Community Politics

The board uses lies and half-truths to justify bad behavior

During the February 18th meeting, the Commissioners spent a great deal of time discussing veteran issues.  Again.  Specifically Commissioner Mike Mitchell addressed my February 7th article ‘Mitchell launches new attack on veterans’.  (Link)

MM – “I take exception to this article.  Never at any point did I separate any discussion on the veteran committee.  I talked about all of the committees as a whole.  Um, if you study good governance by the N.C. Center for Non-profit Organizations they dictate one of the qualifications to even get grant money is that you don’t have related parties on same committees or boards.  That lends itself to too much power to one couple.”

The Veteran Affairs Commission hasn’t and doesn’t plan to solicit grants.  This point isn’t relevant.

MM – “It was mentioned somewhere that the board, that committees are made up of 7 members, but  as you all know a quorum is 4 members and many times we only have 4 members attend committee meetings and if you have a married couple, then you have 50% of the vote and um, I’ll just call it out…at parks and recreation we had a problem 2 years ago – we had a power struggle on the parks and recreation committee.  It didn’t fare well, um it caused a lot of dissension.  I ended up taking over as the Chair of Parks and Recreation because we had a lot of issues from the married couple.  For right, wrong or indifferent that’s what happened.”

There are two key issues here….

1.  Mitchell’s point is ONLY valid if the governing board makes the assumption that a married couple cannot and will not think for themselves, but will function as one unit.  Jim and I don’t agree on everything.  He’s excited to see a Woodpecker’s game and I feel the entire franchise was a betrayal, by the Fayetteville leadership, of the existing franchise…the Swampdogs.  I swore to never set foot in the stadium as an act of solidarity with the Swampdogs…while Jim is busy studying the blueprints to choose the best possible seats.  Ya know why?  Because we’re not the same person!  We think independently of one another.  Most married couples do.  And he’s assuming both parts of the couple will be present when there’s only a quorum.  Maybe Jim will get sick…from going to a Woodpecker’s game, and I have to attend a meeting alone.

2. This isn’t true.  The day after the meeting I received several phone calls addressing Mitchell’s statement about the married couple wreaking havoc on the Parks and Recreation committee.  I was aware of this situation because the wife involved told me the entire story in August, but they confirmed it.  There was a married couple on that committee and they did leave, making room for Mitchell to assume the Chairmanship.  But they weren’t fighting with one another.  The entire committee was at odds with the Commissioner serving as liaison.  They agreed, as a board, to resign if the liaison wasn’t replaced with a different commissioner.  Mayor Warner spoke with the liaison who refused to resign.  She didn’t have the authority to force the issue.  One member of the committee resigned on principle prior to any conversation with the Mayor.  Once it became clear the liaison wasn’t going to change, the couple simply quit attending meetings.  Eventually a staff member called them and they confirmed they were both resigning.  Mike Mitchell, who wasn’t a commissioner at the time, assumed the Chair position.  As a member of the committee he should have been aware of the details surrounding this issue.

But it’s irrelevant.  The argument to disallow married couples from serving, was null and void the minute Commissioner Legge said, “What we need to do is concentrate on people that work in harmony with the board.”  And any confusion about where the sentiment came from was cleared up when he added, “I see where Mayor Pro Tem is coming from.”  To be clear, I don’t need to like the Commissioners to serve the veteran community.

MM – “We keep talking about Lone Survivor Foundation and I’m sorry, that property was never for sale.  I would not advise any client to have taken 84,000 with us paying for a Phase II environmental study over property that we know is contaminated, it’s got asphalt laying on it, that’s in the flood zone 20 feet under water, beside a sewer lift station.  I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy and I sure wouldn’t do it to any veteran association.  You should be ashamed that anybody in this town wanted to sell them a piece of crap property like that.”

‘We’ don’t keep talking about Lone Survivor Foundation.  He does.  And the land was for sale as of June 5th when the board instructed staff to contact LSF and make a formal offer.   The asphalt, the sewer lift, and the contamination are all new issues.  It’s been nearly 9 months since LSF approached the board about leasing/buying that land and those issues were never mentioned…until this meeting.  But the really interesting part of his statement is that he manages to flip the script and imply that anyone who supported the sell of that land to LSF should be ashamed of themselves.

MM – “All of these committees serve at the pleasure of the board.  It clearly states this.  Governor Roy Cooper just removed somebody for negative comments in the media.  He just removed Lawana Mayfield for a tweet she sent out because it wasn’t in unison with what the Republican government wanted.  We have the same power to rescind.”

Charlotte City Councilwoman LaWana Mayfield….’made headlines last year for posting a conspiracy theory about the September 11 terrorist attacks in which she questioned whether the fall of the Twin Towers was really caused by hijacked planes. She also tweeted that police officers are “homegrown terrorist (sic) wearing blue uniforms.” (Link)

Cooper appointed Mayfield to the State Human Relations Commission AFTER she tweeted these things.  He reversed the decision a month later, following criticism from state Senate Republicans and the Charlotte Observer editorial board.  Again, not really germaine to the conversation.

