S.P. Leaves Holshouser Off Panel
Five former mayors of Southern Pines, along with the current mayor, want former Gov. Jim Holshouser to serve on the town's long-range planning advisory committee.
But the Town Council on Monday said thanks but no thanks.
In an exhaustive six-hour special meeting, the council narrowed a list of more than 110 interested residents down to 20. Holshouser, a Southern Pines resident who had put his name up for consideration, was not on the list.
Five former Southern Pines mayors wrote the council a letter Friday urging it to appoint Holshouser not just to the committee, but as its chairman.
The committee, which the council can vote to appoint at its work session next week, represents a cross section of the community. It includes eight women and six blacks.
The council picked some because they are downtown business owners, others because they represent the interests in large tracts of undeveloped land. It tried to include environmental interests. Members will come from all geographical areas of town.
Mayor Mike Haney fought to have Holshouser, who was governor from 1973 to 1977, included. Councilman Fred Walden agreed, but the other members of the council said that his inclusion would make the body too political.
Council members David Woodruff and Abigail Dowd were adamantly opposed to including Holshouser.
"He was on my list originally," Woodruff said, "but after that letter, it's starting to get a little too political."
Haney said that the town would be missing a golden opportunity if he is not on the committee. Dowd said she was against it because the other members of the committee might defer to him too much.
"It's similar to the reason we didn't put ourselves on it," she said. "People would look to us. The governor is certainly a political figure. I don't want this to become politicized."
For more on the story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Pilot.
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