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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Pride Festival and the City's New Can of Worms

In reading the article in the Hickory Daily Record about the "Pride Festival" that was supposed to be held at LP Frans Stadium (and was cancelled two days before the event), there are a lot of questions that need to be addressed, but I have talked about the cause and effect issues that the perception of intolerance towards people of differences has had on this community.

Hickory -- A Lack of Creativity?

In Dialogue with Silence DoGood:
Just for posterity, let me make sure that I understand this. Hickory (Republic of) owns Crawdads Stadium, and the property thereon it finds itself. Hickory (Republic of) leases said facility to Hickory Crawdads Inc. or their parent organization. There is a provision in said contract, apparently agreed upon between the lessor and the lessee that provides that the lessee cannot sub-let without the express written permission of governing board of Hickory (Republic of)? Am I on track so far?

And that this lease was executed in 2008 between lessor and lessee and of the events that have hence been held on the premises, there has not previously been a problem until the Pride celebration tried, rather vainly, to use aforementioned venue as the locus in quo. Am I right up to this point, because I have questions.

So what I’m wondering here is, why is the parent organization of Hickory Crawdads Inc. paying a stadium manager who obviously doesn’t have the authority to manage the stadium? Why is Hickory (Republic of) paying a manager who obviously doesn’t have the authority to make decisions like this on a day-to-day basis in the general governance of the Republic in order to avert problems such as these? Would this even have been a problem at all had the event been a religious crusade on the grounds instead of a group of people celebrating who they are, without having rocks, bottles, and slurs hurled at them. How much noise would have been heard had “complaints” not been voiced to ‘management’ at the stadium? I likewise wonder how many of those complaints found their way to the Republic’s executive committee?

This has all the grace and eloquence of being tarred and feathered. Since there was a prior agreement with the lessee, all it would take on the part of management of Hickory (Republic of) is to make 6 phone calls to elicit a verbal agreement that it would be okay to proceed on the part of lessor, chalk it up to experience, and do it right from here on out, just like the contract calls for. For those that would contend that this would be underhanded and behind the scenes politics, was the lease read, voted on, and approved in a public meeting, or just calendared and approved without any fanfare or even an eyebrow arch? Would that violate the covenants of that contract? Not to mention that apparently, this particular covenant has already been violated in ignorance since this agreement was entered in to in 2008. But no, here the line has been drawn in the sand.

Here, Hickory (Republic of) chooses to hide behind a formal agreement that essentially has no premise for them to act except that they have reserved that right by codicil in a lease agreement. I wonder if they reserved the right to regulate alcohol sales at the Stadium as well? I guess not, or the ‘right’ people haven’t complained… yet.

I’m not gay, but right’s right and fair’s fair. My incensement as a result of this action is that it screams of being partisan and not content neutral, based on the actions of the parties. Acting in violation of the contract on the part of Hickory Crawdads Inc. and deliberate indifference on the part of the executive committee of Hickory (Republic of) since you know that of the events that have been there in the span of time from 2008 to now, not one council member or the attorney who drafted that contract didn’t know or have prior knowledge of that particular provision and chose to do nothing, until now.

Is any of that going to change what has transpired? No. Is it going to change what is to come? Oh you bet. There will now be eyes watching to ensure that this particular rule applies to every person, group, or entity that seeks to utilize that property, from this day forth.

The Hound's Deal:  I do not presume to know exactly how the group promoting this event feels, but I don't think it would have been in the paper if they had zero problem with it. I think they proactively reached out to the HDR.
I am sure that you understand that I am not saying the City Government should promote a Pro Gay rights agenda. What I am pointing to is that once again we see inconsistencies and hypocrisy, because I don't think the people running LP Frans stadium have been asking permission from The City Manager or the City Council for every event that takes place there. That is plainly what City Manager Berry insinuated in the article.
That Creative Class piece I wrote over two years ago was one that got a lot of people thinking and discussing the subject of differences and tolerance with me. It was a subject that I talked about at a lunch I had with a Council person. That Council Person said that they didn't believe that there was an intolerance towards gay people in our area. Well, I had a conversation with a Professor at one of our local colleges and this person stated that there was a top notch professor who was gay and left Hickory because of the intolerance towards Gay people, including the professor who left, in the community.
I also am reminded of a person on Hickory City Council's comments during the City Council meeting when they discussed the issue of Hickory Alive. They didn't believe the city should "promote" drinking on city property. Basically they insinuated that the consumption of Alcohol on City Property (ie Union Square), even sold by a third party, was "promoting" drinking on Union Square. I think this mindset could be extended to a belief that the Pride Festival would be a promotion of a Gay agenda on City Property and that won't be allowed or tolerated. Never mind that the stadium can be used to promote any of a variety of other Religious or Cultural Agendas without question. This certainly opens a can of worms. Now they are going to micromanage the Crawdads and LP Frans Stadium?
As DoGood states above:  There will  now be eyes watching to ensure that this particular rule applies to every person, group, or entity that seeks to utilize that property, from this day forth.
Oh Brother!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Is the Economy being used as a Political Football? -- Silence DoGood

What is happening? Of late, I’ve read some very disturbing things that I’ve taken some time to mull over (which quite often doesn’t bode well for my reputation, I might add) that I feel I must question. Ever get the sense that something is going on, on a larger scale, that just stinks, but you can’t quite put your finger on it? I do too. Right now, I’ve got the feeling that the economy has become a political football in the cause of partisan politics.

The Senate proposes legislation that the House rejects. The Senate is controlled more or less by Democrats. The House proposes legislation that is rejected by the Senate. The House is controlled by in large by Republicans. Then, the President proposes legislation that's proclaimed, “dead on arrival” and that proclamation streams from both chambers of Congress. And while the ball continues to trade hands in an endless series of fumbles and interceptions, the people continue to suffer.

Is it possible that politics and quite honestly, the Presidency is the object of this exercise? That the Republican party feels it will have a better chance to take back the White House if the economy stays in the toilet as opposed to improving? I don’t intend to be taking sides, but that is the line of thought I saw in print that started me to thinking, based on a number of quotes by various members of one political persuasion.

What I don’t understand is, how can either side, or any side for that matter, claiming to be representative of the American people conceive or even idolize the notion of literally starving millions of people on the basis or notion of selfish partisan political gain, for bragging rights? I get, although I don’t agree with, the practice of pitting one class against another for political gain. In mild forms, it probably isn’t that unhealthy since it causes classes to cast a wary eye on one another in a form of oversight so that one will not wholly outstrip the other. But as I’ve seen stated elsewhere and even written of before myself, the going thing today is all or nothing. You’re either with me or against me. Is it really possible that people can’t disagree any more without becoming mortal enemies? Think about it, Bible readers out there. Once there were more than two people on the planet, how well did they get along? Think about your own relationships for a minute. How many of you get along 100% of the time with those you interact with on a daily basis in a working or living relationship? If you just said all the time, I think you might be deceiving yourselves.

