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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Election Day in Hickory -- November 8, 2011

Election day in the City of Hickory and one has to wonder how many people will show up at polling precincts when the three incumbents are unchallenged.

I would like to say that I do support the candidacy of Rebecca Inglefield. Last year when everything was going down with the city swimming pools in South Hickory, she and her husband Dr. Joseph Inglefield were very supportive towards the cause. I remember both of their addresses to the Hickory City Council pleading for them to first not shut down the pools and second to offer some form of aquatic recreation. Dr. Inglefield even participated in creating a plan to move the creation of a new pool facility forward, but the Council of Intransigence did what they aimed to do all along and the rest is history -- for now.

In talking to the Inglefields, one senses how much they care about this community and want to see it succeed. I think she would bring the compassion she displayed during those times of angst to the Hickory Board of Education.

The one thing I hope that everyone understands is that this election is an embarrassment to the City of Hickory. This is not to say that I do not support the unopposed candidates. What bothers me is a system where no one cares to run for office. It tells you that the system is broken and needs to be addressed. I supported these three candidates four years ago, but at that time at least they were challenged. I thought at that time that they would bring some energy to the table in relation to addressing the fundamental flaws Hickory has faced in its need to generate business and commerce. But, instead we got four years of coasting and general consensus towards a Hickory City Council versus the World Mindset.

In my heart, I know that the Council are not all of the same mind. I know for a fact that they are not. But, in the end the image that they project is Unanimous Consent, because they feel that this facade of unity is where they derive their power. What they don't realize is that their methods have led to a public that doesn't care about this City, except where it meets individual personal interests, and buy and large that public doesn't know who the City Council representatives are. The Council needs to understand that they can hold office, but without community support it is going to be impossible to turn the City's plight around.

Although I found it odd, I actually have had fellow employees tell me that they didn't know who the Mayor of Hickory was.  Folks, if they don't know who the Mayor is, then they certainly don't know anything about the Council, City Manager, City Staff, or how the city operates.

Operating in the shadows does not inspire a public that has seen this City not progress for a decade. What it creates is a community where the best and brightest leave. A community where the young people go away to college and don't consider coming back. A community where people have to leave to seek a meaningful and fruitful career. People cannot afford to wait for Hickory to turn around at the Powers That Be's leisure, they need to feel that there is a sense of urgency and that local leaders are devoted to fixing the negative issues that most of us are facing in our everyday lives.

The Council and City Government has been brainstorming over the last several months about how to restore Population and Economic Growth to the community. The first thing they need to realize is that it isn't like turning  a spigot on and off. Their inaction has been detrimental. The longer they wait, the further we fall behind. As I have said a million times before, they have abrogated their authority. They always put their eggs in all of these other entities' baskets and expect some kind of reward. Look at Conover, they are investing heavily in their own community development. Yes, it is risky; but in the end they are set to reap greater rewards and they can say that they have personally done something to move that community forward. If you had to choose partners, which community would you choose?

Remembering Two Years Ago:

Harry Hipps - (The candidate who fully vetted a platform and tried to communicate with the people. He didn't talk about technology, he utilized it!)


Silence DoGood said...

Hickory. I think that pretty much sums it up. It is what it is and there is no changing it. Because you see, it is nothing without the people. While the City will endure, it is the people that make it what it is or isn’t. Someone may provide vision, another financing, and someone else ingenuity, but it is all the people that provide of themselves to make it what it is, collectively.

Now, there are those that proffer the notion that Hickory is nothing without them, in specificity. However, it takes more than one kind, brand, religion, viewpoint, and type to make a community. It we were all of one mind, purpose, and intent, like City Council, then the direction would be clear, narrow, and short. And so it is, to those requisite few who control council and insure that it is their agenda that is rendered viable during each session of the political enabling every other Tuesday which purports to speak for all citizens, but in essence truly represents only a select few.

Insofar as out of sight, out of mind is concerned, it works quite well in practice. When you’re perpetually out in the forefront of thought and media attention is focused your way, you draw scrutiny the way exhaling carbon dioxide attracts mosquitoes in the summer. When attention and focus is directed elsewhere, well, you can do all sorts of things and not have to answer or account for them until well after the fact, if at all.

While covered in another piece here, that is or, was it seems, the purpose and intent of a free press and for them to be able to publish responsible commentary on all matters public and political. That seems to work in most places other than Hickory. The press in it’s original intent was to be the watchdog of the governed for those doing the governing. Inject capitalism and the ‘hey, if we focus more on advertising and than writing, we can make a lot more money’ concept. So the news and those that cover it become nothing more than public relations mouthpieces for the official stance, whatever that might be, as long as it is positive and presents a positive image. It doesn’t matter than substantively the core is rotten. We have no problems, no issues, and no complaints.

