The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition gives voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition gives voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices

Kudos to the Wake County Housing Justice Coalition (WCHJC) for their Virtual Public Forum on November 23, lifting the voices of those who would be most impacted by John Kane‘s Downtown South project.

With the decline in local, independent investigative news reporting, the Coalition has stepped into the role of giving voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices driven by Baldwin, her Council cohorts and their wealthy development donors

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition has stepped into the role of giving voice to Raleigh residents threatened by a perfect storm of pandemic-magnified racial, environmental and economic injustices

The Coalition’s Monday night forum was attended by more than 100 impacted and concerned residents, making it larger by far than any city or developer-sponsored zoning session. Attendees included members of prominent faith organizations, environmental organizations and impacted neighborhoods, especially those threatened by rapidly increasing gentrification, flooding and other systemic racial and economic disparities.

The speakers were joined by one Councilor and offered a strong vision for equitable prosperity for all, where a successful Downtown South project begins with the voices of the public in determining what is truly “in the public interest.” That means balancing Council’s valuable grant of zoning development entitlements with equally valuable community benefits, including Affordable Housing, eliminating flooding and providing the kinds of community-serving institutions and businesses that strengthen and revitalize existing neighborhoods rather than simply erasing them in a flood of 40-story sports and entertainment profits for the already-wealthy.

The full Virtual Public Forum video is available at the Wake County Housing Justice Coalition’s Facebook Page, along with a recap of community comments and the results of polling conducted during the meeting.   


A pattern of silencing community voices

The Wake County Housing Justice Coalition‘s efforts are especially important since Mayor Baldwin and her pro-growth Councilors, in their rush to approve Kane’s largest ever development in Raleigh, have made no attempt to invite the voices of the people. Instead, Council has again sent the fox into the henhouse, with Kane‘s development team controlling who will be heard and imposing an artificial deadline designed to let the clock run out on negotiations. 

This is the latest example of how this Council has consistently rewritten zoning review rules to silence community voices in favor of development profits: In February, the new Council planned in secret and voted without public notice or public input to defund Raleigh’s Citizens Advisory Councils (CACs). Council replaced the community run CAC review of upzoning cases with a developer run process, held out of public view, at a time and place decided by the developer, and with the community’s independent vote replaced by a sanitized developer report to Council.

Want to know more about Kane’s $300M+ stadium subsidy or the Planning Commission’s courageous efforts to make the Downtown South proposal comply with Raleigh’s own strategic growth goals?  Read more Livable Raleigh Blogs HERE.