2017 Elections

It’s the last election-related show we’ll have in 2017.  The day after a small percentage of eligible of voters went to the polls to choose leaders for the boards of towns and cities, we’re taking a look at what happened, what it could say about what’s on voters’ minds, and where we go from here. 

Also on this edition, we spend a great deal of time on why people didn't vote -- with lots of listeners chiming in via email and phone calls. 

Guests:

Vince Winkel / WHQR

The election brought some changes to the beach communities of New Hanover County. 

Vince Winkel / WHQR

There were some tight races for three spots on the Wilmington City Council last night. However, it was the familiar names that were victorious. 

The City of Wilmington will see Mayor Bill Saffo embark on his sixth term. He defeated challenger Todd Zola with about 85 percent of the vote.

RLH

It would be an easy leap to say that voters in Brunswick County served by the water utility H2GO are turning out at a higher rate.  But an unscientific, anecdotal sweep through the polls doesn’t necessarily bear that out.  While the direction of a $30-plus million reverse osmosis plant could change based on this election outcome – most people that I encountered in Leland today offered more basic reasons for voting.  

Charles says he comes out for every election. 

Tuesday, November 7th is Election Day – which means that people living inside city or town limits have local leaders to choose. 

It’s hard to engage voters in municipal election years.  In New Hanover County, voter turnout  is trending downward.   Since 2011, turnout has dropped from 17% to 10%.  Brunswick and Pender Counties seem to hold steady with just over 20 percent of voters coming to the polls.

But this year, some galvanizing issues have ignited controversy.  Whether it translates to higher voter turnout is yet to be determined.    

Dr. Detlef Knappe, the N.C. State scientist who uncovered GenX and other compounds in the Cape Fear River, is not happy about being pulled into tomorrow’s election for the H2GO board. He explains why he’s upset about three candidates using his name in a political ad. 

On this edition, we meet candidates from Oak Island and Kure Beach – two beach towns in southeastern North Carolina.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, our focus is largely on Oak Island in Brunswick County.  We meet Kevin Lindsey and John Bach – both running for a seat on Town Council there. 

The Town Council is Oak Island’s governing body consisting of 5 Council Members and the Mayor. This body sets Town policy, enacts ordinances and adopts the annual budget. There are seven people running for two open seats. Oak Island has a population estimated at 7,700 people. In the summer, including day-trippers, that number can hit 50,000. According to the U.S. Census, the town has grown by 13.5 percent since 2010. 

The Town of Oak Island, part of Brunswick County, is governed by a Council of five and a mayor. As of 2016, population estimates landed at about 7700 people. According to the U.S. Census, the town has grown by 13.5 percent since 2010. Two people are running for mayor in this year’s election. Kenny Rogers is challenging Mayor Cin Brochure as she seeks her second term. A big issue for Oak Island is erosion.

Our focus today is first on Oak Island and then Kure Beach – two beach towns in southeastern North Carolina.  In the Brunswick County Town of Oak Island, six candidates are running for two open seats on council.  Kenny Rogers, whom we will meet today, is challenging Mayor Cin Brochure as she seeks her second term. 

In the two later segments, we’ll meet two people seeking a seat on the Town Council of Kure Beach, located in New Hanover County:  John Ellen and Jerry Dockery.

Segment 1:  Kenny Rogers -- Oak Island Town Council

Our focus here is again on Carolina Beach – the largest beach town in New Hanover County.  At an estimated population of about 6,000,  the town is more than double the size of the county's next largest, Wrightsville Beach.  Median household income is around $60,000 -- higher than nearby Wilmington. 

Two people seeking one of the two open seats on Carolina Beach Town Council are with us today:  Tammy Hanson and LeAnn Pierce.  We will meet them in segments 2 and 3.

The Leland Town Council has four members that serve staggered four-year terms. One of the biggest challenges facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and accompanying infrastructure needs. There are four candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. Bob Corriston is a current Leland Council member seeking his second term, while Joy Cranidiotis is running for the first time. 

The Leland Town Council has four members that serve staggered four-year terms. Arguably, the biggest challenge facing Leland Town Council is dealing with the rapid growth and accompanying infrastructure needs. There are four candidates on the ballot for the two open seats. 

Brunswick Regional Water and Sewer H2GO, popularly known as H2GO, is a water and sewer utility in Brunswick County that serves the northeast portion of the County including Leland, Belville, parts of Navassa, and some customers located outside of these municipal boundaries. Since 2011, the utility has worked towards building its own Reverse Osmosis plant. Constructing a $30-plus million plant is controversial with opponents concerned the project is not necessary and would saddle consumers with higher utility rates. Three candidates are in support of the plant.

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Deb Hays is the current Chair of the City of Wilmington Planning Commission, James Ray is Associate Minister of Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Wilmington, and Perry Fisher ran his own restaurant, Front Street News, before moving to broadcast journalism. 

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Caylan McKay is an accountant, running for the first time. Philip White is a retail store manager, and Hollis Briggs Jr. ran in 2015 for city council but was not elected. 

In the race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms. Earl Sheridan, who has served for three terms and is wrapping up his twelfth year, has chosen not to run again. Two incumbents are seeking re-election. Charlie Rivenbark is completing his fourth term and Kevin O'Grady his second. Clifford Barnett, pastor of the Warner Temple AME Zion Church in Wilmington, is running for the first time.

On this edition of the CoastLine Candidate Interviews, we meet the two people hoping to be the next mayor of the City of Southport.  We also meet one candidate running for Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 1; Karen Mosteller is also the only incumbent seeking re-election in that Ward.  The other person with an expiring term, Mary Ellen Poole, is not running again.

On this edition of CoastLine, we meet two of the five candidates seeking a seat on the Board of Aldermen in Wrightsville Beach.  We’ll also meet one person running for Southport’s Board of Aldermen in Ward 2.

First, Southport: 

This 225-year-old city spanning less than four square miles near the confluence of the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick County was voted America’s Happiest Seaside Town by Coastal Living in 2015.  Today, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that about 36-hundred people call Southport home. 

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September. The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people. That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years. So the challenge facing the leaders of Leland is dealing with this rapid growth. The Mayor serves a two-year term, and there are two candidates hoping to be the next one – the incumbent, Brenda Bozeman, and a challenger, Lee Kent. 

City of Wilmington

There are two candidates for Mayor of Wilmington this election season. The Mayor presides over a nonpartisan council of five members and a Mayor Pro Tem. The two candidates in the race for mayor this year are incumbent Bill Saffo and challenger Todd Zola.

The Town of Leland turned 28 years old in September.  The current population, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, is just under 19,000 people.  That’s growth of about 37% in just the last six years.  Leland is part of the Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area despite its proximity to Wilmington.  That was a change a major change for Brunswick County which took effect two years ago.  

In the nonpartisan race for Wilmington’s City Council, there are nine people competing for three open seats that carry four-year terms.  Two incumbents are hoping for reelection; they are with us today.  And one seat is wide open since Earl Sheridan decided not to run again. 

City of Wilmington

Wilmington is home to more than 117-thousand people.   That’s growth of about 11,000 people since the last census in 2010.  73% of the population identifies as white, less than 20% is African-American, and 6% is Latino or Hispanic.

The City of Wilmington is home to more than 117-thousand people.   That’s growth of about 11,000 people since the last census in 2010.  73% of the population identifies as white, less than 20% is African-American, and 6% is Latino or Hispanic.