Huntersville Residents Still Not Being Told About HPD Investigation

An investigation into the Mooresville Police Department continues to have an impact. The most recent reporting indicates another high ranking member of MPD, who was also the original whistleblower, may be fired. Meanwhile in Huntersville, the same agency has concluded a similar investigation into the Huntersville Police Dept. and yet no one in town appears to knows anything about the report. The town manager has confirmed the 913 page report (14,000 pages including appendix/attachments) cost the taxpayers $150,000 and yet the public still knows nothing about the report or why the investigation was even done in the first place. This $150,000 was paid out of the HPD budget from “contract services.” If only someone had been calling for a line by line review of the HPD budget and the $700K+ in “contract services” that is never broken out by line item so that the taxpayers would have a better idea what the money is being used for…

The town board had an hour long closed session related to “personnel” preceding Monday night’s meeting, which I have to assume was to brief them on this report, but not a single staff member or town board member provided any overview or summary of their closed session briefing – because apparently us regular, un-elected residents don’t need to know the basis for or the results of an investigation into our police department. Mooresville has already had their chief resign, demoted two high ranking officers, and now apparently intends to fire a captain, all as a result of the ISS investigation into their department, but a similar investigation into HPD results in zero changes?

When are the residents of Huntersville going to learn any details about the ISS investigation into HPD?

#AuditHPD

Eric

Huntersville Board Agenda – November 18, 2019

The full agenda packet for tomorrow night’s town board meeting can be found here. Closed session pre-meeting at 5:00 to discuss personnel (a full hour of pre-meeting, that must mean the town board is finally getting an update on the internal investigation done at HPD by an outside agency… sure would be nice if us regular citizens could find out what’s all in the investigative report since it was paid for with our tax dollars), regular meeting starts at 6pm. It’s just a 114 page agenda packet for this meeting, but there is a lot that should be discussed.

Of note: This is the last full board meeting for Commissioners Phillips and Gibbons. I appreciate their service to the town over the past few years and their willingness to listen to my many, many, many complaints.

  • Item 8.A. – A public hearing being held at the request of a home builder to amend the town’s zoning ordinance to allow for more density in Highway Commercial districts. Town planning staff and the Ordinance Advisory Board (by a 7-1 vote against, including a vote in opposition by Commissioner Boone) are both opposed to the requested change. The request will next go to the Planning Board on Nov. 19. This is the perfect example of an item where the town board needs to question the premises being pushed by town staff in their “staff comments,” but since it’s just the public hearing don’t expect anyone on the town board to dig into this item enough to bother wasting time with questions. What the town board (or anyone from the public who actually has time to show up and speak during the public hearing) should be asking is a) how does town staff expect to make housing more affordable by building less of it, and b) why is town staff still making decisions based on a rail line that isn’t ever coming to Huntersville? Town staff uses the term “transit stations” instead of “proposed transit stations” or “possible transit stations” in their comments even though no actual transit stations exist, just hypothetical transit stations at three planned locations in Huntersville all based on a rail line that was sold to residents in Huntersville to justify a half-cent sales tax for transit options to benefit Charlotte.
  • Item 9.B. – Why exactly are the developers of the new Birkdale Golf Mixed Use project paying $362,208 to the town for a turn lane across town at Gilead/Beatties Ford? And someone tell me again about how developers don’t pay any impact fees in Huntersville?
  • Item 9.C. – Is $600K really the best offer the town could get for 2 acres of prime real estate at Gilead/US-115 next to Discovery Place Kids for a developer out of Cornelius to build a new multi-use project?
  • Item 10.C. – Just $300 in “financial implications for a greenway? Yes, this item is just related to the easement, but the town should really start being honest about how much greenway development and maintenance costs taxpayers.
  • Item 10.D. – Kudos to town staff on getting an interest rate reduction from First Community Bank on the note for HPD HQ, which will result in savings to the taxpayers of approx. $52,780.
  • Finally, Item 10.E. – An amendment to the town’s personnel policy to allow for a recruiting incentive program just for HPD. WHY IS THIS ITEM ON THE CONSENT AGENDA?? It is never appropriate to place items on the consent agenda if there are any questions about the item and if there are no questions about this item then your town board should be ashamed. Why not allow for a recruiting incentive program for all town departments – HPD isn’t the only department with vacancies. Is there just a typo in the amendment stating adopted 2018 on pg. 109/114 or is the town board trying to make this new policy retroactive to a year ago? Why is there no cap on the costs related to this program? Why is there no sunset provision for this program? Who will be responsible for oversight of this program to ensure no collusion or abuse occurs? How much will this ultimately cost taxpayers? If incentives are to be paid out of existing funds in the HPD budget, but this is a new program that wasn’t anticipated in preparation of the current HPD budget, does that mean HPD is over-budgeted and the town board needs to finally start cutting the HPD budget instead of letting it grow unabated every year??

