Our 1989 election victory stopped sale to post office

Our superb performance in the November 7, 1989 Town Council election forced the Town to stop trying to sell most of our meadow to the USPS. Will the present council back away from their incipient graveyard expansion plans this spring? Two of the three swing voters on the expansion question will be up for re-election in the November 7, 2023 election: Damon Seils, Eliazar Posada, Susan Romaine.

The entire Town-owned 8.7 acres have been labeled “Westwood Cemetery” for convenience. Since 1989, when the Town Council voted 7-0 in May 1989 to sell the sweetest 2 acres of the meadow (the 65% of it on Fidelity) to the post office, they have also seriously considered it for the library, affordable housing, and a public works maintenance yard. In 2016 when we objected to the Google shed being rushed without into the Fidelity woods without our neighborhood having any voice, the Town Manager vociferously claimed that this vacant tract was not part of the cemetery! The confusion regarding what to call this land was underlined when the Carrboro Connect’s 2021 public comments-solicitation page’s map referred to our Meadow as “The Commons”. In 2016 Chapel Hill sold the vacant land adjacent to their cemetery and stopped further burials. As a result Carrboro’s sales of plots along Davie increased sharply.

We did not learn of the Aldermen’s May 1989 decision to offer our meadow to the USPS until later that month. That decision was based upon an barely advertised “public” hearing held in December. After they rejected our request for a truly public hearing by a 6-1 vote, on September 15 we passed out 350 angry flyers to our neighborhood. For the upcoming November Board of Aldermen election it endorsed challengers Jacquie Gist & Mike Nelson and recommended withholding votes from incumbent Tom Gurganus. The effectiveness of this flyer that November 7 is clear from the circled entries here:

In our then-Lion’s club precinct, the numbers of votes received by Gist and Nelson were virtually identical. The votes inspired by our flyer came not only from people who typically don’t vote in odd-number year elections, but also from people who went out to register to vote in Carrboro just for this purpose. These hundreds of extra votes made a difference in an election in which the winning cut-off was ~1,000 votes:  Not only did the first-time candidate Gist (then only 34 years old) receive more votes than the Gurganus (then 42), the first-time candidate Nelson (then 25) nearly unseated Gurganus! At the time Gurganus was the executive director of claims systems for NC Blue Cross while Nelson was barely an adult.

BH3 Never Consulted continues Background & History

BH1 Background & History was previous page