May 26, 2008

Greensboro City Council 2008 Legislative Agenda makes a case for Protest Petitions

On May 7, 2008 at the Greensboro City Council meeting item #42 which was a resolution to approve additional items for the 2008 Legislative Program and requesting support thereof by the Guilford delegation. If you want to watch the video click here , it all starts around the 1:16 point in video.

Before the agenda could get started Trudy Wade made a motion to add this to the agenda,"That the City Charter be amended to provide that the Greensboro City Attorney be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the city council to be it's legal advisor", it was seconded by City Council member Mike Barber.

As you can see that the silence from the City of Greensboro to even bring up Protest Petitions is evident with this motion. Bringing back Protest Petitions to the citizens of Greensboro has been in the spotlight since February plenty of time for the City Council to actually bring this up as a motion or a resolution or an agenda item whatever it takes.

Allen Johnson from the Greensboro News and Record had this to say in his Op-Ed piece on May 25, 2008.

When the local legislators convened to take up the matter on May 15, it still hadn’t heard from the council. As it turns out, the council didn’t say yes or no to the idea. In fact, it didn’t say anything. It just sucked the life out of the bill — at least for now — by sealing its collective lips. “We should have had an open dialogue on the dais about this,” Councilwoman Sandra Anderson Groat said last week.

Please let us know when that open dialogue will occur?

Below is a piece on Ed cone's blog click here
Yvonne Johnson responds to my email query on protest petitions: "I'm still studying this and weighing the pros and cons." She says she's conferring with a lot of people, including "communities" and TREBIC, about Pricey Harrison's bill.
Mar 14, 2008 at 03:36 PM

Is the Mayor still weighing the pros and cons?The silence is deafening

At around the 1:18 mark on video City Council member Mike Barber had this to say, "Well over 100 jurisdictions in North Carolina have their attorney report to the elected body that is the absolute rule 99% only 2 in North Carolina Greensboro and High Point don't.There is a story behind Greensboro changing."

The next quote by City Council member Mike Barber is priceless to the argument for bringing back Protest Petitions to Greensboro. Here is what was said, "Coming in line and being consistent with virtually every jurisdiction in the state of North Carolina".That is what we have been saying since the beginning Mr. Barber. This exemption for Greensboro should have never taken place 37 years ago and now it is time to be consistent with the rest of the state as Mr. Barber has stated.

Now it is time to show you what City Council member Zack Matheny had to say about this, "I have studied this significantly and called David Owens and David Lawrence from the UNC School of Government, their experience through their research to quote them made it worthwhile.Research from David Owens and David Lawrence which I know we depend a lot on in numerous cases. They are considered experts in their field."

Since we now know that David Owens is a expert in his field of work let's see what Mr. Owens has to say about Protest Petitions in the State of North Carolina.

Key Legal Issues
Protest Petitions
David W. Owens, Professor, Institute of Government, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB# 3330, Knapp Building, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, N.C. 27599-3330March 2006

The provision in North Carolina zoning law for a protest petition, G.S. 160A-385(a), is mandatory for cities. The protest petition is available in all cities, whether or not an individual zoning ordinance includes provisions for it. A city may not reduce the required supermajority vote required by local ordinance. Eldridge v. Mangum, 216 N.C. 532, 5 S.E.2d 721 (1939).

As you can see it is mandatory for cities and this exemption for Greensboro should have never taken place. There are many questions to be answered as to why this exemption happened in the first place.I hope that the Greensboro City Council can also see that David Owens is a expert in his field and states that Protest Petitions are mandatory for all cities in North Carolina.

City Council member Sandra Anderson Groat has talked with David Lawrence in the past at length. Maybe she can also talk with David Owens about Protest Petitions.

City Council member Trudy Wade says this,"We are responsible to the citizens". Let's see if you are going to abide by that and be with the citizens or will you take the side of the special interest which in this case is TREBIC.

City Council member Mike Barber at the end of the discussion on the Legislative agenda for short session 2008 had this to say," Let's stick to the facts we can look up, our North Carolina Legislature believes in the ability of local governments to manage our 100 counties up to 8 people. North Carolina General Statutes allow for that, the Legislature believes this is the right way to do it all other municipalities besides High Point around the state are doing this. We are not taking on more responsibility , we are accepting the responsibility we should have never given up."

As you can see from City Council member Mike Barber , there are North Carolina General Statutes that the states have and every other municipality abides by them like in regards to Protest Petitions. He also states that we should never have given away that right. The argument for bringing back Protest Petitions to Greensboro is that this North Carolina General Statute should also have never been given away either.

Since we know now that these 2 issues being city attorney office under the city council and Protest Petitions for the citizens of Greensboro are too controversial in the short session.We also know that the Greensboro City Council passed the city attorney issue with a 5-4 decision at the May 7th meeting.

It is time to see where the City of Greensboro stands on the issue of bringing back Protest Petitions to Greensboro.

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