I really do want to think and believe that the economy is not being used as a means to gain any office in this nation. I want to think that a genuine effort is being put forth in order to provide the best possible outcomes for the people of this nation. Yes, I do want to believe those things. But my mind and my conscience recognize the polar opposite of what I just wrote. We are literally being stood up and held hostage by this little charade. We are being slowly bled into a coma by the Executive and Legislative branches of our Government, aided and abetted by the Judicial branch that allows money to be poured into political campaigns. And for the life of me I can’t fathom why, except for one of the most fleeting things on this planet... Wealth.

Now, this isn’t meant to be a partisan diatribe against one political entity or another. To be absolutely candid, the man that administers this website is of a different political affiliation than I. But our different political affiliations doesn’t mean that we likewise differ substantially in perspective. We both want this country to move forward in a positive way. We both want the very best for Hickory and Catawba County. The How, that’s where we differ. The entire purpose of this is to illustrate that people can differ in opinion and still like each other and work together for the common good and the betterment of all persons, no matter their political persuasion. This petty bickering however, is what we’re now seeing and it is radicalizing the entire nation into splinter factions.

I’ve talked here about the people behind the scenes who really pull the strings of those who pretend to be in charge and make decisions. Is this part of some diabolical plan or design? To take over the world, reduce the governments to one, the financial matters to one, and unite everyone under one banner? It’s so simple in fact, that it is invisible right in front of our eyes. Power and the politics of greed, that’s what it’s about.

So to answer my own question I posed at the beginning of this piece... Is the economy being used as a political football? Yes, I believe that it is. The economy is being allowed to flounder just enough to make people desperate. I would really like to believe that isn’t true. I’d like to think that despite it all, Republicans and Democrats really do have the best interests of the people at heart and desire the absolute best for this nation. That despite an entire Corporate orientation on the one side and an entire social stratification on the other, both sides, deep down, realize that it takes both sides to make this whole thing work as a country, a nation, and as a people. I’d like to believe that. I’m just not that naïve or live that far outside reality.

-- Silence DoGood

The Hound -- Below is a video about the Reality we face:

Goldman Sachs and the Mega Banks own this Government and the Global Establishment. You were warned and you allowed this to happen!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Does Bev Perdue want to suspend the Constitution?

Does Bev Perdue want to suspend the Constitution? Does she realize that is what would have to be done to suspend elections? Does she know history? Does she understand that is what Adolf Hitler did after the Nazis burned the Reichstag. He manipulated the elections that took place a week after that fire and then manipulated the German Parliament. Does she have a plan or is she clueless? What is the deal?

Audio of Governor Perdue's comments. Does it sound like she is joking to you?
News and Observer -- September 27, 2011 "You have to have more ability from Congress, I think, to work together and to get over the partisan bickering and focus on fixing things. I think we ought to suspend, perhaps, elections for Congress for two years and just tell them we won't hold it against them, whatever decisions they make, to just let them help this country recover. I really hope that someone can agree with me on that. The one good thing about Raleigh is that for so many years we worked across party lines. It's a little bit more contentious now but it's not impossible to try to do what's right in this state. You want people who don't worry about the next election."

She needs to explain herself. It's one thing to pontificate with friends about how it would be easier to do things if we had some theoretical change of our system and yada, yada, yada; but she is the Governor of one of the largest States in the Union, she is the Executive Officer of that State, and she is speaking to a leadership group within that state in a formal speech.

I don't support many of the Governor's positions on issues. I didn't like the way that she groveled to President Obama when he came into office or to the pork laden stimulus packages pushed through a couple years ago. We are paying a steep price for all of those Bridge to Nowhere packages where they pushed the problem down the road, while the raging inferno devouring our economy has continued to grow. I also don't support her giving Bob Etheridge a Gravy Train position after he embarrassed the State and his district summarily booted him out of office. I think most of us get tired of these tired old reboots of Freddy Krueger politics.

I do understand the Governor's position of loyalty toward fellow Democrats and one can appreciate her support of the President. She would not have beaten Pat McCrory if not for the coattails of our current President. I also think she and her staff did a very good job during the Hurricane Irene of being responsive towards the needs of those citizens located in the far eastern reaches of our state. I also appreciate that her administration has been far less embarrassing in terms of corruption than the last Governor.

Governor Perdue really hasn't been all that bad of a Governor. She has had issues, such as the airplane scandal involving her campaign in 2007-08, but a Governor cannot control every person in their campaign and/or administration and there hasn't been an administration yet that hasn't had some sort of problem. It seems that when people in her administration became a nuisance towards the public good, then they were shown the door.

The problem with the Governor's thought process on this mindset is that we are living in a time when we have seen pervasive corruption. We have a system where politicians have been encouraged to act in the interests of the connected and multi-national corporations in order to fill their campaign coffers and give them inside information to enrich themselves and their personal interests. You talk about the need to address the issue of jobs, then why don't we talk about "Free For All Trade" and the offshoring of our jobs. All the politicans, both Republican and Democratic have stolen our Social Security and ran up huge deficits to pay for Corporate Welfare, such as the Banking Bailouts and manipulating the tax system to allow these entities to evade taxes at the expense of our jobs. Ma'am, what do you think happened to North Carolina's Manufacturing base? Why don't we talk about leveling the playing field? And what difference will it make to give these people more time? They are either going to do the right thing or not and it is more than apparent that they aren't, so it is time to get people in office that will operate in the interests of the People.

Clue #1: This was a BIG MISTAKE Governor!!!You were sworn into office to faithfully execute the duties of the office you hold and to protect and defend the Constitution.  Do you understand how this makes you look?

