Letters to the editor
A blow to Durham, state
Thursday’s N.C. House vote on SB315 compromises local autonomy statewide and Durham’s vision of its own future.
Forcing Durham to extend utilities to and annex the mega 751 South project at the county border doesn’t change the facts: The City Council rejected the project three times in the last five years because the majority of Durham voters said it was too dense and in the wrong place. It may be a model for a whole new town somewhere, but it’s contrary to where Durham taxpayers want their resources focused and its 1,300 houses, 600,000 square feet of commercial space and 81 acres of paved streets and parking lots will drain toxins into adjacent Jordan Lake — water supply for 500,000 and recreation venue for at least three counties.
Being defeatist or equivocal l-- like one of our Democratic Senators was in the critical House vote -- is not the answer to defending Durham. Jobs -- of course, what every developer promises -- was the legislators’ key spoken justification for overriding Durham’s will. Political power -- Republican majority – and the personal ambition and connections of the bill’s driver –who lives 150 miles from Durham -- made themselves evident too.
The irony is that the week it dealt a blow to the authority of local government for all North Carolina’s municipalities in favor of a project that claims to be a silver bullet for Durham’s jobless, the General Assembly made North Carolina the first state to drop federal jobless funds.
Project a cancer
"The end of Democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when the government falls into the hands of the banks and corporations."
--- Thomas Jefferson, 1813
In only the most recent iteration of corporate interests superseding those of the people, the N.C. General Assembly has again proven Jefferson prescient.
The people of Durham have said repeatedly we do not wish to harm a sensitive wetland that people and critters depend upon. The people of Durham have decided through our local government not to invest millions of our city tax dollars in a questionable development scheme. With the notable exception of state Sen. Floyd McKissick, the entire Durham delegation rejects this plot to subvert the will of the people of Durham. It should therefore not be the business of the State of North Carolina to ignore the desires of the people of Durham and instead cater to the wishes of the corporate owners of two other failed development projects.
Developer Alex Mitchell was quoted in The Herald-Sun as saying the dispute is "...simply growth versus no growth" and is "...not about any logical issue."
The “logical issue” is that Mitchell’s version of growth is more akin to the growth that is cancer than to sensible, well-planned and properly regulated development. South Durham Development and its 751 South project is a cancer that the taxpayers of Durham will be forced against their will to pay for and also to live with for a long, long time.