Vote Yes Fayetteville finally prevails (we hope)

Publisher’s Pen | Up & Coming Weekly | Volume 27, Issue 36

By Bill Bowman | August 7, 2022

Finally, common sense prevails.

Unfortunately, it had to be mandated by Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons.

Ammons ruled on Sept. 1 that the Vote Yes Fayetteville referendum be put on the November ballot for voters to decide whether or not they want to change the structure of the Fayetteville City Council.

It’s crazy. In my lifetime, I have never seen such aversion and reluctance to allow Americans to vote and have a voice in their government.

However, I do understand human nature, and when unscrupulous people get into positions of power, the only way they can maintain their foothold is to stifle transparency and derail the democratic process.

Unfortunately, Fayetteville’s city government is a textbook example of these shenanigans.

When council members prioritize personal agendas over what is best for citizens, they are stifling this community and suffocating its growth and quality of life.

The Vote Yes referendum is vitally essential to the survival of this community.

Citizens must be allowed to vote on whether or not to break this Council’s cycle of secrecy, incompetence and corruption.

If the Vote Yes Referendum fails after it’s presented on the ballot, so be it. Then we will ultimately get the type of government we deserve.

For those who may have been on Mars for the past year, the Vote Yes Fayetteville initiative changes how our City Council members are elected.

Currently, the Mayor is the only elected official that is elected citywide.

Districts elect the other nine members of the Council.

Vote Yes, if approved, would give Fayetteville voters six votes (four at-large, one precinct vote and one mayor vote) rather than only two.

I’ve always said, “What’s not to like about that?” Six is always better than two, and every citizen gets the same opportunity. Make sense? Fair? Not to those who fear the outcome of a real democracy.
Well, the madness continues. After Judge Ammons announced his ruling, the Fayetteville City Council immediately called an emergency meeting the next day to analyze and discuss the litigation.

After such a logical ruling, one would think the Council would accept the decision and move on to more pressing issues in our community.

Issues like the roving band of downtown vagrants peeing on my office storefront, ravaging my trash dumpster, and turning my parking lot and city sidewalks into a disgusting and embarrassing image of our city.

No. Not this group of ne’re-dowells.

They would lose too much if the people were allowed to vote for competency and transparency.

In a vote of 4 to 3, the Council voted against their own attorney’s advice to appeal Judge Ammons’ decision, all the while clinging to Mitch Colvin’s false narrative that creating at-large districts would dilute representation and create hardships financially for minority candidates.

Well, the Mayor is wrong on both assumptions.

First, at-large members would increase representation (six votes over two votes), and second, Fayetteville’s Black population is no longer the minority — 50% vs. 35%.

In a typical and arrogant motion, with little hope of reversing Ammons’ ruling, Mayor Colvin, Derrick Thompson, D.J. Haire and Mario

Benavente voted to spend $25-30K of taxpayer money in a final desperate attempt to salvage their political futures.

Maybe by the time you read this, the courts will have made their final decision.

Let’s hope so. In the meantime, I want to say “thank you” to the dozens of people who worked diligently getting us this far in the process and the thousands (5,009) of Fayetteville citizens that stepped up and signed the Vote Yes petition in the spirit of freedom and democracy.

Stay tuned, and thank you for reading the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper.

COMMENTS? BILL@upandcomingweekly.com. 910-484-6200.

The original story can be view in Up & Comings Weekly Vol. 27, No. 36.

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