History Made: Raleigh City Council Brings Back CACs (Citizen Advisory Councils)

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IN 2020:
Four years ago, on February 4, 2020, Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin and the council at the time approved a motion to abolish support for Citizen Advisory Councils (CACs) that Raleigh’s first Black mayor, Clarence Lightner, started 50 years ago.

The councils consisted of 18 citizen groups throughout the city that would meet in community centers each month to discuss topics affecting their neighborhoods, including, but not limited to, safety and zoning issues. Police officers and city staff members were often guest speakers.

At that 2020 city council meeting, the only council member who had not been told about the upcoming vote was David Cox.  He and Corey Branch did not vote for it, but the mayor and five council members did, so the motion passed.

Over the years, Mayor Baldwin has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, much of it from real estate development companies. It was clear to many that Mayor Baldwin wanted to end CACs because developers did not like discussing their development plans with neighbors who would be affected by those plans.

Note: The videos below are from 2020 and 2024 of city council meetings and are cued up at the appropriate spots mentioned.

IN 2024:
On February 6, 2024, Christina Jones made a motion to reinstate city support for the CACs: https://youtu.be/txHErmbAPkE?t=6445

In the video below, the mayor expresses displeasure at not being told beforehand about the planned motion to reinstate the CACs. Christina Jones responded, “The reason I’m okay with how this is happening is because it’s what you did to us four years ago.” Mayor Baldwin then responds, “I didn’t do it. You can blame me, but I didn’t,” as shown in this video: https://youtu.be/txHErmbAPkE?t=6880

Mayor Baldwin’s statement was clearly a lie.

On February 4, 2020, new councilor Saige Martin (who later stepped down from the council due to sexual assault allegations) made a motion to extinguish all city support for CACs and to hire a consultant. Mayor Baldwin called Martin’s speech at the time, “inspirational and aspirational.”
https://youtu.be/Aao-vyi8eeI?t=9121

In 2020, the consultant met with a newly formed committee, and Councilor Christina Jones was a member of that committee. It was the same committee that Jones, on February 6, 2024, told Mayor Baldwin was “a joke.”

The motion that Councilor Jones made, to reinstate the CACs, passed unanimously – and that included the vote of Mayor Baldwin.

The city will now provide the Citizen Advisory Councils with free meeting space, provide technical and/or funding support to enable the CACs to also offer virtual meetings, and will develop a succession plan that encourages future civic leaders (and CAC leaders) through such resources as Raleigh Neighborhood College.

 

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