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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- September 30, 2012

Data that lives forever is possible: Japan's Hitachi - Phys.org - September 24, 2012 -  The company on Monday  unveiled a method of storing digital information on slivers of quartz  glass that can endure extreme temperatures and hostile conditions  without degrading, almost forever.  And for anyone who updated their LP collection onto CD, only to find  they then needed to get it all on MP3, a technology that never needs to  change might sound appealing.  "The volume of data being created every day is exploding, but in terms  of keeping it for later generations, we haven't necessarily improved  since the days we inscribed things on stones," Hitachi researcher  Kazuyoshi Torii said.                     "The possibility of losing information may actually have increased," he  said, noting the life of digital media currently available—CDs and hard  drives—is limited to a few decades or a century at most.  And the rapid development of technologies has resulted in frequent  changes of data-reading hardware.  "As you must have experienced, there is the problem that you cannot  retrieve information and data you managed to collect," said Torii,  apparently referring to now-obsolete record players and cine films.                          Hitachi's new technology stores data in binary form by creating dots  inside a thin sheet of quartz glass, which can be read with an ordinary  optical microscope.  Provided a computer with the know-how to understand that binary is  available—simple enough to programme, no matter how advanced computers  become—the data will always be readable, Torii said.  The prototype storage device is two centimetres (0.8 inches) square and  just two millimetres (0.08 inches) thick and made from quartz glass, a  highly stable and resilient material, used to make beakers and other  instruments for laboratory use.                      The chip, which is resistant to many chemicals and unaffected by radio  waves, can be exposed directly to high temperature flames and heated to  1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 Fahrenheit) for at least two hours without  being damaged.  It is also waterproof, meaning it could survive natural calamities, such  as fires and tsunami.


US durable goods orders drop 13.2 percent in August, biggest decline in more than 3 years - Associated Press – September 27, 2012


Durable goods orders take worst monthly drop since recession - Reuters through MSNBC - September 27, 2012 - New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in August fell by the most in 3-1/2 years, pointing to a sharp slowdown in factory activity even as a gauge of planned business spending rebounded.                    The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders dived 13.2 percent, the largest drop since January 2009, when the economy was in the throes of a recession. Orders for July were revised down to show a 3.3 percent increase instead of the previously reported 4.1 percent gain.                       Economists polled by Reuters had expected orders for durable goods -- items from toasters to aircraft that are meant to last at least three years -- to fall 5 percent.                     Last month, the drop in orders reflected weak aircraft and automobiles demand. Boeing received only one aircraft order in August, down from 260 in July, according to information posted on the plane maker's website.


Student-Loan Default Rates Rise as Federal Scrutiny Grows - Bloomberg - September 29, 2012 - More than one in 10 borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans, intensifying concern about a generation hobbled by $1 trillion in debt and the role of colleges in jacking up costs.                    The default rate, for the first three years that students are required to make payments, was 13.4 percent, with for-profit colleges reporting the worst results, the U.S. Education Department said today.                        The Education Department has revamped the way it reports student-loan defaults, which the government said had reached the highest level in 14 years. Previously, the agency reported the rate only for the first two years payments are required. Congress demanded a more comprehensive measure because of concern that colleges counsel students to defer payments to make default rates appear low.                 “Default rates are the tip of the iceberg of borrower distress,” said Pauline Abernathy, vice president of The Institute for College Access & Success, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California.                       The data follows complaints that commission-driven debt collectors the government hires aren’t telling students about affordable options to repay their debt, especially a plan that lets them make payments tied to their incomes. Students have borrowed $1 trillion to pay for higher education, surpassing credit-card debt.


The Next Subprime Crisis Is Here: Over $120 Billion In Federal Student Loans In Default - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - September 28, 2012 -   Whereas earlier today we presented one of the most exhaustive presentations on the state of the student debt bubble, one question that has always evaded greater scrutiny has been the very critical default rate for student borrowers: a number which few if any lenders and colleges openly disclose for fears the general public would comprehend not only the true extent of the student loan bubble, but that it has now burst. This is a question that we specifically posed a month ago when we asked "As HELOC delinquency rates hit a record, are student loans next?" Ironically in that same earlier post we showed a chart of default rates for federal loan borrowers that while rising was still not too troubling: as it turns out the reason why its was low is it was made using fudged data that drastically misrepresented the seriousness of the situation, dramatically undercutting the amount of bad debt in the system.                        Luckily, this is a question that has now been answered, courtesy of the Department of Education, which today for the first time ever released official three-year, or much more thorough than the heretofore standard two-year benchmark, federal student loan cohort default rates. The number, for all colleges, stood at a stunning 13.4% for the 2009 cohort. The number is stunning because it is nearly 50% greater than the old benchmark, which tracked a two year default cohort, and which was a "mere" 8.8% for the 2009 year. Broken down by type of education, and using the new improved, and much more realistic benchmark, for-profit institutions had the highest average three-year default rates at 22.7 percent, with public institutions following at 11 percent and private non-profit institutions at 7.5 percent. In other words, more than one in five federal student loans used to fund private for-profit education, is now in default and will likely never be repaid!
And while it is impossible using historical data to extrapolate with precision what the current consolidated federal student loan default rate is, we do know that there is now $914 billion in federal student loans (which also was mysteriously revised over 50% higher by the Fed just a month ago). Using simple inference, all else equal (and all else has certainly deteriorated), there is now at least $122 billion in federal student loan defaults. And surging every day.                  Ladies and gentlemen: meet the new subprime....







Young U.S. Adults Flock to Parents’ Homes Amid Economy - Bloomberg - Kathy Warbelow and Frank Bass - September 25, 2012 - The number of 26-year-olds living with parents has jumped almost 46 percent since 2007, according to Census Bureau data compiled by the University of Minnesota Population Center. Last year, the number of 18- to 30-year-olds living with their parents grew to 20.7 million, a 3.9 percent gain from 2010.                      The figures underscore the difficulty that millions of young people have had in finding jobs and starting careers in the U.S. following the longest recession since the Great Depression. About a quarter of American adults between the ages of 18 and 30 now live with parents, while intergenerational households have reached the highest level in more than 50 years....                      The number of unemployed Americans has surged 60 percent to about 12.5 million from 7.82 million in the first quarter of 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The nation’s jobless rate, which peaked at 10 percent in October 2009, was 8.1 percent in August, compared with 5.1 percent in March 2008....


