I am highly disappointed that the Huntersville board didn’t approve the mental health facility. By voting against the facility, Ron Julian, Sarah McAuley, Charles Guignard and Charlie Jeter proved that they were full of empty promises during the campaign season, using words that meant something to citizens just to gain votes.

All of them promoted jobs as something they would strive for and by voting against the facility they made liars out of themselves. More than 100 jobs would’ve come from the facility and more would have followed because healthcare is lucrative. Starbucks and Walgreens chose their locations on exit 23 because of the hospital, not by chance.

These board members are so disconnected from the citizens that they don’t care that so many people are out of work and that recent college graduates are opting out of Huntersville’s minimum wage jobs for cities with real career opportunities. These board members certainly didn’t acknowledge the recommendations from their peers on the planning board or Chamber of Commerce; so why listen to average citizens that voted for them.

During this ordeal they showed that they are out of touch elected officials who lack compassion. By not supporting the facility, Charlie, Charles, Sarah and Ron purposefully ostracized one-sixth of adults who live with mental illness. The facility was for the mothers who lose a child, soldiers with PTSD, our neighbors with depression; regular people, not miscreants. It’s disgusting that these board members objected to the facility because of reputation and safety concerns even though they never actually visited mental health facilities before voting.

Their votes insinuated they are uneducated bigots who favor old-fashioned stereotypes over attempting to comprehend mental illness as an affliction. People with mental illness are not delinquents or harmful to Huntersville. Close-minded people that are ashamed of having a mental health facility in our town, people who go on TV and act like mental illness is repulsive, are harmful to Huntersville. Have you ever seen a sufferer of anorexia in the news for attacking someone because of their disease? No.

You see these people in the news for committing suicide because they are ashamed of who they are.

I am let down and embarrassed by the board members who voted to hold our town and citizens back from progress and growth. I’m sure they all want the best for those out of work or with mental illness, just not in our town.

– Stacy Phillips, Huntersville