Challengers join the fray in Orange County elections

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The candidate-filing period opened with a flourish Friday in Orange County as mayors from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough all signed up to defend their seats and challengers emerged in the Chapel Hill Town Council and Board of Alderman races.

In Chapel Hill, Lee Storrow and August Cho filed as expected, and Laney Dale, a tech entrepreneur who moved to town four years ago, joined the race for the four open positions on the nine- member, including the mayor, council.

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  • Photo courtesy of Laney Dale
Dale, a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee, says he wants to make a bigger impact on the community he moved across the county to make his home. Along with his wife and three kids, Dale searched across the U.S. for a place to relocate from Los Angeles, eventually deciding on Chapel Hill for its schools, its location in the Triangle and the quality of the arts.

He is the CEO and founder of two start-up companies, Appuware and Appubater, which create computer and mobile applications. Appuwhere allows customers to be developers. Appubater accepts ideas from clients and partners to realize them.

Both businesses are located in Durham, and Dale says Chapel Hill needs to work to make it easier for businesses to establish offices there.

“From a business standpoint, Chapel Hill is not the easiest place to own a business, which has effects on the town,” he says, pointing a residential tax burden that could be weakened by sales and commercial tax revenue.

“There are not a whole lot of places to spend your money in Chapel Hill. We have all these great little malls, but there aren’t a lot of places even as a family that we shop at,” Dale says. “If I need electronics, we have to go to Durham.”

He lists Carolina North among his chief concerns, but says, “I don’t know what my focus is yet of my campaign. I don’t have a solid issue that I’m all about.”

That will come after getting out and meeting more voters, he says, planning a grassroots campaign.

He says he supports the Inter-Faith Council shelter relocation to Homestead Road.

“I would feel comfortable living down there,” he says.

Dale also is considering using the Voter-Owned Elections program, but will decide after attending Wednesday’s informational session.

Along with mayors Mark Kleinschmidt of Chapel Hill, Mark Chilton of Carrboro and Tom Stevens of Hillsborough, incumbents Dan Coleman and Lydia Lavelle filed for Carrboro Board of Aldermen, Evelyn Lloyd for Hillsborough Town Commissioners and Mia Day Burroughs and Jamezetta Bedford seek to keep their places on the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Board of Education.

Michelle Johnson, a Carrboro social worker and yoga instructor, is running for alderman. The filing period ends July 15 at noon.

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