This is an archived endorsement from the 2016 elections.

Fayetteville Ward Boundaries
Fayetteville City Council
Aldermen are elected by Ward

Voters must live 
within the boundaries 
as shown on the map.
(Click for enlarged view.  Credit: Fayetteville Flyer)

REELECT Ward 1 Alderwoman Sarah Marsh

Last week's Ward 1 candidate forum at the Chamber of Commerce could have been mistaken for a national debate with its highly-prepared woman and frothing-mad man slightly detached from reality.  Our endorsement of Alderman Sarah Marsh was probably a foregone conclusion: she signed on to co-sponsor last year's Civil Rights Ordinance, while her opponent Paul Phaneuf is plaintiff in a lawsuit against Fayetteville to nullify the whole election.  (You may remember Mr. Phaneuf from his unsuccessful Duggar-funded campaign against Alderwoman Adella Gray two years ago.)  We can’t overstate the danger of adding an angrier version of John La Tour to the city council.  However you feel about the national candidates, and even if you had misgivings about the ordinance, it shouldn't take much to see that Alderwoman Marsh is the right candidate for Fayetteville.

We all love Fayetteville, but Sarah Marsh takes her love local to the neighborhood level.  You won’t hear any other member of our city council speak of their specific Ward with the affection Sarah has for SoFay (her name for Ward 1 in South Fayetteville).  By contrast, Mr. Phaneuf’s opening remarks began the Chamber’s forum with an angry and combative tone usually reserved for a barroom brawl.  While Mr. Phaneuf was called Fayetteville citizens “addicts” for voting in favor of the tax to fund the Fayetteville Public Library, Marsh spent the event describing her optimistic and attainable vision for Fayetteville as a community that makes, while our northern neighbors consume.  She backs up her optimistic and attainable vision with a solid understanding of city policy and national development trends.

Alderwoman Marsh also backs up her knowledge with action.  Her architectural degree and LEED accreditation inform her defense of the city's natural resources (and budget) from the effects of cavalier building on hill-tops and stream-sides. She is an ardent supporter of the trails system and an advocate for public transit.  Marsh is a small-business entrepreneur with a commitment to ensuring a living wage for city employees and residents.  While her opponent describes a grim vision of Fayetteville’s business climate that doesn’t sound like anything residents see on a daily basis, Sarah Marsh is working hard, investing in her community and helping others do the same.  That’s why ask you to vote to re-elect Sarah Marsh as your Ward 1 Alderman.

Read more about Alderwoman Marsh’s detailed list of accomplishments and goals in her own words at  


REELECT Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty

Alderman Matthew Petty is possibly the biggest nerd in municipal government, and that’s why we love him!  He almost never gets worked up in city council meetings, but if you want to see passion, just ask for his opinion on building set-backs and minimum parking requirements.  Petty, now a faculty member with the Incremental Development Alliance, was the youngest member of our city council when he was first elected 8 years ago.  Over his two terms he has become one of the most innovative policy wonks we could hope for.  Petty’s craving for coherence in design and efficiency in process has led to a number of “code hacks”, or ordinances he has sponsored to streamline our building and development regulations while ensuring that growth keeps with the unique character of Fayetteville.

His opponent’s primary platform offering is a push to make city government more efficient, convenient, and accessible to citizens through the use of technology. To be honest, Gary McHenry has some good goals, but most of them are things Alderman Petty has already been working on for the last eight years. Anyone who's been to the city's new website knows how much information is right at their fingertips, but maybe Mr. McHenry needs a personal text from the mayor.  Of course, anyone who's ever been woken up at 5 in the morning by "an urgent message from Mayor Lioneld Jordan" knows even that isn't out of the realm of possibility and they can thank Alderman Petty for his vote to institute that system.

It’s no surprise that Matthew Petty has a leg up on his challenger.  He and Ward 1 Alderwoman Marsh are the king and queen of the long-range plan.  Many candidates get distracted and bogged down by immediate concerns.  Matthew Petty has had 8 years to realize earlier plans and is already working on updates to the transportation master plan that will influence what Fayetteville will be ten or twenty years down the road.  As chair of the city’s tourism board, he is committed to building Fayetteville’s brand through investment in signature events that attract visitors and their tax revenue.  He is an essential part of a very effective team in our city government that has produced an impressive list of accolades for Fayetteville in recent years.  That team has a plan for an even more impressive future, so please vote to re-elect Matthew Petty as your Ward 2 Alderman.
Read more about Alderman Petty’s detailed list of accomplishments and goals in his own words at

ELECT Benjamin Harrison for Ward 3 Alderman

Ben Harrison worked for For Fayetteville last summer during the campaign for the Civil Rights Ordinance, so he is definitely the candidate we know the best.  That is why we can wholeheartedly endorse him as the next Alderman for Ward 3.  Ben is 22 years old, but before you dismiss his lack of political experience, consider the positive impact that Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty has had since taking office at about the same age.  Ben has family roots that wind back through Fayetteville for generations and he is as committed to our town as anyone.