Eric

Some Tough Questions For Munger and the Slate

I’m not sure which caption would work best with this photo – “We’re Totally Not a Slate,” or “Don’t Ask Us Any Tough Questions.” One tough question an interested voter might ask, “Do all members of the Blank Slate support political violence against opponents or just Mr. Munger?” Here’s another tough question an interested voter might ask, “How can you call yourself a “supporter of law enforcement” with an Antifa supporter on your slate?” To be fair, I didn’t ask whether a candidate was an Antifa supporter on my questionnaire. [Note to self: on 2021 questionnaire, ask candidates if they support domestic terrorism.]

Mr. Munger isn’t shy about his left wing political positions and he was still welcomed onto the slate. He was a candidate for town board in 2017 and has been campaigning ever since the last election and yet his social media feeds are almost entirely devoted to national political issues, not Huntersville issues. Here’s another tough question an interested voter could ask Mr. Munger, “Are you running because you want to make a difference locally or because you want to bring national Democratic politics to Huntersville?”

Another tough question voters should be asking any candidate, like Mr. Munger, campaigning on “revitalizing downtown” is what that actually means? It definitely doesn’t mean using their own money to invest in downtown. To me, it sounds like a polite way of saying I will use government force to take your property and have it put to a use that I approve of using other people’s money.

Does Huntersville really want to elect someone who is “interested” in attending an Antifa rally? Next time you see the slate out campaigning (unless it’s at one of the private house parties you weren’t invited to), make sure you ask them if they support Antifa too.

Eric

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – John Aneralla

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by the deadline (and one late entry from Mayor Aneralla): Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:  I want to continue to accelerate the town’s infrastructure projects (roads, sidewalks & greenways) to complement the over $550 million worth of local, state and federal road projects.

 

– For incumbents – any vote over the last two years you would change and why – or, if none, any item you wish you the board would have accomplished and why:  The hiring of a full-time town attorney sooner than we did. The new attorney has reviewed and updated many procedures and contracts benefiting both the town and its citizens.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  The role of town government is determined by State statute, which a town should adhere to and not stray away from. Towns get into trouble for example when they buy bankrupt cable companies and try to compete with the private sector.

 

– If you are running on an anti-growth platform, how do you intend to legally halt or slow down growth in Huntersville? Be specific.:

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?:  Allowing for a wide variety of housing options balanced with commercial development should be the goal of town government. Updating the 2030 community plan will help direct the town staff, developers and elected officials well into the future.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others:  In general, I am against any type of incentives given to one company over another. It should be government’s goal to keep taxes low combined with common sense regulations to create a positive environment for all businesses to flourish.

Only under VERY rare circumstances should government offer tax incentives to a business. A good example of this is when BMW received tax incentives to locate to the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina. BMW’s presence in the area brought in related businesses and suppliers that transformed the area from the dying textile industry to a high-tech manufacturing destination.

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  No, I only own my home and do not have any business interests in Huntersville.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  An elected official should always vote their conscience after considering all sides of an issue and be able to articulate why he or she voted in the way they did.

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  The town has a financial audit every year. In addition, with a new town manager and town attorney in place over the past 15 months, many areas of town government have been scrutinized internally and with assistance from outside professionals.

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  I think Huntersville should continue to pursue all options proposed by the Huntersville Education Option Study Commission to ensure excellent education options for all children in the town.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:  Dog

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:  I grew up in a family with a pizza restaurant, so pizza is one of my favorite foods. Fortunately, in Huntersville we have many great pizza establishments!

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist:

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:  My dad. He taught the value of hard work and not relying on government to be successful.

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?:

www.electjohnaneralla.com

704-895-0586

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – Brian Hines

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by Friday’s deadline (and one late entry from Mayor Aneralla): Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:  Town being more Proactive in getting things accomplished whether its road improvements, greenways or economic development.

 

– For incumbents – any vote over the last two years you would change and why – or, if none, any item you wish you the board would have accomplished and why:  I put a lot of time and effort into researching and understanding the issues at hand so when it comes time to vote I am very confident that my vote is what’s best for the town. So there is not a decision that I recall that I would reverse.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  Provide community local services such as Police and Fire Protection, land use regulations, public recreation facilities, waste collection and maintenance of town owned roads to name a few.

 

– If you are running on an anti-growth platform, how do you intend to legally halt or slow down growth in Huntersville? Be specific.:

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?:  We live in a fantastic area and due to our proximity to Charlotte we are experiencing and will continue to see growth. Every project that comes in the door has to be viewed independently of others and decided on if in the best interest of the town at that time.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others:  When the Town appropriated $1,300,000 for the improvement and expansion of Patterson Road in order to entice a German company to locate their North American HQ in Huntersville it was a win for the residents of Huntersville. By our proactive approach to increasing our commercial tax base we also made that area more attractive for new commercial development. My understanding is the other land is under contract and the total investment in Huntersville, all because we built the road, will be north of $80,000,000. That is a win/win scenario.

