Letters, July 26
Editorial was unfair
To the editor:
The editorial Monday taking Rep Michele Presnell to task for doing her job was unfair to her and to those who oppose the annexation process regarding over 800 privately owned parcels at the Lake Junaluska community. Rep Presnell has every right to raise questions in her capacity as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives and in fact that is a basic part of her job. Sometimes the questions raised by a single person become the prevailing position of the body as demonstrated in "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" which was a movie that many would like to see played out in today's Washington DC.
The criticism of Rep Presnell is founded on the assumption that a majority of the 800 plus land owners favor annexation. That statement has been repeated over and over again by those moving for the lake to become part of the town. There was a survey (not a vote) where 811 surveys were sent out and 492 returned. Adding the total numbers of responses to the various array of options equals 1,381 responses from 492 questionnaires for an average of almost three selections per response form. There has never been an up or down VOTE on annexation.
The survey was to be a preliminary indication of interest in what to PURSUE. The options were to "Remain Unincorporated", "Pursue Incorporation", or "Pursue Annexation." It seems like the survey allowed/invited people to respond multiple times which they did producing almost three times as many preferences voiced to the number of survey forms returned. The survey is no substitute for authority to speak for property owners ... neither the town or the few from the Lake have such authority.
The survey was never advertised to be a vote on Annexation --instead, it was merely stated to be a preference survey, the results of which would be presented to the LJA Board of Directors. All agree that the board has no authority to speak on behalf of the property owners.
One question that remains unanswered is why the town and the few from the Lake wanting annexation do not follow the statutory method of annexation ? Land owners are entitled to the protection of the laws of North Carolina regarding annexation. If those wanting annexation do not like the laws in their present form then take it up with the entire legislature in a democratic forum.
One final note >> the editorial way over states the power of one legislator in Raleigh. The Bill was probably pulled because the annexation team read the tea leaves and knew their bill was probably going to be voted down in the House Finance Committee last week. The editorial charges Rep Presnell of using her voice "...in a clueless way to represent her personal views..." The statement must be read to unfairly condemn the entire legislative process and more directly the House Finance Committee of which Rep Presnell is not a member. The editorial is an insult to every member of that committee.
Sometimes criticism reflects more on the one making the critical remarks. Many of us feel that the editorial represents such a situation. Rep Presnell was doing her job and based on the results of her assistance in bringing the true situation re annexation of the Lake to the House, she did a very good job. In the end the facts presented were considered and those facts carried the day as should be the case in a legislative body.
Walter Logan and Chris Derrick