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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Objectives of the Hickory Hound

1) To encourage the broadest possible dialogue with the largest number of people possible. Democracy is strongest with an active, informed citizenry. A small pool of participants tends to limit initiative and ideas and ultimately leads to acting in self interest with the public interest being secondary. With the use of the internet to disseminate information and email to get feedback it has never been easier to get an involved community going.

2) To revitalize economic growth in Hickory. Hickory ’s story is well known. With the evolution of the global economy Hickory ’s “brand name” as the furniture, textile, and fiber optic center is never going to be what it was. We need a new “brand name”. While we encourage a diversity of businesses and would welcome all to come here, our collective efforts need to develop a focus on our assets and work to attract a critical mass of business to build the economy around.

3) To use city government to promote our common interest and manage our common affairs efficiently and with respect for conservative democratic principles and individual rights. Good schools, low taxes, a fair but friendly regulatory environment, natural beauty, cultural opportunities, an available and hardworking workforce are but a few of the assets Hickory has to offer. We should work to highlight our assets and keep government limited and efficient by resisting the impulse to micromanage every activity. Trends in land management, city ordinances, and taxation should certainly be monitored and considered but we should be wary of a “follow the crowd” mentality.

4) To encourage the densification of Hickory. We cannot just be a one story, strip mall city and be great. High rise buildings, as in all large cities are a more efficient use of land, will make public transportation more viable, and create a more vibrant city core. Urban sprawl, with the traffic problems it causes and the environmental impacts it creates is something that needs to be addressed. Buildings constructed now will be around for many, many years and we need to look to the future now.

5) To position Hickory as the leader and geocenter of a vibrant region. While the City proper has about 40,000 residents the Hickory/Morganton/Lenoir MSA is a large area of about 400,000 residents. This is a respectable number of people and we need to step up and coordinate efforts to grow and live together.

6) To no longer accept second class treatment from the State government. The corruption in Raleigh with respect to revenue and especially the DOT is well known. Rather than simply complaining, we need to act in a coordinated and aggressive manner- diplomatically if possible, legally if necessary.

7) To enhance the quality of life in all areas, economically, culturally, educationally, spiritually, and environmentally for all our citizens.

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This contribution was made by my associate and close friend Harry Hipps II. He is the person that encouraged me to start this blog.

Over the last several years we have grown thoroughly disenchanted by the lack of leadership displayed by our local leaders and thus we have decided to strike out on our own to bring our local government back to the people.

Our local leaders talk a good game, when it comes to citizen involvment; but they have only trivially encouraged such participation. I have seen example after example of top down rule, where you are encouraged to participate if you agree with them; but if you don't, they just ignore you and your point of view. There is no education or explanation for their decisions. There is only a pervasive arrogance that they know what is best. This has led to the majority of people feeling disenfranchised and a general lack of morale for our city's direction.

The main ingredients that we have to work with in getting our city caught back up to the 21st century are the hard working, nose to the grindstone mentality and good ethical character of our citizens.

All we need to do is to get a major industrial company to decide that this is where they want to be. We can't do this without leadership from our elected officials. It isn't good enough to meet the minimum requirements of having the garbage picked up and utilities operating properly. They cannot be allowed to shirk their accountability by appointing and instituting bureaucratic agencies to absolve them of their responsibilities. The question is, is Hickory better off than it was eight years ago?

We need our roads to be up to par, so that local companies can move their goods to and from Hickory. We need good flow to our traffic patterns, because time is money. We need city codes that allow businesses to grow and prosper. We need to set aside personal preferences and do what is in the best interests of the future of our great city. Are our local leaders doing this?

We are here to give you a voice. We will in no way, shape, or form stifle anyone from participating in this movement. We just ask you to keep the language clean and everything else is fair game. If you don't agree with me, no skin off my nose, because I have been chided up one side and down the other for my philosophies my whole life.

The only thing left to say is Welcome!!!

3 comments:

D.W. Benfield said...

Don't you know the "leaders" of Hickory already have a plan for Hickory economically? They've had it for years now ever since they let furniture and hoisery slip away. It's called turning Hickory into a retirement community.
Why do you think health care has grown so much?

D.W. Benfield said...

And your other comments about Hickory's top-down style of governeace; that's why I finally gave up on Hickory in the 1980's. There is no changing the money that holds power.

James Thomas Shell said...

DW,

Can't never could. I never give up on anything. I believe that we can make things better, through sheer numbers.

I went to the city council debate last year and people said about our poorer sections of town (paraphrasing), "That's the way those sections of town have always been."

So should we just give up and continue to allow them to delapidate? Can't we do better? Haven't you seen success where there was none in other parts of our lives?

I think we can make things better. We can make a difference and I think this forum will give people the power to participate.

I appreciate your participation and input and I hope you will keep coming back.