Our View: Ugly, divisive referendum only hope now for fairness

The Daily Advance

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As supporters of the 4-2-1 Pasquotank commission board restructuring plan, we’re obviously disappointed area lawmakers have said they won’t introduce legislation authorizing the plan’s adoption unless it includes a painfully divisive and legally unnecessary public referendum.

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The writer states: "Unfortunately beneath that sunny optimism lies a belief that only blacks support the 4-2-1 plan, or will vote for the referendum, and that fairness is only worthwhile when it’s earned through great struggle, and not distributed like a block of surplus cheese". Aren't the supporters for the electoral district changes arguing it is needed because only blacks will vote for blacks even though the County-wide election of President Obama twice completely dispels this myth? Facts speak for themselves and County wide elections of minorities prove the majority of the County is past the race issue, but this newspaper's editors and the handful of power-mongers who need racial division to continue a personal power-base perpetuate the myth that it is not so.

I Invite the Editors to read the law

"There are smart reasons for slightly altering the way Pasquotank County’s governing body is chosen without putting those changes to a countywide vote, especially when state law doesn’t require one. Unfortunately, our legislators have chosen to ignore them." The above paragraph in this editorial is totally wrong. Had the county commissioners endorsed the 2-2-2-1 plan (which meets redistricting guidelines) the NOrth Carolina General Statutes require that a voter referendum be held. (NCGS § 153A-60. Initiation of alterations by resolution. The board of commissioners shall initiate any alteration in the structure of the board by adopting a resolution. The resolution shall: (1) Briefly but completely describe the proposed alterations; (2) Prescribe the manner of transition from the existing structure to the altered structure; (3) Define the electoral districts, if any, and apportion the members among the districts; (4) Call a special referendum on the question of adoption of the alterations. The referendum shall be held and conducted by the county board of elections. The referendum may be held at the same time as any other state, county or municipal primary, election, special election or referendum, or on any date set by the board of county commissioners, provided, that such referendum shall not be held within the period of time beginning 60 days before and ending 60 days after any other primary, election, special election or referendum held in the county. Upon its adoption, the resolution shall be published in full. (1927, c. 91, s. 4; 1969, c. 717, s. 1; 1973, c. 822, s. 1; 1977, c. 382.) It is obvious the 4-2-1 plan,which the county commissioners could not implement without General Assy intervention because of the Super District, was an end run to try to keep the voters of Pasquotank from having any say in this matter. If you think voting on this issue is devisive, then you must also agree that implementing this without a referendum could be equally devisive.

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