Again, I am yielding my editorial space to Greg Adair, a concerned citizen of the Fayetteville community. This is the third letter we received and reprinted in the past month. It is encouraging that more and more citizens are speaking out and going on record with their feelings and concerns about issues impacting our community.
Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper does not scour Facebook, social media, or the internet for stories. I detest social media being interpreted as a “news source” and feel it is the worst thing ever to happen to society and humanity. Yet, I do acknowledge it has limited value when used for communicating and messaging limited groups.
Legitimate news media and valued community newspapers allow all voices to be heard, and U&CW has been doing that proudly and consistently for twenty-eight years. Our only requirement is that the writer or contributor own their message. U&CW is a first-person publication that respects the rights of free speech and the opinions of all our readers.
This is what “community newspapers” do and why they are essential in providing checks and balances of local elected governmental officials. Thank you for reading the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper!
Bill Bowman
Publisher

Now that I have settled down and my blood pressure has gotten back to normal, I want to share my experience, concerns, and frustrations over the growing infestation of Fayetteville and Cumberland County's homeless, drug addicts, panhandlers and prostitutes with your readers.
On Wednesday, May 8, I spent hours waiting for a tow truck to come and retrieve my wife's car, which had become disabled within two miles of my home. I was at the BP Convenience Store and Subway Sandwich shop on Cedar Creek Rd and I-95.
The longer I was there, the angrier I became as I witnessed countless homeless, panhandlers, prostitutes and drug dealers approach, solicit, intimidate and frighten innocent patrons and customers of the business. I got solicited three times before I finally issued a severe warning to them all to back off!
Hours passed, and no city or county law enforcement officer was in sight the entire time. I can only imagine what the thousands of travelers visiting Exit 49 for food, fuel, and shelter must ultimately think of our community.
Mr. Mayor, is this the image and brand Fayetteville wants to develop? Is this the Fayetteville city and County we are asking the Distinctly Fayetteville organization to spend tens of thousands of dollars on getting people to visit and convene here? I think not.
But, it is Mayor Mitch Colvin's Fayetteville and a Fayetteville that nine members of the City Council are creating to the detriment (and expense) of the residents. This infestation of prostitutes and drug dealers in this commercially derelict neighborhood is a thriving 24/7 industry, with the Mayor and City Council cluelessly subsidizing the debauchery by conveniently housing them in several abandoned motels where they scurry about like cockroaches.
The same day I posted my frustrating experience on social media, the CityView Today newsletter reported that Cumberland County's 24-hour count of the homeless population showed a 21% decrease over last year. Are we to celebrate this? Are we to celebrate that our community has also decreased our "unsheltered" population by a whopping 35%? What constitutes the "unsheltered" population?
Who is counting the panhandlers, drug dealers, and prostitutes? That's the big lie! I'm not buying it, nor are many other Fayetteville and Cumberland County residents. We are law-abiding citizens. We need all City and County elected officials to address this problem and enforce the same law and order for this decadent population instead of subsidizing it.
I have heard comments and complaints of the exact nature from dozens of my business associates, friends, and neighbors. It makes no sense to build a $145 million event center or even consider building a water park or amusement park if we are going to invite the public to stay in such a decadent part of our city. Mayor Colvin, please get with County Commissioner Glenn Adams to discuss this problem, and for heaven's sake, do your jobs!
This letter informs the Mayor, our elected officials, and residents of Cumberland County of this dangerous and unabated situation degrading and endangering our community. I have already shared these frustrations with my family, friends, and business associates. Here are a few of their comments:

Kathy A.: It's terrible over there. I won't even go on that side of town, and it used to be gorgeous.
Mack H.: Ride downtown, they are sleeping on Hay Street on the sidewalk in front of businesses in the block where the old "Capital" building which now is a school, I kid you not. Fayetteville government is disgusting, starting at the top.
Maria W.: Just some FYI: The Mayor is part of the 300-unit apartment building that is trying to be built around exit 49! Guess he didn't want it in his city either! So he wants to put it in the County and states he doesn't have anything to do with the planning or the development of it……We are fighting it, because there is no trust with these people! I'm in the mood now to try my best to make Colvin responsible for his job. Right now, he only shows up for the praise this idiot town still gives him.
Joe G.: I went to McDonald's on Cedar Creek Road last week and saw/experienced the same thing. I can't count the number of times I said, I don't carry cash. It's a shame what WE have allowed in our country!
Bob B.: We don't stop in that area anymore, check out behind the circle K on the other side of 95. I think that's the true identity of our elected officials.

I hope this letter serves as a notice to Fayetteville's Mayor Mitch Colvin and all the County's elected officials that we love our community and are severely aware of your motives and incompetencies.
You are not operating in a vacuum; know we are all registered voters. Again, let me emphasize that we are law-abiding citizens who need City and County elected officials to address these problems rather than subsidize them. DO YOUR JOBS!
Greg Adair
Fayetteville/Cumberland County

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