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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.


Harry Hipps said...

I'm not really surprised by too much that happened here. The city is divided and the angry, dictatorial attitude of the Mayor just revealed to the public just how he really is. He's cordial as long as you stay in your place. Disagree with him and he shows how intolerant of any thing that doesn't fit his agenda. Mr. Byrd is an interesting phenomena. I was talking to a local officeholder and she talked about how someone always seems to show up when you're trying to get something done, messes things up, then disappears. This is Mr. Byrd, the dupe of the status quo. Then there is the apathy of the people who are the most disenfranchised who won't see or respond to the opportunity they are given. As G K Chesterton said, the way that bad guys win is by good guys doing nothing (paraphrased for you purists). This is a city divided and I don't think we are going anywhere with the crowd and the mindset we have now. The totalitarian model doesn't work for countries and it won't work for cities.

wandaarnold1716 said...

It’s a shame that things turned out as they did with so much hard work and effort on the part of so many people to bring a voice to those who feel disenfranchised in our city. I’m hoping that those who worked so hard, especially you Thom Shell, won’t give up the fight to make our local government more responsive and more transparent.

It’s also a shame what happened to Rebecca Inglefield. If it’s true that she had applied to the city for financial details about the Sails on the Square four months prior to the incident of her arrest, then what the City did to her was wrong and illegal. A few days before the vote I noticed that the City came out with substantial details about the cost of the project and the procedures involved. Was that so hard? Why couldn’t these disclosures have been more timely? The CEG perhaps could have been more accurate on their signs instead of having to guess at the real cost!

It would seem fair to me that the City should have written, well-published procedures for citizens seeking information under the Sunshine Laws. City employees should have training in how to deal with the public in such events. There must be some balance between the time they spend “explaining and helping” and their obligations to get their work done. They need to know what behavior is acceptable and what is not. There needs to be a time limit on providing the asked for information. If the documents can’t be e-mailed, copies should be made so the applicant can take them home and study them.

I know Mayor Rudy Wright is extremely proud of how the Council works together so smoothly, but when every vote is unanimous, it only means to me that discussion took place behind closed doors, differences were ironed out and a united front presented to the public. It’s the discussion that’s important to any argument and this is the part the public needs very much to hear. Anything that you can do to let the public be part of the discussion can only have positive outcomes. Differences of opinions are natural among thinking people and should be welcomed. So keep on truckin’, Thom Shell.