Letters to the editor, chh, April 27

Apr. 26, 2014 @ 10:59 PM

Marcoplos for commissioner

Having served on the Orange County Planning Board along with Mark Marcoplos as well as Earl McKee, I am writing to express my observations on differences (related to environmental protection and sustainability issues) between the two candidates for Orange County Board of Commissioners.

During discussions related to development issues, Mr. Marcoplos has encouraged implementation of policies to support sustainable growth and protect natural resources.  In particular, during ongoing discussions regarding the importance of maintaining strong local standards for stream buffers, Mr. Marcoplos has voiced support for keeping local, protective standards while others, including his opponent, apparently neglect to recognize the value of maintaining such buffers that help prevent pollutants from degrading local waters.

Having participated in discussions on these and related topics (as a scientist with expertise related to water-transport and flow dynamics), I find it is critical that policymakers recognize the value of taking preventative measures to protect local water quality and sensitive natural areas. Mark Marcoplos’ service on the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA) board of directors, including two terms as chair, as well as his familiarity and expertise related to progressive building techniques have brought valuable input and knowledge to discussions in support of sustainable growth and preservation of natural resources.

May Becker


Faucette for sheriff

I publicly thank Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass for 32 years of outstanding service and dedication to our county. Sheriff Pendergrass always promoted diversity within the department and a direct beneficiary was a humble African-American youth named Larry Faucette who graduated from Orange High School and soon thereafter embarked on a career in law enforcement.

Through hard work and dedication, Faucette rose from deputy to captain (the highest ranking African-American in the department’s history), retiring in 2009 and returning as a school resource officer in 2010.

Larry pledges that he will be a strong advocate for “accountability, diversity and fairness.” He is the only candidate to say that he will strongly focus on all the youth of Orange County to promote positive intervention programs that challenge the “School to Prison” problem and steer our young people down positive paths to responsible citizenship.

Faucette will serve the entire community through such diverse programs as SALT, where deputies on routine patrol check on seniors in rural areas, and LifeTrack, a tracking system for finding lost children and adults with brain disorders.

Larry will be “A Sheriff for All the People” and demonstrates this through his efforts as a high school coach, and with Relay for Life, Ronald McDonald House and Orange Congregations in Missions.

Faucette will “serve and protect” our community and will “serve the community as a whole - ensuring that those served and those serving feel respected, secure and informed.”

I wholeheartedly endorse Larry Faucette for Orange County Sheriff.

Stephen H. Halkiotis


Hauser a natural leader

Please join me on May 6 and cast a vote for Bonnie Hauser for Orange County Commissioner-at-large.

I know Bonnie well through her work with the Center for Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education of North Carolina. She’s a tireless advocate for our communities, especially young people. Bonnie spends many hours going to schools with her mother (a Holocaust survivor) sharing the lessons of the Holocaust and the message that individual action can make the world a better place. And that’s exactly how she lives her own life. Her devotion to public service and helping our communities in tangible, meaningful ways is evident from her work on matters related to the environment, health and safety and education.

Bonnie’s skills in policy and financial management and her natural leadership qualities will ensure our county is run efficiently and sensibly. She will know how to plan for future growth and services. She will ensure our values and local government issues will not be compromised by the current leadership of the General Assembly and the governor.

I value Bonnie’s unique ability to connect diverse communities throughout the county in a respectful manner. She is a leader who can be trusted to do what she says. And, she will always be accessible!

Please vote for Bonnie Hauser, Orange County Commissioner-at-large.

Sharon Halperin

Chapel Hill

Macoplos for commissioner

In the campaign for Orange County Commissioner, all the candidates are using similar words and it’s difficult to distinguish among them.

In my view, there's a clear distinction for the District 2 seat. I've known Mark Marcoplos for more than 25 years, both professionally and working on important community issues at the grassroots. I don't know Earl McKee personally, but from what I can gather he's a good guy who sincerely wants to serve Orange County, and he's been an adequate commissioner.

At a time when we're facing serious long-term issues, including how we handle our trash, how we continue to improve our schools in the face of reduced support from Raleigh, and how we develop our local economy to support local businesses and good jobs, we need someone with vision who's willing to ask the big questions while being rooted in practicality. In his construction business, Mark embraced "green building" before we even had a name for it, and has decades of experience balancing a progressive vision with the daily realities of budgets, customer preferences, product availability and managing employees. I urge readers to check out the website at www.marcoplosforcommissioner.com for a fuller view of Mark's vision, experience and views.

Arnie Katz


Two promising new leaders
With extensive education and honors, eight years of military service, more than 22 years experience in local law enforcement and ongoing community organizing, David Caldwell has a solid experiential background to excel as Orange County Sheriff.  He adds to his background and organizational skills a visionary approach to law enforcement, empowering citizens through better communication and cultural understanding to reduce crime.  His strength of character, integrity and way of dealing with issues and people help everyone to work together.  David Caldwell is the strong leader we need as Orange County Sheriff.
I’ve worked personally with Bonnie Hauser through Orange County Voice – an organization that advocates for the often-unheard rural community.  We need commissioners who understand the rural area is not just a repository for unwanted city rubbish or reckless expansion, so that there is greater balance in decision-making with the towns.  Bonnie does her homework -- seeking the best solutions, not the easy ones.  She has been a true friend and ceaseless defender of the rural community.  I know she will bring that commitment to all of Orange County.  Please support Bonnie Hauser for Orange County Commissioner.