The New Frontier

Opening new frontiers with Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign - The Next Great generation - Tom Miesen - August 16, 2010

This commercial from Levi's Strauss Company hits pretty close to home with me, because it is what I believe and what I try to convey. We see this town of Braddock, Pennsylvania. that has lost it's steel manufacturing industry and 90% of its population as a result of the loss of industry. (Wikipedia) Braddock, a suburb of Pittsburgh, was founded around the site of Andrew Carnegie's first steel mill, the Edgar Thomson Steel Works in 1873, as well as the first Carnegie library, and developed with the local steel industry.[1]

The child in the commercial speaks:
“We were taught how the pioneers went into the West. They opened their eyes and made up what things could be. A long time ago, things got broken here… People got sad and left. Maybe the world breaks on purpose, so we can have work to do. People think there aren’t frontiers anymore…They can’t see how frontiers are all around us.”
Braddock's Mayor John Fetterman is a take the bull by the horns type of guy.  (Wikipedia) As mayor, Fetterman has drawn international attention in trying to revitalize the economy in Braddock. He moved to Braddock in 2001 to work for AmeriCorps, helping local youth who had left school earn their GED. Fetterman established strong relationships with the 16- to 24-year-old population, helping many in finding employment, and working with them with issues involving family, social agencies, and police.[5] He also founded the 501(c)(3), Braddock Redux.[5]  Following his election, in 2005, Fetterman initiated youth and art programs, created a community center, and has tried to initiate development of the town's mostly ruined buildings and poor economy.[1] Fetterman has launched a campaign to attract new residents to the area from the artistic and so-called creative communities[3] and other programs include a two-acre organic urban farm, worked by teenagers of the Braddock Youth Project.[5

Fetterman's efforts to create youth-oriented programs, revitalize his town, and attract artists and other "creatives" to his community were featured in The New York Times. An article about him, describing him as "America's coolest mayor", appeared on July 15, 2009 in The Guardian in the United Kingdom.[13] In 2010, Levi Strauss & Company donated money to Braddock's revitalization and features the town in an advertising campaign and documentary produced by Sundance Channel.[14]  The IFC and Sundance television channels showed the film Ready to Work: Portraits of Braddock. This film interviews many of the local residents and shows their efforts to revitalize the town.[12]

The Hound: These are the types of efforts that we are going to have to see in our community and other former industrial communities here in the United States, The new frontier involves developing programs that will get the community on the road towards action in dealing with blight and revitalization. The older generations have a role to play in helping the younger generations transition to a new economic paradigm. The longer we push these issues down the road, the harder it is going to be to deal with these issues. We can't afford to sit and watch buildings crumble around us. The time to begin taking action has passed. We can't afford to continue talking these issues to death and waiting for lawyers to sort them out. Lawyers never solve anything. All they do is dream up problems that don't even exist. Creating problems is not the New Frontier. Solutions is the New Frontier. Blight in our community is not hypothetical. It is time to move forward into the New Frontier.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- September 25, 2011

Is Bank of America attacking New Media sources? - Which Criminal Bank Hates SGTreport? Find Out Now - If you’ve ever attempted to leave a comment on SGTreport, you likely got a message saying that your comment is being held for moderation. After a certain number of approved comments the feature simply “white lists” the person based on their name, IP address, & e-mail address, and after that there’s no moderation delay for “approved” users... This “comment moderation” feature was originally put in not to censor anyone, but rather to eliminate the overwhelming amount of advertising spam comments we get... However, recently we’ve been receiving a truly absurd amount of hate comments. More than 60 of them during the last week. Some of these hate messages are long detailed venomous spiels, while others are just a single derogatory word or two. They have been left on almost every single thing we’ve published... Here’s some of the most recent ones, from the previous few days..:

America is Being Attacked From Within - HAS KHRUSCHEV’S PREDICTION COME TRUE? - The Post & E-Mail - September 22, 2011 - Dear Editor, I do not understand how many news people and politicians in this country can claim that Obama is not disqualified to be President of the USA. It is so patently obvious that he has never been a Natural-Born American... There are several famous personalities that are speaking out against Obama’s fraud: the star of Texas Rangers Chuck Norris, himself an honorary Texas Ranger; Gospel singer Pat Boone; and Victoria Johnson of Saturday Night live fame. Then there are the Hollywood stars such as Jane Fonda and Sean Penn on the other side of the issue. Ironically, Fonda’s brother Peter is not on Jane’s side... It is time for Americans to step in and take action. Frankly, I can’t wait until March 2012 (the Birther Summit). I have to make some more appointments to see my Representatives in Congress and be more proactive. The harbinger signs that something was amiss in the US were evident to me many years ago. The current situation has confirmed my suspicions that America was and is being attacked from within; the infringements which have now risen to tyranny were in process in the 80s and prior to that. It was Nikita Khruschev, past Premier of the Soviet Union, who said in the 1950s that the Communists would take over America without a shot...

How the market meltdown affects you: pensions, investments, mortgages, savings - The Daily Mail - James Coney - September 23, 2011 - ... A fall in share prices would affect the value of the vast majority of pensions – which are linked to the stock market.... At the same time, whenever share prices are volatile, demand for Government-backed bonds, called gilts, increases – which pushes down the value of their returns, known as yields.*... Profits made in the first half of the year have been wiped out for the vast majority of investors during the recent falls in August and yesterday... Homeowners have seen the cost of fixed rate mortgages plunge in recent weeks and more volatility on the stock market could see them fall further still.... Where there is good news for borrowers, there is normally bad news for savers - and this crisis has proved no different.

Monetary System In Ruin, Signals Of Systemic Collapse - Jim Willie - September 22, 2011 - Wow!! The billboard signals of extreme crisis are overwhelming. Three years of near 0% with no recovery. A full year of ample USTreasury and mortgage bond monetization with no recovery. Tons of cash aid deliveries to the big US banks with no recovery. Some key corporate nationalizations with no recovery. Oodles of errant stimulus programs with no recovery. Some important misdirection in home loan aid initiatives with no recovery. The US Federal Reserve admits it can do nothing more as a recovery remains elusive. The USGovt is paralyzed by disguised fascist warmongers opposed by disguised marxist collectivists, but intent on maintaining the status quo among bank fraud. An approved accounting fraud directive is kept in place to present a picture of bank solvency. Intermediate credit markets have come to a standstill... The US stock market is in tatters. The USTreasury Bond market is the only conventional rally at work. And with all these programs, developments, and events, the USEconomy moves toward a recession with relentless determination and purpose, In today's age of lying about price inflation by at least 5%, that means the recession is about to turn into a Minus 5% Recession after never exiting the recession recognized in 2009. The billboard messages are dire, ugly, dreadful, dangerous, and full of destruction, typical of systemic failure. Too bad the Keynesian textbooks do not have a chapter on banking system insolvency, or one quarter of the households living in negative equity, or central bank toxic paper pits, or global currency war, or confiscation of tyrant accounts. The ineffective monetary & fiscal policy has ushered in the nightmarish systemic failure. That is what is occurring....

