Facebook Post (David Simonton, 6/25/2017)

COUNTERPOINT

Currie Mixon is my across-the-street neighbor, and the petitioner’s brother-in-law. He recently commented on my continuing effort to shine a light on what transpired on Lorimer Road in a post on the Nextdoor Avent West website.

Mixon began his assessment by referring to resident Jeff Essic’s post on the site. Here is Jeff’s concluding paragraph:

“[Those] are some of the reasons why there are folks along the street against the project and why you will probably continue to hear about it until there is at least some acknowledgement that yes, the petition process was flawed, and some meaningful assurance from the city on a lower-impact design.”

Currie’s comment:

“Regarding Jeff Essic’s last paragraph, I’d say it’s impossible to say how much less raving Mr. Simonton would do with any acknowledgement or change. He’s been raving mad about the prospect of a sidewalk from the beginning, and I am of the opinion (you can see for yourself if he ever posts about anything else, he has a hobby website dedicated to opposition to this project, and now FB page…) that his opposition to this project is one that defines him in his eyes.”

I wish that a fraction of the energy spent dividing and conquering this once united neighborhood had been spent for the good of all who live here.

It didn’t have to end up this way. There could have been/should have been a positive, less fraught outcome. That choice was available to the petitioner, her sister and her sister’s husband, but they decided to take another route; with, sadly, the City’s approval.

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Comment

Edward F Gehringer:  I generally like sidewalks and have no personal stake in this project, but I would like to commend Mr. Simonton for taking the time to gather evidence and bring it to the attention of the community. That is exactly what citizens should be doing … adducing more evidence so that better decisions can be made. Calling someone “raving mad” and saying that the issue is his “hobby” does nothing to advance harmony or improve decision-making. This issue, like all others, should be settled on its merits, not by trying to shout down minority views.

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N&O Editorial (2/26/2017)

Raleigh wisely limits council members from meddling in staff work

BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Staff members of the city of Raleigh need to consider issues such as zoning or the organization of festivals or establishing bike lanes without interference from City Council members. And let’s give credit to the history of councils, most members of which respect the city staff and recognize that political interference is harmful at worst and inappropriate at best.

Council members insist new code of conduct rules prohibiting direct contact from council members with city staff and advisory boards aren’t aimed at one incident or one member, but rather are intended to minimize political influence.

Raleigh’s form of government puts much trust in staff, and on issues large and small that trust has been proven well-placed. This will ensure that staff will be able to operate with the independence that’s needed on sometimes contentious issues.

This is a good rule to install before a problem arises. And it’s not as if council members don’t wield plenty of influence whether they’re talking directly to city staff or not. Council member Bonner Gaylor made a salient point in saying that all bucks stop in one place.

“We have a seat at the table,” he said. “which is where we’re sitting right now.”

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