Site Meter Ogre's Politics & Views: Halloween & Charlotte Cemetaries

Mayor Pat McCrory

Office of the Mayor
600 E. Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

Re: Urgent Matters of Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery.

October 30, 2007

Dear Mayor Pat McCrory:

We agree with your statements on crime and not tolerating it. We hope the same does apply towards Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery. We have express our concerns about the welfare of Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery for several years now.

Since tomorrow night is Halloween hope you will have the police department keep a special eye on both cemeteries. For the past several years the cemeteries have had various occurrences of vandalism that has occurred. We do not need any more vandalism in Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery. It sickness us find these headstones broken on purpose. This type of criminal activity is horrible an outrage to the families and citizens of Charlotte.

The vandalism has consisted of statues on burial plots broken, some beheaded, various headstones broken, and some bashed into pieces. Even monuments have had pieces chipped, which have lead to further cracking. Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery has been the victim of vandalism for too long.

We are concerned regarding the lack of responsibility we have encountered in the past. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department hasn't’t followed up on reports filed. A police officer only has contacted us once and left a message. We have tried to contact him back, several times and have not heard from him. There haven’t been any arrests in regards to the vandalism. The aloof behavior is why people do not take the time to become more involved. This has not been an uncommon behavior by police or city officials.

The Homeless has become bigger problem in Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery.

We came across several locations where the homeless are staying. Several homeless individuals are using Mausoleum, as shelter. Saw several homeless individuals near the Norfolk track line. On the east side of Elmwood by the old office, two individuals are camping there. There is a large amount of garbage all around the buildings too.

Our cemeteries have been allowed to become a haven for the homeless, assaults at times and gang activity. City officials have not taken a more productive stand help protect and maintain Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery. We trust that this will change, so Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery will become a safe haven.

Vandalism is bad enough in Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery, yet we have to worry about damages done by lawn mowers too. The Lawn Company uses mowers that are too big and set very low for the terrain of the cemetery. This causes scraping, chipping, breaking, and toppling of the headstones and damage occurs. Many of these headstones are works of art the quality, and
workmanship, cannot be replaced. We (the families) cannot stress that enough! Many of the older headstones come from artisans who hand carved these stones; they cannot be replaced with inferior copies. Once they are gone, they are gone, and shame on those who allowed this!

It is nice to see areas that had new trash bins, but it seems that trash bins are not dumped enough. This why a rodent problem has started in the cemeteries and it seems the rats come from the sewers. I know that cities do have these types of problems. However, this particular problem has been brought up in the past to various city officials.

When our city is not providing safety or maintaining up keep, for Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery. Then city is in violation of North Carolina State Laws. The city is fully responsible for Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery. Therefore, when we inform you of things that are going on, in the cemetery; we expect these things to be corrected quickly.

We still have numerous dogs running loose through Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery. Simple, the fourth Ward Neighborhood needs a Dog Park. Many people are not cleaning up after their dogs business. Our headstones are in honor of our love ones not have dog crap on them. Signs are posted in both cemeteries that state the rules and city ordinances. Again, these ordinances are not followed or enforced.

We have spoken with city officials numerous times and nothing has been done stop this. Animal Control told city officials that dogs should not be allowed in the cemetery. Several cemeteries in North Carolina do not allow dogs. By the lack of officials, taking the time to rectify this, it becomes abundantly clear, that City Officials do not have respect for the citizens, who they are elected to serve.

The following links show various pictures regarding these matters.

http://www.alexandersociety.com/VandalismAtElmwoodCemetery.html

http://www.alexandersociety.com/HallofShame.html

We have spoken with you and address city council numerous times on the issues, still nothing has changed. Even have reported various criminal activity to authorities and seen no follow up or arrest made. For some reason, the police officers that we saw and spoken with have not enact on any of these past issues.

Various people have shared the same type of frustration too. We are tired of seeing inconsistency, to help stop these issues; one needs diligent people to follow through.

Mr. McCrory, there has been a strong need for a proactive resolution to these problems. Several times over the years, we have offered our support and even shared various resources that would help resolve these problems. As Mayor, the buck stops with you and we have not seen consistent, decisive action from you. Citizens need to see a positive change and direction.

We have spoken with various community leaders and families, one thing that resounds as a theme, is the lack of responsibility that elected officials have shown. Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery, is all that is left that truly shows the history of Charlotte.

Both cemeteries are intertwined not only with each other, but they directly parallel the City of Charlotte’s vibrant history and growth. A casual visit to these cemeteries quickly reveals its interments of historical significance just by reading the surnames on existent tombstones. We can only pray that our city and county leaders can remember how they would feel, if was their loved ones and it was their headstones being vandalized.

Elmwood is the final resting place for the relatives of two American Presidents, Andrew Jackson, and James K. Polk. Also buried in this part are Relatives of American Pioneer icons such as: Boone, Crockett, Houston, and Davis. Also interred are local pioneers and their descendants such as: the Polk's, Spratts, Alexander’s, Clontzs, Steele's, Whites, Springs, Blacks, Hoods
/ Presley, Orrs.

Pinewood is much older. Not many people know the rich and wondrous history of this section of the Cemetery. Leaders who were the foundations of African-American communities are in Pinewood as well. It is a wealth of history for an entire culture, one that has lost much of its relevant history to the injustices of the past. It should be preserved and protected, as it is it is being destroyed by lawnmowers, vandals, and ignorance.

Mr. McCrory, we like to try again meeting with you personally about these issues. This time like to suggest have your office arrange this, so there is no misunderstandings and lack of communication.

We want a positive plan and direction put in place solve these issues. If we pull all our resources together just think what could be accomplish. We are willing, are you?

The ball is in your court and we hope that another body is not found!

Sincerely,

Mark A. Palmer
Historic Preservation of Elmwood and Pinewood Cemetery
www.alexandersociety.com

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