Saturday, October 1, 2022

Podcast May 25 – A safe downtown vs. ‘the killing fields’? Plus, Water Wars recap

We start this week with a tale of two Wilmingtons.

On one side, there’s Wilmington’s “Central Busines District,” which more or less covers the downtown area. According to a recent Wilmington Police Department survey, business owners and residents downtown feel safe. The biggest concern relayed to police? Homeless people and panhandling (neither of which is illegal, although trespassing and aggressive begging are).

Then, on the other side, the city’s housing projects, like Creekwood and Houston Moore. In Creekwood, there have been three murders in the space of few blocks since January. Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous responded, apparently implying the city’s housing projects should be razed and the housing system restructured. The Wilmington Star-News editorial board went further, referring to the projects as “the killing fields,” comparing them unironically to the Cambodian sites where over a million people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge regime.

So what’s going on here? And what would rebooting the city’s housing program actually look like?

Up next: In the last two weeks there have been ten press releases from Belville, Leland, and H2GO. After Leland and H2GO essentially won in court, Belville appealed, kicking of a chain of events, including Leland’s announcement that it wanted to take over the RO plant — after years of trying to shut the project down. Reactions were mixed, from surprise (Brunswick County) to skepticism (H2GO) to outrage (Belville). Belville has since followed up with its own plan, going tit for tat with Leland.

It’s a confusing mess, but we try to unravel it.

Also this week: No, Surf City isn’t thinking about banning smoking on the beach — in large part because such a law would be mostly unenforceable (just ask Wrightsville Beach Police Department, which admits its own anti-smoking law is hard to enforce). Plus, Southport – which has some great places to get a glass of wine – gets a new bottle shop dedicated to North Carolina craft beer.

Lastly, it’s going be hot, like triple-digit heat index hot, so be safe, stay hydrated, and remember your car can go up to 130’F in about a half-hour and the blacktop can be hot enough to cause serious burns — so look out for your four-legged friends.


Panhandling is protected by the First Amendment, aggression is not

Panhandling is downtown Wilmington’s biggest problem, according to police department survey

Leland, Belville, go tit-for-tat on future of reverse osmosis plant, H2GO board reaches rare consensus

Brunswick County, H2GO Chairman, Belville respond to Leland’s attempt to take over RO plant

‘Excessive, unreasonable, unnecessary, and expensive’: Leland now wants RO plant for itself


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