The Hound - For the newcomers, I am not Silence DoGood. Mr. DoGood is a pseudonym for a good guy. A former public servant who cannot make his name known, because it would cause him personal irreparable harm at this time. That doesn't mean that DoGood, or people like DoGood, shouldn't have a platform to speak from. DoGood's opinions do not necessarily reflect my own, but they are always interesting and many times thought to be controversial by the Powers That Be. Below is another of his contributions and everyone is entitled to their own personal interpretation of what he is attempting to convey.
I’ve just read and reflected on the post on “The Hickory Hound” of September 8th and the latest exchange in the HDR concerning the impending referendum written by Larry Clark. The points of view proffered certainly leave indelible images of the thought processes toward both points of view. I find pondering the commentary filled with more questions, which no one seems to have offered answers to.
Following the flow of the Hickory Hound text, and certainly mine is based on content without context, but it does seem apt and accurate given the writer and his subject; however my first question would be, why is it the citizen’s responsibility to call council? Is there not sufficient staff to handle the problems and concerns that council seems compelled they must involve themselves in directly? Did the citizens call council with regard to ‘The Sails on the Square’?
I thought it was that entire lack of speech that prompted an outcry of deliberate indifference on the part of City Council, which brought impetus to the ‘Citizens for Equity’ movement. Besides, if they already know best, why does one need to call them? They already know, right? With regard to working hard at a thankless job. They are the ones who made themselves candidates. Those representatives offered themselves up as political servants of the people. Except, serving the people was not quite what was in mind, I don’t believe. It became a phrase, rhetoric; hollow words with no meaning or purpose except to garner the prize sought. Now, there may be a candidate or two that will say they were ‘approached’ to run. That may be very true. But would anyone out there care to wager that those that made the request comprise that same group the former power broker council members claim are unknown to them? This brings me to that astute group of citizens.
No one really cares how much tax they’ve paid. How does that amount, however great or little it might be, make them better able to speak about this issue in this debate? How does the amount of one’s tax assessment make them better able to envision a future? How does it make one wiser or a better leader? It doesn’t of course, but they think it does. They don’t like the word “elite” because it labels them as what they really are, identifies them with their thoughts and actions, and brings into the forefront in cold sobering words what has actually transpired across the decades in Hickory in simple language that everyone can understand. They don’t like that. They would prefer to backdoor politic and socialize at the Country Club with those of their own kind.
In the meantime, the local Powers That Be subvert and re-direct those who would question or challenge their intellectual capabilities and capacity; deride, make fun of and belittle in order to show their superiority. After several cycles of that, apathy sets in. These people understand that. It was their generation after all that kept the unions out of the furniture factories. Whether you agree or disagree with that premise is not the point, the rumors that spread, “if you vote the union in, they’ll shut it down…” is the point.
The Mayor likes to spout that as one of his finest accomplishments during his tenure. ‘He kept the public unions out of the City of Hickory.’ Bah! North Carolina is the least organized State in the Union. That had about as much chance of passing as the current Sails on Union Square have of propelling the USS Constitution to a win in a Yacht race. But, not according to the Mayor. He did it, all by himself. For the transplants, they are of like mind. What they don’t understand is they are tolerated only as long as they spend their money and support those who are in power and don’t try to ascend into power themselves. When that paradigm shifts they will be told precisely what I saw uttered in the comments section before “The Hickory Hound” began moderating comments. “If you don’t like it, leave.” They think they can roll in here and bind with the old power structure. They don’t have a clue. Their purpose is purely to support and provide a convenient mouthpiece.
The problems we have in Hickory were enabled at the National and International levels. Rules and regulations were passed, with local political support, that enabled the off-shoring of jobs. Hickory’s manufacturing base was moved to China and other parts of the globe where people were willing to work for even less money than people in the Catawba Valley earned. This was done all to and for the benefit of those ‘Elites’ the former council members don’t seem to recognize without a mirror or the ‘A’ list from the Country Club. The compromises in education and wages have stacked up across time. Now, with the excesses of one group at the expense of the other so patently obvious, and one group wanting equal representation, we find ourselves at odds with something that should have never been done in the first place.
The Office of City Manager is supposed to be the implementer of policy and process from Council. Mick Berry is supposed to run the day to day operations of the City so that Council can focus on big picture ideas they have and answer all the calls from the citizens they seem to think they should be getting. Mick is the head bureaucrat, not the politician. If they (City Council) insist on running everything hands on as the solicitation for calls would seem to imply, why do they need a manager? They need a call center and personal assistants. If they are going to micro manage, skip the middle man. If not, stay out of his office and let him do his job and hold him accountable for the job he does, not on personal likes or dislikes. Having said all of that, Mick works at the pleasure of Council. It is in his best interest to keep at least a voting majority happy. In that regard with Council’s voting record, he’d better keep them all happy! He can’t afford to even alienate one.
I’m sure many are afraid of the future. It is, after all, unknown. It is natural to fear the unknown. But, we know too that nothing ever stays the same. The land of furniture factories, hosiery mills, and all of those little support cottage industries won’t be coming back any time soon, if ever. It took time to put the regulations in place that allowed the evacuation of manufacturing. It will take time to undo the wrong done, if it can ever be undone.
So yes, in that regard, Hickory has searched for a sense of self. Has the ruling ‘Elite’ facilitated that search with any meaning or regard? No, the message has been, “We know what we’re doing, trust us, erstwhile look at this, this, and this. It proves we know what we’re doing and we’re trying to get Hickory back on track and shut you people up. This is why we should have never educated you. As long as you knew just enough to run the machines and put the stuff together that we decided you should do, everything was fine.”
Yes, the elites can blame themselves for this one. It was the industrial potentates influenced the regulations that enabled the outsourcing of the jobs that brought the house down around their heads. They did it all for the bottom line. They got theirs. They used their positions and connections to profit. Looking out for “me, me, me, me, and me” and not caring about us. What they failed to plan for was what is happening now. They failed to account for the people standing up to demand their rights. That’s why they’re frightened and scared.
And that is why everyone that can vote should. It’s a forgone conclusion that I support this referendum. Not because I think those in power now are evil or diabolical; I don’t. They as persons and personalities don’t enter into the equation. No, this is about undoing something that should have never been done.
I realize that the leader of the opposition thinks he’s losing votes. No, he’s relinquishing something that never should have been his to begin with. The right of the individual to decide and determine, to the fullest extent possible, which one of their neighbors will represent them and their neighborhood. Not a group collective from every other part of the city that doesn’t even travel through on occasion. What do they know of the day to day concerns and problems not living in other areas? Or some name with a face that is only known through name recognition by virtue of their birth right. And after having contemplated that, the average person decides why bother, their vote won’t count for anything. Leaving 1,000 or fewer people to select the representatives of 40,000. 1,000 people of like mind; No Steps Backward. Said another way, No Step Forward either.