MM – “We don’t have to get ripped up week after week in the name of politics.  If you wanna know who my adversaries are – look back to the 2015 campaign and you will see some very ugly gruesome pictures drawn by some of these well-respected citizens that were shared and that kind of politics is still going on today.”

I didn’t draw ‘gruesome’ pictures of Mike Mitchell.  I didn’t draw any pictures.  I’m not even sure how this was relevant.  But he’s right, they don’t have to get ripped up week after week.  And the power to stop it is in their hands.  Stop lying.  Stop manipulating the rules of procedure to award yourselves more money, more power and more control.  Guarantee I never have another bad thing to write about this board.  I would love it.

MM – ‘I also made comments about a particular citizen sitting on the Zoning Board that was suing our town over a zoning issue and I still believe to this day there’s a vendetta against me for making those comments as a regular citizen…enough’s enough!”

I wasn’t aware Mitchell made those comments.  When the minutes from a closed session were released months after the fact (late 2014), everyone knew that Edwin Deavers asked the attorney if they could remove me from the Zoning Board for filing the lawsuit.  The attorney told him they could not.  I didn’t launch a vendetta against Deavers and I certainly haven’t launched a vendetta against Mitchell.  I do think it’s interesting that his first thought, when I call him out for bad behavior, isn’t to amend his behavior, but to accuse me of harboring a five-year grudge.

Commissioner Larson had something to say about the recent commentary from the veteran community.

ML – ‘In respect to this anti-veteran campaign that some have launched on us, um – I haven’t always felt the need to share that I have three nephews that serve, that my uncle died in the war, that my father served, my son is going in. I’m hardly anti-veteran.  I was not in support of LSF on our property.  I was in support of them coming to Hope Mills but not giving our property, um – it’s shameful.   Some of the things that people write.  I showed them to my son who is going into the service and how disgusted he was to read some of those comments.  It’s shameful.  Because I didn’t serve doesn’t make me less of an American.’

Here is another link to the article I posted February 7th.  I NEVER said they were anti-veteran.  I have consistently reported their decisions for nearly nine months.  I provide links to prove every word I say is the truth…and to be fair…you simply have to watch the videos, which I always include, to see for yourself what they’re doing.  They have consistently made decisions which have a detrimental affect on the veteran community.  The veterans notice.  And a great many of them have used social media to voice their  opinions…which is where the anti-veteran sentiment is coming from.  They’ve also started to show up at meetings and address the board during public comments.  It’s ‘shameful’ that a commissioner is condemning the veteran community for trying to defend themselves.

Following their discussion of my articles, they discussed whether or not the Veteran Affairs Commission is a commission or a committee.

Town attorney Dan Hartzog gave a rambling, and conflicting explanation, “I did look into the commissions vs. committee issue on a couple of these (?) and  as I said, I think a couple meetings ago, the primary difference between a commission and a committee is the committee serves, really in an advisory capacity, whereas a commission is created by statute. It has specific designated statutory authority as granted by the Board.  The board could grant certain powers or not – but they’re listed out in the statute, the powers that a commission has.”

To clarify, a commission is only created by a North Carolina General Statute, and that statute would indicate which authority the Board of Commissioners could give to the commission.

“I think what the Veteran Affairs – I think it’s been referred to as a commission over the years and as a committee over the years and I think it’s really a committee rather than a commission, because I didn’t see any statutory authority for a municipality to create a veteran affairs commission as opposed to a committee.” Hartzog continued.

And with that, they effectively turned the Veteran Affairs Commission, as it’s been known for the better part of a decade, into a simple committee.  Stripping away it’s powers.

It’s always been referred to as a commission, and at no point did anyone mention having researched this issue by combing through file cabinets to find paperwork on the committee or by contacting the state or federal offices to inquire if they had paperwork.

Maybe they’re right, the only statute governing a commission in the state of North Carolina…pertains to the Appearance Commission.  And we learned in the February 13 joint meeting between the Historical Preservation Commission and the Board of Commissioners, that their ‘commission’ is not recognized by either state or federal agencies.  Are they also a committee?  Read my next article to learn more about that.

Finally, board voted 3/2 to allow representatives from the local VFW and American Legion to have voting rights on the VAC.

Commissioners Mitchell and Larson voted against it.

I understand after the meeting one of the board members stated  the comments they made were sure to shut me up for good.  Not even close.  This site and the articles I write are a reflection of the board.  When you lie and manipulate truths to support whatever false narrative you’re trying to perpetuate, it will be reflected here.  Never underestimate my ability to find the truth.

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