The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday March 30th

Mayoral Candidates Discuss Growth, Housing, Halloween

Judith Wegner, a UNC law professor, moderated the forum, which was hosted by the Carolina Forum.

The event began with two minutes of introduction from Kevin Foy and Lee Pavao, the two candidates in the race.

Both Foy and Pavao mentioned growth as a major issue facing Chapel Hill.

"I'm emphasizing what I consider to be the growth issues we, as a community, need to face," Foy said.

Pavao went into specifics about UNC's Development Plan emphasizing that the plan was "probably the largest development that this community will ever see." He said some side issues for this would include transportation and town-gown relations.

The first question of the evening addressed how each candidate envisioned the job of mayor to be.

Foy said the mayor has the ability to set an agenda for meetings and to declare a state of emergency.

"Setting the agenda for the council is setting the agenda of the community," Foy said.

Pavao agreed with what Foy had to say about the role of mayor. Both candidates said they think that the mayor has a responsibility to try to get council members to agree.

"The biggest role that the mayor has is bringing people along, bringing people to a consensus," Pavao said.

Another issue discussed at the forum was how the candidates plan to deal with affordable housing, especially concerning students.

"This is a very difficult situation," Pavao said.

He suggested more buildings built specifically for student needs, citing the Warehouse, an apartment complex on West Rosemary Street, as an example.

Foy said that UNC should cut demand for off-campus housing by providing more attractive buildings on campus.

"What we need to do is push the University," he said. "I think that's a primary way in which we can relieve the pressure."

Foy and Pavao were also asked what they thought of the restrictions placed on Chapel Hill for Halloween.

Pavao said the crowd was successfully reduced. But he also said that although he understood the safety issue, another alternative would have to be found.

"I think we have to find another system to limit the people coming from beyond," Pavao said. "I think it took a toll on the fun people were looking for."

Foy said the Halloween celebration is one of the unique things about living in Chapel Hill. He said the town should change its attitude about the event.

"I think the town really needs to embrace this," he said.

Koan Mercer, the treasurer of the Carolina Forum, said the turnout was good considering other campus activities going on at the same time.

"I'm always depressed by the turnouts even in elections locally," Mercer said. "I think within that context (the turnout) was fine and good."

Staci Hemmer, a Chapel Hill resident, said the forum was informative.

"I really learned a lot more about the mayoral race," she said. "It was very helpful to me."

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