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


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.

.  .  .


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.

.  .  .  .  .  .

“‘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” – Continue reading

Sam Bellezza – Facebook Post (9/4/2015)

This group [Lorimer Rd Raleigh] is a VERY valuable forum for discussion and information. I feel so much more in the loop of goings on. I appreciate the initiative, effort, and time spent creating it. In the last few days, there has been great discussion on development in our neighborhood. I have also seen quite a few posts about everyone remaining united as neighbors even if they disagree. I think our neighborhood is in for many changes as economic forces, large lots and it’s prime location invite a future of tear downs and rebuilds. We will certainly be divided in our opinions on these future projects as well, so lets stay united as neighbors in and out of this forum, and continue to use it as our sounding board for these situations and welcome the change to see things through other neighbors perspectives. I also think we should invite Kay Crowder to join? I get the feeling both sides of the sidewalk issue feel that they do/did not have enough information and this seems to be a root of contention? Either way I think this is a taste of the future growing pains in our neighborhood and whoever is our city council rep. after the next election should be part of the discussions here. Looking forward to seeing all of my neighbors! —Sam Bellezza, Facebook post, September 4, 2015

Kay Crowder, District D Representative

But who in District D does she truly represent?
.  .  .  .  .  .
“As the administrator of this [Facebook] page I removed Kay Crowder from this secret group. If you would like to talk to her in person PM me and I will give you her assistant’s number. I was surprised how easy it was to get in touch with her.” —Sharon Moll Mixon, Facebook post, September 10, 2015
.  .  .  .  .  .

“That has not been my experience at all. I have her assistant’s phone number and have spoken to him many times since mid-August. Not once have I ever been allowed to speak to her. I have emailed her — not one reply. I have written a letter — no reply. Every way there is of reaching her goes through the assistant — nothing goes to her directly. I was told recently by the assistant that she would call me. So far, nothing. He did say she might receive a hundred emails a day and did I expect she responded to all? My thought there is what working person does NOT receive many many emails a day, and we all have to respond as part of our jobs. Did she think when she took this office that she could choose to respond only when it was convenient for her or matched her own goals? I have not found her responsive nor helpful. She would know, I would think, that a council member is going to hear from constituents and I would further think she would know that part of her job responsibilities is responding. I do say emphatically that her assistant Nick Sadler is unfailingly courteous and helpful but his job is clearly to shield her and he does it well. If you have been successful at speaking with her, Sharon, I can’t help but wonder if the difference is that you are supporting something she wants and I am advocating changes in something she wants. My correspondence with her has been respectful and has offered positive suggestions, but it does not agree with what she clearly is pushing. I did speak very assertively to the assistant once about not ever being able to reach her directly in my frustration, and still he remained helpful and friendly, but no way was he going to get me through to her directly at all. His job responsibilities are clear and he fulfills them very well. He does his best to answer any question I ask but he is making sure I don’t get through directly to her. I don’t doubt that she has seen what I have sent — I am certain he does that effectively. I personally have not had any reason to think at this point that she is fulfilling her responsibility of being responsive to those she represents — a key art of the job she was elected to do. Please do call the council offices at 919-996-3050 and I sincerely hope each of you has better luck at getting through to her than I have had.” —Jane Fenn, Facebook post, September 10, 2015

.  .  .  .  .  .

“I wrote [Kay Crowder] an email, very objectively conveying some of the concerns of the 1/3 opposed and pointing out the emotional debate on this page, and asking for her input about those concerns. She did respond, but it was very rote and didn’t really say anything more than, ‘the petition passed and the rules were followed.'” —Steve Grothmann, Facebook post, September 13, 2015

May 4, 2015

The petitioner, Donna Burford, turns in signed petition to the Public Works Department on May 4, 2015, two weeks before it is due –

“I turned it in early because it was complete, with 50[%] plus 1.” —Donna Burford, Neighborhood Meeting Minutes, October 20, 2015

.  .  .  .  .  .

She posts the following on Facebook to mark the occasion –

NOTE DATE!!!!!!!.png

.  .  .  .  .  .