Americans Are Literally Being Worked To Death - The Economic Collapse Blog - Are you constantly tired and do you feel incredibly stressed almost all the time?  Well, that means that there is a really good chance that you are a typical American worker.  Even though our incomes are going down, Americans are spending more time at work than ever before.  In fact, U.S. workers spend more time at work than anyone else in the world.  But it was not always this way.  Back in 1970, the average work week for an American worker was about 35 hours.  Today, it is up to 46 hours.  But there are other major economies around the globe that are doing just fine without burning their workers out.  For example, the average American worker spends 378 more hours working per year than the average German worker does.  Sadly, for many Americans work is not even finished once they leave the office.  According to one recent survey, the average American worker spends an extra seven hours per week on work tasks such as checking emails and answering phone calls after normal work hours have finished.  Other Americans are juggling two or three jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet.  Americans are busier than ever and work is often pushing the other areas of our lives on to the back burner.  What this also means is that "family vacations" are becoming increasingly rare in the United States.  In fact, Americans spend less days on vacation than anyone else in the industrialized world.  While some would applaud our "work ethic", the truth is that the fact that we are being overworked is having some very serious consequences.  In fact, as you will see below, Americans are literally being worked to death...                            This is a sign that our society is going backwards.  Working class Americans are actually living significantly shorter lives than they used to.
Of course the garbage that passes for "food" these days certainly is not helping matters any, but that is a topic for another article.                              Sadly, those that are working themselves to death consider themselves to be the "lucky ones" in our society today.                      There are countless millions of other Americans that are sitting at home right now without a job.                      The mainstream media is trying to convince us that the unemployment rate has been falling, but that is a lie.  If the labor force participation rate was the same today as it was back when Barack Obama first took office, the unemployment rate in the United States would be 11.2 percent right now.
But that doesn't sound nearly as good as 8.1 percent sounds, right?                           And the percentage of working age Americans with a job is actually lower today than when the last recession supposedly ended.                             In this economic environment, most people are scared to death of losing the jobs that they currently have because they don't know if they will be able to get another one.                   During the month of August, the unemployment rate actually increased in 26 different U.S. states, and yet we are supposedly in the midst of "an economic recovery".
But the truth is that we are not better off than we were back during the last recession.  In fact, there are a whole host of statistics that indicate that things are getting worse.                      Unfortunately, much of the time people tend to forget that the horrible economic numbers that we are seeing have very substantial real life consequences.                    People that cannot find work and people that work very long hours for a very long period of time tend to be much more depressed than the population as a whole.                         And depression can often lead to suicide.  According to a recent Daily Mail article, more Americans now die from suicide than from car accidents....


Gasoline Supply Concerns Trump Crude SPR Rumors - Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - September 28, 2012 - the end-product market has gone only one way for the last two weeks. Thanks to technical supply constraint concerns (refinery maintenance in the Atlantic Basin and supplies at their lowest in over four years) RBOB gasoline prices have jumped over 18% in the last few days as crude has drifted - which can only mean down-the-supply-chain price rises at the pump for car-drivers everywhere...



US East Coast Faces Severe Oil Shortages and High Prices as Refineries Close - Oilprice.com -By Post Carbon - March 7, 2012 



'Zombie Economy' May Give Markets a Scare in October- CNBC - Patti Domm - September 28, 2012 - After a surprisingly good performance in the third quarter, the thinking is the stock market is ready to pull back, especially after a few choppy sessions and a new batch of data that should continue to show a slow-moving, ‘zombie like’ economy. (Read More: September Bad for Stocks? Why It's Different This Time)                     Stocks logged the best third quarter performance since 2010. For the quarter, the Dow [.DJI  13437.13    -48.84  (-0.36%)   ] surged 4.32 percent and the S&P 500 [.SPX  1440.67    -6.48  (-0.45%)   ] soared 5.76 percent.                   The coming week could provide plenty of excuses to take profits, beginning with Monday’s ISM manufacturing data, again expected to show weakness in the sector.                           Manufacturing reports from China, over the weekend, and from Europe, also Monday, will provide a look at just how sluggish global activity has become. (Read More: Stocks to Ward Off China Slump?                         Friday’s jobs report is expected to show the low level of job creation continued in September, after August’s 96,000 nonfarm payrolls. The U.S. election is also a focus this week, with the first presidential debate in the tight race Wednesday evening.                “I think the overarching thing is it’s the new quarter. What’s it mean? Did we experience any window dressing? It doesn’t feel like it to me,” said Art Hogan of Lazard Capital Partners. “To me, there’s more downside risk than upside risk.”              “I’m not sure what the catalyst is going to be, but we’re due,” said Hogan. (Read More: S&P 500 to Hit Record High in 2013—Strategist)                        Counterbalancing the disappointing economic news has been the willingness of global central banks to take action, and the Fed’s quantitative easing program is expected to provide a floor for the market if it does start to correct.


G. Edward Griffin - Psychiatry as a Political Weapon



Saturday, September 29, 2012

CEGs first 5 proposals for a more representative City Council

Citizens for Equity Responds to CALL FROM UNC SCHOOL OF GOVERNMENT PROFESSOR: 5 changes for more accountable, more representative city council

Following the historic September 18 referendum election for fair representation, UNC School of Government professor Michael Crowell advised that the high voter turnout and the close outcome of the election dictate that City council look at issues that brought about the referendum. To that end, Citizens for Equity in government, the group that secured signatures to force the referendum election, continues its work to bring about and promote more accountable, more representative local government by proposing the following changes to the current process of City government.


1) Move time for citizens requesting to be heard to the top of the agenda at City council meetings.

2) Demand that council members take conflict of interest matters more seriously.

3) Record and broadcast City council meetings via Charter Cable and the internet.

4) Restore citizen’s right to request that items be removed from the consent agenda.

5) Make “working agendas” available by Wednesday of each week before a City council meeting to give citizens time to be aware and prepare for meetings.


CEG members have offered to meet with City council to discuss these issues and are waiting for such a meeting to take place. In the meantime, we are looking at these five issues to determine how we can help council implement them.


Formed in March, 2011, Citizens for Equity in government is a non-partisan group of concerned citizens from every ward in the city. A grassroots organization, CEG engages in economic and social justice, educational and cultural efforts in the Hickory area. The CEG was founded to work on behalf of all disenfranchised citizens in the Hickory area. Our goal is to ensure participation and representation in the establishment of public policy.


CEG planning meetings are held weekly on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm at various locations around the city. Meetings are open to all who wish to improve representation at the local level. For information on upcoming meetings, call 828-308-4669 or email citizensforequity@gmail.com.

