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4The Daily Tar HeelFriday, November 3, 1989
: By SHEILA LONG
'' Carrboro's election is just around
.'the corner, and the two candidates for
mayor have similar views on issues
ranging from watershed protection to
'the location of the new post office, but
'their primary difference is in the estab
lishment of a historic district.
' J CompletingherfirsttermasCarrboro
mayor, incumbent Eleanor Kinnaird is
facing James Porto Jr. in her first re
election campaign. Porto, who served
as mayor from 1983 to 1987, is trying to
' In her first mayoral re-election
campaign, Eleanor Kinnaird sees alter
nate forms of transportation and down
! town revitalization as the important
' J issues of the election.
v As mayor of Carrboro since 1987,
Kinnaird established the Plantation
Plaza Express and Highland Hills bus
routes. She also worked for the past two
:" years on the project of revitalizing
p' downtown Carrboro.
' '- Kinnaird said she considered traffic
' c'ongestion amajor problem in Carrboro
1 aVid would like to make improvements
"-'by creating more bike paths and ex
panding the bus system. She said she
"would like to make traffic improve
iftents heavily geared toward Univer
jijty students but beneficial to everyone
'i'".T Proposed wider bike paths on three
iItajor roads in Carrboro would help
tI I University students and younger kids
Carrboro, she said. The new bike
fjaths are to be built on each of the roads
!arid will be about six feet wide.
r' With the recent community concern
i&bout the new post office, Kinnaird
J$aid she felt the chosen location on
$delity Street near Westwood Ceme
!HCery was inappropriate because it would
:- -bring the wrong kind of traffic to the
Alderman Hilliard Caldwell, who
i seeks his third term to serve the resi
e dents of Carrboro, said he was relying
r on his past experience to win the elec-
Caldwell, who said he loved poli-
tics, has served on the Board of Alder-
men for eight years.
? "I enjoy it," he said. "It's beyond a
hobby, because you can see results.
The people have elected me and given
. me the power to enact local laws that
say what they can and can't do. It's all
'"about helping people."
V-. Caldwell said he supported the Fi-
"delity Street location for the new post
i office and said the vote on the site was
'. unanimous up until the last minute,
' when Mayor Eleanor Kinnaird changed
'The site was recommended to the
board by ourcemetery commission who
advised us to submit it to the postal
J service," Caldwell said. "Mayor Kin
J aird decided to go against it at the last
p-:-v6te when she realized she could use it
" 5itS a political ploy in this election."
rZ-l' Caldwell said the town went through
cflh'e right channels of notifying resi-Vl-ilents
about the public hearing on the
j p6st office site by putting out notices,
j He added that the residents came to
voice their objections after the decision
had been made.
Jacquelyn Gist, a candidate for the
Board of Aldermen, said the town took
a great deal of time in choosing the
Fidelity Street site for the new post
office but that she was not sure it was
the only available site.
Gist said it might be possible to find
an alternative site, and the possibility
needs to be checked into.
"We definitely need a bigger post
office site," Gist said. "If indeed this is
the only place available, I feel we need
to protect the surrounding neighbor
hood." To alleviate traffic problems, Gist
said she supports the synchronization
of downtown stop lights. She proposes
checking into the feasibility of buses
running more often during the day other
than in the morning and evening. She
also said the town needed to get busy
improving the bike paths.
The possibility of a staggered work
day at the University is high on her
agenda as another way to solve traffic
"I'd like to see us work with the
University and North Carolina Memo
rial Hospital to stagger workdays," Gist
said. "It has worked well in larger cit
ies, and I think it will work for Carrboro,
too. This prevents everyone from hit
ting the roads at the same time."
Gist cited the watershed protection
amd foirmeo mayors compete 'for office
reclaim the seat.
Mayors serve two-year terms, while
aldermen serve four-year terms.
Kinnaird supports implementing a
historic district because of Carrboro's
unique history as a mill town.
"Such a district would give the town
flavor, and the value of the houses
would go up," Kinnaird said.
