?

Yes—I’d love to see Carrboro add complete streets in several parts of town, drastically reducing car speeds and improving pedestrian access noticeably throughout town. I would be particularly interested to see this on Weaver St—given the presence of Main St running roughly in parallel and the high pedestrian traffic on Weaver, I’d think this would be an ideal location to explore converting the street to a one-way and leaving extensive space for walkers and cyclist open full-time. I also think this approach may make sense through a number of streets in the Tom’s Creek neighborhood. Stormwater and flooding has plagued the Tom’s Creek for a long time, and residents are now concerned—not without justification, I think—about increased traffic and negative traffic externalities from the incoming Lloyd Farm project. While I’m not opposed to the Lloyd Farm project, it does seem to make that neighborhood an ideal place to experiment with implementing a number of complete streets, potentially including some planted green medians or similar additional measures to help add some permeable surfaces back to the area. The neighborhood has Simpson St to serve as a main car connector from N. Greensboro to Main, and otherwise may be well-served by reducing traffic and car speed. This would also connect Lloyd Farm to more of downtown with walkable and bike-friendly streets, reducing some of the negative impacts from an otherwise reasonable development. 

5. Aside from projects currently underway or recently completed (e.g. the Estes Road connectivity project, the Fordham Blvd. sidepath, protected bike lane on Jones Ferry Road), what accessible biking and walking facilities should be a priority? Would you support speeding their development and construction, and how would you do so?

In addition to the areas outlined in my previous answer, I believe the OWASA corridor in Bolin Forest offers a huge opportunity. In the best of cases, the Town could develop a point-to-point park going at least as far as the Carolina North entrance to the corridor, with a paved greenway, lights, and engineered protection for Bolin Creek. I would support speeding this development, though beyond building a coalition for the project through my organizing from office, I do need to educate myself further on the means available to do so.

6. Free parking is a manifestation of white supremacy culture. Explain your understanding of this statement.

Cars are comprehensively tied to our white supremacist status quo: by requiring significant capital to even be able to own, they place people of color at a disadvantage considering our country’s racial wealth gap; historically, communities of color often serve as the site of car infrastructure development, making those communities more dangerous, less cohesive, and more polluted; in large part due to that historically racist planning, traffic and pedestrian deaths are both disproportionately concentrated among people of color. Moreover, the sprawl-based development enabled by car dependency has allowed the use of exclusionary zoning to thrive as a practice, giving wealthy community members the convenience of unfettered access to businesses without requiring them to spend meaningful time or resource in diverse communal spaces. Finally, as the disastrous climate impact of our automotive reliance becomes clear, so to does the fact that people of color will bear the brunt of that disaster, both in local communities and throughout the global south. There is very little about car culture that does not widen our society’s equity gaps, and de-centering and disincentivizing their use in our cities is a major step toward building safer, more just communities. 

7. The town recently committed to funding a parking deck, estimated to cost $6.3 million. Yes or no – should the 203 Project Parking deck be the last parking deck the town of Carrboro ever builds?

Yes. Even if I believed parking spots were necessary to support our downtown economy—which they are not, as we know that pedestrian zones are a massive boon to retail and service businesses—Carrboro’s excess of parking supply make additional parking a needless waste of town resources.

8. Recently, the City of Durham engaged the community in a participatory budgeting process in which ordinary people identify, discuss and prioritize public spending projects to allocate a portion of the city’s budget  (https://www.pbdurham.org/) . If elected, would you support engaging the community in a similar process? Would you do this in the same way as Durham? 

I am in favor of participatory budgeting and will be advocating for its adoption in Carrboro. I think much of Durham’s model is solid; in particular, the 15-member citizen advisory Steering Committee seems like a key mechanism to adopt. I’d be particularly interested in getting the Town’s input on using these funds to find the best way to close equity gaps in our local businesses, removing barriers for BIPOC owners or exploring ways to help local businesses provide benefits, share revenue with employees, and pursue co-op models. Finding sustainable, equitable ways to diversify our town tax base and provide the goods and services citizens need in a denser community is a necessary part of a systematic approach to our climate and equity goals, and the desire to have more local business in town is one I hear expressed a great deal in my canvassing, so this seems like a natural way to work toward a solution that embodies our Town’s unique character and values.  

9. Have you taken any anti-racism training? If so, which one(s)?

I have not taken any formal anti-racism training, a gap I am committed to closing whether I am elected or not. I am firmly committed to anti-racism and its material practices as I understand them—my hope is that my commitment to affordable housing, climate justice, and a less car-dependent community goes a long way toward allowing Carrboro to close some of its racial equity gaps. Further, the Democratic Socialists of America, which as an organization has provided me with significant support and perspective, holds anti-racism as one of its highest priorities, so I hope I can be trusted to value anti-racism appropriately. Still, however, this election has made clear that I need to be constantly educating and training myself to do this work as modeled by people who spend every day with it. I’ll be pursuing anti-racism training, and I’m very open to input as to which models are most valuable and how I might best hold myself accountable. 

10. What are your thoughts about how budgets for law enforcement are allocated and what services should be provided by other agencies outside of law enforcement? 

Our town’s policing budget is too high—at approximately $4m of our $78m adopted ‘21-22 budget, policing accounts for nearly 5% of our town spending; of this, nearly half of spending—$1.8m—is dedicated to police patrol, as opposed to investigations. I believe we could drastically reduce the budget committed to patrol and reallocate those resources to non-armed community first responders trained in de-escalation and working with substance abuse and mental health issues, administered under the Department of Housing and Community Services. This model is being pursued in Durham and in communities across the country, with demonstrable decreases in police-related violence and incarceration. This is an important step for a progressive town to take in order to do our part ending the racist, for-profit carceral state, and it’s important that it be administered in a department other than the police department, as we’ve seen time and again that the systemic biases and structural incentives guiding police departments make it all but impossible for them to originate the structural changes we need.