Fight brewing over U.S. offshore profit taxation
- Reuters - Kevin Drawbaugh - September 14th, 2011
- Large U.S. corporations are pressuring Congress and the White House to exempt overseas corporate profits from taxes, a policy shift that critics say would hurt the economy and increase the federal deficit... A fight is shaping up between supporters of territorial taxation, as this policy proposal is known, and opponents who favor a different reform -- repealing a tax law that allows corporations to defer paying taxes on their overseas income... The two sides are facing off over an old and worsening problem -- how to fix the system for taxing companies' foreign income. Both sides agree the system is not working and a new approach is needed, but their solutions are direct opposites.

Webster Tarpley : we are in a World Economic Depression it is not a double dip it has nothing to do with periodic recession of past decade , Soros is wrong the second wave of depression is now focusing on Europe , in particular there is an attack on France.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Newsletter about the City Council meeting of September 20, 2011

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the 9/6/2011 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties.
Invocation by Rev. Bill Garrard, Retired Pastor, United Methodist Church

Special Presentation:
Presentation of Beautification Awards by the Community Appearance Commission Presented by Leroy Harris, Chair of the Community Appearance Commission

Residential Landscape - Richard and Gaye Tucker - 1336 6th Street, NW

Residential Landscape and Renovation (Co-Winners) -
Betty Heath - 425 4th Avenue, SW
Blair Cody - 449 5th Avenue Place, NE

Non-residential Landscape - MDI Management, Inc. - 260 13th Avenue, NE (Lowe's Foods Viewmont Location)

Non-Residential Renovation / Restoration - William and Janelle Gibbs - 44 29th Avenue, NE - Razzberries

Adelaide Shuford Award - Adopt-A-Spot - Dr. Bob and Kandi Peterson - 3rd Avenue, NE and 2nd Street, NE (near the SALT Block)

Special Awards - Non -Profit Organizations - St. Stephens Lutheran Church, ELCA - 2259 12th Avenue, NE

Treasure Tree (White Oak Tree) - Home of Steven & Jennifer Beane - 3740 11th Street, NE

Consent Agenda

A. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Josephine M. Spencer, Dennis A. Spencer and wife, Carla P. Spencer, Duane E. Spencer and wife, Lynn K. Spencer to David Thomas Spencer in Fairview Cemetery

B. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance Through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs - The following requests were considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on September 1, 2011:

*Geraldine Wansley, 47 44th Avenue Place NE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $10,000 for repairs to her home. Assistance would be in the form of a 3% interest loan for a 10 year period.
*Doris Rendlemen, 642 1st Avenue SE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $10,000 for repairs to her home. Assistance would be in the form of a 3% interest loan for a 10 year period.
*Sarah Lopes, 404 3rd Avenue Drive SE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan in the amount of $10,000. The Citizen’s Advisory Committee recommends approval to increase her loan by $1,000 for the cost of the repairs.

Funds are budgeted for these items through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2009 and/or program income received through the City of Hickory’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Each of the following applicants is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City of Hickory’s 2010 Urgent Repair Program. This program provides qualified low income citizens with assistance for emergency-related repairs not to exceed $5,000.

*Karen Hoyle, 617 3rd Street SE, Hickory,
*Brenda Erwin, 335 4th Street SE, Hickory
The Citizens’ Advisory Committee considered these requests at their September 1, 2011 Meeting and recommends approval of the above applicants.

C. Acceptance of 2011 Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) in the Amount of $37,161 – Hickory Police Department and Catawba County have received notification of approval to receive a combined allocation of $52,713 under the 2011 Justice Assistance Grant Program. Cities and counties are required to file joint applications for the available funding. Hickory Police Department applied for a grant in the amount of $37,161 to soundproof interview rooms and upgrade the camera security system and door-locking security system at the police department. The City of Hickory has agreed to serve as lead agency in the grant application process. A public hearing to approve application for these funds was held at the June 21, 2011 City Council Meeting. There is no match required. .

D. Request By the Hickory Police Department to Purchase Nine (9) 2011 Specialized Police Package Crown Victoria Vehicles from Vic Bailey Ford in the Amount of $204,210 ($22,690 Per Vehicle) - The Hickory Police Department has funds budgeted in its FY 2011-12 CIP Budget for the replacement of police vehicles. The 2011 Police Package Ford Crown Victoria’s engine and electrical system best suits the needs of the department in order to operate the large number of electrical devices in the police vehicles. The Police Package Crown Victoria is currently the primary vehicle used in our patrol fleet, but production of this vehicle ended earlier this year, and the model has now been discontinued altogether although parts will still be made. After consulting with the City’s Fleet Manager, it is recommended that we continue to purchase the Police Package Ford Crown Victoria for one more year based on its past reliable performance in police service and the large number of these vehicles already in the fleet. We checked with our local Ford dealership and they stated that they would not be able to bid on these vehicles since they have none in their possession and no more are being made, in fact, this is the case for Ford dealerships throughout the Southeast. After some research, we found that the closest Ford dealership that would be able to provide us with the 2011 Police Package Ford Crown Victoria is Vic Bailey Ford which has these vehicles on their lot and available at the South Carolina State contract price. After this year, HPD will most likely move towards the Police Package Chevrolet Caprice as its primary patrol vehicle. The Police Package Chevrolet Caprice has only been back in production for one year after having been discontinued for a number of years, and is currently only offered with a V-8 engine. By moving towards the Police Package Chevrolet Caprice next year, it will give the manufacturer an additional year to work out any problems that generally occur with a new production vehicle, and additionally, next year the Police Package Chevrolet Caprice will be available with a V-6 engine, which is what HPD prefers. We will also be able to purchase this vehicle through a local dealer. .

E. Proclamation – Proclaiming September 17, 2011 as Constitution Day and September 17- 23, 2011 as Constitution Week in the City of Hickory

F. Proclamation – Proclaiming September 17, 2011 as Hickory Chair Furniture Co. Day in the City of Hickory

G. Request by the Coworker Appreciation Day Committee for Eight (8) Days of Vacation Time for Use as Door Prizes for Coworker Appreciation Day - The Coworker Appreciation Day Committee is requesting eight (8) days of vacation time to be used as door prizes for Coworker Appreciation Day scheduled for Thursday, November 3, 2011 at the Hickory Metro Convention Center. For the last several years, City Council has approved eight (8) days, with five (5) of those days used as the grand prize and the other three (3) days as additional door prizes. .

H. Request for Six (6) Vacation Days for Use as Prizes for City of Hickory’s United Way Participation Campaign - The United Way Campaign Committee is requesting six (6) days of vacation time to be used as prizes for participation in the annual United Way Campaign, starting in September, 2011. To encourage participation, the City wants to offer participants a chance to win vacation time based on their level of participation. The City is a strong supporter of the United Way, and the campaign educates the workforce about the various programs and services that the United Way provides. .