There are a few that would say that since there are so many detractors and nay-sayers among us; this blog included, one must present a sunny side up attitude. Maybe. But how long do you think you can hide from what is real, despite your perspective? I mean, if you have a 12 ounce glass and there is only 6 ounces of liquid in it, whether it is half full or half empty, it’s potential is only being utilized by 50%, despite your perspective focus on which half is being utilized. What needs to happen here is that volume needs to be utilized with 100% of substance. That means the glass is full.

Without substance, you don’t need a glass full of air. That is what we have now. Despite what the individual council members say in private, it is what they do that stands as the measure of their commitment. Talk is cheap and in this instance, utterly lacking in substance. It is what they do that has meaning. And what they presently do is commit themselves to maintaining solidarity and unity, despite the necessity to do otherwise.

Hence voting. You have no right to complain unless you do. If there is only one person, for one seat, then you need to get up and go vote. A right is worthless unless it is exercised. Having a right and not using it makes you worthless, despicable, and just plain irresponsible. With all the ways and means by which to exercise your voting rights, how can you not? If you like and agree with what you’ve read in front of this paragraph, then keep your seat and enjoy the view. However, I’m intent on seeing things get better. Come join me.

Deb said...

I have a few questions and comments about today's election process:

1. I showed up at 6:55 a.m. and discovered I was the first voter (and when Moma showed up a few hours later, wasn't that much further down the proverbial pike). I then became angry over the waste of my taxpayer dollars. I have a colleague at work that lives in Greenmont Precinct, and Alan and I usually race to see who votes first, who gets the bragging rights.

I saw Alan at lunch, and asked when he was going to vote, only to discover he wasn't planning on "wasting" his "time to vote in an election that was already pre-determined since the incumbents are running un-opposed."

2. I noticed on the Cat Co Bd of Elections results page that Ward I had Brad Lail, Nancy Willingham, and Write-in and the number of votes for each. Ward II had Bruce Meisner, Write-in 93 votes. Ward III had Danny Seaver, Lee Wilson, and Write-in. Now, why did my ballot not have Nancy's and Lee's names on it, just the incumbent and "Write-in"? Is it because the "write-in" candidate/candidates didn't receive but paltry sums of votes? Were Nancy and Lee listed because they received a huge amt of votes? And, finally, why are the write-in persons NOT listed? Don't we have the right to know who was willing to run for political office, who wishes to participate so we can encourage them to keep on keeping on?

3. Why are the school board districts for Hickory different than the Ward districting? I was prepared to vote for a particular person to discover that her name wasn't listed on my ballot. I asked if that was because West Hickory/Westmont is in 2 wards...4 and 5. I soon discovered that wasn't the case, but the school board has different districting. How confusing? And, I want to know why it is different; why it cannot be the same!!

4. I was under the impression that there was to be both a Republican judge, and a Democrat judge. Greenmont only had the two folks checking addresses, etc and giving out the ballot, explaining it, etc., and ONE Democrat judge, zippo Republican judge. Now, I want to proclaim that I don't believe this judge, nor the two table workers would cheat in any way. But, technically, wasn't the whole voting process compromised because the rules were broken/not followed? What if the person wasn't trustworthy? WOW!!

5. My taxpayer dollars were wasted today. And, I lay the blame on the Hickory City Council, and especially the Mayor Wright. As long as we continue with the Open Ward Election system, then similar incidents will continue to occur. As Alan said earlier: "Pre-determined" outcome, so a waste of time and money, and all other resources.

James Thomas Shell said...


Lee Wilson and Nancy Willingham ran in the 2007 election. I think you were looking at those results.

The school board districts are distict races versus the Council General At-Large system. That is what the petition is all about. It is at-large so that a voting block from another part of the city can determine you poor folks ward representative. They don't want any "radicals" sitting on the council.

Hickory's elections are considered "non-Partisan," therefore no need for Dem or Pub judges. I also think we need to get away from this anyway, since the Dems and Pubs have chosen to go rogue and basically not represent anybody. We Poor Folks who can't buy influence are on our own anyway.

Our city is run by authoritarians, they are the only people who haven't figured that out yet. The system is not working. It isn't even working for our leaders, but they are scared of change, like someone who has a dependency issue and can't leave the sauce alone.

Deb said...

This is the third attempt at comment, and I hope it posts. I felt soooooooo stupid whenever I discovered I was looking at 2007.

But, I stand by several things:

There needs to be judges from both parties at every election----whether or not partisan or non-partisan. We all know that HKY elections are not in reality ever non-partisan.

Also, the school bd districts need to be the same as the ward districts. Especially since the Hky system is in such turmoil with even gang activity in elementary levels. I graduated from HHS 35 yrs ago, but I wouldn't be sending any children of mine there for multiple reasons until much changes.

And, I especially stand by my last paragraph: "My taxpayer dollars were wasted today. And, I lay the blame on the Hickory City Council, and especially the Mayor Wright. As long as we continue with the Open Ward Election system, then similar incidents will continue to occur. As Alan said earlier: "Pre-determined" outcome, so a waste of time and money, and all other resources."