The Board of Aldermen tabled a
motion to implement such a district
after strong opposition by residents at a
heated public hearing in early October.
Residents expressed concern that such
area and would take more green space
away from the town.
When Kinnaird ran for mayor in
1987 she held the issue of protecting
the watershed as her principal concern.
She said she continued to see preserv
ing the watershed as an important is
sue, and one that separates her from her
"The Carrboro watershed is, I think,
Carrboro does not have a traffic
problem of its own, Caldwell said. The
problem occurs only for about 45 min
utes in the morning and in the afternoon
when people are driving to and from
"I think the University should assist
us in this and encourage its employees
to use the (U.S.I 5-50 1N.C.54) bypass
and our park-and-ride lots," Caldwell
said. "I'm willing to look at traffic, and
I'm working on some proposals that I
of drinking water as an important issue
affecting students, because students
usually do not have the extra money to
buy bottled water. She also mentioned
the transportation and parking prob
lems as being important to students.
Another issue that Gist said she was
concerned about is community safety.
She supports a total community watch
"I think we have a wonderful police
force, but they cannot watch us all,"
fc- iLA& .i iJ
a district would impose too many re
strictions against home improvements.
Porto said he did not support such a
district because of the strict guidelines
it entailed. He proposes a historic reg
ister to be kept at town hall.
"I think a much better idea would be
a system that doesn't impose so much
red tape," he said. "I would rather see a
system of voluntary registration, where
homeowners could register their homes
as a historic site. Such a system would
be 100 percent voluntary."
Both candidates view watershed
1 Mayoral (Candidates
the only pure water source in the state.
The prime importance is to keep it as
pure as possible."
Kinnaird said she was excited about
the new student liaison position that the
University recently established with
Carrboro. She hopes this new student
voice among the town leaders will make
student concerns known.
While Kinnaird wants the large stu
dent population to make its voice louder
in the community, she said most of the
graduate students living in the commu
nity were registered to vote because
they felt they were a more permanent
part of the community.
"It's the undergraduate population
that feels like it's not part of the com
munity," Kinnaird said. "Many of the
undergraduate students seem to think
they will only be around here for four
years. We need to pay as much atten
tion to the undergraduates as to every
one else and to let them know they are
an important part of the community."
Because students do contribute a
great deal of tax money to the city by
living in Carrboro, she said the students
deserved to be recognized by the town
and should make their voice known in
the community by taking the initiative
to register and vote.
of Aldermen Candidates
don't want to release until after the
Caldwell points to the vote to ap
point a student liaison as a significant
step toward improving Carrboro's re
lationship with students. He said that
students were a vital part of the com
munity because so many of them lived
in and contributed to the town.
The tax base in Carrboro has re
mained fairly steady over the past years,
he said, and he would prefer an increase
in the tax base to an increase in taxes.
This affects students because they
would have to share the burden of a tax
hike by paying higher rent on apart
ments. "I would rather see an increase in the
tax base than an increase in taxes,"
Caldwell said. "If we allow for more
development and more businesses, they
can then share in the tax burden."
Caldwell, who also serves as mayor
pro tern of Carrboro, just completed a
2-year term on the board of directors
for the North Carolina House Financ
ing Agency. He is also a member of
N.C. Black Elected Officials and chair
man of the South Orange Caucus.
Caldwell, the home-school coordi
nator for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City
schools, said that his accessibility to
residents was very important to his
position as alderman.
Gist said. "I am a strong believer in
community, and I think we could all get
together and look at lighting and the
height of hedges.
"Shrubbery looks good in the day
time, but it can be pretty scary at night.
We currently watch each other in our
neighborhoods why not watch each
other in the entire community?"
