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Trouble – Right Here in River City

We’ve got trouble with a capital, “T,” Right here in River City. Yes, we have trouble in this great community of old and new neighborhoods. This great community founded on the banks of the Catawba River is being hustled by the real estate grifters that frequent the hallways and backrooms of our formerly beloved, City of Charlotte.

I say your young men’ll be frittering! Frittering away their noontime, suppertime, chore time, too.”

We’ve got trouble with a capital, “T,” because we are not being treated equally by said beloved city. They aren’t listening to us as we complain about snarled traffic, discarded homes, and crime. There was a time when what is happening to us was called “taxation without representation”. Trouble. Trouble. Trouble.

We’ve got taxes with a capital “T,” property values are now so high that those who own a few acres of land are being faced with hard choices about their lives and their land. Not to mention, we are still paying for a new arena that was voted down on our side of town… I learned this was taxation without representation in an elementary school history class.

Each day we fight traffic to get where we are going…as cars creep along our main traffic arteries: Mt. Holly-Huntersville Rd, Belhaven Blvd., Brookshire Blvd., and Rozzelles Ferry Road are like a gigantic centipede with crossed legs. We’ve got traffic with a capital “T.” And, the city has assured us that there is no solution to this problem in sight; especially with the opening of I-485 and the Mountain Island Promenade to be built on the east corner of the crossroads of Mt. Holly-Huntersville Rd. Trouble. Trouble.

We’ve got crime. Crime with a capital, “C.” A member of Cook’s Memorial Church told me last week that if you put flowers on a grave in the graveyard behind the church they will be quickly destroyed or sitting on someone’s dinner table by sunset.

We suddenly have a community of idle young men with too much time on their hands. Harold, the con-artist in the play/movie called, “The Music Man,” said it best:

I say your young men’ll be frittering! Frittering away their noontime, suppertime, chore time, too.”

These young men that fritter their lives away have taken up transgressions of vandalism and burglary upon their neighbors. There is a whole lot of frittering going on in this area.

Crime is so blatant here that the other day, one of our merchants watched from his office window as a young man parked a low-slung dark car beside his truck. The young man opened his back car door and then opened the door to the trunk. Just as the young man began to pilfer from the truck, the owner stepped outside and asked, “What you doing, son?”

“Son” reached in his pocket as if he was about to pull out a gun, but the owner already had a 12-gauge aimed towards the black car. “You ought to just get back in your car and leave peaceably,” the owner suggested. “Son” took his suggestion and backed out of his yard at a high speed.

Local businesses and their customers have been robbed during business hours. Vinnie’s Restaurant has been hit so many times they have lost count. Yet, Charlotte officials see no reason to place a police satellite office in this vicinity.

This previous summer, cars parked during softball games at Coulwood Park were often targeted by thieves. During the opening game in May, there was a heist of large proportions that almost every parked car was broken into…many had their windows smashed with a baseball bat. The robberies continued during softball season.

Home burglaries are common occurrence in this area now. It will take parents working together to turn this problem around. Each neighborhood should have a neighborhood watch program in place. And all parents should be held accountable for the actions of their children.

We have an abundance of affordable homes and affordable multi-family housing. Is it not too much of us to ask Charlotte’s officials for help in the areas of traffic, crime, and housing?

Our community has seen the largest number of foreclosures in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte is currently the number one foreclosure city in the USA) so that makes our little community the foreclosure capital of the United States!!! Something to be proud of…

Our newly built schools are already over crowded. Each day, children are suspended from our local schools for bringing knives and other items of defense to school. Recently, a large shopping center contacted our local schools to ask for the names of students who were active members of gangs.
Let me make this point: our citizens, old and new, are good hardworking people. All of us have once bought a ‘first’ home. Most of these homes were in reasonably priced affordable neighborhoods. We had saved our money and we took pride in our new homes. Still, we were not prey for the mortgage lenders.

There is another line I like in the “The Music Man,” that pretty much sums up how some feel about our side of town. In the movie, a salesman asks Harold Hill, “How far are you going?”

“Where the people are green as the money, friend.” Harold answers.

To those people who look upon the west side of town with greed. Let us tell you now the answer to your requests for more affordable housing and multi-
level apartments is “No,” with a capital “N”. This area has been burned with false promises. We will brook no more lies.

Charlotte’s elected and appointed officials, in my opinion, have pretty much approached our area very similar to how Queen Elizabeth I planned on controlling the rowdy folks of Ireland and the Plantation of Ulster. Back then, the English Royals pitched protestant lowland Scots against the Catholics. We are not dealing with religion factions this time, but we are trying to save a community and its lifestyle from free-for-all growth.

Charlotte is setting neighbor against neighbor while refusing to provide us with a proper, zoned housing diversity. For our area to be dynamic we need a mixture of home types and prices. There is time, very little time, for us to join together and solve what has happened here.

Years ago, the Charlotte officials decided that they could place their need for affordable housing on the west side. We do not need any more affordable housing. This is not a statement of prejudice. It is always a tragedy to place too much of one type of housing in one area.