Virginia Leslie

Chapel Hill

Jacobs can do the job

To choose between friends in this year’s County Commissioners’ race, I identified the  one issue that could make or break the character and quality of life, the economy and the uniqueness of Orange County -- and that is farming, with its many related farming activities.

Barry Jacobs says “When the mills left Orange County in the 1800s, we had agriculture and the university.  This is our historic heritage, it’s who we are, it’s our destiny.” Our agricultural enterprises have grown since then, and Barry’s leadership and participation have earned us a well-deserved “progressive” reputation:  by being one of the first and most  successful  N.C. counties to purchase development rights  to preserve farmland and important natural areas; by establishing a multi-county processing center to help entrepreneurs develop and sell their food products, by using the Breeze Farm for instruction  in organic  farming with rental space available afterwards to grow crops, by building a covered farmers’ market on county land in Hillsborough.

This is a great stary, but major  expansion is needed now so our educational institutions

can spend their millions on Orange County’s local, sustainably grown, healthy foods instead of having to  import them from around the world.

An expanded farm economy of this magnitude requires experienced leadership and understanding of the complex legal issues involved, plus the creative ability to make it happen.

I think Barry Jacobs can do the job,

Marty Mandell


Chilton would break law

Mark Chilton, former mayor of the Chapel Hill suburb of Carrboro, is running for Register of Deeds in Orange County on the sole platform of, if elected, he will break the law. His promise to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in violation of the law of the land, may seem to some to be heroic, but if examined closely reveals that Mr. Chilton is arrogant and self-serving.

Regardless of what anyone wishes the marriage laws to be, for the present they prohibit the official recognition of same-sex unions by the state. Unlawful acts of defiance by Mr. Chilton as register will not change that. Anyone receiving a marriage license under those circumstances might as well type it up and print it at home for all the legality it will have. They would have the same legal standing if he dispensed them from a hot dog cart in front of the Carrboro town hall. At least then the unfortunate citizens of the county would not have to pay for his self-aggrandizing gesture.

While it’s tempting to want to see if he has the backbone to live up to his boast, the office of Register of Deeds is too serious a responsibility to place in the hands of someone so cavalier about the law and so interested in self promotion. If Mr. Chilton is serious in his support of same sex marriage he needs to find a way to support it without making a mockery of the cause

Robert L. Porreca


McKee’s job outstanding

Early voting for this year’s primary elections will begin soon.  It is a good time to acknowledge and commend Orange County Commissioner Earl McKee for the outstanding job he has done for the people of Orange County in his first term. 

Mr. McKee is a hard worker and a good listener who takes the concerns of all his constituents to heart and strives tirelessly to meet our needs.  He is deeply committed to the core Democratic values of the stewardship of our precious environment, supporting public education and bringing our diverse communities and interests together through good governance that serves all and fosters unity.  He is a strong advocate for sensible economic development that benefits all citizens, and smart growth that is appropriate to our county’s needs and heritage.

It has been a privilege for me to be with Mr. McKee at several community events in the past few years.  He brought greetings from the Board of County Commissioners and insightfully commended the purpose and importance of the Pauli Murray Awards Celebration and of the annual Human Relations Forum.  In public gatherings he responds to questions and concerns wisely and candidly.  He is a person of commitment to our county and its citizens and a man of real integrity.  He is the sort of county commissioner we need, and I encourage his support in the primaries and in the general election.

Rollin Russell


Keep Brooks in deeds office

The Register of Deeds office is not well known to the public, but it is vitally important because it is the place where our most important property transactions occur -- the deed to your home and the mortgage on it are both registered there, giving you valuable rights and responsibilities.  The holder of this office should be a workhorse, not a showboat, which is why I endorse incumbent Deborah Brooks for reelection as the Orange County Register of Deeds. 

I am an Orange County native, have practiced law in Orange County for more than 30 years and have served on the faculty at UNC for about the same time.  I have known Deborah since first meeting her on the staff of the Register of Deeds back in the late 1970s. Over the years, Deborah worked her way up in this important government agency, and was elected four years ago, becoming the first black female Register of Deeds in Orange County history.  She has always been helpful, knowledgeable and thoroughly professional.  The voters wisely entrusted her with this essential county job, and she has been more than equal to the task. 

Deborah is widely respected by ordinary citizens as well as the real estate professionals who interact with her office.  I urge my fellow Orange County citizens to reelect Deborah Brooks as the Orange County Register of Deeds in the Democratic primary on May 6.

Don Stanford

Chapel Hill