A trio of candidates is running for two open seats, as incumbents Mike Gering and Frances Dancy are not running for re-election.
All three candidates, Kathleen Ferguson, Jennifer Weaver and Meighan Carmichael, are worthy of your vote—there's not a bad apple in the bunch—but two seem to have deeper knowledge of the town's needs. We endorse Kathleen Ferguson and Jennifer Weaver.
Ferguson would bring an important perspective to the board, of someone who does not live in Hillsborough's leafy historic neighborhoods. To the town's credit, outsiders see a quaint, beautiful downtown, but there are other sides of Hillsborough where, yes, there are poor people who are not shopping at Weaver Street Market.
Ferguson, who lives on Central Avenue near U.S. 70, is acutely aware of the socioeconomic issues facing the other Hillsborough. She has served on the Highway 70/Cornelius Street Corridor Redevelopment Focus Group and Task Force; she is also highly sensitive to concerns, she writes in her questionnaire, of Hillsborough's southern neighborhoods, where the mixed-use development Waterstone and the Hampton Pointe apartments are changing the face of that area.
Ferguson, who works at Quintiles, also served as chairperson of the Orange County Economic Development Commission.
Our second endorsement goes to Weaver, who works as a freelance copy editor, a yoga teacher and at Hillsborough Sports Plex. Weaver's main focus is on development. We appreciate her concern that affordable housing be a central tenet of any new developments. She also is looking out for the well-being of residents in the peripheral neighborhoods. "The town has, for good reasons mostly related to wise planning, chosen to prioritize development on the south end of town. This need not be an either/or situation. We can remain focused on the south end while still being open to possibilities on the north side."
She also is rightfully critical of Oakdale Village, a south side commercial development on 10 acres that has one business: UNC Family Medical. She writes in her questionnaire that Oakdale "does not fit well with principles of smart growth. What we have is a huge, empty parking lot fringed by generic, empty buildings."