What the Referendum Stats show - Unity versus Liberty

Friday, September 28, 2012

What the Referendum Stats show - Unity versus Liberty

The following is a link to the referendum statistical breakdown that we put out last night.

Breaking down the Referendum Statistically

All of the 400+ vote precincts were the traditional block precincts; Ranked 1) Falling Creek - Lakeview Baptist 2) Oakland Heights - First Assembly 3) Viewmont 1 - St Luke's 4) Oakwood - Holy Trinity 5) Northwest - Neil Clark. Viewmont 2 - Mount Olive, the sixth largest voting precinct, fell just below the 400 vote threshold (378).

What the numbers show is that, we outsiders to the system are definitely making strides against the local political machine. When one looks at the percentages, the Yes advocates only got walloped (66%+) in three precincts; Viewmont 1 - St Luke's, Northwest - Neil Clark, and Oakwood - Holy Trinity. Those are the traditional blocks that the outsiders have faced in this community, but in this election those precincts represented 29.1% of the vote, where in the past they have represented 40% to 50% of the vote.

It is easy to talk about could of, would of, and should of, but when one looks at the vote totals of the non-traditional areas, one can see the road map to future voting endeavors in Hickory. Besides Mountain View, the Status Quo was walloped everywhere south of the tracks. These people hear and understand the Citizens for Equity in Government's message loud and clear. If Kenworth, Ridgeview, and Green Park had matched the traditional power base's numbers (400+ voters), then we would be talking about a different result of this referendum today.

The numbers don't lie; Kenworth (338 - 89%), Ridgeview (250 - 98%), and Green Park (190-78%). If you take those three areas alone and increase the voters to 400, you get Kenworth (62*.89 = 55 = +47), Ridgeview (150*.98 = 147 = +144  ), and Green Park (210*.78=163 = +117). As you can see, if the south side of Hickory takes ownership of their governance and starts getting out to vote on municipal issues, then it can make a difference. We are talking about a net of +308 votes, in just three precincts, that would have flipped this outcome.

I spoke about taking ownership of your governance at the SALT Block meeting that the CEG held in late July. That is a conservative principle of government that should be practiced across the political spectrum. What is done is done and we move forward on the precipice of making substantive changes that can move this City forward and we welcome all, from across the political spectrum, to take back the municipal government for the people and away from the vested special interests. It is time that the local government starts doing what is in the best interests of the whole of Hickory!

The CEG is not going anywhere. We have had further dialogue since the loss on the referendum and over the next several days, we will be unveiling steps that we feel are vital to move forward in the community. Unlike the idea of Unity, our mindset is to take into account and celebrate diversity of Ideas, Culture, and Socio-Economics.

Unity is defined as the state of being one. We are not and never will be one. We are individuals and each and everyone of us are unique. Usually, when leaders talk about being one, they mean falling in line and compromising principles under the goals and aspirations of a leader or leadership. The CEG has no interests in such an endeavor. Let's cut to the chase, such endeavors are totalitarian in nature and it is not, never has been, and never will be our goal to implement or participate in any such system. We want to disperse power, not consolidate it.

What have we learned and what are we learning? That some people just don't get it. Did they learn anything from this process? Can you see who really respects your rights and liberties? Does Hickory leadership really think that we go forward "business as usual?" as though nothing has happened?

The CEG goes forward in the interests of the people of Hickory. We have no interest in telling people what they should think. We are here to listen, learn, and educate ourselves and the people of this community about the issues we face and how we can move forward through compromise, consensus, and commitment. That is not Unity. That is Liberty.

Liberty - (Dictionary.com)
1. freedom from arbitrary or despotic government or control.
2. freedom from external or foreign rule; independence.
3. freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.
Unity -  (Dictionary.com)
1. the state of being one; oneness.
2. a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.
3. the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole; unification.
4. absence of diversity; unvaried or uniform character.
5. oneness of mind, feeling, etc., as among a number of persons; concord, harmony, or agreement.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Breaking down the Referendum Statistically

These numbers came from the article in the Hickory Daily Record this morning via the Catawba County Board of Elections. I have sorted the numbers in several statistical forms.


Sorted by Most Voters



Sorted by Most Yes Voters



Sorted by Most No Voters



Sorted by % of Yes Voters in Precinct



Sorted by % of No Voters in Precinct




Newsletter about the City Council meeting of September 18, 2012

This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.

At right of this page under Main Information links is an Hickory's City Website link. If you click on that link, it takes you to our city’s website, at the left of the page you will see the Agenda's and Minutes link you need to click. This will give you a choice of PDF files to upcoming and previous meetings.

You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.

Here is a summary of the agenda of the 9/18/2012 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:

Please remember that pressing Ctrl and + will magnify the text and page and pressing Ctrl and - will make the text and page smaller. This will help the readability for those with smaller screens and/or eye difficulties
 
Invocation by Rev. David E. Roberts II, Pastor, Morning Star First Baptist Church





Consent Agenda
A. Award bid to Rodders & Jets in the amount of $310,851.59 for the purchase of VACALL AJV 1015 Jet/Vac Combination Truck Equipment. - The Public Utilities Department-Collections Division operates various types of equipment in the practice of operating, maintaining and managing the collection system. The Jet/Vac combination truck has become an integral component to the successful operation and maintenance of the City’s collection system as well as the other areas we provide service to. This equipment is being replaced as a component of the Public Utilities Department’s normal capital replacement program. Funds for this unit are in the budget for FY 2012-2013 in the Collection Division (8021) Capital Budget.

B. Transfer of Cemetery Deed from Joyce Ann Simpson to Alzina M. Wyatt, in Fairview Cemetery

C. Request to declare surplus 5,378 discarded library materials, so that these materials may be given to the Friends of the Library for their annual book sale October 4-7, 2012. The sale of donated and discarded books is the primary fundraising activity of the Friends of the Library and discarded library materials comprise a significant portion of their inventory. The sale of these items ultimately benefits the library, and is an appropriate means of disposing of unneeded materials.

D. Request to approve the nomination of Hollar Hosiery Mills – Knit-Sox Knitting Mills to the National Register of Historic Places. - The oldest section of Hollar Hosiery Mills – Knit-Sox Knitting Mills was built in 1930. The building was further expanded in 1940 and again in 1965. The facility is located at 883 Highland Avenue SE just south of the Norfolk Southern tracks and west of Lenoir Rhyne Blvd. The structure is currently being renovated into a brewery, entertainment, and retail complex. The building’s historical significance stems from its association with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history, namely its association with the development of the textile industry in Hickory.