The most recent reminder of our troubles began when a developer for the empty corner of Brookshire and Mt. Holly-Huntersville called for rezoning that would allow more than the allotted multi-family apartments at the new Mountain Island Promenade. The meeting was held Thursday, January 3 at Holly-Hunter Baptist Church. Approximately seventy-five neighbors were in attendance and no one left happy. In fact, they left confused and from emails I have read from the developer to members of MINO (Mt. Island Neighbor Organization)…they are back-tracking on what they supposedly said at the meeting.

The meeting itself was unexpected since we were under the impression that an agreement had already been reached as to how many apartments would be built at this site. We never seem to be able to fight a battle just once because the developer usually returns with another proposal that will put more green in their pockets.

Simply stated, what has happened in this community since the turn of the 21st century is unacceptable. Old and new neighbors have attended meetings over and over, again and again, where our concerns about traffic and crime were basically ignored. Eight years ago, the officials of the semi-world class City of Charlotte thought they had struck gold on this west side of town.

Today, our community has a reputation of high foreclosures, high crime, and a declining value of our schools. Everything is connected. Charlotte officials and many others have had a negative impact on our property values and on our quality of life.

It is time to protect our neighborhoods. It is time to say, “No, bring us diversity in housing prices.” Tell them loudly and often, that we do not want any more trouble in River City. We do not need any more multi-family complexes. Tell them that we won’t be lied to anymore. Invite them to sit in the car in front of us or behind during rush hour. Tell them to bring snacks.

Let’s deliver the message with trombones, telephones, snail mail and email. We all want to live safely among ourselves. Before our property values flat line, it is time for old and new neighbors to band together; to turn around our neighborhoods. All we ask is that neighbors and neighbors alike honor each other. A few cannot accomplish this goal. If you live here now, whether you live at Overlook, Riverbend, Chastain, rental apartments or subsidized housing. Welcome. Most of us live in relatively new homes that we should take pride in maintaining. We are very fortunate. We are all neighbors, now, and we ask all to share in the responsibility of caring for this good place. It will take all of us to accomplish this goal. Join in the project. If we know our neighbors we are less likely to distrust them. You are us. Together we are strong. Together we can make a difference. If you would like to get involved contact the Mt. Island Neighbor Association (MIN0) at MiNO –
Mountain Island Neighborhoods Organization. We should all join this association.

  • Mayor Patrick L. McCrory (Republican)
    Duke Energy
    422 S. Church Street
    Charlotte, NC 28242-0001
    Telephone: (704) 382-1228
    *Government Center
    600 East Fourth Street
    Charlotte, NC 28202-2244
    Telephone: (704) 336-2241Fax:
    (704) 336-3097
    [email protected]
    Home:
    1963 Maryland Avenue
    Charlotte, NC 28209
    Tel. (704) 344-0484
  • Mayor Pro Tem Susan Burgess (Democrat)
    [email protected]
    *1333 Carlton Avenue
    Charlotte, NC 28203
    Tel. (704)333-2874
    Fax: (704)333-2870
  • Anthony Foxx, City Council At-Large (Democrat)
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *705 E. 10th Street
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    Tel. (704) 376-1913
    Fax: (704) 376-1987
  • John Lassiter, City Council At-Large (Republican)
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *2632 Winding Oak Drive
    Charlotte, NC 28270
    Tel. (704) 542-1426
    Fax: (704) 343-0211
  • Edwin B. Peacock III, At-Large (Republican)
    *The Pomfret Financial Co., Inc.
    1115 E. Morehead Street
    Charlotte, NC 28204
    Telephone: (704) 347-1080, Ext. 13
    [email protected]
  • Patsy B. Kinsey, District 1 (Democrat)
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *2334 Greenway Avenue
    Charlotte, NC 28204
    Tel. (704) 376-5367
    Fax (704) 336-6644
  • James E. Mitchell, Jr., District 2 (Democrat)
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *3425 Valerie Drive
    Charlotte, NC 28216
    Tel. (704) 398-9480
    Cell (704) 577-3349
    Fax (704) 398-9479
  • Warren Turner, District 3 (Democrat)
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *PO Box 35465
    Charlotte, NC 28231
    Tel. (704) 713-0452
    Fax (704) 588-4909
  • Michael Barnes, District 4 (Democrat)
    1909 J.N Pease Place, Suite 202
    Charlotte, NC 28262
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *600 E. 4th Street,
    Charlotte, NC 28202
    Tel. (704) 509-6141
    Fax: (704) 509-6535

  • Nancy G. Carter, District 5 (Democrat)
    Telephone *(704) 336-3431
    [email protected]
    [email protected]
    Home:1401 Cavendish Court
    Charlotte, NC 28211
    Tel. (704) 336-3431
    Fax: (704) 770-0189
  • Andy Dulin, District 6 (Republican)
    [email protected]
    Home:
    *3200 Wickersham Rd.
    Charlotte, NC 28211
    Tel. (704) 968-8776
    Fax: (704) 336-6644
  • Warren Cooksey, District 7 (Republican)
    [email protected]
    4025 Dunbritton Lane, #607
    Charlotte, NC 28277
    Tel. (704) 347-0420
    Fax: (704) 336-6644

*Preferred Contact

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