Up & Coming Weekly

September 06, 2022

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 7 of 32

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM SEPTEMBER 7 - 13, 2022 UCW 7 petition. e body of the Amaro let- ter is copied below: I respond to your request for a document and an opinion as follows: e North Carolina State Board of Elections maintains information and guidance on filing petitions on its website. e only petition form provided on that website is a North Carolina Petition Request. Neither the State Board's website nor the Petition Request form mentions a notice of circulation. I am not aware that any such form exists. Neither a document identi- fied as a notice of circulation, nor a North Carolina Petition Request was filed in my office for this peti- tion. I supervised the verification of the signatures attached to the peti- tion that was presented to my office and June 13, 2022, notified Bobby Hurst that 5,009 names of the 5,721 signatures were qualified. at is my certification of the petition. is peti- tion is to the Fayetteville City Coun- cil, not the Board of Elections. I am advised by the counsel to the State Board of Elections and the county attorney that whether the petition is valid is a question for the city coun- cil, citing G. S. § 160A-104. Critical considerations from what is presented above coupled with some other points not mentioned there are summarized below: From Attorney McDonald's letter to Ms. Amaro: (1) the city was noti- fied on March 18, 2022, of the peti- tion initiative; (2) June 13, 2022, the city received notification that the petition had been certified. e matter was tabled twice by the Council after June 13 and not acted on until the last permitted day. Council had some 68 days in which to act on this petition, but waited until the last possible day. In the letter from Angie Amaro, Interim Director of Elections, to Attorney McDonald, she presents reasons for concluding that there is not a requirement for submission of a notice of circulation. is input from Amaro was not mentioned in the Aug. 22 meeting. Every indication is that Amaro is correct in stating that, under G.S. § 160A-104, it is City Council's re- sponsibility to determine validity of the petition. It reasonably follows that where over 5,000 registered voters were verified to have legitimately signed the petition, Council members should have protected the process no matter their individual objec- tions to the petition. at is, in fairness to citizens, council should have early on identi- fied the concern and tenaciously worked to clarify the situation and advise the Vote Yes Fayetteville leadership. What is presented here indicates that Council made no serious effort to deal fairly with those of us among the 5,000 plus signers. e bottom line is that everything here points to a majority of the most recent and present Fayetteville City Councils intentionally managing the petition process in a fashion that achieved their desired outcome of defeating it. In doing so, they clearly sup- pressed the rights and the will of over 5,000 citizens. I submit that this is a dictatorship government that abuses citizens, disregards individual rights and will take this city to an unimaginable low point of existence. We cannot allow this to happen. Fayetteville citizens must faithful- ly gather information, think clearly, be informed voters who focus on issues and refuse to have their thinking controlled by skin color or self-interest; in the end, stand up for what is right, for what is Godly. To the Vote Yes Fayetteville lead- ership, please tell me: (1) that there is a definite plan for challenging Council's action in this matter; (2) how to financially support that plan; (3) what else I might do to help. KARL MERRITT, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200. "I submit that this is a dictatorship government that abuses citizens, disregards individual rights, and will take this city to an unimaginable low point of existence."

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