I am not here to attack Hal, but I do believe that it is my right to offer constructive criticism of his program. Hal is a great host, if it is as the role of an emcee. That is the way I think Hal looks at his role. He definitely has a great talent as an orator behind the mic. But, my criticism is that his show could deliver so much more to the community and I have sent e-mails in the past to Hal stating this. The community deserves to hear all of the relevant sides of an issue, but Hal steadfastly refuses to bring any point-counterpoint issues to his show and all we get is the City Bureaucracy's side of the story. Is that fair?
Once again Hal brought up the $20 million game changer question. He asked if anyone had brought any ideas to the Mayor. The Mayor inferred that no one had and then went into a diatribe about bringing the retirees into the community and also stated that people had made fun of him about the $20 million idea and that the people in the city would come up with the money for the "RIGHT" idea.
I would like to make a couple of points. First of all, I spoke to the Mayor on that very program a few months ago about microlending and what did we see? He got very defensive about the issue and basically dismissed it outright. I think when the Mayor talks about the "Right Idea," what he is referring to is the "WRIGHT Idea." He wants something that he can take full credit for and if no one comes to him with anything he can point the finger and say, "See no one else has any ideas either." What it shows me is that the Mayor doesn't have any ideas and leaders are supposed to generate ideas through themselves or others.
The Mayor and the City Manager have proven time and time again that they are not team players. They want all of the credit for the good and none of the blame for the bad. It is like in football, the Quarterback and the Coach get the credit for the good and the blame for the bad. The great coaches and quarterbacks accept that and the ones that fail always look to deflect criticism and absolve themselves of mistakes. The greats admit fault, learn from mistakes, and apply themselves under that greater understanding in the future. I have never heard the City of Hickory admit fault or that they have made any mistakes about anything
Does anyone think that he has looked further into the issue of microlending and doing anything about it? Or bringing forward any public discussion about microlending possibilities or the pros and cons or making it possible for private capital to make funding of such an function possible?
At the end of Hal's show, he stated that no one was coming forward with ideas. He stated that the people who complain were just complainers who had nothing constructive to offer. On this issue, I will tell you that Hal was referring to this blog. Personally, I'm a little tired of the naivete offered up by the local media that never discusses the real issues that affect our area. Is that the role of the news media? To never complain or offer criticism and to only spout forth the City of Hickory or other local official's propaganda?
I have offered many solutions on this very blog about the direction this community can take. I will list some quotes that have been placed here over the years below:
An All-American City deserves first-class leadership (July 15, 2007) :
We need to be inviting alternative fuel energy companies to take a look at the area. We are located at or near several major thoroughfares. We need to look at the biotech industry and how we could entice these companies to come here. We need to look to future technologies and how we could play a part in their development. We see Charlotte thriving, yet we are floundering. It's time to end the excuses and show some results.
Hickory - Time to put the Puzzle together (August 17, 2009):
Looking at Richard Florida’s philosophy got me to thinking about Hickory’s plight. Hickory must figure out a way to retain its best and brightest citizens, especially the twenty and thirty somethings. These are the generations that help a community constantly renew and revitalize itself. These are the people who have children and spend money on commodities that help a city to grow and prosper. The way to retain these people is to encourage industries that they will be more willing to participate in; High Tech industries such as robotics, energy, health care, engineering, and biomedical technology.
A key to creativity is understanding and accepting the needs and differences of individuals. In my opinion, many creative people don’t want to live in this area, because we make them feel uncomfortable or even unaccepted. We hear a lot about like-mindedness, but what about diversity? We need people coming at local issues from all angles, conforming to one way of thinking reeks of authoritarianism. Creativity never thrives under such conditions....
When it comes to building industry in our area, it’s not about College. It’s about knowledge. Do we have the types of Knowledge Industries available that will interest and retain the educated class? Are the people who grow up here and go away to college coming back after they obtain their degree? Are the young adults that we educate in our local Institutions of Higher Education staying here after they graduate? The key to prosperity is developing employment opportunities for the educated (and trained) at a living and sustainable wage. Our area’s wage growth proves that this is not happening. Without good jobs, we cannot have a prosperous and vibrant community. We cannot have the cultural amenities so many desire, because our tax base and marketplace will not support it....
