As another local election campaign nears, new and familiar faces have been filing to fill three Wilmington City Council seats. Mack Coyle, Alexandria Monroe, Harry Smith Jr., Kimberly Spader, Kevin Spears, Scott Monroe and Matt Thrift are on the ballot, and up for re-election are Margaret Haynes, Paul Lawler and Neil Anderson. Also, Devon Scott announced his run against Mayor Saffo, who has held office since 2006.
encore has been reaching out to all candidates to get their thoughts and views on top-of-mind issues concerning our city. This week we chat with Mack Coyle, who has been a fierce advocate, speaking out against DuPont/Chemours and the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) per the poisoning of the Cape Fear River. His weekly emails to the CFPUA board are often cc’d with all local media for full transparency. We spoke with Coyle about his upcoming election bid for a council seat.
encore (e): Tell us why you decided to run for council.
Mack Coyle (MC): I am running for Wilmington City Council to provide new leadership and ethical oversight of our local government. In particular, I am running to provide leadership to coordinate community power to stop the ongoing crimes by DuPont—to stop the poisoning and killing of people here in our community by DuPont. Part of that effort will be to provide new leadership and direction to reform the corrupt and petty criminal behavior of the CFPUA board and senior staff. They have performed a terrible disservice to our community; they obfuscated and diminished the science explaining the impacts and dangers DuPont has created for our community.
The CFPUA has become corrupted, and the community should have no confidence the CFPUA is our advocate. The staff continues to stonewall and slow walk public-record requests. The staff have smeared and slandered local activists: denied equal treatment under the law to our citizens; and, specifically, Frank Styer (CFPUA-COO) and Elizabeth Eckert (CFPUA-CSO) initiated and engaged in a campaign of intimidation against the community using false statements to the New Hanover Sheriff’s Office, and the FBI Joint Task Force on Terrorism.
The current CFPUA board of directors is unresponsive to communication about these matters, and as such tacitly endorses and supports a culture of corruption and abuse of power. I am running now to confront and expose these malefactors—an important perspective to have on council.
e: What qualifies you to run?
MC: I am a resident of Wilmington NC, and a citizen of North Carolina. Additionally, I am a professional construction worker, whom has worked on many iconic historic structures here in Wilmington. I have been fortunate to work as site supervisor for the general contractor on the historic restoration and rebuilding of the Bellamy Mansion Slave Quarters, repair work on Burgwin-Wright House, and many other private historical residences.
In addition to my 25-plus-year career in the construction profession, I am an inventor and small business owner. Our company designs and produces mobile solar generators with integrated water pumping and filtration equipment at our manufacturing partner’s facilities located in Star, NC.
I also am a lifelong ecologist, feminist and environmental activist. I have many years of field experience working with nonprofit groups and community organizations here in Wilmington, in North Carolina, across our country, and around the world. Over the last 10 years, we have provided local community organizations access to clean, quiet and safe electricity, generated onsite from sunlight. We have powered over a hundred events around the Cape Fear. Many of your readers will be familiar with our equipment—powering the O’Neill Sweetwater and other surf contests, many local outdoor concerts, political events, the Cape Fear Earth Day events, UNCW student events, etc.
Also, I am husband to Jacquelyn, my beautiful wife of 14 years, and the father of our two wonderful children. My son is 12 years old and attends Roland Grise Middle School, and my daughter is 10 years old and attends Bradley Creek Elementary School.
e: What do you like about what our council is doing?
MC: The council’s continuing support and execution on the comprehensive “greenways plan” is an example of current leadership I support. I think that the city can and will do more to make this community better with the expansion of the “green” and “blue” ways. That is something I will continue to provide support and leadership on.
e: What are other top-of-mind concerns you have for our city, and how do you plan to address them?
MC: Hold DuPont accountable, and here’s how:
Create a city department—“The Office Of Industrial Poisoning”—to help residents understand crimes that have been committed against us by DuPont et al, and provide resources and support to community activists fighting for our city. This department will provide a nexus of coordination and activism for other communities to engage in mutual aid with Wilmington, so as to help us develop into a center of expertise and excellence, with which to support the victims of DuPont poisoning in our region and in other locales.
Challenge, petition, protest, and demand the NC Department of Environmental Quality, Attorney General Josh Stein, and Governor Cooper to end the operation of the plant in Fayetteville, NC, permanently—and seize all of the assets in NC of DuPont/Chemours/ Kurraray America et al.
Challenge, petition, protest and demand Ben David, NHC/Pender County district attorney, file criminal charges against the operators of the plant, and senior management of DuPont/Chemours/Kurraray America, so we may use the subpoena power to compel discovery and disclosure of DuPont’s records and scientific data surrounding PFAS.
People are still dying from exposure to these chemicals. These are murders, plain and simple. It was part of DuPont’s business plan to poison our entire city. DuPont is poisoning our children to create profit—the horrible and untimely deaths of our friends and family members are therefore homicides and should be treated as such by law enforcement.
Remove two city council members who serve on the CFPUA board and replace with people willing to tell the truth to our community—willing to fight for our community. Immediately remove and replace Jennifer Adams and Jessica Cannon from the CFPUA board, compel other board members to resign in a staggered schedule, and install community members and elected officials to fill the entire board with people whom are working for the interests of the city and the county residents.
