(This was going to be told to the Hickory City Council if the subject came up last week)
Dick Morris, the political strategist, talks about the Matador, the Cape, and the Bull. Elected Officials represent the matador, the citizens represent the bull, and the inconsequential current events of the day represent the cape. Issues such as the water transfer and sinkhole represent “cape issues” in my opinion. They get everyone frothing, but in the end they carry no substance.
I went to the Rhodes room at the county library to look up census numbers and found a folder on Water issues.
A 1965 Charlotte Observer article stressed that we would be out of drinkable water in 10 years. Obviously that didn’t happen.
A 1969 Hickory Daily Record article stated that Duke Power had hired the Engineering firm of O’Brien & Gere of Charlotte and they estimated that we could use 90,000,000 gallons per day without having an adverse impact on Lake Rhodhiss and Lake Hickory.
A 1975 Hickory Daily Record article showed that we were utilizing 21,440,000 gallons of water per day. Of that 10,323,000 gallons per day were being utilized by industry.
Article from the Hickory Daily Record on 8/25/2007 stated that we were using 16.5 mill gal per day and the city wanted us to cut back 3 to 5 %, and a later article said that they wanted us to cut back 5 to 10%, and yet another article stated that they wanted us to cut back 10 to 20 %. The Governor even stated that he wanted us to cut back 50% on our water usage.
Article in the HDR on 9/ 29/ 2007 stated that we had cut back usage from 19 mill gal per day to 14 mill gal per day.
These numbers show that we aren’t even using the same amount of water per day that we were using in 1975 and according to statistics we are nowhere near the limit. Please show me an independent engineering study that shows the dire need for all of this hyperbole.
The area we are arguing so fervently against is part of the Charlotte Metro Area. The Catawba River flows a lot further than down to the Charlotte area and we aren’t going to be able to stop the growth of communities downriver. Are we going to cry every time a commercial venture is proposed downstream? How are we going to feel when Marion and Morganton tell us that we are using too much water?
We’ve gotten all lawyered up and made enemies out of Kannapolis, Concord, and maybe even David Murdoch. We can’t expect other communities to follow our city’s example of controlled growth. Most communities understand the vital need to generate the kind of economic opportunity that increases the size of the pie for all of its citizens. It should not be the role of governments to hinder that.
The State of North Carolina is going to stand behind whoever or whatever generates more revenue for the state government. Like Bill Clinton stated 16 years ago, “It’s the economy stupid.”
Let’s quit worrying about symbolism and start worrying about substance. We can no longer afford to keep a myopic, small town mentality around here. There are over 40,000 people living in this town, 80,000 in the township, and we are nearing 400,000 people in the metro area. We will either aim for all out progress or continue down this road of stagnation.
The success or failure of this city depends upon bringing Major Industry back to the area. We have got to get back to manufacturing products. That is the issue that we should obsess about, that is the issue that should consume our thoughts. That is where we need to be.
The vitality of Hickory does not rest upon what happens 40 miles away. Let’s stop with the animosity towards our fellow communities and work on making this the innovative community it can and should be. You know Can’t never Could. Let’s be leaders and not followers.
James Thomas Shell