Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grassroots Action Alert!

A very good Bill has been introduced in the House to change the North Carolina Annexation laws and the window of time to get it passed in the House will close soon!
StopNCAnnexation supports the passage of H845 to restore the voice of the property owners. 

Email - CALL ALL House Legislators to ask them to support H845;

"Crossover" deadline for this bill to be the hands of the Senate is May 12th
  • H845 will restore a voice to the property owners being considered for annexation
  • H845 will give property owners relief from the costs of water and sewer infrastructure IF the annexation is successful.

  • H845 will stop all annexations that are now in process and haven't reached final passage of the annexation ordinance.
    Cities across NC are rushing to annex areas before this law passes.
    If you are being annexed or oppose forced annexation,
    call and email the House Legislators today. 
 Visit for more information.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    NC Annexation Laws Hailed? Many Do NOT!

    You can tell the NCLM is getting desperate and are calling on their buddies at the newspapers.
    The N&O went beyond the size of their typical "editorial" and gave this opinion piece lots of space:

    'Many hail North Carolina annexation law'

    I faxed the following rebuttal to the News & Observer the very same day, and followed up with an email.
    I wasn't holding my breath waiting for them to publish what I had to say in response.
    As expected, the N&O declined to publish the counterpoint and published few LTE in response either. I'm betting they heard from plenty of people from across the State, but the paper apparently decided to ignore them.

    'Many Do Not' !!

    by Catherine Heath for StopNCAnnexation

    The March 27th article about the debate over FORCED annexation reads like an opinion piece rather than an unbiased report on the facts behind the debate over forced annexation going on the Legislature.

    Where are the quotes from the credentialed researchers and policy experts who have refuted the theory being promoted by David Rusk in his books? Who is David Rusk, other than a former Mayor of Albuquerque, NM who happens to have written some books that support the view of those promoting the creation of “City-States”? Rusk is the darling of those who oppose smaller scale local governments that are closer to and more responsive to the people they serve; a model of public choice found to be more efficient, according to the Nobel Prize winning research of Elinor Ostrom*. 

    Rather than lead the reader to simply accept the opinion of Mr. Rusk as the last word on the rightness or wrongness of allowing North Carolina municipalities to force landowners into the city limits, the reader should have been given the opportunity to hear from those who have examined Mr. Rusk’s theory and found it wanting. Wendell Cox, Stephan Hayward, Randal O’Toole and Howard Husock have all quite thoroughly rebutted the theory espoused by Mr. Rusk*. To exclude the criticisms of Rusk’s theory while devoting much ink to what Rusk has to say shows the bias of the writer of the article. 

    There was plenty of space to include some local policy experts like Daren Bakst and Michael Sanera at the John Locke Foundation who have published papers critical of the practice of forced annexation. Instead, the abundance of space in the article was given to the opinions of a former Mayor and to the chief lobbyist for NC municipalities. This kind of one-sidedness gives the reader the impression that the debate is settled and the published opinions are fact. 

    Where are the actual facts about cities that have great credit ratings in States without FORCED annexation? They do exist, but you wouldn’t think so after reading this article. The article seems to want the reader to believe they will witness scenes of desolation straight out of an apocalyptic movie if they venture beyond the borders of NC. There are other factors that contributed to the success of NC metropolitan areas that have nothing to do with credit ratings or forced annexation.

    Why does this article devote so much space to the opinions of tax funded lobbyists for the municipalities? These lobbyists have enjoyed ‘red carpet’ treatment at the GA and honed their lobbying skills in the “pay to play” culture recently exposed by scandal and Federal arrests. The citizens taking their grievances to Raleigh have witnessed the arrogance of the city lobbyists at the General Assembly. These citizens who traveled to the Legislature, time and again found themselves shut out of the debate while watching these tax funded lobbyists for the cities walk in and say “jump” with too many Legislators responding, “How high?”

    Another fact missing is that the anger from citizens across the State has been ongoing for decades and has been coming from Democrats, Independents, and Republicans alike. Restoring the voice for these property owners has been championed in the Legislature by both Democrats and Republicans. This is ignored in an obvious attempt to dismiss these citizens as a new phenomenon sprouting from a partisan agenda. An unbiased examination of the record and history would show the anger is as old as the law itself and goes beyond party affiliation. 

    The rise of the internet has been useful to the people who have always been out there across the State in opposition to forced annexation. It is not the reason that the anger is there, it is the reason the anger is no longer invisible.  If it has taken the recent political upheaval of the General Assembly due to the recent exposure of corruption we have witnessed to open the door for these citizens to be heard, so be it. The fact that the State has made progress against “Boss Hog” style corruption in government is something that should be celebrated, not bemoaned by anyone who stands in favor of good government. 

    A final note to the writer; it was excellent for you to point out that most of the annexation enabling growth to the cities in NC is done voluntarily. This fact proves the error of the claim that cities in NC would not be able to grow and stay healthy if the Legislature restored the voice of the people to the 9.6% of annexations that are now being forced upon a minority of NC’s property owners.  

    Restoring a voice to these property owners would help prevent municipalities from taking in more than they can adequately serve. The law as it is today tempts city officials to grab for an immediate infusion of property tax revenue even when the long term costs that can be delayed will far outweigh the property tax revenue for many years to come. That is the economic reality that saved my neighborhood from being forcibly annexed so far. Too many cities ignore that reality because the temptation is too great. Fayetteville is an excellent example of a city biting off more than it can chew simply “because it can” with the laws we have today. 

    It is time to look beyond the rhetoric and restore the checks and balances that promote good government to this segment of North Carolina law.   

    Catherine Heath
    StopNCAnnexation Coalition
    Wake Co. NC

    Elinor Ostrom: *
    Rusk refuted: *