Thus, we end the corrupt influence of the current board members and thwart their ongoing plan to protect special interests. We provide ethical guidance and oversight to reform the behavior of the CFPUA senior staff.
I also believe in cannabis truth and reconciliation. We should create a city department to research and annotate the historical record of cannabis production in the Cape Fear, state and country from the colonial time period through modern day. This history is buried in an avalanche of deception and denial—denial of the central role cannabis production has played in our economy.
Likewise the history of its use to effect mass incarceration must be researched and exposed as the nefarious tool it is. It’s used in creating and enforcing a racist class structure, and a permanent underclass comprising the victims of the failed “drug war.”
We should empower and engage in mutual aid with the Cape Fear Economic Council, the NC Agricultural Extension and New Hanover County, to digest and internalize the truth about both cannabis prohibition and production. We should support the return of our cannabis agricultural.
I also want to promote and support innovative 21st century cannabis industrial applications, specifically:
• Cannabis-derived graphene for high-tech battery manufacturing
• Cannabis-derived graphene for GAC filtration media for removing PFAS from our drinking water
• Cannabis-derived medicines and health food products
• Cannabis-derived lubricants, oils and fuels.
I would want to engage with professional economic counsel to understand the impact of its return, and that it returns to a pre-eminent position in the re-emerging cannabis economy. Current predictions and trends indicate a trillion-dollar-a-year industry returning to the USA by the year 2029—yes, trillion with a “T.” I will work for Wilmington to ensure we will be a cannabis-economic powerhouse once again.
I also want to end the war against our own community by our local police.
I would direct the Wilmington Police Department to cease enforcement of cannabis prohibition, including directing the WPD to make simple possession the lowest enforcement priority, and to pursue state or federal cannabis criminal charges as secondary offenses in support of the prosecution of actual crimes—with “actual crime” meaning there are real victims.
I would direct and support WPD’s engagement with the The Office Of Cannabis Truth and Reconciliation to educate police staff, and reform the culture of the department to reflect the truth about cannabis prohibition.
Finally, I support smart growth, infrastructure and regional transportation systems. Our city must remain vigilant in its guiding of regional development. We need to have new leadership on council who has an ecological and economic viewpoint. I provide a balanced and well-considered perspective, which we need for “smart growth.” Our infrastructure must match our growing community’s active and healthy lifestyles. More pedestrian bridges, dedicated bike paths, and renewed commitment to Wilmington’s Green Ways and Blue Ways will be one of my points of emphasis.
We also need modern, efficient and fast regional mass transit—to link Wilmington to Winston Salem, Charlotte, Raleigh, Jacksonville and Myrtle Beach. The light rail mass transit system will unlock economic development, and make our communities in NC more interdependent and interconnected. We, the residents of Wilmington and the citizens of North Carolina, will use the assets seized from DuPont and fund a 21st-century transportation juggernaut, which will be the envy of the world. Some have suggested we call it the “DuPont Industrial Poisoning Railway.”
e: Any ideas on how the city should help combat climate change in our coastal town?
MC: The city will develop a plan to “self produce” all electricity used in Wilmington city buildings, operations and transportation (convert our city fleet of vehicles to all electric, including our WAVE transit buses), powered vis-a-vis clean renewable photovoltaic technology (as well as wind and tidal power). This means installing PV on all city buildings, on city-controlled brown fields, and using the unique opportunity the North Carolina electricity market affords us, to create our electric cooperative, and build throughout the city resilient micro-grids.
Again, our imperative is to promote Wilmington and North Carolina as the center of excellence, a nexus that supports and sustains appropriate technologies and cost-effective methods for our power needs. By providing this leadership, and becoming a center of excellence, we will attract entrepreneurs, innovators, and job creating companies to aggregate around our wonderful city and county.
By integrating our electricity production into our built environment we will build in:
• self sufficiency and cost savings
• resiliency to disasters like hurricanes and extreme weather events
• eliminate reliance on gross polluters like Duke/Progress Energy, and on our aging fleet of dangerous nuclear power generating stations
e: What are your thoughts on the current noise-ordinance regulations the council is trying to rewrite?
MC: While I understand the need to update our codes to clarify methods of enforcement documentation to match our current needs (i.e. sound meters, etc), this seems like a solution in search of a problem.
e: Where do you stand on tax incentives, say, for historic property renovation or in any other fashion?
MC: I am against tax incentives.
e: How do you plan to represent the whole city, especially those outside of your neighborhood/comfort zone?
MC: I am a faithful and dedicated servant to the entire city—to all of the residents of Wilmington. My plan is, and always will be the same: I remain focused on truth and beauty; I engage in mutual aid, and love all people fearlessly.
I am an extremely friendly and gregarious person, and I will carry those traits and characteristics to all areas of our community, and celebrate both our connections and our differences.
Have your own inquiries or followup questions for Mack Coyle? Be sure to ask on the online article, and we will see he receives and answers them for you. His responses will be posted below the article until election day, Tuesday, November 5.
One-stop voting for the municipal elections begins on Wednesday, October 16, and will conclude on Friday, November 1.
Read all candidate interviews here.