What I believe we should study is the Commercial characteristics and Cultural Amenities of these cities and how they are addressing needs that are relevant to the 21st century. Every one of these cities is addressing their Public Transportation needs and I think that it is imperative that we also do just that. Our Public Transportation system is extremely inadequate for an area of our size. Population growth has been shown to be a key to a successful economy. If we move towards a structure that encourages growth, then we must develop a public transportation central nervous system to ensure that the growth is systematic and sustainable and doesn’t have a negative impact on our ability to travel to different destinations in the area.
Hickory sits at several important geographical and transportational crossroads and should be a vital central location for Western North Carolina. In my opinion that is what caused this city to develop in the first place. Why we lost the meaning and significance of this part of our city's Mission of Existence is beyond me....
Forbes ranks Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton as #147 area out of 150 when it comes to Culture and Leisure. This Index is based on museums, theaters, golf courses, sports teams, and other activities. I think the SALT Block is an excellent public cultural facility, we have the Crawdads and, and we have a ton of golf courses (and a golf tournament) around here. So by process of elimination, I believe that this tells us that we need to improve upon our entertainment business sector. There really isn’t much to do around here other than go to bars.
Developing an entertainment complex would go hand-in hand with our restaurant and retail business sectors and it would appeal to a younger demographic. I have heard the possibilities of a mid-sized concert venue being developed and I think a nice Amphitheater in the area would have a lot to offer. Just think of people around the region converging on Hickory and spending money in our stores. That seems like a lot better scenario than always having our citizens go to concerts in Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro, or Greenville, SC and spend money there.
Many people believe me to be eternally pessimistic when it comes to my hometown. I honestly don’t believe that I am. Some don’t like the message and others don’t like the way I have delivered it. But, would they have listened if I had softballed it up to them. Empirical evidence points to the fact that they wouldn’t have. I think the issues that we have faced and continue to face are solvable. But, we need to quit wasting time and get on with solving these issues that have plagued this area for years.
In our Future Economy Council Linked In Group. I wrote this just yesterday and it is related to issues that I have delved into on this blog (8/23/2011):
It is all about Trends and I believe that is what Curtis in part is alluding to. I think that what we need to do is look to the local ingredients we have, such as craftsmanship, and tune those into what will be needed if and when the economy turns around. Look at the positioning Charlotte is doing related to energy.
I look at trends and energy is most definitely an issue. It always has been and always will be. You can look at food in much the same manner. The way that we currently source food is very inefficient. I really do believe that an industry that helps create self-sustainability of food items at home can be a good effort. Make it easy for people to grow salad and fruits at their homestead and become self-sufficient. Make it user friendly.
I also think there are ways to help people be more efficient in their energy usage when it comes to heating and cooling their houses. This along with hot water usage are the major costs of residential energy bills. I also like the ideas of residential water conservation and using run-off to our advantage through man made aquaducts, cisterns, and holding ponds. We can merge this with manufacturing of water purification systems that can service our areas and help other cities throughout the country.
I also think the sooner that we get involved in rail transportation systems, the better we are going to be positioning ourselves in the future.
And here is a response to another:
Energy, food, and water technology. Three issues that have always been important in the development of mankind. I also think home sustainability is an important issue and not being too dependent on the control grid. Industries that help people be self-sufficient are going to be very important as the economy worsens. If you can't grow a little food, you just might starve to death. People learned this the hard way back in the 1930s.As you can see above, I have put forward things that can be done. You can talk about these being generalities. What investment isn't a generality until action is taken to make it happen and then the shovels dig the ground and then construction is finished and the project is officially utilized. Look at the Northeast Wastewater Treatment Center. That is how the steps of progress took place. That is how projects work. That project was a dream and a general concept at one time, but soon it will be part of the fabric of our infrastructure.
The problem with Hickory is not a lack of ideas. The problem with Hickory is a lack of understanding about priorities, initiatives, and a sense of urgency. We don't have time for nonsense. Our city's problems will not be solved at Bojangles or the Snack Bar. Our problems will be solved when we quit playing little games and start engaging people who care and let them be part of the team and participate in working towards the long term viability of our local economy.