Budget Ordinances
1. To budget a $3,886 insurance claim check from Trident Insurance Company in the Parks and Recreation Department Maintenance and Repair of Grounds line item. This insurance claim is for storm damage at Kiwanis Park on 08-19-11.
2. To transfer $8,426 of Appropriated General Fund Balance to the Police Department Governor’s Crime Commission Multi Year Grant. This multi year grant is budgeted annually and to cover a deficit in year 1 of $6.59 and to budget year 2 local contribution of $8,416 a transfer is necessary. Unused funds will be
sent back to General Fund Balance at the end of the Grant period (06-30-12).
3. To transfer $274,595 of Appropriated General Fund Balance to the Fire Department Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Services (SAFER) Grant. This transfer from the General Fund to the Multi-Year Grant Fund is necessary to budget the local match for year 3 staffing in the grant project and is for accounting tracking purposes only. When funds are entered into the multi year account a reimbursement reverts back to General Fund Balance. This Grant was awarded by the Department of Homeland Security to fully staff a 2nd Ladder Company and runs from 04/30/09 – 04/29/14.
4. To appropriate $78,850 of Water and Sewer Capital Reserve to the Sewer Lines line item. This appropriation is necessary to pay for the 2nd Avenue NW Manhole Replacement project. The existing manhole is approximately 17 ft. deep and has degraded due to age (approximately 60 years old). The manhole needs to be completely replaced to create a solid structure capable of withstanding the demands of 2nd Ave. NW and restore a safe travel surface. The 4ft diameter brick manhole will be replaced with a traffic rated precast concrete manhole.

Informational Items:
A. Report of Mayor Wright’s Travel Registration to the WPCOG Mayors/Chairman/Managers Meeting on August 25, 2011; Registration - $30

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Proclamation Declaring September 24, 2011 as Day of Play in the City of Hickory - At the September 6, 2011 City Council Meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Mack McLeod presented an update on a special Hickory Play Day scheduled for September 24, 2011 at Geitner-Rotary Park from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. and stated that the proclamation would be presented at this meeting. He also announced that the City has been named as a 2011 Playful City USA Community by Kaboom for its efforts to increase play opportunities for children. There are 151 cities throughout the U.S. that have received this designation in 2011, with only 6 in North Carolina. As part of the designation, Hickory will receive 2 signs designating the Playful City USA for the highways. Hickory is also recognized on the Playful City USA website, and all cities that receive the designation are eligible to receive grant money for the development and renovation of playgrounds ranging from $15,000 - $30,000, with Hickory’s notification scheduled for September 19, 2011.

Whereas play is a crucial factor in the overall well being of children… and whereas as uninstructed, unplanned, spontaneous, and self motivated play is on the decline… and whereas children who play are healthier and suffer less obesity and obesity related health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease… and whereas play is a lifelong experience for both children and adults… and whereas the City of Hickory strives to create a generation of children who are happier, healthier, smarter… whereas the City of Hickory endeavors to increase awareness and advance play as a component to lifestyles and whereas the City of Hickory partners with the community to advance the quality and accessibility of play spaces and whereas the City of Hickory will use its National Designation as a Playful City USA community as a form to highlight and encourage play for residents of all ages and abilities… Now therefore, I Rudy Wright, Mayor of the City of Hickory, on behalf of all members of the City Council do hereby proclaim September 24, 2011 as a day of play and encourage all citizens to celebrate Day of Play and support all efforts bring awareness of play to this and all future generations.

The City is one of 20 cities to receive a $20,000 grant from this organization that will go towards the Zahra Baker playground fund.

2. Amended and Restated Agreement for Operations, Maintenance, Management and Marketing Services – Veolia Water North America South LLC in the Amount of $1,338,937 for Continued Operations of the Regional Compost Facility for the Sludge Consortium - The City of Hickory, City of Conover and Catawba County jointly form the Sludge Consortium making up the partners in the Regional Compost Facility. The City of Hickory is Lead Agent for the Sludge Consortium and thereby, the contracting agent for the Sludge Consortium with the private contract operations firm. Veolia Water North America South LLC is the current contract operations firm and has been since the Regional Compost Facility’s inception in 1990. The proposed contract is a 3-year renewal term with three 1-year automatic renewal options and is necessary as the existing 10-year contract is expiring. This contract renewal extends the same conditions of the previous agreement and includes creation of a capital improvement listing for extending useful life of the facility and transitions the budget to recognize a greater importance in mechanical replacements due to age. A budget amendment is not required, and of the contract in the amount of $1,338,937.

Kevin Greer made the presentation (Below is a photo link story board of his Power Point Presentation. The City of Hickory owns 66% of the facility, Catawba County owns 18.5% and Conover owns 15.5%. The facility was built in 1990. It was closed twice in the first few years to address odor issues. In 1994, a specialist (Professional Services Group) was hired to run the operation. The company has changed a couple of times. There have been two contract renewals since 1994.

 Due to the age of the operation, there is starting to be a necessity to increase maintenance on the facility and thus the line item cost of the facility. The proposed fee will slightly decrease. Maintenance will rise slightly. The City shares profits with Veolia. This will be a tghree year renewal. On the back side, there will be three one year renewals. Veolia is responsible for marketing the compost finished product. This facility helps to dispose wastewater and key to all wastewater operations.

Items not on the Agenda
***Alder Jill Patton invited people to the Viewmont Street Strut to promote businesses in that area.
***Alder Sally Fox commended Cal Overby and Mandy Pitts for the work that they did and have done in promoting the Ivey Arboretum's 75th anniversary -- noting that not many cities have Arboretums in their Downtown areas. She also commended City Arborist Tammy Teague for the devotion towards the maintenance of the Arboretum.
***The Mayor commended everyone involved in the 9/11 commemoration. He commended the people involved in the Zarha Baker trial and the professional manner in which the police operated under an awful inherited situation. He talked about the Zahra baker playground, which is over $150,000. It will have amenities that 18 months ago we would not have dreamed of in Hickory.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Edison Project - Good News and Great Ventures - 9/19/2011

This past Monday, September 19, 2011, I had the good fortune of attending an entrepreneurial event/contest that made me feel good about our area. It was the Finale of The Edison Project. It is an event that is near and dear to my heart, because it came to fruition through our Brainstorming sessions as part of the Future Economy Council of Catawba County, which was created by the President of the Chamber of Commerce Danny Hearn.

