Letter to the Editor – Homeless Task Farce

The Enterprise Mountaineer – August 4, 2021

As many of the people following this issue in the Mountaineer and other media outlets over the past year have discovered,¬† the Town of Waynesville’s controversial¬† Homeless Task Force through inception and deception has been one colossal disaster after another.¬†

Created to give the appearance that citizens were serious about addressing the myriad of issues and problems caused by the homeless population in and around Waynesville,  in reality the task force has been dominated by town-appointed (and town- paid) leader Amy Murphy-Nugen, a WCU professor of Social Work,  and other left wing activists pushing hard for rapid low barrier sheltering of the homeless population.

 Calls for more inclusiveness of points of view coming from the private sector and actual residents directly impacted by the homeless were completely ignored by Murphy-Nugen,  and Alderman Jon Feichter was not even able to get a second on his motion from fellow Board of Alderman members to expand the task force to accommodate these well- founded requests.

After the task force finally issued their draft report of findings and possible solutions,  a public hearing has been scheduled for Thursday August 5 at the Waynesville Recreation Center. But even in this endeavor,  the town and task force once again fails the taxpayers. 

After citizens (including myself and others) read the report and were preparing their remarks to deliver well-founded criticisms regarding flawed methodology and nuanced semantics designed to derive misleading conclusions,  we have now found out that the “public hearing” process has been hijacked as well.

We have learned that Murphy- Nugen designed a silly colored coded scheme under the acronym “CARES” with ambiguous preferences that attendees can choose from;  afterwards the colors will be tabulated.  The choices afforded participants leave no choice but to be shoehorned into accepting an option favorable to the task force agenda;  by design there is no color choice for dissent.

Those who have comments to make which delve deeper than color games will be allowed to write their comments on a note card and submit it. No actual public comment will be actually heard during this public “hearing.” As far as submitted comments go,  there is little confidence that these will see the light of day,  as these too could be discounted by those counting results. 

These developments must lead the observant citizen to draw this conclusion- the fix is in,  and the formation of the task force was only put in place to further an agenda,  and come up with a “study” with results designed to conveniently fit that agenda.  Thoughtful citizens who truly care about this community should reject the task force findings and action plan completely.

The taxpayers of Waynesville deserve better.

Erich Overhultz

Waynesville, NC