To the Editor:
We are thankful for The Smoky Mountain News coverage of the Lake Junaluska-Waynesville merger process. I am a full-time resident at the Lake and have served as president of the Lake Junaluska Assembly Property Owners Organization. I also served on the Municipal Study Task Force which studied in depth the pros and cons of merger. My concern is Rep. Michele Presnell, R-Burnsville, and her involvement in the merger process.
Obviously, Rep. Presnell has not bothered to read any of the material and studies related to this proposal. Nor has she investigated both sides of this matter. Rather, while she represents a part of Haywood County, she has chosen to interject herself into a very local issue involving parts of Haywood County that are not in her legislative district, nor is it a matter of state or even regional concern. It is a local issue that has sufficient and appropriate representation by Rep. Joe Sam Queen, D-Waynesville, and Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin. Rep. Presnell says those few people opposed to annexation asked her to intervene because they felt that they were not getting what they wanted from their elected representatives.
Rep. Presnell avows that somehow she knows “in her heart” that annexation is not in the best interests of Lake Junaluska. Never mind the will of the majority of property owners. Her assertion about the Lake and Waynesville making an “end run” around the official process is ludicrous, and Rep. Presnell knows it.
The actions taken by the Lake and by Waynesville have been open to the public, subject to a survey by resident and non-resident property owners (which showed 65 percent of owners want annexation) and vetted in every way by our elected state legislators. Now, Rep. Presnell has decided she is above all that, that she “knows” better about the future of Lake Junaluska — even though she has not been elected by the persons she is seeking to represent and has no jurisdiction or stake in this conversation.
The future of the Lake is indeed at issue here. Should not the persons who have the most at stake make the decisions in concert with their duly elected legislators?