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It has been 239 since Raleigh City Council discontinued Citizens Advisory Councils with no replacement.

On the RDU Quarry Issue, Where’s Saige? So far, his bold campaign promises are just hot air.

Have His Promises been Trumped by Pro-Development Forces?

Why focus on Saige Martin when he’s just one of 7 Raleigh Council members* who’ve managed to dodge the RDU quarry issue since being elected last October?

The reason we single out Saige, the District D Councilor, is that he made BOLD campaign promises to environmentalists and others, pledging to work against the quarry. Saige stressed his MORAL opposition to the quarry. The issue was so important that Saige promised DEEP ORGANIZING” to stop the quarry. SO far – He has done nothing.

Just the Facts

During the campaign, the Indy published a Q&A with Martin, including this:

Q.  Four council members have called for the city to join a lawsuit over the RDU Airport Authority’s quarry lease with Wake Stone. Do you support RDU’s quarry lease? Do you believe this case is something the city should involve itself in? Why or why not?

A.  The proposed lease (or sale) of the quarry by the RDUAA is detrimental to our community and our environment. If the City Attorney does believe that there is legal standing to challenge the lease then I will work to build relationships amongst the other three municipalities who also have a stake in the lease and the land. Any litigation would be far more compelling with all interested parties participating.

I am committed to doing the deep organizing to ensure that your advocacy on the front lines is as effective as possible when it comes to your proposed outcomes. I’m interested in ensuring that we use all of our available channels to be successful.

Where’s Saige?

Since his election, has Councilor Martin done anything on this issue?

He promised “deep organizing” to bring the 4 property owners of the RDU Airport land together in opposition to the quarry. (Raleigh, Durham, Wake County and Durham County own the Airport, which is managed by the RDU Airport Authority.)

We see no organizing, deep or otherwise.

    • Oct 8, 2019: Councilor Martin wins his election to City Council.
    • Dec. 2, 2019: Martin is sworn into office.
    • Dec 3, 2019: Martin votes to reappoint Sepideh Saidi to the RDU Airport Authority.  Saidi failed to keep Council apprised of the quarry situation and supported the deal. Councilor Cox is the only council member to vote against reappointment.
    • Jan 7, 2020: When members of the Umstead Coalition begin to speak before Council to ask that the city file an Amicus Brief in support of their lawsuit against the quarry, Councilor Martin gets up and walks out to meet with another group outside the chamber.
    • Jan 21, 2020: Martin votes for Dickie Thompson’s reappointment to the RDU Airport Authority despite Thompson’s previous shenanigans in not keeping his fellow Council members apprised of the quarry situation when he both served on Council and on the RDU Airport Authority. Only Cox and Knight vote for another candidate.
    • May 5, 2020: Three citizens ask Council to submit a formal letter to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality opposing a mining permit for the quarry, and also asking DEQ to hold a public hearing on whether a quarry there would violate state environmental laws. Councilor David Cox makes a motion to do so, and Martin seconds it. Thereafter, however, Martin fails to speak, and the motion is quickly replaced by a substitute motion from Councilor Corey Branch, which asks for the hearing but takes no position on the permit.  Even this weak effort fails, however, by a 5-3 vote, with only Cox, Branch and the still-silent Martin voting in favor.
    • May 14, 2020: Despite the City of Raleigh taking no action, NC DEQ announces a public hearing will be held on the RDU Quarry on July 7, 2020.
    • May 22, 2020:  NC DEQ announces revised public hearing date of June 23, 2020.

♦♦

With the upcoming June 23 Mining Permit Public Hearing, Saige Martin now has one more opportunity to take action as he promised during his campaign. Will he now begin his DEEP ORGANIZING to build a majority on Raleigh’s City Council and build a consensus among the other landowners to finally take a public position opposing the RDU Quarry?
After 7 months of sitting by idly, Martin’s time is running short.

 

* Councilor Cox has been alone in working to stop the quarry, putting him at a 7-1 disadvantage.

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