Donna Burford – Facebook Post (9/3/15)

– Donna Moll Burford, Petitioner (9/3/15, Facebook) –

OMG…..Wow….Shannon you really think is OK to attack me under the guise that you are sympathetic to your neighbors in a forum that I help set up to bring this community together? I took the time to organize a neighborhood watch last year for Lorimer Rd.when the crime was getting out of control. I didn’t have to do that but I care about people that live on that road. Fairway Ridge has their own neighborhood watch. I compiled everyone’s contact information so that theycould keep in touch and become more neighborly. I have been door to door since November of last year talking to almost everyone on this street to see how they felt about a project like this and got a overwhelming positive response. I don’t think you understand that this in NOT MY project. This is a Lorimer Rd. project, I was just asked to speak on behalf of the people on Lorimer that obviously didn’t want to be bullied by people like yourself. I don’t know where these people get the idea that I am making them do anything with their property.


That being said….I already paid for my curb and gutter in the price of my home and I pay my taxes just like everyone else. I also have the same rights as everyone else on here! So I deserve a road to get to my property that is not falling apart and a safe place for myself and my children to walk because I bought a home IN THE CITY OF RALEIGH…… City law dictates that non conforming roads will never be fixed until the property owners bring them up to standard. It has been 40 years overdue and these neighbors do not want to pay more then the already high rate of $32 per linear feet to have them fixed.NOBODY wishes to pay for it, we all have better things to spend our money on, but this is what goes along with property ownership.

Being upset that the project is not to your liking is one thing but bullying is NOT OK. Is not OK for our children and it is not OK for adults. If people want to have respectful conversations on this page, then great. But otherwise we could just shut it down. I don’t hear sympathizing …I hear the spouting of hatred and non-conformity.


– Karen Flowers Essic (9/3/15, 1:14 pm) – Donna–I am trying to figure out which statement(s) Shannon made that you feel like was bullying and spouting of hatred. (I promise, that was not said sarcastically– I just tried to read through comments from all of the various places, and some of the threads are a bit of a jumble, and I just cannot find what you are referring to.) I had thought everyone had been civil so far. That is just a pretty strong accusation you are making, and I hope we can be careful to not call people names lightly.

— Sharon Moll Mixon (9/3/15, 9:17 pm) – Call people names? Donna has worked her ass off for this neighborhood, more than I have ever seen from anyone. I do not blame her for feeling bullied and I am glad she stated her mind. I understand when people are upset they like to have someone to blame. But if there is a “target of some people’s ire.” it should be to the 28 houses that voted for this petition to go forward.
– Shannon Bellezza (9/3/15, 1:18 pm) – Donna, I’m sorry you feel bullied. I was simply explaining why it does matter to some people that the originator of the petition doesn’t live on the street which is subject to massive changes and why people may single you out when they express their dismay. I can see both sides of this issue, and for the record, my feelings about you as a person are not affected by this at all. I think you set out to do something you viewed as positive and necessary. Unfortunately it comes at a significant cost to many, and I sympathize with anyone who is asked to fund drastic unwanted changes to their neighborhood with money they may not have. I’m not saying you are the one at fault or to whom anyone’s anger should be directed.

David Simonton – Facebook Posts

David Simonton’s posts have been removed from the “Lorimer Rd Raleigh” Facebook page (Simonton removed the posts himself).  The posts that follow have been recovered from screen-grabs:

– David Simonton (9/10?/15, Facebook) – It is now clear, as it has been from the beginning, that this entire sad episode in our neighborhood’s history has been about two sisters, relatively new arrivals here, doing whatever they needed to do, and saying whatever they needed to say, to get what they want for themselves and their families.

And they prevailed. Because they didn’t play fair. And that can’t stand.

The petitioner, for whom “communication and community [are] what it’s all about,” is no longer communicating. And her sister is using what is purportedly a forum for the exchange of ideas, on a subject important to all of us, as her soapbox. I have to wonder if she’s heard anyone else’s voice, or taken anyone else’s concerns and feelings into consideration, through all of this.

Civility is important to maintain, there’s no doubt. But the pretense of civility in the face of an onslaught of insults is another thing all together. There’s a decent and considerate way to go about doing things, after all.

