Who’s running for what, and the question Siler City voters will decide

CN+R STAFF REPORTS
Posted 11/1/19

Residents of Pittsboro, Siler City and Goldston will cast ballots in municipal elections on Nov. 5 and Siler City voters will decide the future of beer and alcohol sales in town.

Four polling …

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Who’s running for what, and the question Siler City voters will decide

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Residents of Pittsboro, Siler City and Goldston will cast ballots in municipal elections on Nov. 5 and Siler City voters will decide the future of beer and alcohol sales in town.

Four polling sites will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. There is a temporary change of polling location for West Siler City residents on election day this year. The West Siler City Precinct will vote at the Paul Braxton Gymnasium, located at 115 S. 3rd Ave. in Siler City. Voters in the East Siler City Precinct will vote where they have in the past, the Earl B. Fitts Community Center at 111 South Third Ave. in Siler City. Pittsboro residents will vote at the Multipurpose Room at Central Carolina Community College at 764 West St. in Pittsboro. Goldston residents will vote at Goldston Town Hall, located at 40A Coral Ave. in Goldston.

The Siler City precincts in Chatham County will be testing new voting equipment. The county is purchasing new voting equipment from Hart InterCivic as its current equipment needs to be replaced. Per state statute, the county must test the equipment in one precinct prior to full implementation during the 2020 primary election.

For more information on the 2019 Election, visit the Chatham County Board of Elections website or call (919) 545-8500.

Here’s a look at who’s on the ballot and the question Siler City voters face with two referenda on beer and wine sales within town limits.

SILER CITY MAYOR

The race: Incumbent Mayor John Grimes is seeking re-election to the board where he has served as mayor since his appointment in 2013, facing challengers Jackie Adams and Albert Reddick. The winner serves a two-year term as the head of Siler City’s Board of Commissioners

The candidates: Grimes, a 50-year resident of Siler City, is a veteran of the U.S. Army and of a variety of political roles. Adams is a Siler City business owner, farmer, corporate leader, and “mentor entrepreneur.” Reddick is a Vietnam veteran, author, and owner of a Siler City non-profit.

What they say:

Adams: “I am running to bring the life and resiliency back to Siler City as a welcoming, warm and inviting city for all people. I am the candidate with experience and knowledge built on a decade of actively focusing on community development in Siler City and Chatham County. There are no walls or boundaries in my outreach effort and of the people I look to serve.”

Grimes: “I am running to continue the tremendous progress we have made for Siler City and its citizens. The Town Board and I enjoy a productive, progressive and dynamic relationship which has yielded proper management of $32 million in grants, removing the burden on the taxpayer for expanding and upgrading our water and sewer capacities and other needs, explosive job creation (1,200-plus at Mountaire alone) and addressing affordable housing which is needed. We know what we’re doing and we know how to do it well. I’d like the opportunity to continue.”

Reddick: “The mission and vision of Siler City, although noble and virtuous, can only be attained when transformational leadership exists that propels all stake holders toward obtainable success. Albert Reddick is the best candidate because he is not only well-versed in the dynamics of this city’s government and livelihood, but also bring a broad cultural toolkit of diverse experience.”

SILER CITY DISTRICT 3

The race: Commissioner Mike Constantino (District 3) is seeking re-election for a third four-year term. He is facing two challengers for his seat — Curtis Brown and Timothy (Cookie) Brown.

The candidates: Constantino retired from the Dept. of Commerce where he was a trial assistant resolving workers’ compensation issues. Curtis Brown is retired from the town of Siler City’s public utilities department and currently works part-time at Welford Harris Ford. Timothy “Cookie” Brown is a maintenance technician with the City of Sanford.

What they say:

Curtis Brown: “Industries create jobs. Jobs create consumers. Consumers want to purchase homes, vehicles, groceries, tires, etc. That supports businesses, grows the tax base and increases water and wastewater revenue. All our citizens and Town Departments will benefit.”

Timothy Brown: “I am always looking for ways to make improvements and build on what we already have. I always come to the table with a problem and a solution and not just waiting for someone else to find a solution. I also believe as a Town Commissioner or anyone serving in relation to the town citizens that participation and attendance in town sponsored events, meetings, etc., should be a priority.”

Constantino: “I know I don’t have deep roots here in Siler City, but I believe my service record and dedication these past eight years speaks for itself. It is my hope that the residents of my district recognize that and will keep me in office with their vote.”

