Friday, March 18, 2011

Wilmington Leaders Cling to Ignorance

The Star News reports that Thursday morning, Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett and Councilman Kevin O'Grady met with Wilmington's local delegation regarding annexation policy; and specifically, the pending forced annexation of the Monkey Junction area.

O'Grady and Padgett announced that the city has spent $700,000 "preparing" the area for annexation; and complained that the state's involvement in stalling or eliminating forced annexations was a threat to that money; and childishly challenged Rep. Danny McComas to pick up the bill if he supports a forced annexation moratorium.

What's astonishing above all else, is that Padgett claimed that the people of Wilmington should be "furious" with the state's actions in finally stopping forced annexation. Nevermind that in the past election, it was Wilmingtonians that swept conservatives into office in Raleigh, who chiefly promised to stop forced annexation. Conveniently forgotten is the fact that nearly all of Monkey Junction's residents either signed petitions, spoke in public against, or a combination of both, in action against being forcefully annexed by the city.

The reaction back in April of 2009 was huge in protest against the city for arrogantly overrunning Monkey Junction with more taxation despite the absence of any representation for those citizens. For the Wilmington City Council to ignore the will of the public, doggedly pursue its own self-serving agenda, and then to complain when the tides shift against them for once - is ridiculous. For Padgett and O'Grady to make a false connection between their will and the will of the people of Wilmington is delusional at best. It is clear that voters turned out in this past election and made a resounding statement against the excesses of government, and against a city who has always taken what it wants at will, without considering those who fall victim.

What O'Grady and Padgett didn't mention is the city's unwillingness to even complete the infrastructure improvements required by law that have still yet to take place form the annexation in the 1990s. The template has been for the city to take unincorporated parts of the county at will, without regard to the residents, without even worrying about completing all improvements required by law, without assessing any real need for annexation from the standpoint of those being annexed, and without any accountability. This has gone on this way for decades, and represents a gross misinterpretation and willing ignorance of the law.

The state of North Carolina allowed forced annexation for the purpose of serving citizens cut off from city infrastructure; citizens with true needs for improvements that only the city could offer. Wilmington stands out as the prime example of a city who has arrogantly enforced its own rules and ignored the law; clearly annexing folks against their will simply for the additional tax revenues that are gained.

It has been a long time coming, and finally the dawn of a new age has taken root in Raleigh. Legislators who largely campaigned on reforming forced annexation in North Carolina were swept into office, as the citizens finally said enough is enough. The $700,000 bill should not go to Rep. McComas for what the city has spent arrogantly and presumptively pursuing the annexation of Monkey Junction - even though it has been stalled in the court system for two years now. That money should be directly billed to the seven tyrannical misfits on city council that ignored everything rational, and everybody involved in selfish pursuit.

It was never guaranteed to go through from the beginning. Yet the self-aggrandizers that sit in their ivory tower at Wilmington City Hall never stopped pursuing their agenda; never stopped spending - never even gave the courts a chance to rule on the matter. They went ahead with their goals, ignoring the will of the people, and ignoring jurisprudence. O'Grady and Padgett were definitely an embarrassment to the people of Wilmington regarding their behavior in Raleigh; with their immature whining over the responsibility for the situation that they themselves got into - despite the voice of the public in outright opposition.

To even have the audacity to think for a second that the blame falls anywhere else for the expense of this money other than City Hall, is delusional at best. The taxpayers of Wilmington deserve better. While O'Grady continues to tote out the well-defeated line that forced annexation keeps taxes low for city residents - history continues to object, and categorically shows this to be untrue. City taxes have gone nowhere but up, and will continue to do so as long as this cabal of disconnected and selfish simpletons have their way.

Will this finally be the year that Wilmington votes in representation that isn't an outright embarrassment to our city?