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  It is my observation that every person running has good intentions in wanting to serve the community. I have not met anyone on the local level that does this for selfish gain.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  Every vote I consider what is the best for the community, while also recognizing that not everyone is going to be happen with my position.

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  We have a great Town staff who are transparent and are held accountable.

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  We formed the Huntersville Education Opportunity Study Commission to look into what, if anything, we can do to provide additional school options for our residents.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist:

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?:

www.electbrianhines.com

FB – @electbrianhines

704-949-0171

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – Stacy Phillips

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by Friday’s deadline (and one late entry from Mayor Aneralla): Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:  We need a magistrate in Huntersville.  Our town has over 56,000 residents and growing. It is almost a 16-mile drive one way from the Huntersville Police Department to the Mecklenburg County Courthouse where our magistrates are housed. Our law enforcements’ time matters. A domestic violence victim’s time matters. By having a Magistrate in Huntersville, it will help keep our town safer.

 

– For challengers – one specific vote over the last two years you disagreed with and why:  “Town of Huntersville Public Records Fee” was on the 9/16/19 agenda. After backlash from the public who thought it was terrible to charge citizens a fee for public records, the item was removed from the agenda and never discussed. While it felt like a small victory for transparency, I wish this measure had been voted upon so we knew where the commissioners stood. After the new board is sworn in, this measure could resurface and infringe on our rights. If I am elected I would always oppose such measures.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  The proper role of town government is to help the town run smoother and stay the course of long term success. I believe that the town government should be a good steward of tax dollars and be cautious and mindful how money is spent, because it belongs to the citizens.

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?:  Huntersville is growing and will continue to grow.  We need to be focused on being a town that is a great place to live and work and avoid becoming a commuter town where people live here, but shop and work in other towns.  Huntersville needs to be proactive in being business friendly, but not just to large corporations, we need to treat small businesses with as much enthusiasm as the big companies, because this will help Huntersville keep its charm.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others:  Absolutely not. As I mentioned above, we need to treat small businesses as well as we treat the large companies. Instead of providing tax incentives, we should streamline the planning process, which would save companies (large or small) money and help them reach their goals quicker. 

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  If elected I must bring on help at my business to cover the hours I can’t work and take a loss in getting paid myself. However, I love this town and I want to ensure that we go the right path so citizens don’t get priced out of living here and all citizens know that they have an ear that will truly listen and fight for them.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  I think it’s more important to do both. However, I would never take any vote lightly, never dismiss the input of citizens, and would always put Huntersville first. 

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  A happy government is a transparent government. I don’t think audits are a bad thing and I see them as a way to build a trusting relationship between the citizens and government, while we can also hone our budget needs and remediate any issues that may service. 

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  I support children getting whatever options best fit their educational needs.  I don’t think it is the place of the government to dictate to a parent/guardian what is best for their child, especially when it comes to something as critical as their education, because that will shape the child’s life forever.  I am open to all options out there that give children the best education they deserve, because educational needs are not a “one size fits all” situation.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:  I have all three.  I am not picking sides on this one. 

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:  Mama’s eggplant parm pizza is amazing.  Rocky’s has the best cheese pizza.  Romanello’s chicken ranch is great.  I think Huntersville might be on our way to being a pizza destination.

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist:  Bastiat?

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:  Mister Rogers.  Which probably just got some major eye rolls, but in all seriousness, I live my life trying to be the neighbor Mister Rogers wanted me to be.  I believe if we can respect those that are different from us and listen to each other, we can actually accomplish a lot for our community.  It comes down to caring about the people in the community and doing what is best for our neighbors above anything else.

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?:

Facebook.com/ElectStacyPhillips

www.electstacyphillips.com

2019 Huntersville Candidate Questionnaires – Dan Boone

I emailed the following questionnaire to every town board candidate in Huntersville a month ago in an effort to provide voters with more insight into each candidacy. There was no word limit for responses. Only three candidates returned the questionnaire by Friday’s deadline: Dan Boone, Stacy Phillips, and Brian Hines. I am definitely not an undecided voter and there’s little doubt which candidates I could or do support, but this questionnaire was intended to benefit the hundreds of other voters in the Huntersville Politics group who are still undecided and who don’t know the candidates/issues as well, so it’s disappointing more candidates didn’t participate.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. If you need more information about local elections, you can visit the Mecklenburg Board of Elections website here.

Eric


– A specific agenda item you want to work on if elected:

 

– For incumbents – any vote over the last two years you would change and why – or, if none, any item you wish you the board would have accomplished and why:  I voted against district representation and term limits, because I am strongly opposed to district representation and believe it would pit different areas of our town against each other. It was a tough vote because I am a proponent of term limits. I wish this had been broken up into two different motions so we would have had the opportunity to cast an up or down vote on term limits. I will continue to work to implement term limits at the town level.

