An Open Letter to Kay Crowder

September 1, 2016

Dear Council Member Crowder,

Today marks one year since the City Council’s decision to approve the petition for improvements along Lorimer Road in West Raleigh. As you know, that petition called for a 27’ back-to-back road, a 6’ sidewalk and a 6’ setback. You requested at that meeting that Council reduce the width of the sidewalk to 5′, which it did. The setback, however, remains at 6’.

And that’s why I’m writing today, to appeal to you to follow through on the numerous assurances property owners received: that the setback will be reduced as well. I believe this is a fair and reasonable request, given that residents here were repeatedly told that the setback width could be adjusted — told that by the petitioner, by City staff and by you.

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One Hand Washing the Other?


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Donna Burford, the petitioner, works/worked for Kay Crowder (see screenshot from “Crowder for Council” website, above).

—Should this relationship have been disclosed? Should Crowder have recused herself when Burford—who was working for Crowder at the time—submitted her petition to Council on September 1, 2015? Was the Mayor (who contributed $2,000 to the election committee) and other City Council members aware of this relationship when they made their decision?

[The Committee to Elect Kay Crowder was formed on September 23, 2014.]

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Letter to the Editor, N&O (12/10/2015, Jane Fenn)

This is a Letter to the Editor of the Raleigh News&Observer, submitted by Lorimer Road resident Jane Fenn on December 10, 2015. The letter was never published.

“[On December 1] I attended a City Council meeting as a resident interested in a neighborhood request for changes in a Council action, only to see the elected representative of this neighborhood ignore the presenter [Erin Salmon].  Ms. Crowder and Mayor McFarlane whispered intermittently for the entire three minute presentation.

“If the council maintains a process for citizen redress and then demonstrates by their actions that they don’t take that seriously, democracy is undermined. Are they showing they do not represent all the citizens in their constituencies, only those whose opinions mirror their own?  I do not expect elected representatives to agree with me all the time, but I DO expect that the representatives owe differing opinions respect and consideration.

“Ms. Crowder and Ms. McFarlane claim they respect and will maintain the distinctive character of Raleigh’s diverse neighborhoods while implementing a long-range plan that serves new residential areas well.  However, they did not pay even three minutes’ worth of attention to residents who see their unique neighborhood character being homogenized, retrofitted and shoehorned into the Council’s long-range plan, effected by a street/sidewalk petitioner who doesn’t even live on the street. Residents asked for belated fact-based neighborhood input but were not accorded a true hearing.”

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