Ken Larsen's web site - Chapel Hill Politics


Ephesus-Fordham:  Maria Palmer email


An email by Town Council member Maria Palmer to a constituent

March 10, 2014

Ken Larsen's interpretation

March 11, 2014

Thank you for writing us about your frustrations with the Fordham/Ephesus process. I am sorry you feel you were not informed about the discussions. We started this as part of the Chapel Hill 20/20 project, which has indeed won Community Participation awards. Many of your neighbors were part of those discussions. I can assure you that we have listened very carefully to all the input. In fact, before I was elected to Town Council, I was part of the leadership team for Chapel Hill 20/20, co-chairing one of the sub-committees and attending dozens of meetings. I met thousands of Chapel Hillians from all the different neighborhoods, as the meetings were held at many different locations, including Ephesus Elementary. It was wonderful to see the level of involvement.


Throughout my campaign I reminded folks that just because the outcome of the discussions and decisions was not what they advocated, they cannot claim they were not heard. This is the democratic process: the whole community makes decisions which sometimes are not to the liking of a few.  However, let me quickly add that I firmly believe your neighborhood will benefit and all the doomsday predictions will be proven wrong. We are being cautious. In some cases we are engaging out-of-town experts precisely because they have the experience and know-how to bring tested and proven methods to Chapel Hill. I can assure you that if we had this level of expertise in NC, it would not be free. The work these consultants are doing is extensive and depends on years of experience in an area that is new to our state. Please be assured we are also listening to local experts (including some with national reputations who serve on our own Town Council) and to our staff, who have indisputable credentials and have guided Chapel Hill through difficult times and preserved our sound finances. 


I would ask you to please trust your elected officials and your staff. We have been transparent in all our work and have come to the community every step of the way. You are probably in one of the few communities in North Carolina where every Council Member will read your letter and will give it thoughtful consideration. Please do stay involved, but take time to look at the work that has been done with so much commitment to making Chapel Hill a model of livability, connectivity and community.





maria palmer


To me, Council member Maria Palmer's response says: 


  1. You're not entitled to raise objections about Ephesus-Fordham at this time. 

  2. The Council has already made up its mind. 

  3. You should have raised your objections during the 20-20 process.  [four years ago]

  4. Go away and don't bother us anymore.

  5. Place your trust in me, my fellow Council members, the Town staff, and the consultants.  We know what's best for you.


It's interesting to note that at the February 20th E-F info session at the Library, Maria stood up and gave a passionate plea for the public to email their concerns to the Council.  Reflecting back on that moment, I now conclude that Maria was really just trying to stop the tsunami of public complaints that that meeting had become.  She just wanted to sweep the complaints under a rug and present an image that Maria was fighting for us.

Maria's response is in direct conflict with her campaign promises

-Ken Larsen

"Zip it!" scene from an Austin Powers movie


[Reasons why I won't vote for Maria Palmer in the 2017 Chapel Hill election]



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Ephesus/Fordham project