Report from Cary Town Council Candidate Assembly
600 members of ONE Wake institutions and neighborhoods across Cary turned out for a strictly non-partisan assembly with 5 of 9 candidates for Cary Town Council. Together we called on candidates to work with us to address the pending displacement of Chatham Estates mobile home park residents, and small business owners at the adjacent Chatham Square shopping center. ONE Wake leaders also asked candidates whether they would support a number of community-led solutions to support the construction of new affordable housing in town.
All candidates present said YES! and committed to support each community-led solution presented to them during the assembly. Candidate responses to our questions are available to view here.
This assembly was the culmination of months of listening this spring that engaged hundreds of Cary residents to identify the top problems in our Cary communities, and thorough research over the summer to turn these problems into tangible, winnable issues.
At the heart of our action on Monday was the moving testimony and strong leadership from residents of Chatham Estates and business owners at the Chatham Square shopping center, who delivered 130 members of their community to call on the candidates to work with them to ensure that all displaced households and businesses are fully compensated for their losses due to the pending redevelopment of the property. Roughly 700 adults and children call Chatham Estates home, and 50 small businesses owners have built their livelihoods in the adjacent Chatham Square shopping center.
The displacement of communities like Chatham Estates represents a worsening, town-wide trend: essential workers like teachers, nurses, construction workers, house cleaners, and retail workers increasingly cannot afford to live in Cary. Since 2010, the town has added roughly 20,000 jobs in these occupations. However, over the same period of time, the town has lost roughly 3,900 rental units affordable to workers in these occupations due to rising rents, and affordable homeownership is almost impossibly out of reach.
That's why ONE Wake leaders also presented three clear proposals during Monday night's assembly to support the construction of more affordable housing units in the future. These proposals included: 1) continuation of the Cary Affordable Housing fund at (at least) $9 million in the FY 24/25 budget; 2) including (at least) 15% affordable housing in any future redevelopment of Cary's Town campus; and 3) support for congregations and non-profits who want to use their own land for affordable housing development. You can see the full list of questions posed to candidates here.
Candidates present at the assembly included:
At-Large: Lori Bush
At-Large: Mary Insprucker
District B: Michelle Craig
District B: Don Frantz
District D: Rachel Jordan
Candidates not present who sent regrets included:
Mayor: Harold Weinbrecht, Jr.
District D: Sarika Bansal
District D: Ryan Eades
ONE Wake did not receive a response to our invitation from Matthew Gronke (At-Large).
1) Voting in the Fall Municipal Election / Voter ID
The most important thing that all Cary voters can do next is to GET OUT AND VOTE! Early voting for the Cary Town Council election begins TODAY (9/21) at 11am, and runs through Saturday, October 7 at 3pm. Election day is on October 10. Early voting is available in Cary at the Herbert C. Young Community Center at 101 Wilkinson Ave.
We are also asking everyone to recruit three Cary voters to get out and vote as well! Our goal is to make sure that this year as many people vote as possible, and to push back against historically low off-year, municipal election turnout. As we saw on Monday night, there's a lot at stake!
Finally, due to a recent NC Supreme Court decision, this fall voters will be required to show an acceptable form of photo ID in order to vote. We are asking everyone to review and share information about this new law provided by the non-partisan organization Democracy North Carolina. You can find that information here. Additional non-partisan information and resources are available at www.gotidnc.org or through the voter assistance hotline at 888-OUR-VOTE.
2) Supporting ONE Wake's Recurring Donor Drive
ONE Wake has launched a recurring donor drive this fall to increase staff capacity to support our work in Cary, and all of our countywide priorities on affordable housing, mental health, and public transportation.
We are excited to announce that ONE Wake's parent network, the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation, has committed to match every recurring donation received this fall, dollar for dollar. To take full advantage of this opportunity, our goal is to recruit 100 recurring donors at $25 / month. With the Metro IAF matching grant, this will represent $60,000 total to support our important work across the county!
Please consider making a recurring investment today by visiting our secure donation portal at donate.onewake.org.
3) Fall Organizing Training Series
Finally, ONE Wake has organized an evening training series this fall. All participants will learn how they can build their leadership and strengthen the capacity of ONE Wake to take consistent and persistent action to address the top concerns in our communities.
These sessions are 2.5 hours long, and include dinner. Advance registration is required. You can sign up for our training series here.
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