Also posted at OrangePolitics, where you can get lots of people’s endorsements.
This year is full of races in which my choice is either quite obvious or not at all clear. For those who want it, here is the official Ruby Sinreich Voting Guide ™ for 2009. I’ll link to the OP profile for those who have accounts, but note that all the candiates’ web sites are available on the OP election page.
I’ll start with the easiest ones: Mark Kleinschmidt for Mayor of Chapel Hill, and Mark Chilton for Mayor of Carrboro. Both are people I have known for nearly 20 years, so I can say with a lot of confidence that they are smart, ethical, brave, and skilled leaders. But don’t take my word for it – they have extensive records as both elected officials and as activists for social, economic, and environmental justice. Mark Chilton’s record as Mayor and his participation here on OP speak well for him. Mark Kleinschmidt has rightly been called "the conscience of the Council" but he is also a practical policymaker and consensus-builder who knows how to get things done.
I have a hard choice to make for Chapel Hill Town Council because I have concerns about every candidate in the race, including incumbents. With some hesitation, I will be voting for Penny Rich, Ed Harrison, Laurin Easthom, and Gene Pease. In spite of my concerns, I believe they are all knowledgeable about town government and are reasonable people who will work together with their colleagues to find the best solutions to our collective problems.
If I lived in Carrboro, I would have an easy choice and vote for Jacquie Gist, Randee Haven-O’Donnell, and Sammy Slade. Carrboro is doing a pretty good job (although I don’t get the hysteria over 5-story buildings) and these three are well-equipped to continue this work. Sammy is an example of one of those activists who is frequently rabble-rousing and you wish they would put their money where their mouth is and do the hard work. Well that’s exactly what he’s doing by running for Board of Aldermen and I’m glad to see him doing it.
The hardest of all this year is the School Board. I like what I know of nearly all the candidates, and from what I know about School Board issues, I have trouble distinguishing many of them! Joe Green has the strong support of the local NAACP (via the Breakfast Club), which is a voice I trust on school issues especially. I was impressed with him when he applied for Town Council last year, and I’m glad to see he’s remained involved. I honestly don’t know which two will get my other votes, so I will refrain from commenting until I figure it out.
If I lived in Hillsborough, I would vote for the incumbents because the lone challenger hasn’t offered any reason not to, and his solitude in that race seems like a statement of satisfaction from Hillsborough voters.
For more suggestions form other voters, visit http://www.orangepolitics.org/2009/10/the-most-important-endorsement