UPDATE 1/7 Widen I-77 Files Motion to Stay
UPDATE: Judge Smith will hear our Motion to Stay as the first order of business tomorrow. PLEASE KEEP YOUR PLANS TO BE IN COURT TOMORROW. Same time and place.
If the motion is denied, oral arguments will proceed as originally scheduled.
Mecklenburg County Courthouse
832 East Fourth Street
10am, January 8, 2016
Today we instructed our attorney to file a Motion to Stay. We are basically asking the court to hit the “pause” button for a moment. The WI77 board unanimously agreed to taking this action for a number of reasons.
First, unlike when we first filed suit, there is now considerable public debate, and that debate will only increase over the next couple weeks. Judges can be reluctant to step in and squelch public debate with a ruling. In legal terms, there is a good possibility our case is no longer “ripe.” That doesn’t mean it’s invalid- to the contrary this changes nothing in our legal argument- but rather it’s not time to resort to litigation. There was a good possibility the judge himself could have ordered a stay; we prefer to remain consistent with our philosophy of pursuing litigation as a last resort and do not want to put the judge in the position of having to tell us that.
Second, given the above, granting the Stay is a de facto admission that this is no longer a “done deal” despite what toll proponents have been saying for years.
Third, our action emphasizes the confusion and chaos created by Governor McCrory’s letter.
Fourth, it puts our elected officials in the appropriate position of needing to advocate and represent our interests. If any of you saw Commissioners Jim Puckett and Pat Cotham at last night’s BOCC meeting, you know we’re fortunate to have some wonderful representation. But it’s time for our state officials to also step up and engage the Charlotte City Council on our behalf, especially those whose districts include parts of Charlotte.
Fifth, our action turns the tables. Where once we had a CRTPO decision hanging over our head, now CRTPO has a lawsuit hanging over theirs. Because rest assured, if after all this they vote to re-affirm this awful project, the next day we will be in court filing a motion to lift the stay.
We know many of you have made contributions expecting a legal case. Again, thanks to you we’re fully prepared to do that. Your contributions put the bullets in our revolver. But we also know stopping this project is the most important objective right now, and based on the above we firmly believe this action gives us the best shot at doing just that.
Thanks for your continued support.