As predicted, Jeff Starkweather’s Chatham Forward PAC will stretch the truth to win

By Larry Hicks

Pittsboro, NC – So, as predicted in my previous Chatham Chatlist posts, at the early voting polls, the Chatham Forward PAC was caught handing out misleading information, cherry picking Mike Cross’s votes and again taking the votes out of context. This is similar to misrepresenting themselves at early voting as the Democratic Party, signage and all, just different enough to be “legal” – but still very confusing to voters.

Chatham County commissioner Mike Cross

Chatham County commissioner Mike Cross

Let’s take a closer look at Commissioner Cross’s votes highlighted by the Chatham Forward PAC.

First and foremost, look how far back they are reaching for their “issues”!

6/6/11 Voted to eliminate requirement for Environmental Assessment on certain nonresidential property
What they are not telling you is that, under the current zoning ordinance Environmental Assessment (EA) is regulatory only under Conditional Use permitting. In approval proposals not under Conditional Use, there is no authority to take a General Use EA and dictate that a developer do anything with it. It was a requirement that cost $2-$5K, delayed the approval process, and all the BOC could do with it was simply review it for completeness … that was it. In other words, it was absolutely toothless.

March/April 2011 Voted to rescind use of LEED building efficiency standards
What they are not telling you is everyone agrees that LEED Silver standards – design and equipment – are really the County’s basic building standards these days. No one suggested the County stop building to LEED Silver standards. Actual certification, though (where the County gets a plaque) can cost upwards of $100K. You can build the same facility with LEED design elements, install the same equipment, and provide the same service without a $100K plaque. Keep in mind $100,000 is just a bit more than a tenth of a cent in taxes.  A new building here, a new building there, those plagues begin to get expensive!

July, November 2012 Killed Chatham’s affordable housing program
What they are not telling you is that Mike Cross negotiated over $2M dollars from the Briar Chapel project alone for Habitat for Humanity. Mike has been recognized by Habitat for Humanity ” … for dedicated service as an advocate of affordable housing, by creating local resources, bringing people ‘to the table’, and fervently supporting the cause of decent affordable housing for all.” A bad guy?  You make up your mind.

Judge Baddour, and Commissioner Mike Cross with his wife Nancy.

in 2012, Judge Baddour swears in Commissioner Mike Cross as his his wife Nancy holds a bible.

12/13 Voted to authorize Planning Board to do ‘simple update’ to land use plan, rather than hiring a consultant
What they are not telling you is that Mike voted against spending $300K on yet another land use planning exercise. Over the past thirty years the county has had land use plans in place, but lacked the political will to implement them. This round, the BOC voted to spend $300K of taxpayer monies to repeat what has already been accomplished, but never implemented. Start there..

11/15  Voted against proceeding with county wide zoning
What they are not telling you that in December 2014, Mike Cross made the motion and supported the process for implementing county-wide zoning. By February 2015, though, the BOC majority, then in office for TWO months, felt they didn’t need citizen input and changed the process (Mike voted against this). That process had already set up five meetings throughout the County to gain citizen input on what they wanted for their district. Then in November the BOC majority voted to go against the Planning Board recommendation on zoning (Mike voted against this). In December 2015, it was Mike Cross that actually made the motion and voted to zone the County R1/R5, which was subsequently adopted by the entire Board.

WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU is that Mike Cross negotiated a $19M Coal Ash deal with Duke Power that caps the amount of ash deposited in Chatham County at 12M tons, puts Duke in a position to use its best efforts to include the site along the Haw River (5.7M tons) in that 12M tons, and provided monies for monitoring and for the communities impacted by the dumping. Again, the BOC had no control on the dumping in Chatham, thanks to the NC State Legislature … but Mike insured that it has its limits. BTW, Karen Howard voted against accepting the final negotiated contract, without providing input during the negotiations.

WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU is that the Chatham Forward PAC will pretty much stretch the truth as much as it can to get their candidates elected.

WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU is that the Chatham Forward PAC really doesn’t have much to brag about on their own candidates, so will try to disparage their opponents.

WHAT THEY ARE NOT TELLING YOU is they cannot win with just the truth.

Please review for Commissioner Cross’s actual responses to this somewhat old information.