Huntersville: Widen I-77 Tells “Outright Lies”
At last night’s board meeting in Huntersville a packed house witnessed the bizarre spectacle of a majority of Commissioners and the Mayor venting their hatred of a citizen’s group.
Perhaps no charge was more damning (as well as flat wrong) than Commissioner Sarah MacAulay’s accusation that Widen I-77 members are “accepting private and public donations” so we can “line our private campaign coffers when we run for office in November.”
For the record, Widen I-77 is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt organization subject to IRS reporting requirements We are barred by federal law from participating in electioneering activities. Further, in the interest of full disclosure, one board member, Mark Gibbons, has announced his candidacy for Huntersville Commissioner. Widen I-77 has in no way participated in his campaign efforts.
MacAulay also relayed a threatening phone message she received at home. She accused Widen I-77 of leaving the message, left by a “man with a deep voice and a lisp,” saying “the anti-toll group has invaded my private space.”
For the record, no person in Widen I-77 fits that description. Further, we condemn such action and fully support law enforcement efforts to find the perpetrator.
Commissioner Ron Julian accused Widen I-77 of telling “outright lies.” When confronted after the meeting Julian was unable to provide any examples to back up his claim. We challenged him to go through our records and find such examples which he said he would do. We look forward to the results of his research.
Commissioner Jeff Neely said he “does not respond to threats” and that “real leaders listen.” He is under the impression the toll lane project will be completed by 2018. Neely is apparently unaware of last week’s meeting in Davidson where NCDOT let slip that construction will not begin in earnest until Spring 2016. The eight month delay, added to the 43 month construction period, means the toll project will most likely not be completed until 2020.
When a Widen I-77 member standing in the back of the room shook his head at Neely’s incorrect statement, Neely angrily pointed a finger and said “I see you in the back shaking your head Mr Mooresville!”
Mayor Swain said the “radical anti-toll group” has spread vast amounts of misinformation. In addition she accused us of sending threatening emails and phone calls.
Widen I-77 condemns such actions and denies making them.
Swain repeatedly told citizens to remain respectful, and that we need to work together.
Commissioner Kidwell put forward a strong anti-toll resolution and was supported by Commissioner Phillips. Julian introduced a weaker resolution which ultimately passed 4-2, with Kidwell and Phillips in opposition.
Commissioner Melinda Bales stated she was against tolls and voted for the weaker resolution.
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