“‘Adverse’ Neighborhood Meeting”

Lorimer Road resident Erin Salmon organized a gathering—a Neighborhood Meeting—for International Peace Day (9/21/15). She distributed this letter/inviation to neighbors –

Erin Salmon INVITE


Petitioner Donna Burford forwarded the invitation to Donetta Powell and Jimmy Upchurch of the City’s Public Works Department, characterizing the meeting as “adverse” –

From: Donna Burford
Sent: Thursday, September 17, 2015
To: Donetta Powell
Cc: Jimmy Upchurch
Subject: Lorimer Rd. – Adverse Neighborhood Meeting
Here is the letter [above] that was delivered to me so that you are informed. Please share with whomever you feel is appropriate.
I would be so nice if they had someone there at the meeting that would set them straight with the facts so they don’t work themselves up in a tizzy. I know that person is definitely not me!
Can you tell me how I could find out if they have actually filed an appeal and/or a date to meet? Is the meeting in an open/public forum like the one I presented the petition at?
Hope you have a wonderful day.
Donna Burford

Donetta Powell forwarded Donna’s email to Nick Sadler, Kay Crowder’s “staffer” –

“Nick [Sadler], Please advise Councilor Crowder of this letter and upcoming meeting. Our Assessment Staff do not plan to attend the meeting. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments. Thanks!” —Donetta Powell (9/17/15)

It is not known what happened next (or who called who), but whatever it was prompted the email below, from Donna Burford to Erin Salmon, the Neighborhood Meeting’s organizer, and copied to all the neighbors –

FROM: Donna Burford, 9/18/15
Subject: 9/21 Meeting Announcement
Erin [Salmon],
I have some great news and thought everyone should know. I spoke to Councilor Crowder today and asked if she would be willing to come to the meeting you are having at the Western Presbyterian Church to speak to the list of concerns mentioned in your letter. She said that she would come to the meeting but, being that she has a prior commitment with the League of Women Voters and Wake Up Wake County at that exact time, she asked if the meeting could be moved to another time slot.
In an effort to discuss these issues with civility and intelligence it is not only necessary but also the most responsible approach to have someone at the meeting that has the facts and knowledge of how the project will be handled. The confusion and misunderstandings you have mentioned need to be addressed by an expert that has the authority to translate the city policies that you will be providing at this meeting.
Councilor Crowder has a very long history with this neighborhood and with the City Council. She would be just the person to add to the community dialogue and answer questions.
The Q&A held last April for this project was not required but very helpful. Twenty of the forty-one homes on Lorimer were represented and they had the opportunity to gather information from the source to make an educated decision on whether or not to sign the petition.
Western Presbyterian has been very accommodating when trying to schedule meeting
times so reasonably speaking, consideration could be made to accommodate Council
Crowder’s request to speak to the neighbors on Lorimer Rd. If you can come up with a couple of dates for her to consider, I can give you Councilor Crowder’s email to make those arrangements. Please email me and let me know your intentions.
Thank you,
Donna Burford

Erin responded –

FROM: Erin Salmon, 9/18/15
Thank you, Donna [Burford], for reaching out to our councilor. While so many of us have tried to contact her with no response, it is great to know that your family has a direct line of communication with her.
As far as rescheduling, I will hold this meeting as is, but we should plan the meeting that will come after. Having our City Councilor present at future meetings will greatly help our understanding of city policy, and the city will know us better as citizens.
Because elections are coming up, and it is undetermined who will represent our neighborhood next, I will also invite Ashton Smith to the meeting. Since she does not live near our neighborhood like Ms. Crowder, it is important for her to meet residents of the Kentwood-Bushy Branch Creek neighborhood as potential future constituents. She could be speaking and voting for us in the very near future.
Thank you again, Donna, for being a voice in our community dialogue. I encourage
everyone else on this email list to let your neighbors know how you feel about the proposed street and sidewalk improvements, as well as how you feel about our quiet little pocket of Raleigh. I also invite anyone to contact me directly, particularly if you cannot attend the meeting on Monday and you are a resident affected directly by Petition 1351/Resolution (2015)141.
Erin Salmon

Donna forwarded the email above to Kay Crowder and Donetta Powell (three-days prior to International Peace Day) and included the following message –

From: Donna Burford
To: Kay Crowder, Donetta Powell
Date: 9/18/2015 4:19:52 PM
Subject: Meeting Announcement
As to be suspected [Erin] doesn’t want the facts and just wants to sling the mud. I have received confirmation that at least the mature residents on the street will not be participating in her rant sessions. 🙂 I actually laughed out loud to her comment implying “we” would plan another meeting. Or the statement that implies that she could organize or even make a political forum between Crowder and Smith happen. The “Lorimer Road Raleigh” Facebook page will be changed from closed group to a public group this evening so evidence of angst and motivations can be recorded. They may want to watch their tongues. I already have evidence of a threatening remark from Dave toward my sister and I that he thinks he deleted. If they are not able to contain their hatred then restraining orders may be needed. Once again…all of the sane neighbors on Lorimer Rd. thank you for all of your support and hard work! I for one, am a fan!
—Donna Burford*

[*Donna Burford now works for Raleigh City Council Member/Mayor Pro-Tem Kay Crowder.]