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Week of Dec. 13 - NHC's $50 million housing bond is gone, then back! Filing for 2022 elections is here, then gone!

Port City Politics wide

On this episode, New Hanover County and Wilmington leaders go back and forth on a $50 million bond to tackle affordable housing. Plus, the filing period for the 2022 elections was frozen, then resumed, then suspended by the state courts — and now, we don't quite know what's next.

Housing Bond whiplash

Affordable housing is not a new problem. In 2016, the City of Wilmington and New Hanover County began what would become a long series of housing committees and studies that, eventually, led to conversations this summer about a $50 million housing bond. Officials seemed on board, but then polling from the Chamber of Commerce apparently changed their minds. Then, under a media spotlight, with housing advocates looking on, some of the changed their minds again.

There was also a 1/4-cent sales tax and a $7 vehicle registration considered, with mixed results.

It's confusing, we know.

Housing bond coverage:

Elections, interrupted

Earlier this month, filing for the 2022 primary election kicked off (candidates that won't face a primary challenger still technically register for the primary and are considered to automatically win and advance to the general election).

But, just ten minutes before filing opened, the state courts froze filing for state-level and federal offices — allowing local county candidates to continue filing — while arguments over the allegations of gerrymandering of state and congressional representative maps. Then the courts reopened filing. Then the state Supreme Court suspended filing and moved the primary election from March 2022 to May 2022 and gave the trial court until January 11 to sort out the details of the gerrymandering case.

Right now, it's not clear how that will impact the election. A new filing period hasn't been set yet and it's unclear if the current maps will be used for this election or not.

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Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature.