There is no lack of issues when it comes down to this year’s municipal election in Pinehurst. But whether it’s land-use planning, capital spending, expansion of critical services or absorbing Given Memorial Library operations, the root is growth.
Pinehurst is facing a growing demand from a younger demographic for services at the same time others want to “protect” the village’s unique character.
At the same time, development is occurring all around Pinehurst. Growth is happening to Pinehurst as much as in it.
What to do about all that is the fulcrum upon which is balanced this year’s Village Council elections. Two seats, currently occupied by Kevin Drum and Judy Davis, are available. While Drum is seeking a second four-year term, Davis has opted against re-election.
Competing with Drum are political newcomers — to Pinehurst, at least — Jeff Morgan, Patrick Pizzella and Emily Stack. We endorse Morgan and Pizzella.
Morgan is easily one of the most accomplished candidates we’ve seen in a while. As a retired Army colonel, health care administrator and still-practicing orthopedist, he is a proven leader capable of amazing time management skills, given his myriad responsibilities.
On growth, Morgan has a keen sense that the village must work with surrounding communities — and the state. The village has never had great relationships with state lawmakers, so having someone who wants to work jointly is a huge advantage.
It’s that very efficiency that makes Morgan the strongest of the four running. He has sharp analytical skills, a wide expertise on issues and a forward-thinking approach to growth and shaping Pinehurst’s future. It’s that efficiency of thought and action that we like: He will trust the professional staff and their skills and make decisions as needed without being meddlesome or overbearing.
He brings a pragmatic approach to problem solving, budgeting and other management issues. That’s a winning combination for us.
Pizzella is also an accomplished leader, with most of his service coming at the federal government level over 30 years, including a short time as U.S. secretary of labor. He is a likeable, down-to-earth guy who has no problem talking to citizens and listening to concerns.
Pizzella is one of those concerned about preserving the uniqueness of Pinehurst and “tapping the brakes” on some of the growth. Yet he says that the village “can’t raise the drawbridge and put alligators in the moat.”
We suspect that Pizzella will want a more measured approach to future development. No one knows what that looks like, but we think Pizzella can balance it.
One word of caution on Pizzella, though. His campaign pledges he will treat the position as a “full-time job.” Wrong. There’s a competent staff to do that. Council members are part-time with limited roles. Heavy-handed meddlers over the years never served the village well. Don’t do it, Pat.
Finally, a note about Drum. This paper was prepared to endorse Drum, whose passion over his years on the council has been both help and hindrance. He was a staunch advocate for assuming the Given Library and Tufts Archives, of protecting the village’s downtown integrity and smart growth.
Unfortunately, Drum’s actions of late trouble us. His recent emails to local business leaders — for which he faces an ethics censure — lacked decorum and good judgment. It helped that he apologized, but he has often been tripped up by his own maverick personality. We just need leadership with better self-control.
In whole, Morgan and Pizzella will offer a good balance to each other and the council.