Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Okay, here's the story so far on the Boone Town Council races, which are clearly going to be a major battleground for the future direction of our town (and county), with the lines drawn over protecting small-town Boone from high-density developments on steep-slopes, big-box, and unregulated university development.

First, the basics on who has filed to run for what:

Boone Mayor race
Loretta Clawson, 62, incumbent, Democrat, first elected to the Town Council in 1995, known as a champion for single-family neighborhoods and for imposing regs on steep-slope development

Danny (Tim) Wilson, 56, Republican, former Town Council member who was the subject of an investigative series of "Watauga Democrat" articles in 1996 over his operation of the Watauga County Ambulance Service and the subsidies that business received from Watauga County

Boone Town Council
Elizabeth (Liz) Aycock, 34, Democrat, real estate agent, married mother of two, member of the Boone Area Planning Commission and the Affordable Housing Taskforce

Jeremy Blocker, 32, Democrat, parole officer

Justin Dodson, 24, Republican, ASU graduate student

Robert Freeman, 31, Unaffiliated

Lynne Mason, 49, incumbent, Democrat, social worker

Stephen Phillips, 38, Democrat, owner of rental properties

Milton (Bunk) Spann, 65, incumbent, Unaffiliated, retired ASU professor

Charles (Rob) Taylor, 24, Democrat, ASU student

Dempsey Wilcox, 48, incumbent, Republican, works for the Athletics Dept. at ASU

Liz Aycock's voting record on the town's Planning Board indicates strong and consistent support for maintaining policies on growth established over the past few years by the current council

Jeremy Blocker was recruited by David Blust, current executive officer of the Watauga County Republican Party and both a former Republican County Commissioner and former State Senate candidate (defeated by Steve Goss in 2006). Though registered as a Democrat, Blocker will be supported by town remnants of the Watauga County Republican Party

Justin Dodson was recruited by ASU SGA President Forrest Gilliam

Robert Freeman and Charles (Rob) Taylor registered for the race together and do not appear to bring backing nor a base to the race

Stephen Phillips has a seven-year voting history on the Boone Area Planning Commission. He voted against the steep-slope compromise, against limiting big-box retail to 150,000 square feet, against increased green-space buffers for commercial and multi-family developments, against cracking down on rentals to more than two unrelated persons in single-family neighborhoods, and in favor of allowing ASU to expand into the Boone central business district

A newly organized Phil Templeton group, calling itself "Citizens for Change" (a.k.a., "Citizens in Favor of Taking Boone Back to Wide-Open Development"), is meeting regularly and targeting Mayor Clawson and incumbent council members Lynne Mason and Bunk Spann. (At least one ASU administrative official is a member of the group.) The Templetons are looking to endorse and support candidates against Clawson, Mason, & Spann. They will certainly support one incumbent, Dempsey Wilcox, who votes consistently for their interests, and Stephen Phillips, whose pro-business votes are outlined above, along with Jeremy Blocker and (probably) Tim Wilson. The Templeton group reportedly invited all candidates except Clawson, Mason, Spann, and Aycock to a meeting yesterday to be "interviewed." Blocker, Phillips, and Wilson all attended the interview meeting seeking Templeton support. (Other candidates may have attended, but we do not have this confirmed.) Some of this group reportedly want Tim Wilson to withdraw from the election because they would prefer to mount a write-in campaign against Mayor Clawson.

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