This was once a peaceful and harmonious neighborhood. What a difference six months makes.

.  .  .  .  .  .

– David Simonton (10/5/15, 11:06 am, Facebook) – Here’s what I keep coming back to….Allowing them the benefit of the doubt, suppose Donna Burford & Sharon Mixon (the Petitioner and her sister) really believed it when they told folks that the petition they were being asked to sign was merely the first step in a process, the details of which could and would be worked out later, and that signing it was just a show of interest in some kind of neighborhood improvements, the scope and shape of which we’d all have a say in down the road….

-Who/Where did they get that idea from?

-How is it that they were so convinced of that scenario that they were willing in good conscience to pass that assurance on to their neighbors?

-Given the actual outcome—that what we’ve ended up with is what was spelled out in the Petition, minus one foot—how is it that, rather than showing even a hint of remorse at having unintentionally misled their neighbors—or the least bit of anger at having been misled themselves!—they’re digging in their heels instead?

I don’t get it….


– Currie Mixon (10/25/2015, 11:24am) – Because you’ve shown yourself to be a dickhead, David.

– Currie Mixon (10/5/15, 11:26 am) – (I’m not speaking for my wife or sister-in-law. I’m speaking for me – I’ve found you to be an incredibly whiny and self-centered person, and over the course of your writings, I’ve lost all respect that I once had for you.)

[The previous two comments were subsequently deleted by their author, and an apology made.]

– Currie Mixon (10/5/15, 6:07 pm) – What I should have said earlier, is if you are looking for an actual answer, I suggest you change your accusatory tone. Your postings are not conducive to actual conversation or explanation.

– David Simonton – Explain this, Currie: Why is it, do you think, that people (more than a few) are upset about the way the petition process was conducted? Have you no qualms at all? given what you learned at last night’s [Neighborhood] Meeting? Is no one—or nothing—to blame for all the ill-will that’s been generated? If not a flawed process, then what do you suppose has caused such tension between neighbors…where before, there was none?

– Currie Mixon – You’re answer is in your question: the fact that you need a target to blame lets me know just about all I need to know about your focus on this. You have had an emotional response, which I understand. However, your emotional response has been about the only response you seem to have had. There’s been no evolution. Only the same, emotional, seeking blame mentality that has resulted in my dismissal of your emotions at this point.

.  .  .  .  .  .

Jeff Essic – Facebook Post

Regarding issues on the North end of Lorimer Road:

Jeff Essic (September 3, 2015, Facebook) – The flooding of Hunter and Marina’s driveway will not be improved one bit by the work of Lorimer Rd. Their flood water is coming off Western Blvd, the church lot along Garland, the apartments along Kent and Chaney, etc. Helen Adams’ lot gets flooded just because she lives at the bottom of a hill, and that’s what happens. The curbs and gutters aren’t going to make any difference for her. The water that hits Lorimer’s pavement goes into the ditches and straight to the creek. [I’ve] watched our ditches after hard rains and…most of the water on our side, when it gets to Helen’s ditch, seeps into the ground due to the thick pine straw. If Helen thinks this water is causing her flooding, then the first step would be to clean out that ditch. Of course once everything is curb and gutter, it is going to be piped straight to the creek with no chance of infiltrating into the soil, and will cause an increase of flooding for everyone downstream. For some reason this increase of impervious surface doesn’t seem to bother our City Council, even though we get assessed a stormwater fee each month for all the impervious surface on our property, including our gravel driveway.

Also since I’ve brought up Garland St. – did everyone catch Mrs. Crowder say that she is talking with a developer about doing some construction on Garland? I suspect she is referring to the lot across from the church. This property will likely be for sale soon and is a prime location for high-density development. I think this is a key to why she pushed through the whole issue, including sidewalks on the north end despite a majority of opposition. As Steve [Grothmann] has already said, the aesthetic of the surrounding neighborhood will become a selling point. Sidewalks along Garland and Chaney will be next. Developers are going to continue to put multi-family housing along the Kent corridor to replace the aging single-family houses every chance they get – just like the new townhouses on Method near the NCSU greenhouses. This is not bad, but I’m just saying that it is going to greatly increase the stormwater runoff to Hunter and Marina’s driveway and the sidewalk issue is a small step and part of Crowder and council’s larger plan to bring increased density in our neck of the woods.