Two years ago, I pontificated about the creation of an Adult Science Fair in this video entitled Jobs and Ingenuity . I brought this idea to our meetings and through discussions and with the human assets and resources that we have within that group, we had Bill Parrish of the Small Business and Technology Development Cent (SBTDC) and Dr. Jane Everson of the Appalachian State University Partnership run with these possibilities that were discussed. Dr. Everson and her group at the ASU Partnership were instrumental in the creation of the Innovation 2010 Conference that featured Andrew Hargadon last November. That conference was very informative in relation to communicating and conveying to business leaders what we can be doing to move this area forward in the near term future. Don't forget Dr. Garrett Hinshaw, who has opened up Catawba Valley Community College to all sorts of partnerships and new ventures. And now we fast forward to this Edison Project and the positive vibes that will result from this effort, which was headed by Bill Parrish.

I can't reiterate enough how important that I feel this event was. Credit goes to Danny Hearn for pushing this idea forward and to Bill Parrish for implementing it. Credit also goes to Alex Lee, CenturyLink, and Catawba County for putting the money up and putting their money where their mouth is, when it comes to innovation. We can talk about innovation and technology all day long, but initiatives and action display a community that is committed. Kudos to Kitty Barnes for being so supportive of this event and her participation in the event and so to goes appreciation for the efforts of the County Commissioners who are willing to take some risks to move the area forward. This is leadership.

Everyone who I have spoken with enjoyed this event and could not say enough about it. The participants are listed below. I thought all of the ideas of these participants had merit. It was great to see the support they received from their mentors in this process. I have spoken with Tom Shea over the past year and enjoy listening to his experiences and how he analyzes situations and undertsands how to move forward. I can easily see how he helped Mr. Washco win this competition. People such as Mr. Shea have a lot to offer to young entrepreneurs in our area and if we have more experienced people, such as Tom, helping out business people, then we can have more successful people in this area. It is great to see that the mentors and support staff have committed to helping out all of the participants over the upcoming year. Think of the friendships and networking that have been created through this process.

You see folks, this is how we are going to create jobs in our area. When these businesses get off of the ground, they will create employment opportunities, not only for the owners, but also possibilities of employment for others. That is how we will move this area forward. Not by creating bureaucracy and government commissions and committees. We are going to move this area forward through action and growing the private sector!!!

The following is the Catawba County Chamber of Commerce website link to the application submitted by the entities that entered this contest:

The Edison Project” Catawba County Chamber of Commerce

This is the list of the finalists and the companies that they are looking to start up:

Thank you to those entrepreneurs who recently submitted an application and executive summary to compete in Catawba County's first community-wide entrepreneurial competition, The Edison Project! Our Business Team, made up of business experts, has carefully reviewed each submission and is proud to announce this year's finalists!

Derek Detweiler, Gopherwood Studios
(2nd Place) - develops high-quality web games in HTML5 that have been highlighted by Google in the US and SPIL Games in Europe. They currently have a competitive advantage by being one of a small number of HTML5 game developers. Business Team consultant: Bill Parrish, SBTDC

Christopher Niver, Pansocial Media (Had to drop out of the competetion due to timing and expecting a baby) Familywill implement social media strategies to develop online awareness, manage online reputations and encourage customer interaction for local businesses that may not have the in-house resources or technical knowledge to manage their online presence or utilize Web 2.0 marketing technologies.
Business Team consultant: Kevin McConnaghy, SBTDC, ASU, Boone

Billy Stephen Bradshaw, An Independent Step is an innovative product that foremost fills a void in the home medical assistance equipment market in the form of a unique stepstool with removable handrails for versatility and compact storage. Business Team consultant: Gary Muller, CVCC

Dana and Steve DeCanio, Puppy Paws specializes in the latest natural innovations of dog treat products. Poised to compete in this exciting new age of pure dog treats is our carob-based “Bark in a Bag,” not your average doggie biscuit. Business Team consultant: Bonnie Sweeting, CVCC

David Washco, Price Drive is a confidential website service for car buyers that eliminates car purchase negotiations and makes dealers compete and openly bid for business, ensuring customers receive the absolute best price. Business Team consultant: Tom Shea

Angela Green, DNA Winery will be a new winery offering a wide variety of fruit berry wines. Nine years of experience, centralized location to reach the east coast, and a new concept in the storage and serving of wine will enable this family hobby to make it to the marketplace. Business Team consultant: Bryon Hicks, SBTDC, Hickory

Brad Rhoney, Brax-Apps, Inc. is a mobile app development company that will be marketed globally. Brax-Apps will focus on productivity and reference apps complimented by durable goods and services that they will manufacture. Business Team consultant: Tony Mifsud

Valerie Huffman, Craft Brew Shop
will be a niche retail store that specializes in craft beer. This niche market has seen incredible growth even while the beer industry at large has not. They plan to capitalize on this growth market and play upon the advantages of our regional location. Business Team consultant: Jeff Neuville

Peter Lohr, Advanced Hydrogen Technologies Corporation (3rd Place) - will penetrate an existing half-billion dollar market with its new oil free technology. AHTC aims to eclipse the competition of add-on power enhancers such as turbo and blower systems by offering a hydrogen based add-on motor that provides additional acceleration to any vehicle. Business Team consultant: Tom Frenier

ROUND TWO:  Worth 50 Points
For the next round in the competition, each finalist has been paired with a member from the Business Team in order to gain assistance, if needed, in writing and perfecting his or her business plan. All nine finalists are to submit their final drafts to be judged by the panel of investors by Friday, September 2nd.

ROUND THREE: Worth 40 Points
On Wednesday, August 31st, each finalist will then have 20 minutes to present their business plans in front of a panel of judges, made up of angel investors from across North Carolina. Once each entrepreneur’s points are tallied, the top three finalists will be determined.

THE FINAL ROUND: Worth 10 Points
The Edison Project's grand prize winner will be determined at a community-wide event in the third and final round of the competition.  During this event on Thursday, September 16th, the top three finalists will have 5 minutes to convince the audience that they are most deserving of the final ten points awarded in the competition.  Once each entrepreneur has presented, the audience will then be able to vote on which business idea they think is the most creative, innovative, and viable.

Top 3 Winners:
1st place $5,000 -
2nd place $3,000
3rd place $2,000
In addition to the cash prize, the top three businesses will be awarded full scholarships to the Investor Ready Entrepreneur Workshop & FastTrac Kaufmann Foundation Series at CVCC.
ALL APPLICANTS:EdisonProject Business Team training, counseling and resources to refine and enhance your business model for the next year.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Press Conference on Ward Voting Referendum -- 9/20/2011

Do people in this community who would like to join into our process of governance feel that they stand a chance of being elected or feel welcomed to participate in our City's Governance by this City Council?

