An Inside Look from the People most affected by the City of Hickory's decision to no longer operate the Swimming Pools that have been a part of our community for Generations:
Sent to me by E-Mail from Deana Jones:
The city of Hickory only owns two swimming pools, Ridgeview and the George Ivey facility both located in low-income, minority communities. Neither pool has opened for the last few swimming seasons.
In 1994 and 1995, the City and leadership approved a program called the “Ridgeview Strategies”. This program was designed to help improve the Ridgeview Community by building city facilities and improving housing conditions. Among some of the city facilities that was to be improved was the swimming pool in this community. The improvement was to be a new swimming pool for adults and youth in the Ridgeview community at the end of the summer swimming season. There was money approved in the budget dating back to 1994 for the upgrading of the swimming pool.
The community is asking why the money allotted for this work has not been used for the repairs of these swimming pools. These pools serve a great purpose for the youth during the summer to help keep them out of the streets.
In 2007, the pool was opened on a specified day to allow dogs to swim in the pool. This upset many citizens of the Ridgeview community.
Later the swimming pool was inspected by the county and state Environmental Protection Agencies and was determined to be unsuitable for use during the next swimming season.
The last inspections were made in 2007 and 2008 and the City was told about which repairs would be needed to reopen the pool for the 2010 summer swimming season. As of July 10, 2010, the City has not complied with the work needed for the Ridgeview community.
It may be of interest that the community leaders went before City Council for resolution and concerns in this matter to no avail.
The pools are the issue. Let’s look at the real problem.
As most of us are aware of, we live in an area (Unifour) where (because of the election processes) for all practical purposes it is impossible to elect progressive leadership to represent minorities and poor and low-income whites to governmental bodies. The playing field is not level.
By anti-Democratic processes I am speaking of the at-large and modified at-large systems used to elect members to city councils, school boards, and county commissioners throughout the townships in the Unifour area (Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, and Catawba counties and hundreds of counties and townships throughout NC). The lone exceptions are the pure ward voting systems in Hickory, NC and Burke County, NC for electing school board members.
District and ward representation came into being to ensure the representation of ignored neighborhoods and to increase the likelihood that minorities and poor people would be represented by politicians of their choosing. It was not for the convenience of politicians.
By systematically allowing these voting processes to flourish, it is the intentional misuse of power that denies full democratic participation on bodies that determine our involvement in shaping public policy in the area. (Unifour)
If we are systematically kept away from the decision-making tables, we are barely left with little or no control of our destiny. We are at the mercy of “Plantation Politics” if we continue to do nothing about our condition. Can anything be done? The answer is a resounding Yes! We must go to our NAACP’s, labor groups, churches, social organizations to ask that they get involved in demanding that our right to participate in responsive and representative government not continue to be denied to us by the dominate cultural forces and corporate groups. Our leaders in these institutions must be at the forefront of our struggle for just democratic representation.
These anti-democratic processes disfranchise and discourage voters especially among workers and our youth.
The citizens of Hickory will return to City Hall AT 6:00pm on July 20, 2010-BE THERE! CAN WE AGREE HERE TODAY AMONG OURSELVES TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS STRUGGLE?
Hickory City Pools -- Told You So