The change in the 1960's was moving away from segregation and towards integration just as old ward style isolationist (kingdoms)elections progressed to the at large elections that we have today. The change took the City in the same direction as most Cities in NC are today-overwhelmingly so. It appears as though this referendum is moving the City back to the 1960 era. Not a good thing. It took a progressive Council and Mayor to make the change in the 1960's. Ok fire away Hound!
To the first anonymous. I am not attacking the messenger. I am "Attacking" (addressing) the message. I'd love to talk with this guy. The only thing I did was mention his name. He called what we are doing radical, thus inferring that we are radicals.
To the second anonymous. I appreciate your reasoning and it does fall in line with the argument made at the time of one man one vote, but the process and logic are very much flawed in my opinion.
We are the only city, our size, in North Carolina that has this Modified At-Large system, which is what the information that the city went and got from the School of Government shows. There are two cities our size that have the pure ward system. The other cities have Pure At-Large systems with no wards in the cities, so Hickory is doing their own thing.
You talk about kingdoms. Is the State of North Carolina a Kingdom? Last time I looked there is no one from South Carolina clamoring that they deserve to vote here and in Virginia and in Wyoming. The pure Ward system is best, in my opinion, because it allows people to deal with the issues in their community/neighborhood. Kingdoms are defined by Monarchy and Kings. We are talking about empowering regular ole people and having their representatives be accountable towards their communities/neighborhood's interests. That doesn't seem all that bad to me. It is grassroots participation at its finest. It keeps it to where a representative looks out for what is best for his community/neighborhood first, while fitting that (and plugging into) the needs of the overall City. That is the way this State and Country works.
DoGood made an excellent point. Elected City Officials claim that they Look at (have looked out for) the welfare of the entire city. This was the argument made back in the 1960s. What are they defining as the entire city? Seems like it is only the very center of Old Hickory.
Where are the big Economic Development and Revitalization projects in Southwest Hickory, Highland, St Stephens, and even Viewmont? Heck, they have allowed the people with degraded and abandoned properties in these areas to have free rein, thus depreciating the value of those properties that are taken care of. What if you bought one of these properties years ago and all of this degradation has subsequently occurred? What have you, as a property owner, done to deserve this fate?
It was stated back in 1967 that the going to an At-Large system would lead to machine politics and I believe it most certainly has. The Mayor talks about Horse trading under a ward system and that is what we have seen under the current At-Large system with the less wealthy wards being held hostage by the wards with more wealth and any monies towards economic development going towards the wealthy interests, while the middle class and poor are ignored. Give and take is going to happen under any system, but when ones neighborhoods are taken into consideration first that is a lot more noble than money interests coming first.
You can read about all of this. We haven't tried to hide anything, but we do provide opinion.
The logic and reasoning of the City Leadership in 1967 of one man/one vote was as wrong then as it is today with the 2012 City Leadership. If I can vote for my ward representative who lives in my community/neighborhood and then 5 people who never step foot in my ward come along and decide they know what is best for me, then we are diluting the voting rights of that ward. We are right back to the system that surrounded segregation all those years ago.
I believe that if you allow the wards to have representation that meets the dynamics (Culture & Socio Economic) of that particular neighborhood/community, then the people of that ward feel better about their representation and governance and they will participate in their governance. And if they don't like their representative and feel that they aren't represented by the individual, then it will be much easier to boot them out.
When all of the Wards are empowered and come forward and work together, plugged in - charged, on the City Council bench, then it will mean the empowerment of every crack, corner, creak, and crevice of this city and you will see revitalization and human energy come back to Hickory.
This City is not doing well folks. Most of us see that. Many of the most don't know what to do. This is what we need to do folks. What happened back in 1967 was a mistake. No name calling or insults are intended or needed. They were misguided. I understand the fears and motivations they had that caused them to go in this direction, but I believe those fears were unfounded... that what happened didn't benefit anyone and that what we can be, can be so much more.
That is the reason why I believe in the Pure Ward Voting System.
You know sometimes having the courage to admit mistakes in logic and reasoning and going back to your foundation, roots and reestablishing your mission is a good thing. Dead end roads don't lead to progress. In this case going back is going forward!