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Re: Elections '11


Re: Matt Czajkowski

I have known Chapel Hill incumbent Town Councilman Matt Czajkowski for many years, and I have always been impressed at his forthrightness on issues confronting the city. He says it like he means it, and he follows up with clearly reasoned votes at council meetings. Perhaps his success is because he is a former businessman who learned, when dealing with employees and customers, that the best way to solve problems is not to skirt challenges but to examine the issues carefully and work together to find solutions.

At council meetings, his record shows he is his own man and does not vote from a hidden agenda for special interest supporters. Whether he opposes or supports a proposal, he tells you why and votes accordingly. You know where you stand with him, and in our city that has many constituencies of differing priorities, it is important for residents to have representatives that speak out for everyone and present the facts fairly for all of us to understand.

In all the time I have known him, he has listened to both sides of any question, and his final decision is always well considered and respectful of the other person's position. He is the "Voice of Reason," and I encourage you to join me to return Matt Czajkowski to the Chapel Hill town council in November.

Susan Weidener
Chapel Hill

Re: Matt Czajkowski

Recently, I was talking with another Chapel Hill resident about our property taxes. Both of us had moved from the county to the city years ago, and we were enumerating the services that came with the rise in our bills. We cited things like plowing and trash pickup, but, for both of us, the most important thing we felt we paid for with our taxes was a vibrant, safe, inclusive place in which to live. We worried that, in a time of economic scarcity, the things we love about Chapel Hill might be put at risk. Chapel Hill faces many challenges in 2011, and it's crucial that we have intelligent, careful, pragmatic leadership.

That's why I am enthusiastically endorsing Matt Czajkowski for re-election to the Chapel Hill Town Council. I've known Matt for more than 10 years and have tremendous respect for him personally and as a leader. Matt is willing to look at all sides of an issue, to ask tough questions, and to work toward solutions that work. He has the skills to understand both our budgets and our community's concerns. He is a responsive, ethical leader.

Dabney Grinnan
Chapel Hill

Re: 1/4-cent sales tax

The 1/4-cent sales tax vote is back! And Orange County Justice United supports a YES vote. Why?

  • Because the money is needed for economic development throughout the county to keep the jobs we have and create new ones.
  • Because it is essential to help our schools make up for funds lost due to state and federal budget cuts.
  • Because we need strong schools to attract and keep good businesses in Orange County.
  • Because we don't want to tax just the homeowners of the county to accomplish these goals.

Voting YES means the average Orange County resident will pay about $18 extra this year with this sales tax increase. But the state already lowered the sales tax by 1 cent, so you will actually be seeing a reduction. And there is no tax on medicine, groceries and gas.

Justice United is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of institutions that work for the common good of the county. We understand that it takes a whole community working together across race, faith and economic status to ensure that our values, hopes and visions for a better Orange County translate into concrete actions. We strongly believe that this sales tax increase is the best way to raise the money we need for our schools and for our future economic stability.

Please consider voting YES. Early voting starts Oct. 20 and Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Molly DeMarco and Tish Galu
Orange County Justice United in Community Effort
Chapel Hill

Re: 1/4-cent sales tax

I am writing to express my opposition the 1/4-cent sales tax referendum. One year ago this referendum was defeated by rural county voters by a 2 to 1 margin. The county commissioners have wasted $175,000 of your taxpayer dollars promoting tax referendums, all of which were defeated by the voters.

The commissioners are not acting like responsible stewards of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. I don't have the option of increasing my income at will; therefore, I have to apply strict priorities to my personal budget. The commissioners should do the same by creating a budget based on expected revenues, the current economic climate and not "wants." Orange County is one of the highest taxed counties in the state. Orange County taxpayers fund the county school system at near twice the state average.

For those who think that their taxes are too low, I have this suggestion: Make a large donation to the County Treasurer.

"Government can be likened to a fire; under control it can be beneficial, but out of control it can be disastrous!"

Roy Loflin

Re: Breakfast Club endorsements

The Hank Anderson-Bill Thorpe-Yonni Chapman Breakfast Club was founded in 1976 by the late Hank Anderson, the first African-American department head for the Town of Chapel Hill. Hank began hosting a Saturday morning breakfast meeting at Dip's Restaurant with African-American and social justice community leaders to discuss problems and political strategies to help disenfranchised people.

In the early 1990s, Town Councilmember Bill Thorpe began the tradition of Breakfast Club Endorsements to aid voters who wanted to vote for candidates who would consistently advocate for social justice. Here are the Breakfast Club 2011 Endorsements:

Town of Carrboro—Mayor: Mark Chilton; Board of Aldermen: Braxton Foushee, Dan Coleman, Lydia Lavelle

Town of Chapel Hill—Mayor: Mark Kleinschmidt; Town Council: Donna Bell, Jim Ward, Jason Baker, Lee Storrow

Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board—Annetta Streater, Mia Burroughs, James Barrett, Jamezetta Bedford

Re: Randy Voller

Pittsboro voters: You have an important date with your future when you go to the polls on Nov. 8 to elect your mayor. And your current mayor, Randolph Voller, is the No. 1!

Voller is a stand-up mayor who has focused on Pittsboro's needs. It's clear that his eye is on what is practical and what is needed now. He has not been involved with the rhetoric of inaction that is clearly the platform of his opponent. Nor is he one of a large number of N.C. politicians who have been paid off by the state's big money man: Art Pope!

On the contrary, Voller:

  • worked hard to improve the water and sewer operations in Pittsboro;
  • fought for increases in urban green space and recreational areas;
  • focused on a resurgence of downtown economic development;
  • pushed for—and received—some $2.6 million in federal stimulus to upgrade Pittsboro's water and sewer operations;
  • made certain, within his authority as mayor, to assure citizens of a transparent and open government.

He has shown himself to be a strong player i the county and the state when there are issues that involve the present and future of Pittsboro. And it is this long-term vision that has made him well known among so many people who do not live in Pittsboro but understand that as Pittsboro goes so does Chatham County—and beyond!

There is more to underline the positive character of this dynamic mayor ... but we know that Pittsboro's citizens are of one mind: Vote for Mayor Randolph Voller on Nov. 8!

Bill Sommers

Re: Secret ballot

If you have ever voted in an election early, you may have noticed the election official behind the table scribbling a number on your paper ballot before handing it to you to fill out. What is this number? It turns out it is a unique identifier that identifies YOU.

I know this because, after voting recently, I got curious and called up the Durham Board of Elections. Michael E. Perry, its interim director, answered my questions and emailed me some information, explained that under North Carolina law, an identifier is required to be placed on your early-voting (formally called "one-stop absentee voting") ballot. Since early-voting ballots are considered to be absentee ballots, they are marked with an identifying number linked to the voter's name. The purpose is to make early-voting ballots (like other absentee ballots) individually retrievable should some need arise. This is set forth in a North Carolina statute.

To me, it seems wrong. Nowadays, most people vote early. In the 2008 election, 70 percent voted early (this figure is from Mr. Perry). In other words, 70 percent of all the ballots cast in Durham in 2008 had an identifying number placed on them linked in a database to the voter's name. The point is, if the Board of Elections wants to retrieve the specific early-voting paper ballot you fill out, it is able to do so.

The fight for a secret ballot has a long history. If the Board of Elections is scribbling an identifying number on your ballot, it's not a secret ballot.

Dave Strausfeld

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