From the Monday Morning meeting with the Mayor on Hal Row's First Talk program, June 6, 2011: I was listening to Hal and the Mayor talk about a Game changing Investment and if people have an idea that he wants them to bring it to him, no matter how big or small, this is the third month in a row that the Mayor has talked about this idea. $20 million has always been this number that he constantly brings up. He defines it as a parameter, but in the end -- in my opinion -- this is all about politics and frankly, although he's entitled to say whatever he wants, I am personally getting tired of hearing it. He states that he and the Council would take it (the Right Idea) to the people. What parameter defines "The People." First, if I have a $20 million idea, why am I going to bring it to the Mayor. What is his track record of making things happen? And why should I not be worried about it being steered away from myself and towards more connected interests?
Hal brings up the idea about municipal golf courses and the Mayor makes a simple statement about them having mixed reviews. My paranoid side felt like they were trying to poke and prod me to call in and state that I would be against it because it would compete against the local Private Clubs. I could give two piles of horse hockey about that. I know that this would not be a good time to call in about such a subject when one of our areas most important marketing events is taking place. However, my argument would be that there is an over saturation of golf facilities in our community already, especially with the current state of the economy. Go ask the existing golf facilities how their present revenues are going. Most of these "Golfers" don't have a clue about the intensive investment that it takes to run a proper Golf facility.
The next thesis of this program was that we need to bring more retirees into this community. I already have pointed out why I believe this to be a mistake -- ad nauseum. I am willing to debate the Mayor any time and any place on this issue. These two men kept talking about how it would create construction jobs, because these people buy houses and Hal was talking about how these people would buy houses on these municipal golf courses. Let me get this right. We don't have money to spend a few hundred thousand dollars to create a community swimming pool, but we have millions of dollars to spend on building golf courses with the hope that golf lovers will flock to the Hickory to play golf to infinity. We don't take care of the Citizens of Hickory now, but they want to bring in new people that they expect to cater to. Yeah right!!!
Ladies and gentleman, someone has to come out of the woodwork and I have been thinking about two years from now, because we cannot afford to remain on this path to nowhere that we are on. Hickory is a political microcosm of what we see from other dysfunctional governments that we see throughout the World. These governments have detached themselves from the people and do not look at themselves as public servants, instead we are looked upon as subjects. They look to themselves as Authorities and Authorities authorize.
I honestly think the Mayor has no intentions of doing anything. We are not moving forward in this community and the Mayor is basically telling you that he has no ideas. If he had any ideas about how to generate anything economic, then he would not be asking you for yours!!! And to a degree he has implemented his policies, which are to cut, cut, cut, cut.... the budget and by consequence reduce the effectiveness of the local government. Where is $20 million going to all of the sudden appear from?
With this act of desperation, the $20 million idea, he displays over and over again that he thinks he is the final arbiter of whether an idea is good or not and I have never heard him state that any idea sounds great. It is always that he needs to study it further or it has had mixed reviews or it hasn't worked somewhere else or people are looking for "The Right Idea."
The Mayor is becoming a caricature of how Old South Mayors were characterized on television shows like Andy Griffith, etc. back in the days of black and white TV -- jumping in front of the crowd on popular issues, while being scared to death to take any chances, because some political negativity might be pinned on him if he were wrong. I hate to say that, but when he is constantly making these broadbrushed generalities about community investment and other over simplified statements that he has made about the local economic situation and the scenarios to be played out over the next generation, then one can see that he has no intention of doing anything outside of the box to move this community forward. It is a Medicine Man approach to make a situation look grander than it is.
I want someone to come along, who is willing to face down this mess, this lack of focus, and this lack of leadership that is present day Hickory. I am not here to attack people. I do want to help, but I am given nothing to work with. Our leaders keep pushing this notion of this being a cheap place to live. That isn't a great way to attract the movers and shakers of this world. Smart people understand the concept of Cheap Begets Cheap. We need to stress Excellence and Value related to that excellence!!! We don't want to be a cheap place to live with cheap wages and amenities. We want to be a community with an excellent Quality of Life where people are happy and don't have to work two and three jobs to make ends meet; who can say that they don't have to sacrifice their way through life. There is a big difference between what our leaders consider sacrificing and what I am telling you about sacrificing.
We have got to move forward and stop worrying about political gamesmanship and instead think about the people. The people who have Hickory in their blood. Politics will not resolve Hickory's issues. It is going to take someone that will lay the facts out to the folks and be willing to lose in order to win. If you are trying to become Mayor for the next generation, then you will be part of the problem. If you want to get some things done around here and are willing to take some heat from the entrenched interests, then we can get some things done around here. Talk is cheap, let's step up to the plate and make some things happen.