Gist has a bachelor's degree in phi
losophy and a master's degree in social
work with an emphasis in community;
she received both from UNC. She is the
program director for the Association of
Gist has served as vice chairwoman
of Carrboro's Board of Adjustment,
and she has also served on the Steering
Committee for the Orange County
Living in Carrboro for 1 3 years has
given Gist the opportunity to meet many
people in the community. Gist also said
her background in social work gave her
an advantage in working with all types
"As a social worker, I think I have an
understanding of all kinds of people,"
she said. "We just need to come to
gether with some good solutions. With
my career I do a lot of group facilitat
ing, and I'm used to helping people see
that they want the same goals."
protection as an important environ
mental issue. Kinnaird and Porto said
they favored zoning ordinances to pro
tect this area from dense development.
"It's very important that zoning gets
through the Board of Aldermen to
protect the watershed," Kinnaird said.
In a position paper released Tuesday,
she w,rote that larger lots and septic
tanks were needed in the area to protect
the water supply from pollution.
Porto agrees with the need for better
zoning in the area and proposes that the
lots be zoned at a minimum of five
Carrboro mayoral candidate James
Porto's first preference would be locat
ing the new post office downtown, not
on Fidelity Street. But he said he sup
ported the action taken by the Board of
Porto said he was not completely
convinced that there is a traffic prob
lem in Carrboro, but he points out that
a major concern is the lack of an orderly
circulation pattern downtown. He pro
poses that the board set criteria for what
it considers to be a problem, and ac-.
cording to those criteria, determine how
much of a problem really exists.
"There are really no easy solutions.
In the long run, we need to get the town
to agree to a complete transportation
plan. We either need to adopt a plan or
publicly accept the amount of traffic in
If a problem is found to exist, Porto
would support working with UNC to
implement a better staggered workday
for employees. He is also in favor of
pushing for state funds to improve
The primary issue that should be
students' concern is Carrboro's tax base,
he said. Ninety percent of the town's
tax base comes from residential prop
erty owners; if taxes go up, higher
Tom Gurganus, an incumbent on the
Board of Aldermen seeking a second
term, said he was campaigning for many
of the same reasons that caused him to
run for election to the board in 1985.
He said time he spent volunteering
in the community before the election in
1985, and his service on several com
munity advisory boards made him want
to become even more involved in the
Gurganus said he was different from
his opponents, excluding incumbent
Hilliard Caldwell, because he had much
more experience as a member on the
board. He said it is important for the
board to retain some continuity from
election to election.
"I do my homework, I go out into the
community and I make an effort to
speak out and to speak up for Carrboro."
After his graduation from UNC,
Gurganus stayed in Carrboro, where he
has lived for 18 years. During those 18
years, he has gotten to know Carrboro
and its people, he said. "I want to give
the town the benefit of what I've learned
and continue to help to improve
As a member of the Board of Alder
man, Gurganus served on the both the
joint planning task force and the solid
waste task force. The joint planning
task force works to conduct a joint
Michael Nelson, a newcomer to the
Carrboro Board of Aldermen election,
said he was vying for a seat on the board
because he wanted to offer the town of
Carrboro what it needs for the 1990s.
Nelson, a UNC political science
graduate, is running for office to ad
dress the issues important to Carrboro.
His past political accomplishments
include being third vice chairman for
the Orange County Democratic Party,
co-chairman of N.C. Senator Wanda
Hunt's re-election campaign, Demo
cratic precinct chairman for the East
Franklin Precinct and for the Dogwood
"As I have talked with voters, almost
all say the importance in the election
should be placed on the environment,"
he said. "I would like to see town
owned buildings heated in more energy-efficient
ways, such as solar en
ergy." Disagreements with the actions of
the present Board of Aldermen contrib
uted to Nelson's decision to run for
office. Nelson said the board failed
Carrboro on the issue of traffic conges
tion when it tabled the Traffic Advisory
Board's traffic plan to alleviate traffic
"They threw out an entire traffic
circulation plan, where parts of the plan
could have been salvaged."
acres. He added that landowners with
lots of less than five acres needed to be
exempted from new ordinances.
