Bill Kirby Jr.: Mayor, Former Mayor Go One On One

            Call it a conversation of civil discourse Monday as Mayor Mitch Colvin welcomed former mayor Tony Chavonne to his “Mayor’s Moment” weekly broadcast on WIDU 1600 AM radio, and where discussion included a potential for restructuring of the Fayetteville City Council, stormwater issues, the Shaw Heights community and May 30, 2020, when the Market House was set ablaze during community unrest related to the murder of George Floyd by a now convicted Minneapolis police officer.

     “To be honest, had we not experienced May 30, I wouldn’t be here today,” Chavonne, a downtown resident, told Colvin. “I was not only scared for my wife, I was scared for this city.”

            Colvin defended Police Chief Gina Hawkins’ decision not to initially intervene as the Market House was set on fire.

            “We don’t tell the police chief what to do,” Colvin said, and noting there was no loss of life.

         Chavonne countered: “Public safety is our Number One responsibility. I think we failed that night. We cannot ever tell our citizens we are not protecting them.”

            Colvin also queried Chavonne about a “VoteYesFayetteville” petition supported by former mayor Nat Robertson and former council members Ted Mohn, Bobby Hurst, Wade Fowler, Wesley Meredith, Jim Arp and Chavonne to restructure the City Council from 9 district seats to 5 district seats and four at-large seats, a petition that needs 5,000 city resident signatures to be placed on the ensuing municipal election ballot.

            “If successful,” Chavonne said, “every citizen should wake up every day and have six council members responsible to them,” to include the mayor.

            Colvin was elected to the City Council in 2013 and currently is serving in his second term as mayor since first elected in 2017. Chavonne is the former general manager of the Fayetteville Observer, served as mayor from 2005 to 2013 and today is president of The Chavonne Group and publisher of CityView Media, including its monthly publication of CityView Magazine.

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            When it comes to clean water, Cumberland County officials say residents in the southern part of the county must be assured their water is not contaminated. “Our residents deserve clean water, not water contaminated by man-made chemicals,” Charles Evans, chairman of the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners, says in a news release. The county said Monday it is hiring an outside legal firm to assist in securing funding for a public water system for residents of the Grays Creek community who are concerned about chemicals contaminating private well water from Chemours, a nearby chemical plant on N.C. 87. “Ultimately, the sooner we can get a public water system in place the sooner we can mitigate this serious public health issue,” County Attorney Rick Moorefield says in the release. Make sense to me.

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            Don’t know what it is about coat hangers, but coat hangers seem to procreate in my closets.

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            Sad to learn about the death of Harvey Raynor, the former Cumberland County assistant attorney who had a zest for life. He loved a good conversation, especially about this city and county and politics, and music, too. He could tell you about all of the songs of the late Jackie Wilson, and almost every lyric. Harvey Wright Raynor III died at age 70 on May 3, 2021. Friends called him “Butch.”

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            “You couldn’t be more correct in how you wrote this article.,” Matt Hurley says about our CityView Magazine column of May on Col. Freddy Johnson Jr. being appointed by Governor Roy Cooper as commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. “Freddy is one of my best friends and I am sure that there are at least another 50 to 100 people across the state that feel the same way. I have the utmost respect for him and I’m proud of his accomplishments thus far and he deserves this accolade and thousands more. It is my hope that when his time at the NCSHP is over he will seek a higher position in service to our community, state and nation, perhaps the General Assembly, Congress, director of FEMA or even just coaching youth baseball. There is nothing that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him doing. Leaders like Freddy don’t come along every day. I should know. I’ve followed him into burning buildings and I’ve worked complex criminal conspiracy cases, where I’ve sought his assistance. Troopers Jeremy Brewington and Deric Reed are correct. The right guy was picked at the right time for the right job.” Yes sir, Mr. Hurley, the governor got it right.

            Bill Kirby Jr. can be reached at bkirby@cityviewnc.com, billkirby49@gmail.com or 910-624-1961