It’s Dark-Money Attack Politics.
I’m calling for change in Chapel Hill and challenging the status quo, so the establishment and powers-that-be are lashing out at me — and the four great Town Council candidates I support — with false personal attacks while unabashedly supporting their selected candidates.
First, here’s how I will change the status quo. If elected, I will:
- Listen to the residents of Chapel Hill. Current leadership repeatedly ignores the will of residents, whether that’s calling for many of our single-family neighborhoods to be rezoned into urban streets, prioritizing Boston developers over local business institutions like the Purple Bowl Restaurant, or building on our protected public green spaces. That will change if I’m mayor.
- Focus on building a modern college town. Let’s not become another generic urban municipality of luxury apartments and office buildings. We need to balance healthy growth with other important needs — fostering local character, ensuring quality parks and green spaces in a warming world, and tackling housing affordability in innovative ways like turbocharging our partnership with UNC, by far our town’s largest employer, to build real affordable housing options for staff, faculty, and graduate students.
- Clean up the Town’s budget. Chapel Hill passed one of the highest property tax increases in town history this year — and has one of the highest tax rates in the Southeast — and yet our parks are crumbling, our firetrucks are outdated and we have to rent space for our police department. Talking about high-cost construction plans for the future is great, but we have to make sure we are meeting our current civic obligations to residents.
The powers-that-be are scared of this new vision. They hide behind dark money groups — 501(c)(4) organizations that allow anonymous donors — disguised as nonprofit social welfare organizations or even news sites.
One of these 501(c)(4) organizations is the Triangle Blog Blog. The other is the NEXT Action Fund. Both groups conceal their donors. [Click here for more information about these groups, their corporate structure, activities and connections.]
Here’s what IRS says about 501(c)(4) social welfare groups: “The promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”
These groups and their anonymous funders constantly push false, frivolous, and inflammatory claims about candidates they don’t like and lavish praise on those they do.
Here’s an example: In this “fact check” these dark money groups called my vote against building family housing on top of our town coal ash dump site “misinformation” because “the Town has not yet made a decision on whether to move forward with housing on the site or not.”
That’s simply not true. The resolution I voted against stated the following: “the preference is for the private development [on the coal ash dump] to primarily if not wholly consist of multi-family residential housing.”
I still think building family housing on a coal ash dump is a terrible idea, and I stand by my vote.
You decide: Is the Triangle Blog Blog operating “on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office”?
I’ve been a consumer advocate, public interest attorney and healthcare advocate for 30 years. I believe we can debate issues honestly and not attack people personally and dishonestly. Let’s have an honest debate about the future of Chapel Hill.
Finally, here is my pledge to you – it’s right there on my website – I won’t take money from or coordinate with any PACs or dark-money groups in any way.