City of Fayetteville, columnist: state’s annexation law is racist



You know Leftists and bureaucrats have nearly run out of ammo when they let fly with the  ol’ “racism” bomb.

Fayetteville Observer columnist Myron Pitts — a young man in training to be the next Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, seeing a pointy white hood in every caucasian’s back pocket — is suggesting that renters have as much say in annexation debates as property owners.

Pitts and a number of City of Fayetteville officials — many of whom coincidentally are Democrats up for reelection this year — see a racial angle to the new state annexation law, which allows property owners, and not renters, a say on annexation questions:

Should renters get a vote on whether their neighborhood is annexed?

The city of Fayetteville says “yes” and is challenging the state’s new annexation law that lets only property owners decide.

The action is on the federal level and is the latest salvo in the city’s eight-year battle to annex the upscale golf community that is surrounded by the city on three sides.

The new law says residents can avoid annexation by submitting a petition signed by 60 percent of property owners. The Gates Four people are on track to bust that figure wide open, with the period to collect signatures open until Nov. 21.

But in the meantime, both City Attorney Karen McDonald and Mayor Tony Chavonne have sent letters to Chris Herren, chief of the Voting Section, Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department. The letters argue that the annexation petition violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal voting rights.

McDonald wrote that the law’s requirement that a person own property to vote in the petition has a “discriminatory impact on racial minorities. ”

Because of the possibility of discrimination, McDonald wrote, the petition results must be approved by the Justice Department in a preclearance process, similar to how it approves new voting districts.

Okay, Myron.  Tax rates, as well as additional taxes and fees, are typically the major issues in annexation squabbles.  How many of these renters are shouldering the property tax burden for their apartment complexes?  How fair is it for someone – who can pick up leave the neighborhood or city in a year — to be allowed to make a serious decision that will likely have a lifelong effect on his landlord’s wallet?

(Also — are you and your friends at The City suggesting that property ownership is a “white thing”?) 

Pitts’s column also notes the involvement of Fayetteville mayor Tony Chavonne —   a former employee of The Observer and member of the family which owns the paper — who also happens to be up for reelection this year against three primary opponents:

Chavonne’s letter sounded similar themes and noted that the mayor was speaking on behalf of Fayetteville City Council.

This latest move could potentially add more fuel to an already hot debate, particularly now that the issue of race is injected.

Ah, injecting the issue of race.  Now you’re right up Myron’s alley.

Personally, I’m not sure where I am yet on this one – but the points raised by the city are intriguing.

On the one hand, homeowners and other property owners are the ones who’ve invested in the neighborhood.

Balance that against the rights of someone who rents a home; he or she obviously is affected by what happens in the neighborhood, good or bad. This applies to the various municipal services available, from police protection to garbage collection.

If this renter wants services that would result from a city annexation, he or she would have no voice. He would also have no chance to pick the leaders running the city that surrounds his neighborhood on three sides.

What’s obvious is that, even if the law were modified to include renters, Gates Four could raise enough signatures to get out of annexation.

Renters’ rights would come more to the fore in poorer neighborhoods with few property owners.

Renters have the option of picking up and moving if they don’t like their current location.  A property owner has made an expensive, long-term investment that can be positively or negatively affected by forced annexation.

Bureaucrats don’t like the changes because it hurts their ability to gobble up additional revenue when they’ve busted their budgets.  Now they’ve got to actually “sell” annexation to property owners, or live within their means.

Myron and The City need to give it up.  Letting property owners — the people with all the skin in the game — have a say on annexation is the proper, decent, democratic thing to do.