The Ward 3 forum hosted by the Chamber of Commerce was all about development.  It was a conversation fueled mostly by Harrison’s two opponents, Sarah Bunch and Tracy Hoskins, who both served long terms on the Planning Commission.  No doubt that is valuable experience for them, but one gets a sense that they have been trained to think with the limitations placed on commissioners rather than the creative problem-solving needed at the City Council.  Hoskins, a developer, has built some fine neighborhoods around town in accordance with the regulations, but he seems intent to strip away as many of the rules as possible for the convenience of builders.  We like Sarah Bunch alright; she wouldn't be a bad alderwoman.  But we are reminded of the 2014 race in Ward 4 where multiple decent candidates split the vote and gave us John La Tour.  That’s a risk we’d rather not take again.  Ben Harrison may not have the development experience of his opponents, but he knows how to develop relationships with the business community.  During his time with For Fayetteville, Ben spearheaded our business outreach program, far surpassing our expectations and developing some important community relationships in the process.  

In the end, there is more to Fayetteville than building regulations and only one candidate has made those other issues affecting our citizens the centerpiece of his campaign.  Mr. Harrison is committed to providing residents an avenue for input that they have lacked in Ward 3, and he is one of the few candidates in town talking about homelessness and food insecurity issues.  He’s not just talking, though; he’s been taking action, starting with the Little Free Pantries you see popping up around town.  It’s a small step, for sure, but we’ve seen Ben in action before and that is why For Fayetteville endorses Benjamin Harrison for City Council in Ward 3.

Ben Harrison failed to qualify for the run-off election.  For Fayetteville encourages you to vote for Sarah Bunch on November 29.

REELECT Ward 4 Alderman Alan Long

Alderman Alan Long is well known among Ward 4 residents as the city councilman who will listen to your concerns and answer your questions.  He says he doesn’t come with any particular agenda to push on citizens and he votes by taking in constituent thoughts and opinions, even when he doesn’t completely agree with them.  We have seen that in action many times over the past year, especially, through many neighborhood meetings discussing various zoning and development issues around the Mt. Comfort area.  The one thing you can count on Mr. Long having on his agenda: he does his homework.

We wish that were true about his opponent, Nathan Allen.  Like some other candidates this year, Mr. Allen paints a grim picture Fayetteville as hostile to development, while remaining seemingly unaware of all the great business growth statistics our community has been enjoying.  You can find troubling conflicts throughout his platform:

  • Mr. Allen claims to want responsible growth, but thinks we can achieve that by loosening all the regulations that keep developers responsible.

  • Mr. Allen likes that we protect the environment, but says, “We have high standards,” like it’s a bad thing.  He wants to lower our environmental standards to allow more building.

  • Mr. Allen praises Fayetteville’s natural beauty, but wants to get rid of the sign ordinance that allows us to see it while driving through town.

Perhaps the most bizarre thing Nathan Allen has proposed is excluding Ward 4 from portions of the city code because he thinks it’s “a different kind of neighborhood.”

Alderman Alan Long understands that the city council is elected by people in their ward, but their votes govern the entire city.  He takes that responsibility seriously and works hard to make sure that Ward 4 is included, rather than excluded, from the city government.  He has worked hard on the Transportation Committee to make sure that we get the infrastructure improvements that will keep west Fayetteville growing smoothly. Under his leadership, we've seen the recent opening of the Rupple Road extension, and look forward to the Wedington bridge expansion over I-49 complete with a multi-use trail connection.

Ward 4 already has one alderman that ignores his constituents and votes based on Libertarian dogma.  We don’t need another.  Be careful with your ballot: the names can be confusing.  There’s only one Alan that’s good for Ward 4.  He’s already done a great job and we should keep him around for a long time to come. Vote to re-elect Alan Long as Alderman for Ward 4