E. Request to approve agreement for consulting services in the amount of $50,000 with Gavel & Dorn, PLLC for 20-inch waterline replacement/relocation project (COH-PUD 13- 004). - The Public Utilities Department annually identifies infrastructure that are in need of replacement or rehabilitation as appropriate as a component of the departments sustainability programs. Infrastructures are identified by reviewing records of maintenance calls to the area, reviewing annual inspection records from staff, age of infrastructure and overall size of the project that needs to be performed. This program is intended to identify specific problematic or vulnerable sections of the distribution system and address those components prior to the larger system being affected or damaged. The identified projects are intended to improve or restore system performance and complement the Public Utilities Departments infrastructure sustainability efforts. This evaluation is performed as a part of the Capital Budget planning process and these projects are included in the Capital Budget annually. Funds are in the budget for FY2012-2013 Capital Budget for the Public Utilities Department.

F. Request by the Citizen’s Advisory Committee to change the First Time Homebuyer Program Guidelines. - The City of Hickory currently has a First Time Homebuyers program that offers interest free loans to assist with a down payment or closing costs for first time homeowners. The current guidelines do not regulate the age of the home. The majority of the city’s funding for the First Time Homebuyer Program comes from the Western Piedmont Council of Government Unifour Home Consortium. The Unifour Home Consortium has recently amended their guidelines to make houses built before 1978 ineligible for funding due to the additional requirements and costs incurred when using federal funds to assist homes that contain lead based paint. If the city’s guidelines are not changed, no funding from the Unifour Home Consortium would be available for applicants purchasing homes built before 1978, which would greatly reduce the number of homeowners that could be assisted through the program.

G. Approval of a proclamation for Hickory City Council to endorse the Race to the Top District grant proposal of the Hickory City Schools.

H. Approval of an offer of dedication and acceptance of a street right-of-way by City of Hickory for an existing segment of 4th Avenue SE. - In December of 2003 the City acquired ownership of a .21 acre parcel of property from Thomas L. Swatzel Jr. When the City of Hickory took ownership of this property it had already seen development in the form of a private street, which linked an industrial facility to the remainder of 4th Avenue SE. Since this time the street segment has been publicly maintained, but was never formally made public through an offer of dedication, and subsequent acceptance, as outlined in NCGS§160A-374. The North Carolina General Statutes stipulate offers of dedication can only be accepted by resolution of City Council. This same requirement can also be found in the City’s Land Development Code under Article 2, Section 2.3.4 (D). The existing street located on the area of dedication has been maintained as a street by the City of Hickory since 2003 and is in a condition acceptable for formally public dedication.

I. Request for approval of a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the operation of one passenger vehicle for hire. - Lake Hickory Limo Service has applied for a certificate for the use of one passenger vehicle for hire for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. Code Enforcement Annual Report - (2:20) Reed Baer addressed the City Council. 808 cases were assigned to officers, both minimum housing (139) and nuisance (669) cases combined - 260 cases per code enforcement officer for 2011-12. About 95% of these cases have been abated by the owners of the property.

 Lt. Baer discussed demolitions and compared/benchmarked Hickory Stats versus those of Concord, NC.  During the 2009 - present timeframe, Hickory has a 96% abatement rate versus Concord's 62%. Lt. Baer goes on to state that over this timeframe Demolitions and Owner abatement have both increased. Demolitions have been paid for by property owners. 45% of cases have been brought forward by citizens, 18% are Law Enforcement,  10% are Fire Department, 2% are from City Hall or Catawba County, and 25% are proactive (Code Enforcement). Proactive usually comes when Officers check out conditions of properties around properties that have been reported.

Chronic Violators in 2011-12 show 12 chronic violators for this year. Five of these violations were abated by the city and 7 were abated by the property owner. Alder Fox asked what we are going to do with out of state owners that have been consistently turned in? She added that this is going to be the challenge about what we do with these folks. Lt. Baer said this may be due to General Statutes as to why we can't condemn a property. As far as someone out of State they follow the same process and liens will be assessed on their property.

(11:50)Supervisor Bobby Baker next addressed the council and showed on screen properties that have met the criteria of the code enforcement issues that have been discussed. Commercial properties are much more complicated than residential. After going over the specifics of several properties, he addressed properties demolished and the taxes associated were $1.882 million and the taxes owed were $18,948. He talked about revitalization versus continued deterioration. 2 properties that are being renovated are valued at $2.245 million dollars. Southern Desk is being remediated and is very complicated. Steel sheeting has been placed over the windows. He says that this now looks like and existing property and it has been a semi-success story.

The Hound: I believe this is related to the Code Enforcement Report, related to the Rental Property Task Force findings, that have been mentioned previously that was promised to the Council and Citizens over a year ago, although we still haven't heard specifics related to code enforcement and Rental Properties.  It looks like having the extra code enforcement officer is helping to deal with the issues that have been brought forward. Alder Fox is 100% correct about dealing with the issues related to abandoned properties and out of town ownership. That is a big part of the issues the community faces.

2. Designation of Voting Delegate and One Alternate Voting Delegate for 2012 Annual North Carolina Annual Business Meeting on October 23, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina. (26:50) - Under the NCLM Constitution and the voting procedure established by the League Board of Directors, each member municipality sending delegates to the Annual Conference is required to designate one voting delegate and one alternate voting delegate. The vote of each municipality at the Annual Business Meeting on October 23, 2012 may be cast only by a designated voting delegate or alternate voting delegate.

Citizens Requesting to be Heard
Mr. Cliff Moone  stated he wanted to thank his Councilman Bruce Meisner. There was a road project on 8th Street Court NE this summer, during the process of the project his driveway was damaged by a contractor. City staff came expeditiously and repaired his driveway better than it was before the damage occurred.

Mr. Moone stated as of tonight we have finished an interesting and most exciting process in our City’s history; the first petition driven referendum. He stated that this has been an amazing process for the City of Hickory and it has been a wonderful opportunity. He wanted to thank Mayor Wright for the work that he and the Mayor did together in terms of the debate forum. He commented however it turns out tonight, we are going forward as a City.

The Hound:
It was brought to several people's attention, including my own, that some of the people called during the Referendum process were told that if the Referendum passed that it would mean that "'A' Larry Pope could be elected to City Council" and "this is all about getting Larry Pope elected to City Council."  Then there is the whole thing about saying that we were involved with and using ACORN to get out the vote.

