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The Daily Tar Heel

ASG President Ponders Run for City Council

But Payne has not hit the campaign trail quite yet. "The idea has crossed my mind, but I haven't sat down and planned a course of action."

Payne's motivation to run for City Council is deeply rooted in a recent ordinance that targets students, he said.

The Nuisance Ordinance, which was passed last summer, halted the traditional Brent Road party, which attracted thousands of students from N.C. State University and elsewhere, said Payne, a senior at N.C. State.

The Brent Road party is an annual occurrence at N.C. State and is held at the beginning of each school year. Past bashes resulted in hundreds of arrests, mostly for drinking violations. The ordinance allows police to break up any party they deem a nuisance and make arrests.

"Brent Road is an N.C. State tradition, and they're shutting down our traditions," he said.

Payne said there is only one way to get the ordinance repealed. "We would have to get a student on the council."

And on Sunday, Payne, who is expected to graduate in May 2002, also announced that he will seek another term as ASG president. ASG elections will take place next month.

But current council member Benson Kirkman, District D, said the Nuisance Ordinance, which he takes credit for, had nothing to do with the Brent Road party.

"It was (a city) administrative decision measure," said Kirkman, who used to live on Brent Road and still lives in the same neighborhood. "It would have happened with or without the ordinance."

Kirkman said he is viewed as the "henchman" for the ordinance. "I'm willing to take credit for it, but it's something the City Council was responsible for as well."

Kirkman said if Payne decides to run, he will consider him a legitimate opponent. "I take anyone who might file against me seriously," he said. "I would be stupid not to, and he'd better take me seriously." Anyone who wants to run for city government must file in July.

Payne said for a student to win the election, he would have to appeal to both the university and city community.

"I think it is very possible (for a student) to win," he said.

Kirkman said the university community is an important concern for him.

"My intention at this point is trying to build a stronger relationship between the city and the university."

And Kirkman, who has been a council member for four years now, has a word of caution for the potential candidate. "The one caution I have for him is the time."

"I average 40 hours a week for $11,000 a year, and I'm not independently wealthy," he added. "It is a labor of love."

As for now, Payne said, he has not considered the time or effort that would be needed to run for City Council.

"My first obligation is ASG. I'm not done with my work here."

The State & National Editor can be reached at stntdesk@unc.edu.

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