Google Groups
Join To Get Blog Update Notices
Visit the Hickory Hound Group

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!!!


harryhipps said...

I hadn't thought about the aspect of the alcohol that apparently is ok in the Frans Stadium (city property) but not Union Square. It certainly points out the selective nature of who the city council and management wants to help and who they want to agitate.
The two major problems that this issue highlights are the arbitrary nature of what rules get enforced and how poorly known or organized the management of affairs are until a problem comes up.
The management of the Stadium should have the say in events. Why should council have to vote on an event being held there? If it's not something illegal, like an Al Qaida meeting or a crackfest, why does a political body have to act?
Maybe the dynamic duo of Berry and Crone need to look at the contract so we don't have to act on an ad hoc basis every time the turnstile is used.

James Thomas Shell said...

Just think about this Harry... Thirsty Thursday... on City Property... I think that the City, under the guidance of the Usual Suspects, might want to readdress this contract and everything else going on at that stadium... You do know that children hang out at Crawdad games and I've even seen some that are roaming around without their leashes on.


Silence DoGood said...

Lest we forget gentlemen, all of those 'private and corporate' boxes at the stadium in which spiritous liquor and mixed beverages flow freely. I'm guessing that the property is properly permitted to allow that from ALE, but at this point, that may well have been another one of those provisions easily 'overlooked' for the good of the principals in fact. Now who is the entity that those boxes are leased from? Hickory or the Crawdads' organization?

Leash law? ANOTHER offical city covenant being violated? HOW DARE THEY?!?!? What is to be done with this den of iniquity?

I'm thinking that the Pride people were rejected using the 'official prohibition' option because they, the Republic nor the Crawdads, didn't want to deal with potential fallout. I think they didn't want photos being made of those people with their banners and signs and there, for all to see, is, "Hickory" or "Crawdads" logos in the background.

Next thing you know, people will be wanting to rent the place to dance.

Silence DoGood said...

Oh, I think an Al Qaida meeting would be just the thing that the Executive Council would like to book, don't you? Those folks don't drink, they don't wear suggestive clothing, they love God (what's in a title), they freely quote scripture and try to incorporate their beliefs into everyday governance, and they follow a scorched earth policy of cleaning up after themselves.

What's in there for the Executive Council of the Republic not to like?!?!

Anonymous said...

Another black mark for Hickory. Berry didn't have the guts to just say he didn't want them on city property. Excellent way to improve business in the area, by turning it away.

Deb said...

I didn't go to my recent 35th HHS reunion. There were several reasons...the #1 being it was held at Market on Main (the chief sponsor of last yr's Hickory Gay Pride Parade...the first one ever). That establishment is privately owned, and since there is still some modicum of free enterprise in this country, I had the right to not spend my money at that establishment.
I am angry that the City powers that be would not let the Pride Festival be held at LP Franz. Lest anybody holler 'hypocrite' (and other things).....Market on Main is a private enterprise. LP Franz is owned by a municipal corporation that my tax dollars get involved with--either a little or a lot. It is a public arena! Pride had every right to hold their festival there.
So, now the City has invited the ACLU, et al into a major fray. Now religious concerts and organizations will not be able to use the facilities because we will hear the phrase "Separation of Church and State" being bandied about! And, much to my consternation, the ACLU, the Pride, etc. will have EVERY right to so protest. AND, should there be a court battle, they would WIN!! (If you don't think so, then study the Landmark Supreme Court Cases Of Brandenburg vs. Ohio, and Skokie vs. Illinois....same principles apply.)
Wonder what the READERS'DIGEST will think of Hickory now? An "All-American City"? I KNOW it ISN"T!!
But, are you all surprised at the discrimination from the City? If you are, then come live in the SE and SW sections of Hickory. Come live in Ward 4. Come to Coalition for Equity in Government meetings. Show up at the meetings at Ridgeview on Wednesday nights at 6pm. Show up at City Council meetings. Thomas is correct whenever he wrote that only three wards in this City run the whole show! That is why they don't want a Pure Ward voting system.
I hope the GLBT community steps forward to sign the petitions, to demand equal representation. And, no, I'm not gay, am usually fighting gay agendas from the opposite side, enduring name calling, etc. Yet, the City had ZERO rights to do what they did in a public municipal building/area!!

harryhipps said...

I'll leave you with one more thought on this issue. If groups using the stadium were supposed to get City Council's approval first (and they haven't been until the gay group issue came up) and now the City is following the correct procedure that they apparently "forgot" about, what other proper procedures are they "forgetting" about?

Silence DoGood said...

You know Thom, is it more than just a little amazing that you posted the "Thirsty Thursday" commentary on September 30, and that event appears on the Hickory Council agenda for approval on October 4th, with the event is to be held October 6th. And Manager Berry was quoted in the paper as saying,"if they had brought this to us a couple of weeks prior, we could have gotten it approved." The advertising had already been done for "Thursday" prior to calendaring on the agenda, I'm thinking. What would have happened if the even had fallen between council meetings? Or better yet, what if it had been denied? Is it just me? Am I downwind of the waste treatment facility again?!?!

James Thomas Shell said...

Thirsty Thursday isn't the wine tasting. Thirsty Thursday is cheap draft beer sold in a cup for $1 when the Crawdads are in town. It is a big social scene for young people and I am most certainly not endorsing curtailing that event. What I am pointing to is that this is the exact same crowd that attends Hickory Alive.

Alder Fox and Julia Rush pushed the notion that Hickory Alive is "Our" front porch. What she means is that it is our local elites front porch and they think they should control every aspect of what happens on Union Square.

Their operation of Union Square in the face of Economic reality is what has made that area unviable!!!

Silence DoGood said...

Ah. Having never been, I was unaware of that. I just found it strange though. I was in an establishment just Wednesday and saw and advertisement flyer for the two events, so I put them together with what was transpiring with the rush to be legitimate. Thank you for squaring that up.