Mobile homes make up about 14% of all occupied homes in NC, and residents tend to be in lower income brackets.
If you live in the Triangle area, you may have seen the news that this week, residents of a Carrboro apartment complex organized a protest
because of high water bills! This highlights an often untalked-about injustice affecting many neighborhoods across the state
In North Carolina, the many people who live in apartment complexes and mobile home parks can fall victim to high water bills charged by landlords or even corporate water providers. Fourteen percent of occupied homes in NC are mobile homes, and more than 870,000 North Carolinians (almost 10% of the state’s population) live in apartments. Residents of both housing types tend to fall into lower income brackets, so they may be particularly vulnerable to high utility bills.
In these “multifamily developments,” the cost of water has normally been included as part of rent, but since a state law changed in 2004, landlords that purchase water from a nearby water supplier (such as a municipal system) have been shifting to sub-meter each household and charge residents a separate water bill. More…
Asheville and Buncombe County residents stand up for local decisions about the drinking water system
During the last two legislative sessions, North Carolina lawmakers showed an unusual interest in interfering with local government affairs. Among other things, they tried to take away Charlotte’s authority
over their own airport, Asheville’s authority
over their own water system, and forced Durham to extend water and sewer lines
to a private development that was outside of the city’s master plan for growth.
Legislation has also been introduced – and some of it passed – that further limits the ability for local governments to raise revenue, and attempts to prevent municipalities from placing restrictions on what developments look like and which trees a local government could require developers to preserve. The drivers of these legislative moves were Representatives who typically stress the need for local control, so this sudden shift of the state legislature undermining local authority has been surprising. Needless to say, these forays into municipal affairs by the state have made local government elected officials and professionals very wary, wondering “When will it be our turn?” Well, it looks like Greensboro need wonder no longer. State Senator Trudy Wade has introduced legislation that would dramatically alter the composition of Greensboro’s city council – reducing the number of total members, eliminating three at-large members, and severely restricting the mayor’s right to vote.
Why should we be worried about this trend? We know that some of these efforts are being pushed by a new offshoot of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). ALEC pushed much of the state-level legislation that has proven to be so harmful to North Carolina’s environment, health, education and voting rights since 2010. In 2014, ALEC formed a new group that will focus on city and county policy. According to Bloomberg News, “The American City County Exchange…will push policies such as contracting with companies to provide services such as garbage pick-up and eliminating collective bargaining, a municipal echo of the parent group’s state strategies.”
If the results of ALEC’s work at the state level are any indication, we can expect that policies favored by the American City County Exchange will increase corporate power, make it more difficult for towns and counties to keep utility rates affordable for everyone, and weaken the ability of people at the local level to have a say in the type of community they wish to live in. For more info on the ACCE, click here.
Thanks to Ericka Faircloth, Karen Bearden and Martha Girolami for these photos capturing Clean Water for NC and some of our allies joining in the Moral March on Saturday, February 14!
Historic Thousands on Jones St. (“HKonJ”) 2015
Saturday, February 14, Raleigh
Meet at 9AM across from Raleigh Memorial Auditorium on South St.
March begins at 10 AM, Rally will be near the State Capital on Fayetteville St.
Environmental/Justice/Labor contingent –meet at 8:45AM (note earlier time) at the corner of Wilmington St. & Cabarrus St. Wear blue, green and/or yellow.
Clean Water for NC asks you to join with the NAACP of NC, more than a hundred “HKonJ” partner groups, and tens of thousands of other folks from across the state on Saturday, Feb. 14. We’re calling for Environmental Justice, Economic Justice, Voting Rights, Health Justice and more!
Dress warmly, bring friends, and, if you can, carry signs that tie our environmental passions to the wider social justice and democracy that we seek.
View a short video about marching for environmental justice!
If you are a Clean Water for NC volunteer and can bring at least two folks with you to the march from 50 or more miles away from Raleigh, we can reimburse you at our volunteer mileage rate. We can also help with cost of vans, so please contact us at 828-251-1291 or 919-401-9600. More information will be posted on this site soon, or visit http://www.hkonj.com.
Buses are leaving from multiple NC locations - click here to find one near you!