Mayor Wright doesn't seem to want to have any back and forth discussion with anyone about city issues. He has told Rebecca Inglefield to call him on his cell phone, but mainly refuses to engage her in discussions at City Council meetings in relation to her concerns. People have tried to engage the Mayor at City Council to no avail. The Mayor tells people "This is not a debate" when they request to be heard. It makes people feel like the Mayor and City Council could care less about their concerns. Hal offers the Mayor a chance to respond to Larry's comments made during that April show and the Mayor states that he isn't going to respond to (Larry's comments), because he has responded time and again... and then goes on to say that Larry's comments aren't worthy of response.
I don't think anyone wants to have this kind of public relationship with Mayor Wright. They want to understand where he is coming from. They want to understand his decision making process. That is what would happen with open processes and engagement. The Mayor constantly tells us we are wrong, but never gives us reasons why we are wrong.
One suggestion that I have made is to have Town Hall meetings. Another idea is that we move Citizens Requesting to be heard to the beginning of City Council meetings, instead of at the end where eveyone is looking to wrap up the session. This would correlate perfectly with the problems we have seen with the Consent Agenda. People could voice concerns about issues with the Meeting Agenda before the items are voted upon. This would be the best move towards open engagement and full disclosure relating to pertinent city issues.
Like I have said, I don't think anyone is purposefully mischaracterizing the positions of the Mayor, Hickory City Council or Administration. And personally, I don't feel like they have been mischaracterized. I don't think we are on the wrong path. If we don't have the facts, figures, and information, then open the books and give us the facts that might sway our opinion. If we don't have the information, then whose fault is that? Superfluous propaganda isn't going to cut it though. We need substance, not rhetoric.
Mayor Wright on Hal Row's Show in which Larry Pope calls in
Larry Pope's address of City Council on March 6, 2012