Up & Coming Weekly

November 01, 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.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1483162

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Page 14 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW NOVEMBER 2 - 8, 2022 Vote Yes to keep power with the people by PITT DICKEY More attention needed for citywide issues by BOBBY HURST I support Vote Yes Fayetteville because this structure change would give every citizen more voice in our city council with six council mem- bers being accountable to them versus just the current two. I served on City Council under both struc- tures as an at-large and district representative, like most of the major cities in North Carolina. During my service when the council had at-large seats as part of the structure, I saw that the major issues of the city were given adequate attention. While serving as a district representative, I wit- nessed continued infighting over what benefited the elected person's district and less attention to the big picture. For example, it took over eight years to get the Parks & Recreation bond to a vote while we argued over which district received what new facilities. Even today, commitments made to District 2, like the Fields Road Park and the Cape Fear River Park, remain undone because money gets moved to other districts. We were never able to fully fund stormwater to protect our most exposed citizens from the next flood because flooding only threatens a few districts but is costly to everyone. Our major gateway to Fort Bragg continues to include the Shaw Heights blight because of City Council's unwillingness to spend the funds to ad- dress this citywide issue. Our community has changed over the years. ere are 38% more Black voters than white in Fayetteville today. Both Blacks and whites have a similar voter turnout, and Black candidates continue to be elected in many at-large seats, including the fact that two of our last four mayors were Black. I served alongside Marshall Pitts, who was first elected at-large and then became mayor. We have tried the current model for over 20 years and can clearly see that Fayetteville is not keeping up with the rest of the state. Our growth rate is lower than NC's other major cities while our crime and poverty rates are higher. We should recognize that the progressive cities in our state use a model that provides more rep- resentation for every citizen and more balanced attention to city-wide issues. Most recently, we have seen our mayor and some council members spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to keep this referendum off the ballot. ey were unsuccessful as the courts ordered the referendum be placed on the ballot and citizens be given the right to vote. I encourage each of you to support this Charter Amendment and to Vote Yes Fayetteville on Nov. 8 to provide for more representation on our City Council. More representation. Not less. Editor's note: Bobby Hurst served on Fayetteville City Council 2007 - 2017. COVER Want to keep PWC from being sold? Vote Yes in November. When somebody tells me I can't vote, it makes me want to vote even more. It makes me want to vote six times instead of just twice for Fayetteville Council offices. e City Council's actions tell the citizens of Fayetteville that we should not be allowed to vote on the proposal to change the way the Council is elected. e road blocks thrown up against voting by the Council are not sur- prising. People in power seldom want to give up power. e Council is no exception. ey like being in power. If more people are allowed to vote, we might vote wrong, thus endangering their power. e Council has done its best to prevent citizens from voting on this proposal. It twice postponed its vote to put the referendum on the November ballot. It waited until the last day to actually vote against it due to concerns that a non-existent form had not been completed by the proponents of the referendum. By delaying the vote until the last day, the Council apparently hoped that ballots could not be printed in time for the November election. Like Dean Wormer in "Animal House," the Council used the non-existent form excuse to put Fayetteville voters on Double Secret Probation to prevent them from voting. e Vote Yes folks immediately filed a law suit to put the refer- endum on the November ballot. Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons ordered Vote Yes to appear on the ballot. e Council then filed an appeal to the North Carolina Court of Ap- peals seeking to stop the vote. e Court of Appeals denied the Coun- cil's appeal and ordered the Vote to go on in November. If something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it is probably a duck. e City Council is a duck. It wants to duck and cover up your right to vote. e Council's scrambling to pre- vent the Vote Yes initiative shows they don't want the voters to decide how they want to be governed. Any political group, Democrats or Republicans, which wants to pre- vent people from voting is no fan of Democracy. Currently, you can vote for two people on the City Council: the Mayor and your District Represen- tative. Five thousand Fayetteville citizens signed a petition to put to a vote the proposal to change the election to allow a citizen to vote for six members of the Council: the Mayor, 4 at-large Council mem- bers and a District Representative. Six votes are more than two votes. e average voter gets much more input into how the city is governed if Vote Yes passes. Your Vote Yes is crucial. Local ownership of PWC is on the line. e current Council is quite likely to vote to sell PWC down the river, killing the goose that laid the golden eggs. Like a zombie from "e Walk- ing Dead," the double secret deal to sell PWC will rise from the grave. e Council will get a big wad of money from the sale to use for pet projects. e windfall will be spent. e current Council will ultimately leave office. Local control of PWC will end. PWC rates and preventive main- tenance of utilities will take a back seat to the interests of out of state shareholders interested in squeez- ing every dollar from Fayetteville residents. Citizens will be left hold- ing a very expensive empty bag. If you want to keep local control of your City Council and prevent the sale of PWC, Vote Yes on the referendum. To quote Woody Guthrie: "No- body living can ever stop me/ As I go walking the freedom highway/ Nobody living can ever make me turn back/ is Land was made for you and me." Get out and Vote Yes, this local government and PWC were made for you and me. PITT DICKEY, Columnist. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. BOBBY HURST COMMENTS? editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

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