After last Saturday's resolution at the MeckGOP convention where County Republicans rejected I77 HOT Lanes, circling the wagons was bound to happen. Those wagons appeared in the form of dozens of HOT lanes supporters, consultants, NCDOT officials, and two hand & picked media outlets at a meeting today in Raleigh.
For a while now, the WidenI77.org activists have been trying to meet with Speaker Tillis, and recently, a meeting was set for today at 1030am in Raleigh. Initially, the expectation was that this was going to be just a small sit-down between constituents and their representative in the Legislature.
Earlier this week, information began to leak out that there may be a few additional guests. A few dozen would turn out to be more accurate.
Wednesday afternoon a post popped up on Facebook outlining what appeared to be a "dirty trick" by Governmental HOT supporters on the activists of WidenI77.org.
Here's what happened
When the activists arrived, they went to the Speaker's office and then were directed to an adjacent building. Upon arriving there were about 40 people from various levels of state and local government as well as a consultant and NCDOT officials waiting for them. Then a bridge line was opened revealing another dozen or so people on the phone.
Some officials were apparently in Raleigh for "Town Hall Day", but apparently they found time to break away to head to this meeting. (For those keeping score here in Davidson, Town Manager Leamon Brice was there in person along with Commissioners Brian Jenest and Rodney Graham. Mayor woods was on the phone.)
The media outlets linked above somehow made the cut on knowing this event was coming as they had the conference bridge information. Several other media outlets were contacted this afternoon and evening, and to a one, they had not heard about this giant confab.
So, instead of a sit-down meeting with their representative - something that should be available to any citizen - the activists of WidenI77.org were treated to a press conference of sorts where they were allowed to ask one question each among comments by literally dozens of HOT supporters.
An overwhelming display of force, is that what passes as our new example of responsive government?
It seems more like that scene in Star Wars where the Death Star is rolled out to blow up defenseless Alderaan.
Correction: The consultancy represented at the meeting was KPMG per comment from Davidson Commissioner Rodney Graham below, not Parsons Brinckerhoff, the consultancy that has presented at other recent HOT lanes meetings.