My Friend William Peoples Passed Away Monday Morning. Making a Real Difference in Our Community, William will be Missed

Posted on March 14, 2017

Steve Mensing, Editor

♦ My friend William Peoples, a Salisbury community advocate and Rowan County Department of Social Services Board Chairman, passed away Monday morning after a long struggle with kidney disease at Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem.  My condolences to his family and many friends.  William led a meaningful life and battled for human betterment in his community.

William and I first met in the rear of Salisbury city council sometime back around 2009.  We struck up a conversation about something he said during public commentary.  I suspect it had something to do with the city’s policing or traffic stops.  Soon afterwards we’d run into each other in Downtown Salisbury or over at Jeter’s Deli at lunchtime.  We always talked.  We were on the same wavelength about the city.  Before long we exchanged phone numbers and that led to many long conversations.  He was someone I was always glad to hear from or see.

It was William with whom I took my first tour of the West End back in 2010.  He showed me the Vanderford “Spite Hole” which City Hall willfully avoided cleaning up.  I saw woodchucks and Norway rats running through the overgrown weed and locust tree jungle surrounding the runoff and heard the story about how the “Spite Hole” became payback from city hall for not supporting their agenda. 

William told me about the lack of police patrols in the West End and the slowness in answering calls.  The lack of safety lighting, sidewalks, and consistent trash pickup in the area.  The complete minimizing of city services to the West End and complaints to city hall only got back “we’ll get back to you”.  And no forthcoming action.  (If you really want to know if people are truly listening you–they take action on your requests and don’t give you a runaround).

Many times William met up with Kenny Lane and I for lunch at Jeter’s Deli. They were great times.

Back in 2014 when I wrote an article in the RFP about “Planned Shrinkage”, a covert method city planners use to run off “undesirable populations”, William called me up when he read it and said, “That is Salisbury.”

“I suspect so,” I replied.

Planned Shrinkage a Covert Way Cities Cleanse Undesirable Neighborhoods and Speed Gentrification:

William’s resume is long and so were his life experiences. He’s been the DSS Board Chairman, a community advocate, a president of the Rowan County NAACP, a former shipping and receiving worker and quality control at Reynolds Metals Company, studied welding at Rowan–Cabarrus Community Company, a graduate of Salisbury High School, and ran twice for City Council.

Goodbye William, I’m glad to have known you.

Video: William Peoples, Community Advocate, Speaks Out at Public Commentary During December 14th Salisbury City Council Meeting:

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