Anonymous said...

So Deb.... no matter what truth there is to the rebuttal of your "take" on the elections, thankfully provided by The Hound, be it the school board or the City, you still want to blame Rudy? And by the way, the school wards are determined by the census on where the STUDENT population lives and the City Council wards are determined on where the VOTERS live. Two distinct groups. Your "instances" could be corrected with a little education.... I for one would never give up voting because you think it is a waste.

James Thomas Shell said...

As far as the school board races: It is still the same form of Direct ward voting. The people of your ward represent you. Why not have the modified at-large system for school races, if it is such a wonderful thing?

And this can't be hung on the Mayor, except as to the history of this situation and his direct opposition towards even discussing the Direct Ward representation system without having any supportive facts. The Mayor did not create this current system and any change in the system isn't going to change the way the Mayor is elected. A little research helps with that one. And there are very few of us that know that history... Stay tuned

harryhipps said...

I am somewhat surprised that the turnout wasn't higher due to the school board race. Schools are (were) typically more full of passion and parental interest. And even though the Council race was non contested I thought the schools would bring more to the polls.
Personally, I value my right to vote and I'll be there if it's only an uncontested race for pencil sharpener.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right dogood. The current city council is absolutely some of the most closed minded obtuse individuals i have ever met in my life. I am just 22 years old. I've lived most of my life in an economic downturn. Ive listened to stories from my parents and grandparents of prosperity, fairness, goodwill, people helping people types of life. It is intriguing to listen to these stories of factories full of people working, downtown Hickory bustling with vibrance and laughter, people walking up and down sidewalks, talking with neighbors, among many other things that I havent been especially accustomed to. Now when I travel around the City in my daily life I rarely see anybody on the sidewalks(that the city is so proud of), downtown Hickory is turning into a ghost town, empty factories spread throught West Hickory and Highland, no plan. No revitilization. No hope, no future. While this might sound all too harsh for some, this is the reality for many. I make it a point to read the minutes from City Council monthly, I try to attend meetings to learn more and to figure out what exactly is going on in Hickory. Im tired of seeing the frugal, lackluster attitudes of, "Everything will be just fine" city council members. The situation in this City is just like that of many others around the nation. The manufacturing jobs are gone and probably wont be coming back anytime soon. People in the community wont come out to vote due to a system in which they, along with myself, isn't very fair. The people of the city are what make it click, as you said. Without them it is nothing. I believe the council has forgotten that aspect of it and seems to be in a bubble that no one dare burst. We are so far behind other City's in the area such as Mooresville, Charlotte, Asheville, Boone, among others. These towns have realized that you cant rebuild something utilizing techniques used 20 and 30 years ago. If you do you will end up like Hickory. A town where the leaders believe it will just, "come back just like it always does", with little effort. While i share many negative comments let this be known. I have lived in Hickory my entire life and i dont plan on living anywhere else. The people here raised me, supported me, and taught me many wonderful life lessons. Hickory is diverse in its culture. It has so much potential from its location, its college systems, and its hardworking citizens. My entire family for generations has lived and worked here, myself included. A few words of advice from a young mind to City Council. Be more open minded and do what your heart tells you. This City needs you as much as anybody. Everybody is doing theyre part in trying to make there lives the best it can be, including yourselves. So why not treat the place you live the same way. Revitilize, take advice from the people that put you in office in the first place. Brainstorm, no idea is too great to achieve. Stop working off of the ways its been for 30 years. I shouldnt have to read in city council minutes the same thing ive heard my grandfather tell me was said in the 50's. Lets get real. Lets get Hickory back to where it needs to be. Im here to stay, I love my City.

And to the hickory hound, thanks for the opportunity to blog. I love your website and i hope it continues to spur the minds of us all especially the young adults like myself. Keep up the great work and God bless.

James Thomas Shell said...

Young people are where the energy of a community has to come from. Thank you for visiting and utilizing this site. Spread the word to others your age. We need you!!!

Silence DoGood said...

I appreciate the kind words, young person. I've lived in a lot of places and was transplanted here in the very early 70's. I know what life is like in large metropolitan areas and what it is like here.

Thom is correct in his observations. It is our job to educate you and train so that you can become what preceding generations have not managed to be. The obstacle to that is a leadership that refuses to see the obvious. I can write about it, but it is up to you to insist on making things better for yourselves and your future families. Don't rely on what is or what was. You have been told about what was, you know where you are, the question now becomes, where do you want to go? Lessons learned aren't always positive, sometimes we need to learn what not to do as well as what to do. Either way, constant talk and no action is like a rocking chair. Gives you something to do, doesn't get you anywhere.

Keep a wary eye and listen to everything. Don't assume meaning if it isn't crystal clear. People define and use words differently. Ask for clarification, particularly when dealing with government and all things legal.

Keep the faith and don't ever compromise your honor or integrity for expedience or money.