He disagrees with Kinnaird on the
use of septic tanks in the area. "We
need to work on water and sewer sys
tems to the homes out there, instead of
septic tanks," Porto said. "In my opin
ion, septic tanks are not safe for the
Kinnaird and Porto would rather see
the location for the new post office
closer to downtown and not at the
Fidelity Street site.
monthly rent results.
"It's a mistaken belief among many
students that if you're not owning prop
erty within a town, you're not paying
property tax," he said. "However, the
taxes charged to property owners are
passed on to the renters in the cost of
Porto, who serves on the Bond Task
Force Committee in Carrboro, said the
review of Orange County, Chapel Hill
and Carrboro. One of the plans Gur
ganus said he was working with in
volved providing an annexation limit
to the towns involved in the task force.
As a member of the solid waste task
force, Gurganus is involved with the
search for a new landfill. He said he
thought the issue of a new landfill
would become more important to
Carrboro residents in the coming
Nelson supports increased bus serv
ice, park-and-ride lots, and improved
and increased numbers of bike paths.
He said encouraging people to car pool
and van pool would do a great deal to
help the traffic congestion in Carrboro.
Traffic congestion near Westwood
Cemetery is one of the reasons Nelson
said the site for the new post office was
inappropriate. He said the post office
needed to be replaced because of the
inadequate parking and traffic prob-
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In response to comments that she
changed her vote on the post office site
at the last minute, Kinnaird said that she
never intended to vote for the site and
that the cemetery commission would
not listen to her.
Porto said he supported the Board's
decision on the site, but said he would
prefer the post office to be located
"I think the post office should really
be part of a downtown commercial site,
but the decision has been made," Porto
committee recommended to the board
that they decrease the use of excess
funds in the general fund to balance the
operating budget, and instead reserve
the money for capital improvements
such as sidewalks and bikeways.
"With a combination of reductions
and a modest tax increase, the operating
budget can be restored to a sound finan
cial setting," Porto said. "While I do not
generally support tax increases and will
work very hard to avoid one, we may
have to increase taxes to balance the
budget in the next two years."
Porto, who is on the faculty at the
University's School of Public Health,
served Carrboro as mayor from 1983 to
1987. During his tenure, he worked to
implement a bond issue that provided
$780,000 for the revitalization of Lloyd
He was also involved in joint plan
ning with Orange County and instru
mental in getting the Town Commons
area started. Along with serving as
mayor, Porto has been on Carrboro's
Appearance Commission for six years.
"I see my role, as mayor, as being one
to judge (conflicting) claims and to
suppport those actions that I believe
contribute to the public good."
Recycling is an issue of the election
that Gurganus said is important in this
election. He said he thought University
students should really try to get in
volved with recycling efforts. With the
expanding recycling services in
Carrboro, recycling will grow to affect
With the amount of traffic flowing
between Carrboro and Chapel Hill,
Gurganus thinks the Board of Alder
men is doing as much as possible to
control traffic congestion through alter
nate means of transportation, such as
building bike paths.
Another issue in the election is the
proposed construction of the new post
office for Carrboro. For 10 years,
Carrboro has been trying to get a new
post office built because the present
post office is too small.
Much of the problem in getting the
post office built came from the postal
service, he said. The location was cho
sen through bids submitted to sell land,
many of which were too highly priced.
The final decision to locate the post
office on Fidelity Street has caused some
concern among nearby residents.
"I suspect wherever the post office
will eventually be, there would be a
degree of controversy. We can't have
the post office downtown without con
If the new post office is constructed
near Westwood Cemetery, the increased
traffic problems would be detrimental
to the area, Nelson said.
In his campaign Nelson sees traffic
congestion and the environment as the
two major issues affecting the commu
nity. Both of these issues as well as
others are important to students, Nelson
His stand on the issues and his will
ingness to be specific about his plans if
elected are what Nelson thinks makes
him more appealing than his opponents
to his voters. He thinks that if elected he
can offer new ideas to the board, be
cause he is younger than other board
members, more aggressive and more