Ethics & The Petitioner

On April 1, 2015, it was brought to the petitioner’s attention that a statement she had made was incorrect. The statement, included in her “Talking Points,” distributed to all residents who’ll be affected by the street and sidewalk project, reads as follows:

“Eventually [Lorimer Road] will need to be brought up to standard as a conforming road and the property owners will pay the increased fees of assessment at that time if it is not handled now.”

After it was pointed out to her at the meeting that this was not a true statement she acknowledged it was “my mistake;” Jimmy Upchurch and Kay Crowder, among others, confirmed this.

Despite her public admission, however, the petitioner continued to pass out this same “Talking Points” sheet, with the disputed statement intact, the very next day, to Karen Rochford.

Another resident, Marcus Williamson, emailed the petitioner on April 4, 2015, asking her to stop distributing false information. And as a result, she issued a retraction on that same date.

And yet, despite her acknowledgement and retraction, she continued to distribute this same “Talking Points” sheet, with the disputed statement still intact, on April 10, 2015.

“…One of the first neighbors that we talked to about the project”

– Sharon Moll Mixon (11/23/15, 10:01 pm, Facebook) – Donna [Burford] and I spoke with Carolyn [Parker], the person on the tax record as the one that would be signing the petition. She was one of the first neighbors that we talked to about this project. This was before we had scheduled the April 1st meeting. I was standing in the road with my sister, Donna, talking about what the street improvement would look like. Carolyn was gardening in her front yard. We talked to her for probably 10 minutes all about it. She talked about how she and David [Simonton] walk everyday and don’t see any need for sidewalks. There were other reasons that we talked about that I won’t get into, but we had a clear response that the Parker property was not in favor of the sidewalk. When you get an answer like that, you know where you stand and you move on. We didn’t feel a need to try to convince anyone to change their mind.

– Carolyn Parker (11/24/15, 10:41 am, Facebook) – …I’m writing to set the record straight about my conversation with Sharon and Donna. On about March 18, I was out front gardening and Sharon and Donna came out to the road –Sharon lives across the street. Sharon and Donna were pacing off the street and I asked what they were doing. They said they had put in a petition for road improvements and a sidewalk for safety; that our road was very narrow; and that the city would let us pay for it over 5 years. I said Mary Alice Black had raised her children in this neighborhood and that I grew up in a neighborhood like this and we’d all survived (my poor effort at humor); and that Dave and I walked the neighborhood daily and never felt it was dangerous. And then I said, “But I guess I wouldn’t mind getting rid of this ditch.”

Sharon, I don’t believe we talked for 10 minutes, but that’s perception. To say that during our conversation we talked “all about it” is a lie.

You never told me that there was already a proposal prepared by the city, and that the proposal called for widening the road to 27 feet. You never told me the city’s proposal called for a 6-foot sidewalk with a 6-foot setback. You never told me the sidewalk was proposed for the west side (my side) of the road. You never told me that you had had all this information since the city’s proposal was sent to Donna on November 18, 2014. And you never told me that this entire process began (according to Donetta Powell) in May 2014.

What you did say was that I would be sent an email in a few days about a meeting coming up to discuss it all.

So no, Sharon, we did not talk “all about it.” Later that day I asked my next-door neighbor, Marcus [Williamson], and your next-door neighbor, Karen [Rochford], if they knew anything about a petition, but neither of them had heard anything. It seems that many of us were kept in the dark for 4½ months.

In your comment you also wrote, “We didn’t feel a need to try to convince anyone to change their mind.” But providing information to someone does not equate to trying to persuade someone.

Because these changes will impact the usefulness of the frontage I now enjoy, and cost me a substantial amount of money, I had the right to all this information. I had a right to be given this information in a timely manner. All the neighbors had this right. If you didn’t want to talk to me directly, then you and Donna could have, and should have, sent me—and all of us—an email including this information, with a copy of the Petition attached. But you chose not to do this.

Affidavit of Karen Rochford

NOTE:  The original signed and notarized Affidavit is housed in the Office of the City Clerk, City of Raleigh. It is dated January 27, 2016.

.  .  .  .  .  .

State of North Carolina
County of Wake
BEFORE ME, the undersigned Notary, ______________________________________________ , on this ___________ day of January, 2016, personally appeared Karen Rochford, known to me to be a credible person and of lawful age, who being by me first duly sworn, on her oath, deposes and says:

I was asked to submit a summary of the interaction that I had when the petitioner and her sister conducted door-to-door visits soliciting signatures for the Lorimer Road project. Below is what I recall:

I was unable to attend the ONE meeting that was scheduled, very last minute, for April 1, 2015, to address the petition for Lorimer Road ‘improvements’. Donna Burford, the petitioner and Sharon Mixon, her sister, visited my home a day or two later. They provided me with the paperwork that they had handed out at the meeting and were eager for me to sign the petition. They said that there was no reason that the neighborhood couldn’t work through this together and get along [which I thought was a rather odd & defensive way to approach a conversation].

I had a number of questions and our dialogue went, although not verbatim, as follows:

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