I am a Republican. We were the party that ended slavery and worked towards helping Blacks achieve Civil Rights. We were the party that protected American business interests through fairness and competition by bringing forward plans to protect American industry through tariffs when necessary and supporting Antitrust legislation to bust up the Robber Barons and help small businessmen compete on a more level playing field. The foundations of the Republican Party looked to be inclusive, not elitists, and represent conservative small government ideals, not get into your personal lives and tell you what to do, because they know better than you. I don't see much of these ideals in many of the locals who purport themselves to be Republican.

People might not have the awareness to understand their own coded racism and I do feel sorry for these people who won't move forward into the modern realities of this nation's foundation as a melting pot. That is a lot of what is holding this area back. The Audacity of Ignorance exposes those who so proudly exclaim their rights as they freely trample on other's liberties. And the worst part is that they put their true colors out there for all to see, while apparently not understanding the message they are conveying to the outside world. They will talk about the negativity of the message provided on the Hound, while not having a clue about the real negativity that they exude from their personal actions.

The following is a message from Larry Pope that Larry, Joe, and I wanted to convey to the public back in August. We were asked not to bring this forth, because it might bring Larry attention and that is just what these people who had conveyed this intolerant message aimed to do; to drag Larry through the mud as they have done so many times previously. It is an issue that we are still hearing about, even though the special election is over, and it swayed some people's votes. Mark Twain said it best, "It's easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled."

And so I will now present this information that is a month old, which exposes a lie brought forth by the shameless:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Economic Stories of Relevance in Today's World -- September 23, 2012

84 Statistics That Prove That The Decline Of The Middle Class Is Real And That It Is Getting Worse - The Truth Wins - Michael - August 23rd, 2012 - The middle class in America is being systematically destroyed. Once upon a time the United States had the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world. The rest of the globe looked at us in envy and wondered what we were doing right. But now everything seems to be going wrong for the middle class. Millions of our jobs have been shipped out of the country and competition for the remaining jobs is keeping wages at depressed levels. Meanwhile, the cost of living just keeps going up and up and middle class budgets are being stretched and strained like never before. Millions more Americans fall out of the middle class and into poverty every single year, and government dependence is at an all-time high. Finding a solution to the decline of the middle class is absolutely central to fixing the economic problems in this country. Without a large, thriving middle class this would not be America. The truth is that people from all over the world want to come here because they want to work hard, buy a house, raise a family and provide a better future for their children. This has traditionally been "the land of opportunity", but now the middle class is rapidly declining and none of our politicians seem to have any solutions. With each passing day, the American Dream is slipping through the fingers of millions of hard working American families. We owe it to them to get this thing fixed.                  The following are 84 statistics that prove that the decline of the middle class is real and that it is getting worse....



10 Shocking Quotes About What QE3 Is Going To Do To America - The End of the American Dream - MichaelSnyder - September 14th, 2012 - Ready or not, QE3 is here, and the long-term effects of this reckless money printing by the Federal Reserve are going to be absolutely nightmarish. The Federal Reserve is hoping that buying $40 billion worth of mortgage-backed securities per month will spur more lending and more economic activity. But that didn't happen with either QE1 or QE2. Both times the banks just sat on most of the extra money. As I pointed out the other day, U.S. banks are already sitting on $1.6 trillion in excess reserves. So will pumping them up with more cash suddenly make them decide to start lending? Of course not. In addition, QE3 is not likely to produce many additional jobs. As I showed in a previous article, the employment level did not jump up as a result of either QE1 or QE2. So why will this time be different? But what did happen under both QE1 and QE2 is that a lot of the money ended up pumping up the financial markets. So once again we should see stock prices go up (at least in the short-term) and commodities such as gold, silver, food and oil should also rise. But that also means that average American families will be paying more for the basic necessities that they buy on a regular basis. The most dangerous aspect of QE3, however, is what it is going to do to the U.S. dollar. Most of the rest of the world uses the U.S. dollar to conduct international trade, and by choosing to recklessly print money Ben Bernanke is severely damaging international confidence in our currency. If at some point the rest of the world rejects the dollar and no longer wants to use it as a reserve currency we are going to be facing a crisis unlike anything we have ever seen before. The real debate about QE3 should not be about whether or not it will help the economy a little bit in the short-term. Rather, everyone should be talking about the long-term implications and about how QE3 is going to accelerate the destruction of the dollar.               The following are 10 shocking quotes about what QE3 is going to do to America....


QE3: Helicopter Ben Bernanke Unleashes An All-Out Attack On The U.S. Dollar - The Economic Collapse Blog - You can't accuse Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of not living up to his nickname. Back in 2002, Bernanke delivered a speech entitled "Deflation: Making Sure 'It' Doesn’t Happen Here" in which he referenced a statement by economist Milton Friedman about fighting deflation by dropping money from a helicopter. Well, it might be time for a new nickname for Bernanke because what he did today was a lot more than drop money from a helicopter. Today the Federal Reserve announced that QE3 will begin on Friday, but it is going to be much different from QE1 and QE2. Both of those rounds of quantitative easing were of limited duration. This time, the quantitative easing is going to be open-ended. The Fed is going to buy 40 billion dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities per month until they have decided that the economy is in good enough shape to stop. For those that get confused by terms like "quantitative easing" and "mortgage-backed securities", what the Federal Reserve is essentially saying is this: "We're going to print a bunch of money and buy stuff for as long as we feel it is necessary." In addition, the Federal Reserve has promised to keep interest rates at ultra-low levels all the way through mid-2015. The course that the Federal Reserve has set us on is utter insanity. Ben Bernanke can rain money down on us all he wants, but it is not going to do much at all to help the real economy. However, it will definitely hasten the destruction of the U.S. dollar.                    And the Federal Reserve is apparently very eager to get QE3 going. Purchases of mortgage-backed securities are going to start on Friday.             In the coming months, hundreds of billions of dollars that the Federal Reserve has zapped into existence out of nothing will be injected into our financial system.                     So what will happen to all of this new money?                     If banks and financial institutions use that money to make loans then it could have somewhat of a positive impact on the economy in the short-term.                However, the truth is that it isn't as if banks are hurting for cash to loan out. In fact, right now banks are already sitting on $1.6 trillion in excess reserves. Just like with the first two rounds of quantitative easing, a lot of the money from QE3 will likely end up being put on the shelf.                 But the stock market loved the news because they know that the previous two rounds of quantitative easing have been great for the financial markets. On Thursday, the stock market soared to levels not seen since December 2007.                There is much rejoicing on Wall Street right now.                    And this stock market bounce is great for Bernanke's good buddy Barack Obama.                   Obama nominated Bernanke to a second term as Fed Chairman, and this might be Bernanke's way of paying him back.                   But of course the Fed is supposed to be "above politics" so that would never happen, right?                     The Federal Reserve essentially "crossed the Rubicon" today. No longer will quantitative easing be considered an "emergency measure". Rather, it will now be considered just another "tool" that the Fed uses in the normal course of business.                Considering how vulnerable the U.S. dollar already is, announcing an "open-ended" round of quantitative easing is utter foolishness. According to the Fed, when you add the 40 billion dollars of new mortgage-backed security purchases per month to all of the other "easing" measures the Fed is continuing to do, the grand total is going to come to about 85 billion dollars a month. The following is from the statement that the Fed released earlier today....


