Priorities

I am running for town council because we need our elected officials to do a better job in many areas, including managing growth responsibly, supporting local business, curbing gentrification, and giving residents a stronger voice in town government decisions.

As your Council member, I will

  • Protect established neighborhoods fromreckless overdevelopment that ignores fiscal, traffic, and environmental impacts;
  • Encourage development that provides housing for teachers, artists, public safety workers and other moderate-income households, not just more luxury apartments;
  • Work with UNC to attract high-skill, high-wage commercial research and light industry enterprises to help finance our government services;
  • Find cost savings by making better use of local expertise and work to bring our municipal debt down to a sustainable level;
  • Implement a town-wide bike plan to make bicycling in Chapel Hill safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable, so that residents can reduce their reliance on automobile use;
  • Work to preserve the verdant, human scale, college town character of our downtown and historic neighborhoods;
  • Work to enhance safety and security in our neighborhoods and in public places;
  • Implement a town-wide stormwater management plan to reduce flooding and protect our local streams;
  • Work to acquire and develop centrally located land for parks and public recreation.

 

For more detail on my priorities, click on the “Read more” links below.

  1. Manage growth responsibly  
    2012McDouglesclassroom2
    1. Ensure that new development does not worsen traffic congestion; seek solutions to existing congestion problems.
    2. Work closely with the CHCCS system to help maintain the high quality of Chapel Hill schools.
    3. Protect and enhance the quality of our streams, natural landscapes, parks and recreational trails, and college town ambiance.BrookhavenCrabtreeCreek-72px
    4. Ensure that new development contributes positively to the appearance of the town and to residents’ enjoyment of their homes, neighborhoods, and public spaces.
    5. Encourage new development that generates financial benefits for the town rather than development that worsens the tax burden on existing residents.
  1. Promote housing, work, and shopping opportunities for all residents
    1. ShowImageDiscourage residential and commercial gentrification; protect thriving, locally owned businesses from being driven out.
    2. Use zoning and incentives to preserve existing moderately-priced housing and to increase the supply of new moderately-priced housing.CohnS_opinion blog web
    3. Support policies (i.e., living wage ordinances, voucher programs) that increase residents’ ability to purchase or rent market-rate housing.
    4. Recruit department stores and mid-range clothing and housewares retailers to open locations in Chapel Hill; in addition to recruiting national retailers, nurture the growth of locally-owned retailers that serve local needs.
    5. Increase the supply of affordable office, retail, and light industrial space to support the growth of local businesses that employ and pay living wages to town residents.
             
  1. Spend tax money wisely 
    Money-Dollar-Bills1

    1. First things first: Make provision of basic services and maintenance of infrastructure the highest town spending priority.
    2. Ensure timely funding for Town financial obligations and necessary services, such as retired employee health costs and replacement of old buses; do not push these costs off into the future.
    3. Where possible, seek savings by employing local experts to work on Town projects rather than outside consultants.
    4. Work with staff to continually seek ways to improve efficiency and provide better value for our tax dollars.
  1. Empower residents 
    public-part-1
    1. Promote transparency and civic engagement in local governance.
    2. Make it easier for citizens to get information about town government and to share concerns with staff and elected officials.
    3. Heed the considered advice of Town-appointed boards and knowledgeable citizen advisory groups.
    4. Hold workshops to help residents better understand and participate in budgeting and Town planning decisions.

 

Photos courtesy of NC Campus Compact, Town of Chapel Hill, and Palm Beach County