Conversations with Mayors: Carrboro Connects, Pride Month, Eliazar Posada Juramento

know about Conversations with Mayors: Carrboro Connects, Pride Month, Eliazar Posada Juramento

Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils spoke to 97.9 The Hill’s Brighton McConnell on Friday, June 10. This is a transcript of his discussion on the swearing-in of Eliazar Posada on the city council, the approval of the Carrboro Connects Comprehensive Plan, and more. Listen to the full interview here.


Brighton McConnell: Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils joins me in the studio today. Happy Friday Damon, how are you?

Damon Seill: Good. And I’m glad to be back in person.

McConnell: Yeah, it’s great to see you again. And we’ve got a lot to catch up on because it’s been one of those weeks where it’s clear we’re coming into the final stretch of summer and tons of stuff is happening. And that includes the Carrboro City Council. I pulled up the video of the Tuesday meeting and I was like, oh my God, four and a half hours. It was the quintessential meeting of so many things to be resolved, since the city council sought to finish the agendas before the summer holidays. So I’ll say dealer choice. What highlights would you like to touch on first from Tuesday’s meeting?

strings: Well, I must say that the highlight was that we welcomed a new councilman to the city council, Eliazar Posada, who was elected a few weeks ago in the special election during the primary season. Eliazar was thrown to the bottom of there. We celebrated him joining us, had some time to welcome him, and then got to work.

McConnell: Yes. And it’s no surprise that he was ready because Eliazar always seems to be prepared and he’s so connected that he was ready to make some informed decisions.

strings: Yes. The other highlight for me was that the city council finally got to the point of adopting the comprehensive Carrboro Connects Plan. And coincidentally, Eliazar was a member of the planning board before joining City Council and was also a member of the steering committee for the Carrboro Connects process. So it was a nice way to round out the end of that two-plus-year process by having him cast one of his first council votes in favor of Carrboro Connects.

McConnell: Yes, it was a great moment. I hope you can speak to the value of having the perspective of a younger member of the community like Eliazar on the city council. I think we’re seeing this a little bit in Chapel Hill as well, with Tai Huynh on the council there, but what kind of benefits do you get for an elected body and specifically for local government when a younger member of the community is elected and joins? the categories?

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strings: Well, both Carrboro and Chapel Hill are remarkably diverse in age, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. We really do have an amazing diversity of voices to be represented in our elected bodies. And that makes it that much more important to have voices like Eliazar’s. Especially when it’s not just about the communities that he represents as an individual and his own personal identities that he talks about in his work, but also the fact that he brings a lot of experience to the community. He has worked with youth throughout his career in non-profit service with El Centro and other groups and in particular with LGBTQ youth. He has worked extensively with local and regional Hispanic and Latino communities. So he brings to the table not only his own voice, his own identity, but also the fact that he’s been doing community organizing work and community building work in those communities for a long time.

McConnell: You mentioned Carrboro Connects, thought talking about the Comprehensive Plan would be on the agenda today. But how does it feel to know that this incredibly long-term project has officially come to fruition, but it’s also kind of a living document and there’s a lot of growth for the city as this is just the framework for that eventual goal?

strings: Right. It is a guiding document, a kind of framework document. And so it has to be a living document and is meant to guide decision-making for the next 20 years or more. But it’s more than just the two years that we spent as a community working on it and that our staff, in particular, spent leading it, but also the many years before that that are reflected in other plans and policies adopted by the city council that now fall under the kind of Carrboro Connects unifying umbrella as a comprehensive plan. Therefore, it is difficult to overstate how important it is as a document and as a kind of guiding star for the town and the community.

I had the opportunity to speak briefly with our city planning director after the meeting ended on Tuesday night. I think he was excited that we were at this point of finally adopting the plan, but he also recognized that now we really have to implement it. And there is a lot of work to come for that. So our responsibility as a city council is to make sure our city manager and staff have the resources they need to implement the plan.

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McConnell: It’s quite an impressive document. If you review the list of plans that the Town of Carrboro already has in place and will now need to be updated with some of the goals and framework of the comprehensive plan, such as the climate action plan and the racial equity and racial justice plans, it is quite impressive and definitely an achievement to be approved.

strings: Well, I think one of the things that any comprehensive plan does, and certainly what Carrboro Connects aspires to do, is implicitly recognize that all of those other adopted plans and policies are intertwined with each other. You can’t have a comprehensive bike transportation plan and a set of public transportation goals and policies and a set of policies around affordable housing and climate action and racial equity, all of which are important goals for our community. , without acknowledging that those are all connected. Racial equity is not promoted without promoting affordable housing. You don’t promote public transportation, growth, and residential development without promoting climate action, right? All of these are related and Carrboro Connects recognizes that at its core.

McConnell: I think there was something a little bit later in the meeting that does a good job of overlapping and reflecting some of that decision making, which was that the city council decided during a public hearing on the budget, which is not finalized yet, that they want to try to set aside some funds to help the IFC shelter on West Main Street once again, correct?

strings: Right. We had kind of a final public hearing on the next city budget. Normally, with a public hearing, we would not give formal instructions to staff. It’s really meant to be a moment to listen to the public and then we let the staff go ahead and do their job to bring back a decision point for the city council. But the council used that moment to acknowledge that the IFC had asked us to help Chapel Hill and the county support the work they have been doing on behalf of all local governments to provide emergency shelter services for the homeless. . So we’ll see that reflected in our budget and next week’s meeting will be a council work session to finalize our decisions and our priorities around the budget so that we can adopt it in a couple of weeks.

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McConnell: We only have a few minutes left. It seems that she has flown by. And we haven’t even gotten to some of the exciting things that happened over the weekend! We had the Pride Walk which was in both Chapel Hill and Carrboro and a housewarming on the same Saturday afternoon. Do you want to talk about any of those?

strings: Well, Saturday was a great day. Sure, it was a beautiful day weather-wise, but we also kicked off Small Town Pride, which is Chapel Hill and Carrboro coming together once again to celebrate Pride with a series of fun events and celebrations throughout the month. There was that walk on Saturday at Chapel Hill, great fun. Some of us on the Carrboro side of the line then headed home to join Habitat for Humanity in dedicating four new homes to Habitat families that have just been built. It’s a really important project for the town because the town provided a large grant from our affordable housing fund to complete that project.

All four houses already have families moving in, so it’s really exciting. They were all there during the day. We had various members of the city council there, various members of the community, people from the habitat volunteers, who actually helped build the houses. And it was a great celebration. We also have a lot more Pride Month celebrations this month, including this Saturday, which is Latinx Pride, which is a celebration of the LGBT community in the Latino community. That’s in the city commons on Saturday afternoon and evening, with more to come.

McConnell: It feels like it’s just a lively time of year for both cities. Thank you very much for the time and I hope you enjoy your weekend.

strings: See you next week.

Conversations with Mayors: Carrboro Connects, Pride Month, Eliazar Posada Juramento convo w mayors

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