As Predicted, Bernanke Launches QE3 to Help the Big Banks … Which Will Destroy the Economy - Washington's Blog - September 13, 2012 - QE ∞ -            We predicted last week that Bernanke would launch QE3 this week.                 Today, the Fed announced that it will buy $40 billion dollars of mortgage-backed securities per monthindefinitely.                This is just another bailout for the big banks. (If the government had instead given money directly to the consumer, we would be out of this economic slump by now).                      Bernanke claims that the main justification for QE3 is to boost employment.  This is slightly ironic, since Bernanke’s policies are largely responsible for creating high unemployment in the first place.
The real justification is to try to artificially prop up asset prices.  But that approach has been proven to be an absolute failure.



Jim Grant: We Are Now All Labrats Of Bernanke And The Fourth Branch Of Government
- Zero Hedge - Tyler Durden - September 20, 2012 - You put Jim Grant on TV and someone mentions the Fed and the result every single time is the equivalent of waving a red curtain in front of a rabid bull. This time was no different, as the Interest Rate Observer once again let Bernanke, with whom he clarified is no longer on speaking terms, have it. The ensuing central-planner bashing was in line with expectations, and just as we presented yesterday in "The Experiment Economy", so too does Grant believe that the Fed is "learning by doing" and follows up by clarifying that this is an experiment, "and we are lab rats in the financial markets." He then proceeds to lament that the credit markets, clueless NYT econopundits notwithstanding, have now lost all informational value as every rate instrument is purely in the manipulated domain of the Fed. "We are all living in a land of speculation and manipulation" is Grant's summary of the current predicament of anyone who wishes to trade these "markets" and it may as well be the best synopsis of the New (ab)normal. And aside from an odd detour into Government Motors, Grant once again hones in on the only true antidote to central planner idiocy, gold: "the best thing about gold is that it's got no P/E multiple. Gold is a speculation on an anticipated macroeconomic outcome, the systematic debasement of currencies by central banks. Why wouldn't they do QE4? What intellectual argument do they have against doing it again, and again, and again." Well...none.


QE3 & Why Gold Always Goes Up! - State of the Nation - September 16, 2012 - Obama and Bernanke collaborate to further undermine a true economic recovery …        By initiating another round of Quantitative Easing. What the heck is that?              In addition to being typical economic jargon designed to obfuscate and complicate the real truth of the matter, Quantitative Easing (QE) is the surest and quickest way to debase a nation’s financial integrity and devalue its currency.                   So why do they do it?                  Why have Obama and Bernanke colluded to further devalue the US Dollar?                    They do it whenever all else has failed, as it did in 2008 and 2010. Now here we are in 2012 and it’s time for QE3, just in time for the notorious September triple witching hour, as well as the November presidential election.




The Revolution From Above ~ Paul Craig Roberts - September 13, 2012 - ... “Consumers simply cannot make ends meet. Inflation-adjusted, or real, median household income declined for the fourth-straight year, plunging to its lowest level since 1995. Deflated by the CPI-U, the 2011 reading actually stood below levels seen in the late-1960s and early-1970s.”             “At the same time, despite the ongoing nature of the economic and systemic-solvency crises, and the effects of the 2008 financial panic, income dispersion—the movement of income away from the middle towards both high- and low-level extremes—has hit a record high, instead of moderating, as might be expected during periods of financial distress. Extremes in income dispersion usually foreshadow financial-market and economic calamities. With the current circumstance at a record extreme, and well above levels estimated to have prevailed before the 1929 stock-market crash and the Great Depression, increasingly difficult times are likely for the next several years.”                  This chart shows where the median household income of the US Superpower, the “indispensable people,” stands at the culmination of 2011. Americans are as well off as they were in 1967-68. Most americans cannot pay for fighting multi-trillion dollar wars for 11 years, bailout trillions of dollars in uncovered casino bets by Wall Street, have their middle class jobs sent abroad by corporations, and still expect to have higher personal incomes....



Congressmen call for end to Afghan war - The Army Times - Dan Lamothe - September 20, 2012 - A bipartisan group of lawmakers called anew Thursday for the end of the Afghanistan war, citing the recent rash of incidents in which U.S. forces have been killed by Afghan troops as evidence that the war has no hope of succeeding.                  The comments came at a news conference organized by Rep. Walter Jones, R.-N.C. The congressmen, whose district includes Camp Lejeune, N.C., questioned why, after 11 years of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, the Afghan army still isn’t ready to operate without coalition support...              Douglas Wissing, the author of “Funding the Enemy: How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban,” pushed even further, saying that “everything about our involvement in Afghanistan is wrong.” While researching the book, he found that, because of the country’s culture of corruption, development money the U.S. sends to Afghanistan goes directly into the hands of some Taliban commanders, who serve as sub-contractors to Afghan companies providing security in the region.                         Wissing acknowledged there could be a power vacuum if the U.S. withdraws forces from Afghanistan quickly, but said it’s important to weigh that against whether any progress made can be lasting. The U.S. now spends $4.1 billion a year to prop up the Afghan National Security Forces, he said, “and I don’t think hear anyone who says that is sustainable, economically or politically.’...


