Up & Coming Weekly

November 16, 2021

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 5 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM NOVEMBER 17-23, 2021 UCW 5 Although some pundits and grift- ers may claim otherwise, there's nothing new about populism. It comes in waves, often but not always in response to sharp eco- nomic downturns, and is driven by outrage against the mistakes or misdeeds of political elites. Sometimes that populist out- rage is well-earned and its conse- quences beneficial. At other times, though, the flames of populism serve as little more than propulsion for demagogues seeking to make themselves new political elites in place of the old ones. George Orwell had their number, which he counted as legs. So did Pete Town- shend of e Who, who invited listeners to "meet the new boss — same as the old boss." If you go looking for clear defini- tions of the policy content of popu- lism, you'll come away disappoint- ed. But there's a common rhetorical denominator: populists tend to say things like "the people have spo- ken," even though they are actually in the minority and "the people" have done no such thing. It's currently fashionable to deni- grate right-wing populism, of the sort that produced the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Although I'm no slave to fashion — my closet is full of clothes older than my grown chil- dren — I have repeatedly criticized such populist impulses myself, not only when expressed as conspiracy theories about stolen elections but also when directed against free trade, entitlement reform and other causes that in my view cannot be abandoned by an American conser- vatism worthy of the name. Today, however, I will focus on left-wing populism, of the sort that has produced its own violence and chaos but nowhere near the level of condemnation it deserves. e riots of 2020 alone resulted in dozens of deaths and north of $1 billion in property damage. Of course, most people protesting the homicide of George Floyd were only expressing political views. ey weren't rioters. By refusing to maintain order, however, state and local govern- ments allowed some protests to devolve into riots. It was a colossal error. eir failure to enforce basic rules of conduct in public spaces had antecedents. Some happened right here in North Carolina. On August 24, 2017, a mob led by anarchist and communist activists toppled the Confederate Monu- ment that once stood in front of Durham's old courthouse. anks to some combination of clumsiness and purposeful malfeasance by local law enforcement, no one was ever really held responsible for the crime. Almost exactly one year later, another mob (including some of the same activists) tore down the Silent Sam statue on the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina. Again, there were no seri- ous consequences for those respon- sible. Again, the mob was rewarded by having the statue removed per- manently rather than restored to its original location, as it should have been, until such time that it might be removed by proper authorities employing legal means. As I wrote at the time, I was never sold on keeping those statues permanently in place. I don't think past generations get to decide in perpetuity what persons or images should populate public spaces. Confederate monuments have a history of their own, one that at best mixes familial desire to honor fallen ancestors with Lost Cause mythol- ogy and white supremacy. Should Silent Sam and compa- rable statues and memorials have been moved elsewhere, then, or just dismantled? at was a legitimate question. It was not, however, answered by "the people." It was answered by a self- anointed few who figured they'd get away with it. ey were right. Most North Carolinians didn't agree. ey opposed removing the Silent Sam statue, which was on state property. at remains the prevailing national sentiment about the larger issue. In a 2020 ABC News/Washington Post poll, only 43% of respondents favored "re- moving statues honoring Confeder- ate generals from public places." ink the majority is wrong about this? en persuade them other- wise. But don't take the law into your own hands and then cloak yourself in populist claims that "the people have spoken." ey never got to. OPINION The people never spoke on statues by JOHN HOOD JOHN HOOD, Chairman, John Locke Foundation. Contributing Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Efforts are underway by Fayetteville City Council to replace District 3 council member Tisha Waddell. She resigned suddenly last week citing "egregious actions" of misconduct by Mayor Mitch Colvin and some of her council colleagues. Waddell issued a lengthy five-page open letter outlining her allegation that Colvin has engaged in conflicts of interest and lack of transparency. She charged that the mayor regu- larly "ignored council policy and used his position to influence and subvert" procedures established by the council. "I am disappointed that Former Councilwoman Waddell has chosen to resign while making baseless accusa- tions against her former colleagues on City Council and private citizens on her way out the door. It's campaign time so I guess here comes the smear campaign," Colvin said in a Facebook statement. He has since updated and edited that statement. "e City of Fayetteville is saddened by the abrupt resigna- tion of one of our city council members. We thank her for the time she has dedicated to her district and our wonderful city. e City Council wishes her the very best in all of her future endeavors and we are looking forward to working with the new representative as we put Fayetteville first!" During their years working together, Waddell was regularly critical of Col- vin. Five of the nine council members — Mayor Pro Tem Kathy Jensen, Chris Davis, Johnny Dawkins, D.J. Haire, and Larry Wright — have been generally supportive of the mayor. Waddell wrote of "multiple closed sessions" held by the City Council, one of which included a representative of a private equity firm, Bernard Capital Partners, and Fayetteville Public Works Com- missioners on BCP's proposal to invest nearly $1 billion to operate the city's utilities for the next 30 years. PWC eventually declined the offer. Closed meetings of public bodies are governed by state statutes that limit participation and topics of discussion. Some of the allegations Waddell made include: Colvin destroyed public records by having his cell phone wiped clean; Colvin was involved in communication with BCP representa- tives about City Matters without City Council approval and did not state to City Council about the conflict of in- terest; Members of City Council were contacted by and had discussions with Attorney Johnathan Charleston regarding Dismass Charities before a Special Use Permit was brought before the City Council – which could violate sunshine state law. Waddell urged the City Council to conduct an independent review of her allegations and that if they fail to do so, "the citizens of this city should be- gin calling for an investigation of their own regarding corruption of members of the Fayetteville City Council." She went so far as to suggest that the State Bureau of Investigation of the FBI probe BCP involvement with Mayor Colvin. In a follow up interview with RUD:E Podcast, Waddell said that it is up to the council and the public to follow- up on the allegations. "I have every expecta- tion that the members of this community will do their due diligence and that they will call me out if the need is there and I'm willing to answer to any accusation made of me. I'm willing to submit to any investi- gation. I am willing to move forward as a part of whatever this city and this governing body feels is the appropriate course of action," Waddell said. "I said what I said, and now you take what I said, and you do what you're going to do with it. And if this body chooses to ignore this information, that says a lot about this body." Waddell said she was honored to have served the city. An application form is currently available on the city website for any- one interested in filling the seat. Ap- plications are due on Nov. 26. Anyone can apply for the position as long as they are a registered voter, live in Dis- trict 3 and is a Fayetteville citizen. A City Council Special Meeting is scheduled for Dec. 6 where the council will appoint the next District 3 representative. is person would serve in the role until the next election. People who have already declared that they will be campaigning for the district seat in the upcoming election include John Zim- merman, Johnny Gordon and Mario Benavente. e primary election will be on March 8. What's next for City Council District 3? by JEFF THOMPSON and HANNAH LEE NEWS Tisha Waddell

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