2019 Candidate Questionnaire – COMMISSIONER, TOWN OF PITTSBORO

John Bonitz

Posted 10/11/19

John Bonitz

Date/place of birth: 1967; Greensboro, North Carolina

Current occupation: Clean Transportation Specialist

Campaign website/social media: facebook.com/Bonitz4Pittsboro

Family: …

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2019 Candidate Questionnaire – COMMISSIONER, TOWN OF PITTSBORO

John Bonitz

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Posted

John Bonitz

Date/place of birth: 1967; Greensboro, North Carolina

Current occupation: Clean Transportation Specialist

Campaign website/social media: facebook.com/Bonitz4Pittsboro

Family: Wife Elizabeth; two children 

Party affiliation: No answer

Current and previous elected offices held or sought & terms of service: One term Town Commissioner (4 years). Seven years on Board of Chatham Marketplace Cooperative Grocery.

Campaign manager (if applicable): David zum Brunnen

Campaign treasurer: David Misenheimer

Why are you seeking this office?: To represent the people of Town of Pittsboro, their concerns and interests, during a period of rapid growth. Also, I’m running again because so many people asked me to run again, and because I love our Town and all its people. So I took some advice from Winston Churchill, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”

What is your understanding of the responsibilities of the office you seek, and in one sentence, why do you believe you’re qualified to fill that role?: I work with the Mayor and four other Commissioners to oversee our Town Manager’s efforts to lead staff in providing high quality water, sewer, police, streets, parks & recreation, garbage collection and recycling, land use planning, fire protection and general protection of property values. My main qualifications are 1) expertise in governance from four years of public policy studies, and seven years of service on a Board of Directors; 2) four years as Commissioner, understanding the challenges we face and the solutions within our reach; and 3) the fact that I have no money stake in any of the developments being proposed. 

One of the most important decisions that elected officials make is on the annual budget, which includes spending and tax rates. Do you have a budgeting philosophy? What’s more important to you — spending more to allocate resources to needed programs or cutting spending and keeping the tax rate low?: Living in Pittsboro for more than a decade, and having knocked on hundreds of doors, I am very aware of the financial constraints of the people of Pittsboro. I also know that as fast as Pittsboro is growing, we must responsibly meet the rapidly-growing demands for public services, especially planning. I believe that with a strong board, we can thread the needle of growing the Town staff without increasing taxes on residents of legacy Pittsboro.

Give us two goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected: 1) Doubling of affordable rental housing in Town. 2) A new or improved drinking water plant. 3) Finish the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). (Yes, I know you asked for two, but it can’t go without saying.)

The Commissioner’s main responsibility is to place votes on issues crucial to the town. What would be your philosophy on choosing whether or not to vote for an item? Do you have an example of a similar decision in the past?: I intend to review every situation and every vote by prioritizing the people, the environment and local small businesses.

Pittsboro is on the edge of a growing area and will soon be growing itself, if projections hold true. How do you think that reality would affect your decision-making as a board member?: That reality is what drove me to run for office in 2015, and is what motivates me to ask the people to keep me in service today. My goal is to help shape development so that Pittsboro grows in ways we can all be proud of.

What do you think are Pittsboro’s three best features?: 1) Our wonderful, hardworking, creative and loving people. 2) Our quaint and quirky downtown. 3) Our gorgeous natural environment — from street trees, to pollinator gardens, to thick forests, fields and pastures, healthy streams and our river.

What are three areas where Pittsboro can improve?: 1) Eliminating or reducing the unregulated pollutants in our drinking water. 2) Quality, transparency, and responsiveness of Town government operations. 3) Clear, up-to-date rules for businesses that want to develop in Town.

If you are not elected, what steps will you take to serve Pittsboro?: “The most important political office is that of the private citizen,” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.

Biographical Facts

Political/government hero: Alexander Hamilton

Favorite book: The one my kids are asking me to read to them right now.

Book most recently read: North Carolina Governor’s Clean Energy Plan draft.

Favorite film: My favorite films tend to be documentaries.

Hobbies: Reading, working on the family farm, building soil.

Church/civic involvement: Pittsboro United Methodist Church, serving on Town Board.

Personal motto or one-line philosophy: Esse Quam Videri, “To be rather than to seem.”

Strongest childhood ambition: To be useful.

Most significant life goal you’ve accomplished: Being a parent to two amazing kids.

Goal you haven’t accomplished yet: Parenting two amazing kids.

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