Taliban Outflank U.S. War Strategy with Insider Attacks - IPS News - Gareth Porter and Shah Noori - September 20, 2012 - Sharply increased attacks on U.S. and other NATO personnel by Afghan security forces, reflecting both infiltration of and Taliban influence on those forces, appear to have outflanked the U.S.-NATO command’s strategy for maintaining control of the insurgency.             The Taliban-instigated “insider attacks”, which have already killed 51 NATO troops in 2012 – already 45 percent more than in all of 2011 – have created such distrust of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and national police that the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command has suspended joint operations by NATO forces with Afghan security units smaller than the 800-strong battalion of Kandak and vowed to limit them in the future.             ISAF had intended to carry out intensive partnering and advising of ANA and police units below battalion level through 2012 to get them ready to take responsibility for Afghan security. Now, however, that strategy appears to have been disrupted by the insider attacks, and Afghan military and civilian officials are seriously concerned.                  Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta sought to minimise the crisis in U.S. war strategy Tuesday by calling the inside attacks on NATO troops the “last gasp” of a Taliban insurgency that has been “unable to regain any of the territory that they have lost.” The “last gasp” phrase recalls then Vice-President Dick Cheney’s infamous 2005 claim that the Iraqi insurgency was “in its last throes”.           But Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has no apparent personal stake in touting the existing strategy in Afghanistan, called the attacks “a very serious threat to the campaign” in an interview on Saturday.             “You can’t whitewash it,” said Dempsey. “We can’t convince ourselves that we just have to work harder to get through it. Something has to change.”...


GMO, Global Alert ~ What Monsanto Does not want you to Know

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Will we move forward? - Silence DoGood

So it is done. As I read the responses of the various principals and interested parties from both sides, I see promise and foreboding in the words.

While it is a victory for NSB in the sense that their interpretation of the representative process received more votes and confirmation that Hickory is not yet ready for overt change, the margin of victory is slight. I hope that communicates and solidifies the words of those who spoke for NSB in the championing of their cause. I word that previous sentence carefully because it will remain to be seen if it is indeed a cause of all the people or on their behalf. I genuinely hope that it is. I hope my pessimistic views and prognostications of woe are for naught. I hope this is the eye opening event that causes a bright light of hope to appear and become the beacon for better things to come. I hope this will renew the notion that “either we all hang together, or we will surely all hang separately.” Then again, I grew up here.

I’ve seen the pettiness of personalities at work. It is there, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Byrd, and members of council en banc that we will all see if the actions spoken of as, “moving forward as one” and “uniting for common good” will be representative of what transpires. Or, if the ‘No’ triumph will merely serve as quantification for a return to business as usual and an undeclared open season to wage vendetta against those who exercised their rights as citizens and spoke out about their concerns and what they saw as a skewed political process. It will be interesting to see if this unity of purpose goes beyond picking up campaign signs.

Joe Brannock isn’t wrong; it gave the people a chance to finally voice their preference. Was that preference the same today as it might have been in 1967? We’ll never know for certain. When the people feel disengaged from their representatives in the representative form of democracy, they will resort to other means to have their voices heard, even if that means engaging in participatory forms of democracy in order to voice their concerns to an otherwise disengaged representative body politic.

For CEG, this is an example of what can be done when people work together for a common goal. My quote from above about hanging together is apt here as well and should serve as your encouragement to not sit idly by and allow transgression to go unchallenged. If the victors in this contest are not humble enough and secure enough to extend the olive branch and an offer to move forward together for betterment of all, then I would proffer then need to keep your organization and ideals intact.

I will contend to each of you reading this that rarely will two groups or even two people ideologically agree to purpose and process 100% of the time. It lies then to compromise in order to move forward that might not be ideal to any one side, but are at least amiable to both. Stalemate and obfuscation of sincerity of one by the other will bring you back full circle to this inevitability time and time again. And at some point, the underdog will rise up, if by nothing else the law of probability and the factor of chance.



From a Hickory Hound follower -- Couldn’t resist not sending this to you guys. The only ACORN’S I see in the room are these two “NUTS”.  Have a great weekend. GO PACK!!





"The guys who took on ACORN.... and won." — with Eddie Jolly and Paul Byrd Jr.....   And your Hickory City Council backs these guys 100%.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A City Divided

The Referendum failed on Tuesday by 139 votes - 2,470 to 2,331. What this election result signifies is a city divided, which doesn't seem to fall in line with the assertions of the Incumbent City Council members and their entourage that everything is fine and we should continue forward with their status quo.

At the end of the day, the election was lost because those with the most at stake chose not to participate. Only 145 people voted Tuesday in the Ridgeview Precinct and as I stated on Monday night in a communique with fellow members of the CEG after looking at the fact that only 144 people voted early from Southwest Hickory. In early voting 1,202 voters were from north Hickory and 337 voters were from South Hickory.
If we lose this, because we can't get the people from the south side to vote, then I am done with them. I hate to sound harsh, but if you can't get them to take an interest in their own governance with all that has gone on, then you have to know when to throw the towel in on them.

I fully support the African- American members of the CEG, because I can see their passion, but if the people from the south side choose to accept their fate of being screwed (by Hickory Inc.), then frankly I'm all for them getting what they apparently want.  Northwest Hickory (as a whole) is not going to be benevolent towards anyone.

We accept the fate of this resolution. It was the will of the majority of voters that it did not pass. However, we do not change our assertion that the City of Hickory's Government structure is broken and needs reform. We did not lose, because of the issues we brought forth and we are actually satisfied that the light has been shone on many negative and divisive issues that need to be addressed in this community encapsulated by this Mayor and Councils Us versus Them attitude that has been on display for years. . And we aren't going anywhere. All of you Status Quo members, we are going to wear you out. This is a marathon of justice and righteousness.

The lead groupie of Hickory Inc., Paul Byrd Jr., stated a couple of things in a facebook posting that go to the heart of the bitterness and negativity and the scorched earth that they have left behind in their wake. It was stated that, "Their (CEG) leadership will by Tuesday be shipwrecks in the seas of politics because they were led by frustrated, envious, and inadequate peple without a good argument."... (oh and this brilliant statement of an unhinged mentality...) "On Tuesday they will be beat like a red headed stepchild." And then there was the message from last week from the Hickory Daily Record that if we ever raised our heads again, that they would keep knocking us back down. I certainly hope Mr. Byrd doesn't have any stepchildren with red hair.

All of Mr. Byrd's frantic rhetoric and then you meet the man in person and he is congenial and acts like he has some sense. When they put out their push poll they were supposedly well in the lead according to Mr. Byrd's statement in the HDR. What happened to that big lead Mr. Byrd?  I don't blame you. You are just a tool. I hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of local fame, because it has left you tainted in most of the public's eye. Those people you got to vote no are not ever going to support you as any type of leader, because you didn't display leadership. You drove a wedge into this community. And I guess all of the dynamics of this hollow victory are the reasons why you can't come forward with gracious comments normally attributed to winners. You know what they say about fair weather friends.

