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Wilmington men organize citizen ordinance, petition to stop tax funded ballpark

READ MORE: Wilmington men organize citizen ordinance, petition to stop tax funded ballpark

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The proposed ballpark has gotten its fair share of attention lately. Tuesday night City Council unanimously voted to start negotiating with Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves. However, two Wilmington men are trying to stop it from going any further and taking the issue into the hands of the people. Ben McCoy and Joshua Fulton, who previously ran for City Coucil, started a petition to hopefully change how the city can pay for the ballpark.

"It doesn't matter what your political ideology is or where you stand or what you believe in," McCoy said. "Your taxes are going up so that Bobby Cox and friends can make money from your risk and your investment."

"We don't think they should be gambling with our money essentially," Fulton said.

The two have organized a citizen-initiated ordinance.

"Citizens of Wilmington can basically introduce whatever ordinance they want if they have enough signatures," Fulton said. "This powerful tool has not been used by any municipality in the state of North Carolina within the last five years, according to General Counsel for the State Board of Elections."

They have started a petition to prevent City Council from enforcing a tax raise to pay for the ballpark. City Council has two decisions when handed the petition: they can approve it as-is or put it to a public vote. About 3,000 signatures from registered Wilmington voters are needed for the citizen ordinance to be successful.

"The challenge is getting the message out and reaching everyday people that are outside the normal circles," McCoy said.

To do just that, the two set up the Facebook group "Stop Tax-Funded Stadium in Downtown Wilmington," where there's a link on the wall to sign the petition.

“People need to get involved, they need to wake up,” McCoy said. “They need to get off the couch, they need to determine this issue and see where they stand on it and take steps to support your position.”

Fulton and McCoy have also organized a protest for February 18th at noon behind the Convention Center where you can sign that petition. Copies of the initiatives will also be available for citizens to sign at Wilmington Commercial Realty at College and Oleander and at Hardwire Tattoo downtown.

We contacted several members of City Council, including Mayor Bill Saffo. None were available for comment.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


The Baseball File

Ben does not state what everyone is thinking, a few yes.

No filter?

Eerily similar to Jason Thompson...

You are a liar. Your post is

You are a liar. Your post is outright slander and libel. Your statements about me are untrue. Please fill us in on how I make my living off of government money. I have done nothing to you other than ruffle the feathers of your pathetic friends on city council. It speaks volumes about you how a citizen, a fellow neighbor of yours taking action for a change gets you so fired up you would spread outright lies and slander about someone. Just because this is a website, and you cower in your anonymity, does not mean it is legal to slander someone's good name.

The Baseball File

Please Ben, answer my question. Do you derive any or all income from government subsidies? ie,Medicare, Medicaid or combination. Also, Do You own or pay taxes on any property in Wilmington Proper or the County of New Hanover. I don't intend to slander or libel You or anyone. You Sir Slander and Libel both City Council and County Commission as being corrupt, Evidence Please. Your boy, Brian Berger, as stated on record has proof of some sort of corruption. Please, Let us see it before the elections.

"Cower In Your Anonymity"

Read again,he has his name written on his post. I'm also guessing he isn't a liar, I see no answer to his last post.

The Baseball File

Do You or do You not sell any products reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid? Perhaps even Social Security Disability? If not, My apologies. But then I have seen no evidence of all the corruption You spew about members of City Council and the members of the County Commission, other than Mr. Berger of coarse.

Answer the question Ben!

Well is that not true? Is it not true as well that the medical device businesses, such as yours, and its lobbyists have a strong record of winning concessions to keep taxpayers paying for those carts? Well Ben what's your answer? Maybe Brian Berger can give you a lesson in lobbyists since he was employed by one in Washington.

Oh no not these clowns!

All the loonie's are coming out of the woodwork. Last time anyone listened to Ben McCoy we ended up with Brian Berger ! Joshua Fulton isn't much more lucid than Berger.

I don't want a Stadium but we need people speaking up who have some credibility and don't come off as tea party lunatics.

Then you do it! See that's

Then you do it! See that's the funny thing about these online forums. People like you drop in from time to time and leave your little commentary and then disappear into the woodwork. The funny thing is, you consider yourself "engaged" and "informed". I don't see you taking any action. Your comment clearly states that you would like someone else to headline this effort - which tells us you are not a leader. You are looking for someone to follow - actually you are begging for it. It's ridiculously easy to anonymously leave some post on WWAY about how I'm this and I'm that - and then relish in your apathetic anonymity. That is what is wrong with this town. The very few who do stand up to the government are shouted down by the sheep who wouldn't dare turn off Dancing with the Stars long enough to even go to a city council meeting. I can't say that really offended at your comment at all given that you fit this profile so well. Sorry to disappoint. We are taking action - who the hell else is?

Like a child screaming for attention...

You haven't got a clue Ben, I'm here every day and I have been around a lot longer than you. Your type come and go in this town at an annoying frequency.
First of all, you are not a real property owner in the City nor the County so you have no stake in this fight. Secondly you can't even get through a 45 second interview with out acting like a fool. Seriously Ben, How the hell do you think you can effectively represent anyone when you present yourself like a nut job?

Ben, you are not credible


You avidly defended Mr. Berger; you have lost all credibility in our area and I think you should locate yourself elsewhere. You have caused us enough trouble with Brian Berger!

Petition count

Who will be paying for New Hanover County to count the petitions? Will that be on the taxpayer's bill as well? Nice.

NHC doesn't have to spend

NHC doesn't have to spend money to count anything if they don't want to. They can adopt the ordinance as written.


NHC wouldn't be the ones adopting the ordinance, city council would. And if no one is validating these petitions, then who's to say Ben McCoy's name isn't on there 50 times? Or people who don't live here are signing it (like Lynchburg residents)? I'm just curious what the process is.

This is correct. And there

This is correct. And there is no other mechanism for citizens to impose their will for a change on government. It was government who created this mechanism. They could have made it easier if they really cared what citizens thought. But they didn't. I am not going to take some sort of blame because I have the nerve and the initiative to utilize the channel before me to try and make a positive difference in my community. And even if your argument had any merit, simple math is in my favor. Does it make more sense to spend $60 million in tax dollars for the stadium - or probably a couple hundred in man hours to count the petition signatures that actually stop the thing dead in its tracks? I can't believe I'm even entertaining this...

Ben....seriously, couldn't you have at least asked someone else.


You do realize that there is about 3 people who currently think your motives are geniune? One is your mother, the other is your father. The third one should be in a lifetime mental health clinic, Brian Berger.

Your petiton is worthless. Your co-conspirator well never get elected either. Both of you need to stand up and realize that we've had enough with Berger, enough with you and Fulton is just right behind you.

The funny thing is, I agree with you that the tax payers don't need this stadium but even worse than tha we don't need you and BERGER!

What the heck?

I am sure glad all of the Ben "Haters" are spouting out a legitimate argument here instead of trying to personally slander him.. Wow, (by the way.. sarcasm). Look, lets have the debate. I would love a baseball stadium in Wilmington. It would be cool. I could totally get behind a group who wanted to help raise funds voluntarily for it. As a lifelong baseball fan, who subscribes to to watch tons of games, along with catching a game whenever I go to New York, I would LOVE to see a stadium here. I might even buy season tickets...AS LONG AS it wasn't built by theft of the taxpayer for the gain of Big Business.

The point is, lets have the debate. The people who sit here and slander people's character need to grow up. You sound like a bunch of whiny little crybabies. I am hopeful you are not, so we can have an intelligent conversation. But based on this thread, it sounds like Ben and Josh are winning the intellectual argument.