As for me, I am going to be very sorry to see many of the trees that line and shade our streets cut away for a wider street and sidewalks. Every time I turn off Western and go down Garland and onto Lorimer, it is so nice to again be amongst the trees where things are calm and peaceful. I’m consoling myself by realizing that the trees actually do need major trimming cutting back, and ones behind them will fill in, but it’s not going to be nearly as pretty for a while. But I have no doubt that traffic speeds are going to increase (after all, the visible thread of landing in a deep ditch if you run off the road are no more) and probably traffic volumes. Also, have you thought about the increase in solicitations from salesmen due to improved walkability?


– Steve Grothmann (9/3/15, 2:45 pm, Facebook) – I wondered about how this plan would actually affect drainage issues. I don’t know enough about people’s individual yards to guess, but it’s clear that piping away runoff directly is the worst thing for the environment and the creek and wherever the water ends up.

Is it really true that there is no other course than this plan for people with drainage problems? I sympathize with them. Maybe there are other public means to address the drainage, maybe private, that aren’t bundled with sidewalks?

Our street really has a rustic, natural, country character, in the middle of town, which is a big part of why I love it. Would hate to lose one bit of that.

– Erin Salmon (9/3/15, 5:24 pm, Facebook) – I am not positive about the property that Kay was referring to, but I am looking into it. Unfortunately, it may be 4324 Garland Road, which was sold in March. If it is true, that means a developer now owns that property rather than a family. This is between Lorimer Road and Onslow Road, NOT between Chaney and Kent. I will keep you all posted.

– Sharon Moll Mixon (9/4/15, 12:35 am, Facebook) – I am guessing Kay is talking about the house for sale on the corner of Kent and Garland.


Jeff White – Facebook Post

– Jeff White (9/12/15, Facebook) – This comment is in response to the discussion of how the new cross section will fit within current right-of-way (ROW). While it may in fact fit, there will be slope issues that will not. In order to accommodate this section the footprint is made wider. Lorimer Road has homes that sit above the road as well as homes that sit below the road. These situations create significant cut (removal of dirt)and fill (addition of structural dirt) in order to broaden the footprint. On a smaller scale but the same situation please pay attention to the yard and driveway challenges along Kaplan. The majority of the yards are now steeper, this can present maintenance issues that were previously not present. Most of the drives are above the new sidewalk grade (which Is set relative to the curb and gutter not the drive) and have to be chased up the hill to catch grade. The white lines and painted arrows on these folks drives is where the City anticipates having to remove and replace drives in order to have that particular drive cross the sidewalk at an acceptable grade. This results in a steeper than original drive. These slope conditions occur outside the ROW and Lorimer improvements will present the same challenges only more amplified. If your home is fairly level to the road then grade tie ins will not be an issue. If your home is above, below or close to the ROW, there will be slope easements needed in order to accommodate the footprint. I felt this was important to bring up as while it may fit there will be work outside the ROW in order to make it work.


– Don Munn (9/12/15, 1:01 pm, Facebook) – Yes, I did leave off the exit angles on my drawing, but the grade will be set at a 2:1 slope till it meets the existing grade, this [is] a substantial incline in some cases… I [posed] this issue at the April meeting and was promised some examples; none were forthcoming.

“Sidewalk Petition Prioritization Ranking Criteria”

Prioritization criteria.jpg

– Erin Salmon (11/2/2015, Facebook) – I did find the traffic study that was done on Lorimer in 2014 for the current project (even though we were told at the last meeting that there was not one), and I can provide the numbers from that to fill in some of the numbers in question. This document could be helpful in presenting a case to the City Council which asks them to reconsider the application of the UDO standard in our neighborhood. A neighborhood whose streets and house placements were designed long before the current standards.

– Steve Grothmann (11/2/2015, Facebook) – We have far less than 1000 cars/day. I counted only about 12-13/hr Fri evening when Western was at peak traffic. Another evening it was as low as 8 in 90 minutes. During the day it is very sparse. I’d guess we’re under 200/day, at least by my house.