Look at the constant robocalls that aimed to harass the petition signers. In the future, we are going to remind people of all of this. Some of the petition signers were called 7 times by the No!!! coalition. The aim seems to have been to get them to either change their minds or get them to not vote at all. That is negative. That is intimidation!!! Oh and that is after Mr. Byrd and gang said that they weren't going to make Robocalls in the beginning.

Rudy Wright and the City Council had better take notice of the message that they were sent Tuesday night. At least half of the Voters in this community are not happy with the Status Quo. And the half that are content better understand that they have a lot to lose with their "No Change!!" -  Status Quo mindset. Of course, as seen at the SALT Block event, most of their supporters don't have much of a future left to worry about and they don't seem to worry about legacy either.

As I have stated, in Hickory we have the second highest unemployment rate in the State and we have the lowest per capita income of anywhere in the State. The population here is rapidly aging and the younger generations don't have any loyalty to this area, because the Powers in this community hold no loyalty towards them. Hickory Inc. needs to realize that they are as obligated to represent the concerns of those that aren't content, as they are their buddies.


I am saddened to say that I have no inclination to believe that this group will ever have such an awakening, because of their hubris, and therefore I must inform them as I have stated over the last several weeks... WE are not going to lie down!!! You can say that I am a sore loser. I don't care. We move forward, because there are issues that must be addressed in this divided city. We have pointed to the Cronyism. This election has not made that issue go away. We have pointed at the secrecy and shutting citizens out of the decision making process... That has not gone away. The Paul Byrd's only pay lip service to reform.

Paul Byrd Jr., Rudy Wright, Carlton Huffman, and  Eddie Jolly have insinuated that we were involved with Acorn, which is an organization that no longer exists, but if it did, then tell me how it only got 140 votes out in Ridgeview on Tuesday. They used that as a wedge issue based upon one guy coming to Hickory and speaking about getting out the vote. The cancerous intolerant attitudes of these four people and people like them need to be vanquished from the local Republican party.  People like this have no leadership ability. They cannot bring people together and you cannot trust them.

Rudy Wright's idea of coming together with someone is them coming to him.  He wanted to tell us what should be on our signs. He created the SALT Block forum, because he can't debate ideas. Citizens requesting to be heard is a charade, because of Rudy and this council. Their claim of transparency is a joke.

We have been called negative and I affirm that I am negative about the Elitist attitude of the leadership in this city. It all comes back to accountability. I hold myself accountable for all my actions, while others seem to be fine with spinning out of control as with a City Council member who told a black member of the CEG that he shouldn't be working on this effort and that he should be volunteering at the soup kitchen. Well, maybe we can do both.

The Hickory Eight, who met in Starbuck's two years ago, personally formed a coalition of diversity, because Old Hickory's intolerant mindset is getting nothing accomplished and does not represent the reality of what Hickory is in 2012. There is no divisiveness amongst our very diverse group and we will not stop until we get Hickory moving forward again. In the end, we are positive, because we aim to create things and bring this community together through inclusion, togetherness, and openness.We aim to end the negative elite mindset of exclusivity, seclusion, and secrecy. We are real people and we are likable. Our agenda isn't talk, talk, talk. Our agenda is action.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Referendum on Ward Specific Voting fails - Joe Brannock statement

The Referendum failed tonight by 139 votes - 2,331 to 2,470.

 - Joe Brannock statement

Clearly, I would have hoped for a different outcome. However, I do not look at tonight's results as a loss or an end.

Going into this process, even going as far back as when the petition was filed last July, we knew democracy isn't perfect. But we do know this - democracy works!

We can say that now because we've successfully righted a 42-year wrong. Hickory citizens were able to have a voice as to which path they wanted. This was an opportunity they were denied for the past four decades.

Citizens from across this city came together, united and determined to allow their fellow neighbors to have a voice.

Today was the day, and the voters decided. The outcome was as tight as an election could be.

Moving forward we've learned that citizens are able to mobilize and work together for a common goal - to make our city better. Though we may often disagree on what exactly "better" is; one thing is certain - if either side gives up; both sides will ultimately lose.

I want to thank the many volunteers that worked countless hours over the past 14 months, and particularly over the past five weeks.

You made this happen - you made history!

And to the City Council I want to say this - many good ideas have come out of this process. Citizens have expressed ways to improve how our city conducts business. My hope is that you will be able to set aside any negativity, and take to heart some of the reasonable suggestions made by concerned, well-intentioned citizens.

Vote Yes - Today - It's Important!!!

Go vote today (September 18, 2012) at your local precinct where you always vote. This is your last chance to get your ward back.

Advantages of True Ward Voting

True ward elections offer many advantages including:
  • Restores the original system of City Government
  • Traditional representation method that is used in almost all larger municipalities
  • Less costly campaigns
  • Cuts government spending when fewer polls are open in non-mayoral elections
  • Better access to elected office for new candidates
  • Promotes close ties between ward representatives and constituents
  • Encourages citizen participation
  • Provides immediate service and direct accountability to the voters
  • More efficient division of responsibilities among members
  • Provides stronger voice for voters within their own ward
  • Voters can be more educated and knowledgeable about their local candidates
  • Council members bring more diverse ideas for making complex decisions for the city as a whole
  • Increases the ability of new and diverse candidates to get elected
  • Eliminates voting blocks

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rudy Wright's phone message to the CEG from last Tuesday

- September 11, 2012

 



Mr. Mayor, we feel that we are speaking for citizens from all across the city. Citizens whose voices have gone unheard; whose concerns have gone unaddressed; whose ideas have gone ignored. We are mothers and fathers; sisters and brothers. We are white and black; we are Republicans and Democrats. We worship with you at church. We chat with each other when we cross paths at the grocery store. We wave a friendly hello when passing one another on the street. We are your neighbors.

To answer your question Rudy, YES, we have a conscience. What we don't have - and perhaps what you don't understand is - we don't have egos!

(The photo above was taken by a photographer for the USA Today in June 2010. He is standing in the Ridgeview Pool just months before he and the Hickory City Council chose to have this pool demolished. In my book that is brazen arrogance!!!)

And for more of Rudy's political philosophy, listen to the presentation below:



Rebecca Inglefield had the audacity to follow the rules!!! - So they changed the rules

They gonna Arrest you!!!

Statement by Rebecca Inglefield about her arrest at City Hall - September 13, 2012