Three years ago, on February 4, 2020, the previous Raleigh City Council voted to defund Raleigh’s historic Citizen Advisory Councils. As most of you know, the item wasn’t on the agenda, was not discussed or debated in public, and was in fact kept secret from one of the other Council members.
Their reasons for withdrawing support were all bogus; the real reason was that developers didn’t like having to interact with residents who wanted to have some input into what was happening in their communities. And, despite the reservations of the development community, the vast majority of rezoning requests were made better through CAC discussion and were ultimately approved with resulting community benefits.
A number of CACs have continued meeting these past three years despite the lack of City support and have helped facilitate communication between City residents and City government on a variety of topics, including rezonings. But, unfortunately the most vulnerable neighborhoods have not had the resources to continue operating, so the City in effect disenfranchised them.
In the three years since their abominable vote, the City has continually promised to bring forth new and revolutionary citizen engagement opportunities. We’re still waiting.
But now we have some reason for hope. With your help, four new council members were elected in November who value restoration of community engagement as a high priority.
We encourage you to reach out to the entire council (CityCouncilors@RaleighNC.gov) and let them know you want CACs to have immediate and free access to community centers for their meetings, along with access to video equipment and the City’s Zoom account.
Livable Raleigh Editorial Team
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