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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reverend Cliff Moone addresses the Mayor about City Politics at City Council

(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!!!


Anonymous said...

Rudy is a very insecure man. Very rarely will you see Rudy voting in the minority on any issue. With regard to Cliff Moone's situation and Rudy "not allowing" Mr. Meisner to nominate Mr. Moone comes down to Rudy not wanting to be the lone dissenting vote against Mr. Moone - here again, Rudy not wanting have to cast a "no" vote AND be in the minority - two of Rudy's worst fears! As bad as Rudy's "control" over Council is, what's worse is other Council members allowing Rudy to exercise this type of control. Whatever the reason, Rudy has a problem with Mr. Moone and others...and he uses his position of "power" against those individuals....

The Mayor and ALL the other Council members are dead wrong on allowing and condoning this kind of behavior among their Council colleagues. Shame on you all - but particularly to Councilmen Guess and Meisner.

harryhipps said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
rpegarsch said...

I am glad the Mr. Moone stepped up to call out Mayor Wright. There needs to be more people that will stand up to Rudy and fight for the citizens of Hickory. This is just another act of Rudy's to not allow outsiders in his clan. Come this next election there will be a bombshell of an announcement that will shock the whole city and Rudy may be having to leave his office. Mark my words that Rudy will not be in office come 2013.

Silence DoGood said...

Yes Thom, you're right. I posted in the wrong thread.

Why? Why indeed. Let me first say that I don’t think the Mayor should have a vote, except in the event of a tie among board members. He has the power to control the agenda. The only things that go on the agenda is what he decides will go. Ergo, he has decided that Cliff is a troublemaker because he asks too many questions and doesn’t agree with Rudy in public. “...We’ll look at it some more.” Why not just tell the man the truth? “You ask too many questions and don’t agree with me in public. You’ll never sit on that commission as long as I’m Mayor.” What should happen is, Guess, Meisner, Fox, or Patton should wait until Commission nominations appear on the agenda, then make a motion to add Cliff and let someone else second. The Mayor then has no choice but to allow a valid motion to go to a vote. Of course, that wouldn’t bode well for ‘troublemakers’ on the council. The power block that keeps Rudy, vis a vis themselves in power would likewise replace the offending party in the next election cycle. They know it, anyone with eyes knows it, and we now know why those same elected officials oppose allowing the individual wards to select their own ward reps within the wards, as opposed to citywide. It nullifies that power block.

I agree Thom. We share different political affiliations, but have the same goals in mind. Life is about journeys, politics is about getting things accomplished for the betterment of life and all the people, or it should be.

I’m thinking that Hickory needs to surrender their flag and change to a Roman standard. Think of it. They’re both city/states, in the Greco-Roman tradition. They both pay lip service to the people through an ‘elected’ body. All we need is a Coliseum and some Lions, we’re all stocked up on Christians. (Sorry Cliff)

Instead of bearing the letters SPQR, it could read SPQH! For the Glory of Hickory, Hail Ceasar!

James Thomas Shell said...

In Hickory, the City Manager decides what goes on the agenda. The Council Members can nominate anyone at any time. They are just too timid to do so. They have chosen to let the Mayor control them. I don't know what the deal is behind thoise dynamics, but if I were sitting on that Council I'd most definitely stand up toi the Mayor when I didn't agree with him. For some reason they just refuse to stand up for anything even when they believe in it. It is part of the Go along to get along governance we see and it is totally not getting anything done, except for the same ole mundane nonsense that has us treading water and getting worn down.

James Thomas Shell said...

I have deleted the comment by Harry at his request, because as he stated it was said in the heat of the moment and he will explain to you why he wanted the comment deleted himself.

Yes, we need to have standards and yes we need to watch our language. Harry, is an associate with this blog and I did not feel that I should admonish him for what he said when I agreed with it wholeheartedly.

What he was stating was that we have a culture of two-faced gladhanding masked behind a facade of "Southern Genteel" mannerisms, where people are syruppy sweet to one another person-to-person, but the second they walk away they can actually try to harm the other person for personal reasons.

I also believe in the Club comment. Hickory has a club of Elitists who seem to think they are better than the average working class folks and they don't seem to believe in helping people out based on merit. It is a caste system and you are either born into it or not. They'll let certain people in to use them towards a purpose, but once they have gotten what they want, they will disregard you quickly and pretend like they never had anything to do with you. It's just like a High School clique.

It creates an us versus them mentality that has been very destructive towards the progress of this community.

We need to work together. Rewarding Good and Punishing Bad. Instead, outcomes are based on social level. If you are a jerk, but part of the club, then excuses are made for your behavior and they are given chance after chance after chance to redeem themselves. Club members are lauded if they do anything noteworthy. Non-clubmembers are ignored unless they do something that is recognized outside of the community, while any non-clubmember who does anything negative is vilified and hung in effigy as an example.

harryhipps said...

At my request, Thom deleted my post on this issue. Although I stand by my point of view, I used a word that is crude and upon reflection, I regret using it.
I've spoken out against the coarsening of society where manners count for less and civility is strained. By using the word I make myself a hypocrite and contribute to the lowering of standards that I deplore - another case of speak first, think later.
I apologize for speech that reflects badly on me and may offend some readers.