Name as it appears on the ballot: Carl Schuler
Date of birth: 1968. 43 years of age
Home address: 102 Vintage Drive, CH 27516
Campaign Web site: http://www.carlschulerforcouncil2011.info/
Occupation & employer: UNC-Chapel Hill
Why are you running for office and what are your top priorities, if elected? Please include information on past public service, posts held, volunteer work completed and other examples of your leadership.
My candidacy for Chapel Hill Town Council is a result of my accumulated interest in the local affairs of the community. My interest in Town Council matters originally came from activities with my homeowners' association where I have served on the Board of Directors for the past six year. Top priorities include the Town's growth and development and the resources to match the projections of near and long-term growth.
For the past six years, I have served on the Vineyard Square Board of Directors and met several challenges as the community transitioned from builder to homeowner control. I continue to serve on the Board to this day. In addition to my neighborhood involvement, I have served the university's staff community as a former delegate to the UNC Employee Forum (2008-2010). Recently, I have served as a committee member to the Inter-Faith Council's Good Neighbor Plan Advisory Committee.
If you are not currently serving on the Town Council, what will you bring to the body that it now lacks? If you are an incumbent, what perspective have you brought that the town still needs?
Enthusiasm and tolerance to varying opinions. I also have the tenacity and capacity for understanding and making the best decision- with the information at hand- when formulating decisions for the greater good. Being open and transparent as a matter of public process is important to me. Understanding the issues and amenable to discussing differing viewpoints is of importance to me that I feel I will bring to Council as polarizing issues facing the town continue.
In the last four years, what do you feel are the three best accomplishments of Chapel Hill Town Government, and why? Conversely, what are three things you would have done differently?
Prioritized goals for the Council
Building consensus amongst Town Citizen's and promoting citizen involvement-such as the Comprehensive 20 20 initiative
Acknowledgment of budget constraints
Three things you would have done differently
Greater emphasis in addressing economic and budgeting constraints
Attention to the local business and retail community
Streamline the development review process
The Independent's mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
I believe in the notion of a just community and open government. As a Town Council member, I would examine issues fully before their presentation during Council meetings. To gain an understanding of the issue, I would speak with proponents and opponents and make a decision that I feel would best represent the Town's interest in whole.
How do you define yourself politically (ie) conservative, moderate, liberal, third party, hybrid etc) and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
Registered as an unaffiliated voter, I believe that the municipal election for the Town of Chapel Hill is an opportunity to make use of the ideas from both sides of the political spectrum. With party affiliation or loyalty, I am willing to hear all sides and move forward with the best of ideas. Founded in common sense and with keen appreciation to serve the Town of Chapel Hill in its best interest, I draw upon my fiscally conservative with a balance of the public needs. In the political continuum, I take a middle position and am open to differing viewpoints.
Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
A fiscally sound budget that serves the majority.
Do you support the cent sales tax referendum? Would you support future ballot initiatives such as the transit tax? What will you do to educate and involve the public not only in those decisions but in town affairs in general?
I believe it's bad timing for this proposal; however, I'm in favor of the cent sales tax referendum. The revenue from this cent sales tax would need careful monitoring to determine whether business development and the schools benefited from this effort.
This fiscal year saw the town make cut some bus routes and reduce their frequency, the town's July 4th celebration and Project Turnaroud, among other cost saving measures? Do you agree with the choices? If not, how would you have found the funds or what different cuts would you have made?
Cancelling the fourth of July celebration at Kenan Stadium is understandable as the Town reduced some of its services. The event would have generated quite a bit of revenue if there was the opportunity for the private sector to be involved with the decision to sponsor the fireworks. I believe that the economic stimulant to the local businesses would have surpassed the costs of the [Fourth of July] event. Something to consider in future years as the town will face the prospects of harsher budget cuts.
In short, for such non-essential projects, I would look to the private sector for innovating ways to promote celebratory milestones.
The town plans to write a new comprehensive plan this year to guide the next 20 years of development, what process should be used and what driving principles and strategies should the end result include?
The Comprehensive 20 20 Plan is a major undertaking that will shape the Council's direction as it takes the report-due next year-under consideration. It's an opportunity for Chapel Hill citizens' to comment on the direction of its growth. The first meeting on Tuesday, September 27, 2011, brought higher numbers than estimated. More than 360 citizens attended the first public meeting. The town needs to ensure the provision of adequate meeting space and continued opportunity for public comment in order for success. The end result is a thoughtful document prepared with care and earnestness to guide Council and the Town in near and long term development.
What's your view of the recent and in-progress additions to downtown, Greenbridge and 140 West and what's your hope for UNC's University Square development plans? What else needs to be done to preserve and further a unique and thriving downtown?
With the recent completion of East 54 and Greenbridge, The Town of Chapel Hill came away with a better understanding of condominium planning, development and financial constraints of an anemic economy. The recent experience is fresh in mind as construction is underway with recently approved developments such as 140 West Franklin. Additions and changes to the downtown needs to have balance between aesthetics and functionality. As land becomes scarce for building, the trend towards mixed use-involving several story developments -with space for parking, retail and residential seems to trend at the moment. This is exactly what is being proposed with University Square. Moving forward, the approval for building applications needs to be tempered with consistent and thoughtful planning in order to preserve the Downtown area while addressing issues associated with business and residential activities
The Town must balance desired economic development with consistent planning goals and realistic expectations.