(Cliff's prepared statement starts one minute into the video)
During last night's City Council session (10/18/2011) the Mayor was called out for business as usual in relation to Personal Politics by Reverend Cliff Moone who approximately 10 months ago submitted an application to serve on the City of Hickory's Community Relations Council. By all right Mr. Moone, as a citizen of Hickory and through his qualifications as a church pastor, is more than qualified to serve in such a post. Mr. Moone first approached Alderman Hank Guess through a mutual connection about his desire to serve on the Community Relations Council and filled out and submitted all necessary and appropriate paper work in accordance with said position. It seemed as though it would be a go. Ald. Guess gave indications that he would be happy to nominate Mr. Moone for the position, but then backed out of support for Mr. Moone to serve in such a capacity, by saying to Mr. Moone that Mayor Wright had another person in mind to serve in said position. There was only one Caucasian position open at that time. Mr. Moone stated that this seemed understandable to him.
However, the position remained unfilled for several more months and Mr. Moone could not get a definitive rationale for the delay from the Mayor, after some time had passed the Mayor did make an appointment, but subsequently more Caucasian positions became available. This caused Mr. Moone to approach his ward representative Alderman Bruce Meisner, who informed him that he could not nominate Mr. Moone, because the Mayor would not approve his appointment. This occurred at the close of a Council meeting this Summer. Mr. Moone turned to Mayor Wright who was standing within five feet of Mr. Moone. Mr. Moone stated that he had said, "in that case the Mayor owes me an explanation of why he thinks I am not qualified to serve." Mayor Wright said, Well, we'll look at it some more."
Several weeks later, Mr. Moone heard from someone, whom he considers a reliable and reasonable source, that he wasn't appointed to the CRC, because he is a trouble maker. As the Mayor did not say this to Mr. Moone personally, he cannot attest to its accuracy. Still, because he has heard from several Council Members, including Council Member Fox, suggest that it is difficult to find citizens will to serve on city's varied committees and boards and it would be obvious that appears to be true or something like that. It struck me as odd that a long time pastor, CVCC instructor, and the first headmaster of the Hickory Christian Academy, as well as the former director of the Sylvan Learning Center should not be qualified or should be considered a "Trouble Maker."
To conclude, I stand here tonight having just received the honor of meeting and speaking with the President of the United States. And having been elected last Spring as the 10th District Democratic Chair, I stand here tonight to remove my name therefore from consideration, if it were ever considered, from serving on the Community Relations Council. In all honesty, I simply do not have the time. And while I would hope to serve the city in some capacity some day, now is clearly not the right time to do so. But, I thank you for a lesson in City Politics.
The Hound wonders if any of you get sick of this stuff. Yeah, I applauded Cliff's comments at the end of the meeting, because he had the guts to stand up to the bullying. Isn't anyone tired of the bullying? The dynamics of all of this are utterly ridiculous. It is purely petty politics, because the Mayor is upset that Cliff has joined forces with the Citizens for Equity in Government. He is also upset that Cliff brought in the Chairperson of the Catawba County Democrat Party to dress down the Council about their handling of the drawing of the Ward maps.
Folks, I'm going to give you a hint. There is some bombshell information that is going to be dropped in your lap at a time of the choosing of the people who have the information. It is going to change the complete dynamics of your understanding of Hickory politics. That is all I am willing to tell you at this time, because it is not my information to divulge.
Alder Fox was speaking to Mr. Moone after the meeting about this issue and I wasn't going to butt into that conversation. Although I do have disagreements with Mrs. Fox, I honestly believe that she is supportive of people such as Cliff bringing their experience to the table of these Commissions. I then heard Alder Patton asking Cliff why he didn't come to her. Well, as he stated, "You are not my ward representative."
What I state here is not personal, but I am sure it will be taken that way. While Alder Patton has made some great and valid points during council meetings and has been attentive towards listening to certain groups, I would argue that Alder Patton has not shepherded anything of substance through the council during her tenure. And this would have been no different. I have constantly witnessed her ask people why they (formally) addressed council and didn't bring their concerns to her. The reason why is because she has been ineffective. The least little push back she gets from the Mayor and she settles back into her seat. Effective leadership demands a lot more than reducing speeds through Hickory's arteries to that of a golf cart. Why does she always want everything kept out of public view? What was the true deal behind that Pride Festival?
The same goes for Alderman Guess. The Mayor is not a dictator, and as far as I understand, the position was open for anyone to appoint. It isn't like the Mayor has veto power. The Mayor has one vote. What is up with all of this kowtowing to the Mayor? HE HAS ONE VOTE!!! Hank could have gone ahead and nominated Cliff, but no, "The Mayor told me I couldn't." Hank I was there with you when you ran. You sat and had lunch with me and others at 1859 and told us what you were going to do. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?
I like to think that one day I'll be able to participate in the renewal and revitalization of Hickory, but there is no sense of urgency with these people. The Mayor's always looking into everything. What has he looked into that has achieved results? Too much looking. Not enough Doing! They are comfortable in what they are "doing." And I am sure in their close knit group they are in agreement. They certainly agree on everything in Council meetings. 99% of votes are Unanimous Consent or through the Consent Agenda. There seems to be a Unanimous Consent that there will be no debate in Hickory.
I am a Republican. I have a degree in Finance. I love business. I have a passion for economics and the issues thereof. Basically most everything I own I have earned. I am a person deeply rooted in self-reliance, but I also believe in helping others. Cliff is a leader in the Democrat Party. He and I differ on many issues. We don't differ about the desire for the end result when it comes to Hickory. We differ about the process of how we are going to arrive at that result.
In the end, I don't care about the process. I care about results. Petty people get lost in the minutia of process and then let their egos get in the way. They can't see the forest from the trees. I can have discussions with people and agree to disagree on subject matter dialogue. I know that this man cares about Hickory, its community and its people. I admire those qualities. Having a person like Cliff not be able to serve a formal role within the city's structure of governance speaks volumes about where this city's problems lie!!!