Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Update on Annexation Committee Meetings

Today was the second meeting of the Study Committee. It was quite interesting and a review will be coming soon. The following is a recap of the January 30th meeting.

You can view the entire January 30th meeting by going to the StopNCAnnexation website. There are also video files of citizens who made comments to the committee after the meeting.

The number of citizens who attended this committee meeting was close to 60 or better. There were representatives from the coast to the mountains at the meeting. Not just current victims, but plenty of victims from past annexations. The annexation warriors from Wilmington came and spoke to the committee. Cumberland Co and Forsyth Co. victims also attended.
These past annexation stories are important to this discussion as much as the current battles.

This first meeting had one presentation by Prof. David Lawrence of the UNC School of Government. He basically explained NC Annexation law "from the book"....the books that he wrote. Nothing really new or surprising to battle scarred veterans of fighting off a nearby municipality. But necessary, as we can't assume that all of the legislators on the committee know quite as much about the annexation laws as they need to for this study.

What made it interesting was the opportunity for committee members to ask Prof. Lawrence questions. With the committee having a larger number of reform minded legislators who have heard your annexation stories (and a 'non-legislator' citizen) than any past study has had, the questions were slightly more challenging for Lawrence. Doug Aitken asked some excellent questions and made some very good points that had Prof. Lawrence admitting to some of the pesky problems with the law that frustrate citizens.
Things like having little standing to challenge the actions of cities and not much better avenues of recourse after the deed is done. The fact that there is "no one minding the store" regarding the annexations that cities initiate was made loud and clear.

The legislators on the committee seem to be genuinely concerned about the misdeeds and shortcomings occuring with the "most liberal annexation laws in the nation".

If you have been a victim of forced annexation and have a horror story to share, do write to your legislator and to all the legislators on the Study Committee.
The committee email contact info is below on a previous post.

Today's meeting had many more presenters, including Mr Ellis Hankins, chief lobbyist for the cities. The video of his presentation will be posted to the SNCA website as soon as I get it. This is a "must see" presentation, but prepare to have your blood pressure rise a bit.

More on the February 13th meeting in the next blog post.
Stay tuned, and start thinking about coming to Raleigh for the upcoming Public Hearing scheduled for April 9th, and on June 4th for the biggest Rally in Raleigh yet!


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