When it comes to the current City Wide Electoral process, it costs at least $2,000 to run a city wide campaign and that is on a shoestring budget. A rational budget given to me by a successful Campaign Advisor in Hickory was stated at $5,000 minimum to attempt to unseat an incumbent City Council Alder. Add to that the hours that one has to spend engaging the public. Even in doing that, empirical evidence shows that less than 10% of the registered voting public will even bother to vote.

The people who could make positive change in this community are those are hungry for growth and moving the community forward economically. This will not come from those entering retirement age, who are winding down in life, or those that don't understand the plight of the working class. We need to see economic development in all parts of Hickory.

I love entrepreneurialism and believe that it will help the community, but not everyone can be a business owner and the community should not be 100% devoted to business owners. We need a workforce and we need to look out for the interests of the average worker just as much as the business man. We need balance. We need both in order to establish a dynamic community.

That is why I endorse the Direct Ward Electoral process. It brings the local government back to the people. It will not lead to cronyism as Alderman Meisner stated last week on the radio or nefarious dealmaking as the Mayor insinuated on WSOC - Channel 9 News tonight. What we have now in this community is a terrible crony structure. It is the complete opposite of what Ald. Meisner talked about on the radio or what the Mayor has alluded to, such as on the news tonight. All of those closed door council chamber deals are not necessary, but that is how this city has operated under this Council.We have three precincts (St. Luke's, Holy Trinity, and Neill Clark) representing 1,400 out of approx. 2,300 total votes. Why should three precincts, in the wealthiest sections of Hickory, determine who represents all of the wards in Hickory?

The Mayor talked about this being a money issue and that this special election would cost money. In this upcoming election, you would only have to have precincts open in the three wards that are running in a Ward election; but under the current process, precincts in all six wards will be open to serve an electorate of most likely less than 1,000 voters. We could also get rid of the "Primaries" and have elections where anyone with a super-majority (40%) in a more than 2 candidate election would win. That would be a big money saver there. Would it not?

It would also mean that all of the wards would have representatives that would bring their constituents' interests to the table and areas of South Hickory and West Hickory would no longer get the brush off and the real interests and issues of those neighborhoods would finally be forced to be sanctioned by the Council Bench. It would truly empower those neighborhoods and that in and of itself would bring more interest in those neighborhoods to the table.

What about the idea of holding city elections when other state and federal elections are happening? If you wanted to save money, would that not be the route to take? Would that not increase voter participation?

There are some real questions that deserve to be debated here and trying to block the petition process goes against the grain of our democratic/Republic form of government.

I am glad that the Mayor, Alderman Guess, and Alder Patton endorsed the petition process tonight. The Mayor was not doing that two weeks ago. I have sources that informed me that he was asking people not to sign the petition. That should not be the role of a Mayor or any other representative of the city. They can campaign against the issue, but they should never attempt to impede the democratic process.

Let's be honest and lay the cards out on the table. When I was a kid, growing up, we were taught in school about how in the Soviet Union they had contrived elections. They weren't based on party, because there was only one party. When the election took place, the "Chosen" leader would either be running unopposed or the odds were stacked firmly against any challenger to the point of intimidation. Is that not what we are seeing under this current structure on the local scene?

We are told that our elections are non-affiliated, but come on, let's be honest for once. There are certain sections of this community that are given the golden route and others that are completely ignored and when those that are not represented speak up, then they are labeled as trouble makers or ignorant or unstable. Maybe we (hmmm hmm -- you -- cough cough) need to take a second look at all of that!!!

Let me ask one final question. Under the current way that this city is structured, why even have a Mayor? We have a City Manager that basically decides agendas that will be discussed and promoted and a Mayor and City Council that follows his lead. And we have a City Council that is elected by the exact same people who elect the Mayor. Does the Mayor have any more power than an Alder who is elected city wide just like the Mayor. Seriously, and I am not addressing Rudy Wright, look at how our position of Mayor is structured, what is our Mayor's role in this community?

Ward versus At-Large

Press Release Contact: Billy Sudderth

September 20, 2011 (828) 308-4669

“Why City Government Must Change”

In 1970 the City of Hickory changed from a pure ward system to modified at-large or blend system for electing City Council members. This meant that council members were nominated from their wards through primaries but had to be elected city-wide. This change created an electoral system which has eventually led to the under-representation of lower income and minority citizens in elected positions.

A group of concerned citizens from various wards in the city has initiated a petition to bring about a public referendum on this issue. These citizens believe that each of Hickory’s six municipal wards should have a representative on the City Council elected by the people of that ward. They would also favor having the Mayor and two or three Council members elected at-large.

Our petition requests the Hickory City Council to change its present electoral system of the “At Large” system to a “Pure” ward system, a system that will let citizens of each ward elect their own representative.

Other advantages of a pure ward system are that the City Council and city government in general would become more responsive to local neighborhoods and more voters would want to participate in elections. Furthermore, the pure ward system is more efficient and less costly than our present system. Above all, it brings government closer to the people and therefore is more democratic. Studies of cities where representatives are elected by wards have borne out these facts.

Our questionnaire asks:

Are you registered to vote in the City of Hickory, NC?

Have you signed this petition with one of our members? (Signing this petition more than once doesn’t help, but actually hurts this cause.)

Please print your name, home address, city, and birth date as seen on your state issued ID card. Please sign your name.

Spouses cannot sign for the absent spouse. Each has to sign their own name, but please give us a time that the absent spouse will be available.

Citizens of Hickory interested in supporting this petition can contact Citizens for Equity in Government at (828) 308-4669.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hickory's One Percent -- Silence DoGood

Quite often in the distribution of wealth, be it tangible assets (those things that can readily be converted to cash) or monetary value and cash on hand, we often hear of the top 1 percent. Those persons own and hold a sizeable portion of the wealth and value of the entire United States, 34.6% of net wealth and 42.7% of the financial wealth in 2007. When you consider that is just the top 1% of persons in the population and in 2007, that’s roughly 285,000 people who own a sizeable chunk of everything. So what I want to do here is examine this group and their sense of entitlement to the positions they hold.

I want to focus on that 1% and their sense of entitlement to be in the positions they hold in society and work consistently to maintain them. And here the question is first asked, “Who has power in America?” The naïve would say that the ‘people’ as a collective have the power. Alas, if this were only true. First of all, if it were true, it would denote an institution of Socialism in this country. Well, we know that can’t be possible or even true. Although this concept of people in control existed prior to the fomenting of the concept of Socialism as a formal understanding. However, power resides with those who own income producing land or businesses. So if you want to know who is truly in charge, who really wields great influence, who can get things done, now you know. Is this a recent development? Not really. If you look back across the history of the United States and before, you will see the bulk of those in power or positions of influence as being affluent in their time and held tangible assets that held sizeable value or could be used to generate sizeable income.

