City Council Presentation (David Simonton, 2/2/2016)

A video of the 2/2/2016 evening session is HERE.

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Good evening. I’m David Simonton, 1218 Lorimer Road.

I want you to know…I do understand that the City Council has a Big Picture in mind – a plan for the future. I’m concerned, however, that by focusing so intensely on a future plan, you risk losing sight of the affect of present policies on Raleigh’s citizens, and neighborhood cohesion.

Tonight, I’m here to enter into the record evidence documenting what went wrong with the present door-to-door petition process as carried out on Lorimer Road.

The packet I submitted includes documents, emails, Facebook posts, and three sworn affidavits from residents, representing the type and degree of misinformation that was spread. This evidence is further confirmation that the door-to-door petition process is vulnerable to misconduct and misrepresentation— by Petitioners and City staff.

There are essentially no rules governing the door-to-door process, and virtually no constraints on the Petitioner. Because of this, what happened in Laurel Hills, happened again on Lorimer Road. Last month I suggested you end the door-to-door process, and replace it with a mailed ballot-type petition.

Tonight I ask —given all you now know— that you suspend the Lorimer Road Project, and send it to committee for review – as you did with the Laurel Hills Traffic Calming Project when improprieties with their process were brought to your attention.

Comparing the two, you’ll find striking similarities:

1) In both cases many residents were left out of the process…given no information ahead of time. A recommendation stemming from the Laurel Hills case was that that should never happen again. But it did happen again, on Lorimer Road.

2) The approach used by the Petitioners in both cases was similar:

—One Laurel Hills resident reported, “(The) people circulating the Petition (were) not giving the full story or correct information.”
—The Affidavits of Lorimer Road residents report the same thing.

—Laurel Hills: “They told me that what I was approving was merely a study”
—Some residents on Lorimer thought what they were signing was merely a “preliminary petition.”

Our Affidavits report that, in numerous other ways, the Petitioner—and, in our case, a staff member in the City’s Public Works Department—misrepresented the Petition as being a flexible document, subject to significant changes. “I was told not to worry and to sign the document as it was, and that we would all be able to sit down once it passed and determine how we would like it to look.”

Residents on Lorimer Road have been asking valid questions and raising legitimate concerns about this Petitioner, and about the process as it was conducted here.

When residents spoke up in Laurel Hills, you listened, and investigated their claims in committee.

Tonight, I ask that you show us that same consideration.

Thank you.