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WidenI77.org to MUMPO: “Let Us Speak”

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In a letter emailed Monday to voting members of the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO) and the local media, the citizen’s group widenI77.org urged MUMPO to allow them to present a 30 minute presentation explaining why HOT lanes are the wrong way to widen I-77 at their next meeting on Wednesday, April 17th.  Here is a copy of the letter, written by WidenI77.org volunteer Sharon Hudson to Robert Cook, MUMPO Secretary.

Hello Mr. Cook,

I hope you are well.

As we discussed this past Tuesday, April 9, WidenI77.org would like to reserve thirty minutes on the agenda for the upcoming MUMPO meeting on Wednesday, April 17, 2013.

I previously requested this in writing and verbally during the citizen comment period at the MUMPO meeting last month. I have attached that request for you to review.

I understand from that phone conversation on Tuesday that you and Commissioner McAulay would like to limit us to 10 minutes during the citizen comment period, plus five minutes for Q. and A. Unfortunately due to the nature of our presentation that is not satisfactory. Ms. McAulay has seen Kurt Naas’s presentation before at the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, and so she will understand that it is not possible for us to present our case in the time you have offered.

Mr. Cook, adding HOT lanes to I-77 is one of the most important decisions impacting our region since Lake Norman was created. It will affect us for generations to come. Surely giving us thirty minutes on the agenda when compared to a fifty year contract is not asking too much?

As I stated at the February MUMPO meeting, if members of the MUMPO board have not seen Mr. Naas’s presentation, and most of them have not, then they have only heard the sales pitch from HOT lane proponents. They have not heard a citizen’s point of view.

Jordan Shaw, a spokesman for N.C. Speaker Thom Tillis, said recently that, “Speaker Tillis is supportive of the conversation that this has started because it’s an important issue.” Let’s have a conversation. So far it has been a monologue.

Speaker Tillis has also stated that the decision regarding HOT lanes rests with MUMPO, and not with the General Assembly. That means that all MUMPO representatives, and all of the town and city boards who direct the votes for those representatives, will be held accountable for approving what will be a terribly unpopular decision. If I were them I would insist on hearing all pertinent information available before casting a vote in favor of HOT lanes.

Here is a link to the “Myths and Facts” section of our web site, wideni77.org. You will not hear any of this from the presentations by consultants and other boards paid to sell the HOT lane plan. http://wideni77.org/myths-facts/   Also note the section on “Elected Officials” We will be keeping track of those who support HOT lanes.

Here is another link to a story which appeared today in the Charlotte Observer. Other organizations have noted that WidenI77.org has not been allowed to present our side of the issue at any of the town sponsored forums. If the current plan is so great, what are you afraid of?

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/04/15/3983530/charlotte-tea-party-urges-alternatives.html

Mr. Cook, I am respectfully asking again that Kurt Naas and widenI77.org be permitted to give a thirty minute presentation at the April 17 MUMPO meeting. The vote on HOT lanes is scheduled to take place shortly after that in all of the towns, and is scheduled to be voted on with directed votes during the May MUMPO meeting. This is our last chance to present to the board before these deadlines.

I am also copying in the boards involved. My hope is that they will contact you and Commissioner McAulay and ask that wideni77.org be allowed the full thirty minutes on the April 17th meeting agenda.

Best regards,

Sharon Hudson

Volunteer, WidenI77.org

Here is the text of the letter that was attached. This was read at the previous MUMPO meeting in March by Ms. Hudson during the citizen comment period:

Hello,

My name is Sharon Hudson and I am a resident of Huntersville. I and many other citizens are not happy with the plan to build HOT lanes along I-77 in the Lake Norman area. The more we learn about HOT lanes, the more we realize that they will not relieve traffic congestion, nor are they designed to.

They are in fact designed to change our behavior, to get us out of our cars, and to force us into mass transit. But the true role of Government is to provide the electorate with things that we want, (like general purpose lanes) not to modify our behavior to act the way the government wants us to.

We have respectfully shared with our elected officials that we do not want HOT lanes. We have asked to work with you to come up with better solutions, we have asked to be heard.

Instead, we (the public) have been shut out of information meetings. We have been segregated at presentations, and we have not been given the opportunity to voice our opinions. We have been told it is a “done deal”, even though no contract has been signed. You are ignoring us, hoping the clock will run out.

“Whenever someone tells you the debate is over, it is a sure sign that the debate is not over, but that they are deathly afraid that the debate might begin,” – Eric Metaxas.

I am asking that you make time in your next meeting to hear a thirty minute presentation by Kurt Naas of WidenI77.org  on why Hot Lanes are the wrong way to widen I-77. I am asking that we be heard.

Thank you

Sharon Hudson

Volunteer, WidenI77.org

Wideni77@hotmail.com

 

Whether you want HOT lanes on I-77 or not, I hope you will agree that it is important for citizens to have a voice. What we have seen repeatedly during the past three months is a system designed to keep anyone who disagrees with the status quo from sharing their opinion. There has not been a single town-hall-styled meeting to ask citizens what they want. Every government-led meeting has been used to divide and conquer, to make fun of dissenters, and to shut them up. It is insulting and disgraceful the way the public has been segregated at presentations. If they will do this to one group, they will do it to you. Help widenI77.org in their fight to be heard. Email your MUMPO representative and ask that widenI77.org be allowed to present their information at the meeting this Wednesday night April 17th. You can find their email address here: http://www.mumpo.org/about-us/mpo-members

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