That cuts against your notions of what America is, doesn’t it? I know, me too. It doesn’t mean however that the social elites are in complete dominion over everyone else. But this class view of who they are cuts across the centuries and generations. The behaviors of these social elites takes it’s cue from the practices of the nobility in the countries from which many of us trace our roots. In that regard, I’ll offer you these points to ponder. The means by which these elites are educated, from the day or boarding schools starting in the lower grades all the way through the exclusive universities. The places these people live. The ways in which the elites socialize with each other at the members only country club, the debutante ball, membership in exclusive organizations such as the Junior League or a particular golf course. Each of those organizations are exclusive by virtue that they charge exorbitant fees to be a member, you much be voted on or sponsored by an existing member in many cases, and by virtue of those parameters, the organization can exclude people from membership. The elites live in certain older established neighborhoods, socially desirable downtown digs, or gated and secure communities in more rural environs. Each of these facets eludes to exclusivity and association only with their own kind or type of person in their social class. Newly wealthy are assimilated into the class. This is a small group of persons, remember? They know each other, and atypically only associate with each other. For those that have known success for generations, these families have intermingled, married, and entwined themselves and consolidated their holdings and status. And lastly, lest we forget, this same group of people also share a common viewpoint of the world and the things in it.

What does all of that have to do with Hickory? Just this. If you use that same percentage of 1%, that equates to 400 core people of influence in a population of 40,000. Now, when you factor a spouse, children, and siblings, that number can grow exponentially. If you conservatively figure that there are at least 3 other people in around each nuclear core person in the model of 400, that’s 1,600 people. The significance in that is, if you consider that is a core voting nucleus, in Hickory, that carries significant weight and influence. That is enough people to take any local election in Hickory when you consider the voter turn out in the off years. To illustrate that point, I’ve compiled tables of the municipal elections in Hickory since 1999. Look at the numbers and consider the implications of what I’ve just pointed out.

1999 Hickory Municipal Election

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Jay Adams

Hamilton Ward

Write In

Bruce Meisner


Wilfred A. Wells


Write In


Danny Seaver


Write In



2001 Hickory Municipal Election

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Pat Moss

Rudy Wright

Write In

Z. Ann Hoyle


Write In


Sally Fox


Jerry Phillips


Write In


W. Grimes Byerly


C. John Watts



2003 Hickory Municipal Election

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Brad Lail

Write In

Gary Ewing


Bruce Meisner


Write In


Danny Seaver


Write In



2005 Hickory Municipal  Election

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Jay Adams

Rudy Wright

Z. Ann Hoyle


Larry Pope


Sally Fox



Jill Patton


C. John Watts



2007 Hickory Municipal Election

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Brad Lail

Nancy Willingham

Write In

Bruce Meisner


Write In


Danny Seaver


Lee Wilson


Write In



2009 Hickory Municipal  Election

Ward 1
Ward 2
Ward 3
Ward 4
Ward 5
Ward 6
Rudy Wright

Write In

Z. Ann Hoyle


Hank Guess


Write In


Sally Fox


Write In


Jill Patton


Harry Hipps


Write In



What these tables demonstrate, at a glance, is that 20 persons, excluding write-ins have run for office in the last 6 municipal elections from 1999 – 2009, and:

10 or 50% were first time candidates and lost.
4 or 20% ran three times and won three times.
2 or 10% ran twice and won twice.
1 or 5% ran twice and lost twice.
1 or 5% ran twice and won the first and lost the second.
1 or 5% ran three times and won two and lost the third.
1 or 5% ran once and won once.

Now, think back to how this all started. Remember those power elites that hold and wield power with the shared attributes? How 1% of the entire population was quite probably deciding the outcomes of the elections, who is elected, and who will represent the entire city and determine the path the City and it’s population is to follow and the City’s vision for the future. Taking that 1% and expanding their span of immediate influence in just their own immediate families, you have 1,600 people that think, act, vote, and associate themselves in a like manner on an array of varying topics and political viewpoints. Look at the impact with citywide voting and the immediate impact that 1600 votes have. The weaker the turnout during any election cycle, the more power those votes yield. During the 2001 election cycle, which had the strongest voter turnout of the all the contests examined, there was a total of 22,530 votes cast for all candidates. Now in reality, that is probably about 6,200 voters that turned out. I say probably because the highest vote tally cast for any seat that year was 6,153 and I don’t have the exact voter turnout data. So in that scenario, those 1,600 votes would account for 26% of all the votes cast. Compare that to the weakest voter turnout election cycle, which was 2009. The same seats at stake in 2009 were the same seats up in 2001. However, while 22,530 total votes were cast in 2001, only 8,212 total votes were cast in 2009. Again, the total number of voters would be in the 2,275 range due to the largest number of votes cast in any one race this cycle were 2,253, and the approximations are for the same reasons as previously stated. The difference however is the effect of those 1600 core voters. The representative ratio just jumped 50% so that those 1600 represent 75% of the voters who went to the polls in 2009. Folks, that’s how you maintain control and keep the focus and the impetus on just those things that you deem important, relative, and you ensure that your interests are looked after and safe. You are making certain that the rules, if any are formulated, are in your favor. If you can maintain that hypothetical 75% ratio of the vote, even if there is decent, it can very quickly and easily be pushed aside and played off as a minor disgruntling or sore loser syndrome.

Now, is any of this scientific or empirical as proof of what is going on? I’m sorry to say no, it isn’t. But if you think about the who, the why, and the how of the way things work, who the repeat players are, and the successes of certain people and the falls from grace for others, patterns begin to develop. When you see those correlations between people, it’s not hard to draw reasonable inferences based on those correlations. That core group of people you and I will never see. They move behind the scenes to cloak their agendas and because they don’t want the associations mentioned here to be public knowledge. But they exist. The numbers can be quantified, but the persons will remain nameless, unless one of elites chose to break ranks and expose the charade of power. But there is no incentive to do that. However, there is hope.

The hope is in the numbers themselves. When you fail to vote, you are denying yourselves the representation that you so desperately demand and for which you cry out. If you do not get redress of grievance from the government that currently occupies the offices of your representatives, then it is time to replace them. We have the power of numbers and if you want change and a voice, then you have to exercise both. Those in power will listen or they will be replaced. We outnumber the power elite, but we have to exercise the power of superior numbers and never pause whenever an election is in contention. It is too late to do anything about 2011. No one found enough interest to file for any contest in the November election. If you want a voice, then someone has to stand up to be counted.