At the end of 2018, I wrote a “Top 8 for 2018” post that included links to the 8 most-viewed blog posts on this site for the calendar year.
I’m a fan of tradition, so here’s your top 9 posts for the year 2019:
9. Cumberland County Commission Districts are Unconstitutional: This post examines the racially gerrymandered nature of Cumberland County’s Commission Districts and discusses recent court opinions that call into question their constitutionality.
In short: The districts are drawn on racial lines without a compelling government justification. They need to be redrawn.
8. Historic Pandering in NC-09 Congressional Race: This post discussed the political history of the Lumbee Tribe and recent Republican gains in Robeson County. It will be interesting to see whether Robeson County supports Trump in the 2020 election.
7. The Case for At-Large Seats – Fayetteville City Council: I wrote this one after abysmal turnout in last year’s municipal elections. Fayetteville’s City Council Districts chop the City into 9 in-congruent parts. At-large seats would give Fayetteville voters the ability to choose more than one member of their city council and would create council members accountable to the entire city, not “their” particular districts:
“Council members have an incentive to look after “theirs” without regard to the needs of those in other districts or the city as a whole. As it stands today, the Mayor is currently the only decision-maker on Hay Street that is accountable to all of us. “
6. The Giving Trees of Fayetteville: This post analyzed the controversy over the City Council lowering fines for cutting down large trees in town. I pointed out a mistake in the Fayetteville Observer’s coverage of the issue and took the position that the fines were excessive, angering some of my readership.
5. When the Law Says it All: This post examines the legality of Fayetteville’s Downtown Development Project (a parking deck) under the North Carolina Statutes governing these projects.
Facility for a public purpose??? You be the judge…if the deck ever opens.
4. Dirty Bucks and Studies (Downtown Fayetteville): In this post I compared the parking infrastructure problems in downtown Fayetteville to the shoes I used to wear to church as a young man.
You also have the double entendre of “dirty” money in politics. I had fun writing it.
3. Prince Charles Holdings Under Scrutiny: This one discussed the News and Observer’s investigation into Fayetteville’s downtown development partners:
Readers of this site know I’ve been critical of the parking deck deal with Prince Charles Holdings for well over a year. I don’t believe it is a good allocation of tax payer resources, and it arguably violates the public purpose requirement of the North Carolina Constitution. In short, it’s an economic windfall for Prince Charles Holdings. But should we be surprised??? These guys literally wrote the book on how to do these deals. Of course they’re going to come out on top.
Today, the massive crane kept lifting steel in the air as construction continued downtown. The stadium should be done in a few months with the parking deck to follow. We seem to be stuck in this deal, despite the cost overruns. It’s going to happen.
In the last analysis, it’s a sad day for the City of Fayetteville when our downtown “business partners” are being exposed in “sunshine week” at the News and Observer.
2. “Write-In” Campaign Gains Traction in City Council Race: This one was a case-study in Fayetteville politics: we often chirp an awful lot about things that don’t really matter. In this case, Mayor Colvin and Val Applewhite helped start the commotion around Dominique Ashley’s write-in campaign for city council. I fell into the trap, as did many others. On election day, Ashley was trounced by the incumbent, Tisha Waddell.
1. Full Court Press Downtown: This post is the culmination of all the problems I’ve had discovering the details of Fayetteville’s downtown development project. The plans for the deal have evolved into some kind of ephemeral legal smoke, and you can’t get a straight answer from anyone that should know what is going on. It’s frustrating, to say the least.
I can honestly tell you (and I hope I’ve gained your trust after these few years) that our City leaders have no idea what’s going on with this deal. Someone else is driving the ship.
In the end, it’s an irresponsible way to play with the full faith and credit of the City of Fayetteville.
I’ll try to keep shining a light in 2020. Maybe we’ll get somewhere.
Thanks for reading.