County Commissioners Tamper with 2A, Decriminalizing Marijuana, and RTLP

The Board of County Commissioners has had an active September. In the September 10 Work Session (no public comment allowed) they spent over an hour discussing another effort to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of our citizens. For several months now they have had staff working on how to limit firearms focusing on “densely populated areas”. Regulations of this sort are extremely sneaky—as population grows, more areas could automatically come under such infringement without the citizens having any say. Just like previous efforts, they plan to have a policy developed with little or no citizen input which they can then present at a business meeting and jam it through with a quick vote. All Second Amendment supporters need to be vigilant to prevent this backdoor effort.

Also in the work session, the Commissioners discussed how to change the election method for themselves. In a surprise development in the March primary, incumbents Rich and Marcoplos lost to two outsiders. This led the Commissioners to create a committee to change the election method—probably to protect incumbents in the future. Based on comments in the meeting, it seems that some Commissioners feel that citizens should be forced to vote for them instead of abstaining when the choices are bad. The existing system has been in place for over ten years without any particular problems. Maybe if Rich and Marcoplos better represented the citizens they would not have lost!!

The September 15 Regular Business Meeting started with Chair Rich presenting a petition for a resolution to push for decriminalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. Her request was based on “social justice” grounds and contained a number of dubious reasons. The resolution also seeks to have all records of criminal convictions for distribution, use and possession expunged. After a brief discussion, the resolution passed with only Commissioner McKee voting against. Rich also directed staff to notify the other 99 county Boards with the intent to get them to also support the effort. It is ironic that it took a year to get Chair Rich to bring the Pledge of Allegiance to a vote but she could jam through marijuana decriminalization immediately!!

While there have been many issues, the other big one is the request for approval of the Research Triangle Logistics Park. Nearly 100 residents in the proposed area signed up to object to the Park. The Commissioners had to extend the meeting to another night to hear all the comments. It seems the residents in the area don’t want the community destroyed by massive truck traffic associated with the Park proposal. It remains to be seen if the Commissioners heard their voices.

Remember—Orange County has the highest property and sales tax rates in North Carolina and county government intends to increase the property tax in coming years. This will come in addition to the increase due to revaluation next year. The only way you can influence this is to participate in local government!!

- Riley Ruske
  Orange County Citizen