Ken Larsen's web site - Reasons why I won't vote for Maria Palmer
|If you like traffic and flooding, vote for Maria Palmer.|
Maria Palmer is a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council. She was first elected in 2013 and is running again in 2017. Here are her reasons. They all sound good, but Maria's behavior as an elected official is not respectful of others. Her voting record on the issues shows her unresponsive to citizen concerns.
In my opinion, Maria's votes and behavior are in direct contrast with her portrayal of why she is running.
In 2014 Maria voted for the Ephesus-Fordham redevelopment project. I regard that vote as a blunder. [details]
Contrary to her website and carefully crafted public image, Maria doesn't truly represent low income people. During the Ephesus-Fordham debate the public chastised the Town Council for wanting to rezone Park apartments so that it could be replaced with high rise luxury apartments. One reason that the public gave was the extra density would put a burden on the already crowded school system. At a March 27, 2014 joint meeting with Orange County Commissioners, Maria rebutted with the observation that people who live in luxury apartments have fewer children than people who currently live in Park apartments, so the net result would be negative. I was appalled at her comment. She endorsed kicking low income people out of their apartments so that the property owner could make more money by building a luxury apartment complex ... for rich people.
Maria is gaffe-prone. The aforementioned Park Apartments incident was one example. Another example occurred during a Town Council meeting in April when Maria unintentionally humilated an audience member triggering that audience member into an outburst trying to defend herself. It was ugly.
The Ephesus-Fordham decision resulted in the Town selling 8 acres of land to DHIC for $ 100 ... to build a small number of affordable housing units. That land was worth $ 2 million and would have been part of the cemetery when needed. Maria's vote is surprising, because she's on the Cemetery Board. The sale effectively removes the Town from cemeteries, because only a few plots are left.
Maria voted for the Form Based code (FBC) governing the design of buildings in the Ephesus-Fordham district. I regard that vote to also be a blunder [details].
Maria voted for the Obey Creek project. [details] That will severely add to the traffic on the south side of Chapel Hill. That vote was another blunder.
Maria prefers development over trees. Read her Town Council comments that were cited near the end of this June 24, 2014 Chapelboro article: "Glen Lennox Approved, Obey Creek Plan Conditional"
All of the above stances portray Maria to be a staunch supporter of growth. She is pro-development and in my opinion can be expected to rubberstamp future projects which developers bring before the Town Council.
Maria portrays herself as someone who values the opinions of her constituents. Here is an email she sent which belies that opinion.
Maria is a selective listener. She'll listen when the speaker is aligned with Maria's personal beliefs, but she will tune out otherwise. During Town Council meetings, she occasionally plays the video game Tretis rather than devote full time listening to what is being said.
I do have one positive thing to say about Maria. During the 2014 debate on Ephesus-Fordham Maria voiced the opinion that Booker Creek should be day-lighted. It currently runs under the Eastgate shopping center. [details] Unfortunately, Maria's sentiment about Booker Creek was overruled by the other members of the Town Council. That's most unfortunate, because day-lighting of Booker Creek could have been a fantastic boon to that side of Chapel Hill. Instead we're on the road to saddling that side of town with ugly buildings such as Alexan/Berkshire. [details]
(September 16, 2017) I've learned that Maria has rejected an invitation by CHALT to be interviewed for consideration by CHALT to be endorsed. This is yet another reason to reject Maria at the voting booth. She is anti-CHALT.