 

– What is the proper role of town government and do you think there is any limit to what town government can use taxpayer dollars for:  North Carolina is a Dillon Rule state which means the role of Huntersville’s town government (and the role of all town governments in NC) and what town government can use taxpayer dollars for is already defined and limited by state law. We may only take on the roles and powers and perform tasks expressly granted to us by state law or “fairly implied by the expressed power in the statute.”  Key roles granted to municipalities include public safety (police and fire protection, etc.), providing certain services to citizens such as trash pick-up, building and maintaining town streets and roads, planning and zoning, enacting local ordinances to protect the public good as long as they do not conflict with state law, providing parks and recreational opportunities for residents, and the ability to levy certain taxes and fees on citizens to pay for the roles we fill. I believe that we should closely adhere to Dillon’s rule and to state law. It is a much-needed limitation on the powers of local government.

 

– If you are running on an anti-growth platform, how do you intend to legally halt or slow down growth in Huntersville? Be specific.:  I am not running on an anti-growth platform.

 

– If not running on an anti-growth platform, how do you plan to deal with growth challenges if elected?  I will continue to carefully enforce our existing planning and zoning regulations as well as take more actions to ensure that developers are required to do more to mitigate the challenges growth brings to our town (like we did when we changed the Traffic Impact Analysis ordinance). I will also continue to listen carefully to the concerns of all residents and businesses and respond to those concerns. Huntersville will continue to grow but it must do so in way that is planned, responsible and doesn’t reduce the high quality of life we enjoy here.

 

– Should town government select winners and losers in business by providing tax incentives/tax rebates to certain companies over others?:  I personally strongly dislike tax incentives and wish that no one is allowed to use them. I do not believe that town government should be in the business of selecting winners and losers. Incentives also take tax dollars from our small businesses and give them to big businesses that compete directly with our small businesses. This is fundamentally unfair. That is why I have consistently voted against all incentives during my tenure as a Town Commissioner.

I believe that we should focus just as much on creating a business-friendly atmosphere that encourages our existing businesses to expand, grow and create jobs as we do on recruiting new business to town. We can do this by continuing to eliminate overly burdensome regulations, keeping our tax rate low, tackling the traffic challenges we face, keeping our community safe, and ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support their growth and expansion.

 

– Are you hoping to benefit yourself personally if elected? If yes, explain. If no, one example of prioritizing Huntersville over your own self-interests:  I am not hoping to benefit personally if elected. I am retired and view serving on this board as an opportunity to give back to a community that has given so much to me and is so special to me. As a board member, I do not look at issues in context of what is best for me, but in the context of what is morally right and what is best for our town and its residents as a whole. I prioritize Huntersville over my own self-interest by freely volunteering to serve our town on various boards and through various civic, charitable, and religious organizations.

 

– If elected, is it more important to you to vote the will of the people (however that is determined) or to vote your conscience (except when the board is acting as a quasi-judicial body):  I believe that I was elected to represent the citizens of Huntersville and that I work for them. They are my bosses. Whenever the will of the people is not in conflict with my conscience then I will vote the will of the people. When the will of the people conflicts with my conscience, I will explain to our citizens the concerns I have and work to try to come up with a solution or compromise that can reconcile the will of the people with my conscience? If that is not possible then I will follow my conscience and do what I believe is right for our town and its citizens.

 

– Does the town need to do more to ensure transparency and accountability in its departments, including the use of independent, professional audits?:  Yes, I believe more transparency and accountability is important at all levels of government which is why during my four years as a town commissioner I’ve worked hard to make town government more transparent.

 

– Do you support the public education status quo in Huntersville?:  I do not support the public education status quo in Huntersville. I was a strong supporter of a possible municipal charter school. We need to have this option in the town’s tool box to help protect over crowding in CMS schools.

 

– Cats or Dogs (or Chickens)?:  Dogs, especially my campaign mascot Max.

 

– Best place to get pizza in or around Huntersville:  My refrigerator!  I love day old left over pizza.

 

– Your favorite 19th century French political economist: Frederic Bastiat for his developing the concept of opportunity cost, for his pamphlet The Law, and for providing the economic beliefs and theories that serve as the foundation for the Austrian school of economics.

 

– Person/group most responsible for influencing your political views?:  My parents influenced my political views.  From my Mother, “we don’t unwrap gifts unless they are paid for.”  From my Father, “you might not respect the man, but you will respect the rank.”

 

– How can readers find out more about your campaign? (social media, website)?

www.BooneForHuntersville.com

www.facebook.com/DanBooneHuntersville

Email me at: danboonenc@aol.com