At a City Council At-Large Candidate Forum held Sept 27, 2022, Councilor Jonathan Melton said “I’ll take ANY contribution” in response to a question about the influence of big real estate developers on Council.
Watch the video here:
We checked. And, what we found was shocking. Yes indeed, he apparently has no moral criteria for who he takes money from. As the documentation below proves, Jonathan Melton has taken campaign cash from BOTH a sexual predator and an Anti-LGBTQ bigot. He’s been questioned about both of these in the past and he is not bothered by them.
You can see an account of the Sexual Predator from the News and Observer here: N&O 2020 Sexual Harassment Report.
You can find the donations from Nolintha on Melton’s Campaign Finance report here: Campaign Disclosure Report. Melton was asked in July, 2020 if he would return the donation from Nolintha.
And, you can see a screenshot from that finance report below.
UPDATE: Councilor Melton has responded on twitter that he made a $1,000 donation to InterAct of Wake County in June 2020. We will accept him at his word on this. Although he did not mention this donation when he was asked in Public Comments at a July 2020 City Council meeting about returning the donation(s) from Nolintha. This takes care of the $1,000 cash contribution. But, it still leaves the $2,500 in-kind contribution from Nolintha outstanding.
If you would like to know even more about Jonathan Melton’s record on City Council, we have re-printed his Report Card here:
Rising Cost of Living
- The cost of gas, food and housing in Raleigh is rising much faster than incomes, forcing families with service wages and fixed incomes out of Raleigh. Since 2019, Melton has raised Raleigh taxes by 22% while increasing Council pay and benefits 82%. 
Civic Engagement & Grassroots Democracy
- Campaigning in 2019, Melton pledged to strengthen Raleigh’s Citizens’ Advisory Councils (CACs).  Once elected, he quickly voted – with no public input – to disband the CACs without any replacement process for citizen input. 
- At a City Council retreat, Melton said Citizen Engagement doesn’t need to be a priority. 
- In one of the most undemocratic moves made by City Council, in addition to moving the October 2021 election to November 2022 and giving themselves an extra year in office, all done with no public input and no public vote, they also changed the format of all future elections to no longer allow a run-off. The top vote-getter wins, no matter what their percentage of the vote is. This favors incumbents. 
Affordable Housing Supply
- Campaigning in 2019, Melton pledged to make it a top priority to increase Raleigh’s supply of affordable housing.  Raleigh is rapidly losing – not gaining – affordable rental housing. Council’s total Affordable Housing production, from all funding sources including the $80M Bond, is fewer than 600 units / year.  Despite losing more than 4,000 affordable units each year, Council policies and rezoning votes overwhelmingly produce high-profit, market rate and luxury units favored by developers.
- Melton changed Raleigh’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) rules to promote profitable short-term rentals over affordable long-term rentals. 
- Campaigning in 2019, Melton pledged to serve the needs of all Raleigh residents.  Since January 2020, he has accepted $79,687 dollars in campaign donations, 70% of his total, from wealthy developers  while approving a lucrative developer tax break program and millions of dollars of high-rise upzonings for his developer donors.  In return for his upzoning largesse, he has negotiated zero affordable housing units benefitting the rest of Raleigh. 
- Unlike truly progressive cities, Melton’s Missing Middle rules actually hurt modest income families two ways: His rules don’t require that added infill density include affordable or accessible units. Instead, his rules promote developer-friendly, maximum-profit units that drive up the cost of all housing and drive modest income families out of town. 
- Melton effectively eliminated residential zoning throughout Raleigh by allowing commercial businesses to operate in residentially zoned neighborhoods. 
- Melton has increased density allowances in neighborhoods without any regard for neighborhood character or the environment. 
- Melton has yet to apologize for his secret vote to extend his own term in office, even after it was criticized by the N&O, State Senators and even Governor Cooper, and was called “deplorable” by clean government experts. 
- Melton has yet to acknowledge that his Council redistricting vote disproportionately reduced the voting power of minority voters, even after he was told by multiple voting rights experts that the city’s process was flawed, and the results were biased against minority voters. 
- Melton has yet to admit his false claim that a dense development he approved on Shelley Lake Park would provide a 200-foot wide undeveloped buffer. (It didn’t.) 
- Melton has yet to return a $2,000 campaign donation from a group profiting from evictions. 
- Melton has yet to return an $8,000 campaign donation from a known sexual predator. 
- Melton has taken the maximum campaign cash allowed in both 2019 and 2022 from Anti-LGBTQ+ bigot John Kane 
Environment & Equity
- Raleigh’s adopted 2021 Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) has no teeth and no Council Champions: The CCAP acknowledges that the plan has no enforcement powers for reducing 98% of Raleigh’s GHG emissions. The Plan also acknowledges it has no metrics for measuring progress toward Carbon Reduction Goals. No one on Council has stepped forward to champion significant Climate Protection action.
- Raleigh’s Climate Plan says current growth hurts vulnerable populations most: Raleigh’s adopted Community Climate Action Plan (CCAP) says growth and development under this Council is “increasing the social vulnerability of low-income individuals and communities of color … Many socially vulnerable populations lack access to affordable housing, jobs, and other resources and services.” 
- In the most important rezoning cases, Council undermines CCAP Equity Goals: Council voted unanimously for the Downtown South rezoning despite the fact that the Planning Commission said the rezoning made a mockery of Raleigh’s Equity Mission Statement referenced in the CCAP. 
- In the most important rezoning cases, Council makes a mockery of Raleigh’s Climate Protection Goals: Council approved the Azalea Falls rezoning despite overwhelming evidence that it violated virtually every environmental protection, carbon reduction, sustainable growth and equity principle contained in the CCAP.