I think that UNC-TV airs on cable tv across North Carolina.
The Public Hearing was very interesting.
The citizens attending outnumbered the city lobbyists more than 2 to 1.
It was more likely 3:1.
The people who spoke at the hearing did a VERY good job. Many stories detailing abuses of the law, and the citizens affected, highlighted the problems. Very little repetition, just real stories that should make the representatives realize that they need to do something about it.
Everyone was quite professional and respectful. No one brought signs or did anything else disruptive or rowdy. We followed the rules.
Contrary to what was reported in the News & Observer article the following day, the people DID NOT hiss and boo and every Mayor and suit speaking for the cities.
One speaker did get that treatment, and his name is Ellis Hankins, Director of the NCLM.
NO ONE tried to "shout him down". Shame on the N & O.
The League of Municipalities rallied some Mayors and other city officials to show up and get on the list of speakers. They had a briefing at the NCLM office right before the hearing and walked down to the hearing.
Contrary to the rules prohibiting signs in the Legislative Building,the NCLM passed out white baseball hats to the city boosters that said "We love our Cities and Towns" across the front. They sat there wearing them until the Chair told them that they had to take them off.
Signs are not allowed in the building and they knew that.
They made themselves look ridiculous from the start.
Everyone was told to try not to repeat the same stuff over and over, but that is exactly what every City speaker did. They all said the same thing as if they were reading from a script.
Some of them were League officials and paid lobbyists. I don't know why the legislators would allow paid lobbyists to speak at a public hearing.
The citizens were respectful of all the speakers no matter how outrageous the were the things the city boosters said. All except for Ellis Hankins, the Director of the League.
He was one of the final few speakers and shortly after he started speaking, the audience started with low hissing and then some subdued boo-ing. Mr. Hankins wrapped up his comments quickly after that.
Rep Luebke made it clear in the opening remarks that he thought the annexation laws were wonderful. He stated that if the issue were studied, he didn't want the committee to even consider changing forced annexation. Not an encouraging start to the discussion.
In a post hearing TV interview, Rep. Luebke appeared to have a change of heart to some extent. He told the News 14 reporter that he wanted to see someone from the public that is opposed to the annexation laws included in the study committee.
We still don't know if they will even approve the study yet, and if they do, who will have input. We are still a long way from getting any real reform of the law. The study Bill still has to go to the house floor and win approval.
Keep the letters and phone calls to legislators flowing to Raleigh!
Check the StopNCAnnexation website for links to the news reports and keep checking back for updates on the progress of the study.
Thank you for the continued support of the SNCA effort for reform and thanks for all the action taken by everyone!
This issue is clearly going to have to be an issue in the '07 November election.
Only YOU can make that happen.
"It's all about YOU!"