Dear Mayor Baldwin and City Council Members,

We are not living in “business as usual” times.

On the City website, a notice has been posted to hold a “virtual” City Council meeting on April 7th where there will be “public comment” allowed so we can continue to move forward with development projects currently under consideration. On behalf of Livable Raleigh, let me be the first to go on record and say that this is a preposterous idea on so many levels!

  1. The residents of Raleigh are focused on SURVIVAL, not on development projects. ALL of the development projects and other projects need to be re-evaluated after the Covid-19 crisis has passed because economic conditions will have changed. For this reason alone, you should cancel all city council meetings at least through the end of May.
  2. A “virtual” meeting sounds like it is inclusive, but in fact, it is not. It is exclusive to those who can get access and who will have the courage to go before a camera to speak. Neither of these barriers will be easily crossed – and certainly not before April 7th.

The City Council traditionally does not schedule meetings in July or August. Doesn’t it make sense to instead refrain from holding meetings in April and May and plan to use July and August to catch up, hopefully after the worst of the crisis is behind us? Let your constituents focus now on more urgent priorities related to health and economic survival.

If you really insist on conducting city business in the midst of this crisis, may I suggest you concentrate your time and effort on figuring out a creative way to help the people of Raleigh who are suffering because they have lost their jobs or are about to lose their small businesses and who are most vulnerable? Doing good for these people will actually be an accomplishment for you and the Council to be proud of.

Susan Maruyama
Chair, Livable Raleigh