PITTSBORO BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS (3 SEATS)

The race: Seven candidates are vying for three open seats on the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners — John Bonitz (incumbent), Pam Cash-Roper, J.A. “Jay” Farrell III (incumbent), Heather Johnson, Bridget Perry, Kyle Shipp and Lonnie West. Commissioner Bett Wilson Foley chose not to seek re-election.

The candidates:

Bonitz, a clean transportation specialist, has served on the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners for one four-year term. Cash-Roper is a retired nurse and was elected as the second vice-chair for the Chatham County Democratic Party and served for four years until March of 2019. Farrell, a two-term Pittsboro commissioner, is retired and is co-owner of Virlie’s Grill in downtown Pittsboro. Johnson is the owner of Chatham Business Services in Pittsboro and the Carolina Women’s Show and editor-at-large of Chatham Magazine. Perry is a cashier/buyer at Chatham Marketplace in Pittsboro. Shipp is an engineer, and serves on the Pittsboro Planning Board and the Chatham County Affordable Housing Committee. West is a real estate agent, broker, auctioneer and notary public, and serves on the Chatham County Affordable Housing Committee.

What they say:

Bonitz: He says he’s running “to represent the people of the 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.”

Cash-Roper: “I am running for town board because I care for the town and all of the people in our town and country. To that end, I believe that I will give a voice to citizens and stakeholders who need to be heard in our community.”

Farrell: “I dislike wasteful spending and work hard to keep taxes down.”

Johnson: “I am grateful to have been a part of promoting Pittsboro for many years now and am familiar with the issues facing our Town.”

Perry: “I know that a great deal of change is coming to Pittsboro in the near future, and I hope to help guide these changes to see Pittsboro grow without losing the character of the town that is such a wonderful place to call home.”

Shipp: “I’ve learned a lot about how Pittsboro works and development in the Town. I want to use my experience to maintain the culture, character and environment of Pittsboro while we continue to grow.”

West: “I know that change is here already and will continue to happen. I also believe that if is important to maintain the character of the community while embracing the new in order to ensure that future generations can enjoy Pittsboro as we do.”

UNCONTESTED RACES

Pittsboro: Jim Nass will run unopposed for the role of Pittsboro’s mayor. Nass has lived in Pittsboro since 2007 and during that time he has served as the chair of the Pittsboro ABC Board, chair of the Citizens Committee on Chatham Park additional elements, a member of the Main Street Pittsboro Board, Chair of the Pittsboro Affordable Housing Task Force and chair of the Interim Affordable Housing Board.

Siler City: Three of the four seats up for election on the Siler City Board of Commissioners will go uncontested. Incumbent Mayor Pro-Tem Larry Cheek (District 2) and Commissioners Bill Haiges (District 4) and Thomas (Chip) Price (at-large) will return to their positions the board in the fall.

Goldston: Goldston Mayor Tim Cunnup and the incumbent town council members, Steve Cunnup (Ward 2) and Charles Fields III (Ward 4), are running unopposed again this year. Both Mayor Cunnup and Commissioner Cunnup have indicated to the News + Record this will be their final term on the board. The incumbent representatives on the Goldston-Gulf Sanitary District Board, Ricky Beal, Henry Kitchings and Danny Scott, are also running unopposed.

ALCOHOL REFERENDA

Siler City’s 2019 municipal ballot includes two referenda on beer and wine sales within town limits.

In July, the Siler City Board of Commissioners voted to place the two referenda on the ballot at the behest of the town’s Downtown Advisory Board and several downtown merchants. During the meeting, the board included both items separately to ensure that their intent was clear for state regulators.

If approved by Siler City voters, businesses inside the town limits would be allowed to sell malt beverages, such a beer, and table [unfortified] wine, in establishments such as tasting rooms or breweries, rather than only in restaurants and hotels.

Chatham County is considering a similar ballot measure in the March 2020 primary.

At this time, the only Chatham County municipality which allows beer and wine sales in establishments that are not hotels or restaurants is Pittsboro, which held an election on the topic in 1971. This means that in Chatham County, establishments such as 580 Craft Beer and House of Hops can currently only be located within Pittsboro’s town limits.

According to the Brewers Association, North Carolina ranks seventh nationally for the number of breweries that brew and sell craft beer in the state with craft beer sales creating an economic impact of $2 billion annually. It also accounts for $300 million in annual wages and 12,000 jobs.

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