The Hound: The following statement was issued by Dr. Joseph Inglefield and Rebecca Inglefield relating to her arrest. Rebecca had gone to City Hall as a private citizen to request information that I had been told was available for public viewing by City Council Representative Jill Patton. In her e-mail message, Mrs. Patton gives facts and figures and states, "A file containing the comprehensive expenses of this project is available for public inspection in the City Manager’s office.”
That is the reason why Mrs. Inglefield went to City Hall. She did not go there to be belligerent or combative or to get arrested. I actually saw and spoke to Mrs. Inglefield from 2:00pm to 2:20pm and we had a pleasant conversation to go over facts, as I understand them, and she wanted my input about questions that might be asked. She was actually listening to classical music and seemed very calm at that time. C. Jane Johnson was with us.
The story is going to come out and this arrest is not the issue. The issue is the games that this city has been playing for years in relation to information that belongs to the public and their lack of cooperation in issuing forthright information and context upon request.
The following is a statement sent to Larry Clark of the Hickory Daily Record and released to the public:
Dear Mr. Clark,
Thank-you for your concern about my wife Rebecca and her arrest at Hickory City Hall. It was very kind of you to be at the police station. We are now home after a exhausting, bewildering day. Quite frankly we are very disappointed with the behavior of our city servants. Rebecca is shaken up and recovering from the events of the day. This is the statement she wishes to send to you regarding today.
" On Tuesday 9-11-12 I learned in an email from my city council member, Jill Patton, that the public was invited to visit the City manager's office to review documents related to the cost and bidding for the Sails on the Square project. I believe there was also a notice in the paper. I had requested the documents months ago. At about 2:45 I arrived at city hall where Asst. city manager Warren Wood brought out a stack of documents about 3 inches thick. Mr. Wood told me I could review the documents but a city official would have to sit and observe me as I reviewed the documents. He took me into a spacious conference room, but then moved me across the office building to a table that was in an open area surrounded by offices.
After briefly looking at the first few pages I was glad to have a city official there, because the coding and the invoice numbers were jumbled and confusing. The city official Mike Bennett told me I could not write on the documents, and then refused to help me any more. I sat at the table with a female city employee who kindly helped me to decipher the documents. I told the staff member I wanted to find the actual written bid that was accepted by the city.
At that point, City Attorney John Crone and City Manager Mick Berry aggressively approached the table where I was working. Mick Berry told me I had to leave, but finally he said I could take the documents with me. This was after I had been told I could not review the documents alone nor write on them. I told Mr. Berry and Mr. Crone that these documents could not be understood without assistance from city staff who could explain the documents and their confusing codes. I was told that the city has to produce documents, but does not have to explain them.
Mr. Crone said I could no longer stay. I had to leave. I told him I had a number of questions after having waited on these documents for many months. Mr. Crone said I could send my questions in writing. I tried to ask questions despite his belligerent attitude. He said he would not answer them until a later time. Mr. Crone and Mr. Berry refused to answer any questions about the law or about the project. Instead of being helpful to a citizen they called the police who arrested me on their orders. They are comfortable in the use of intimidation of the public; it has worked for them for a long time.
The citizens of Hickory will vote in 4 days. Every citizen and I have a right to know what is in these documents. The documents they gave me, as far as I can understand them, show nothing regarding how the contract was awarded, and in fact contain no bid.
I am 56 years old, have raised 2 children, have been married for 33 years and practiced law for 25 years. I have never been treated with such disrespect as I was by Mr. Berry and Mr. Crone. The only threatening thing about me is that I was asking for the truth. "
Mr. Clark, it is pretty obvious after months of stonewalling that the city of Hickory did a document dump days before the referendum. The documents are still incomplete and were delivered in a disorganized and purposefully confusing way. A document dump like this is no different than censorship. The goal is to confuse the public and to deny or delay the truth. We need transparency in government. As Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify."
The Hound: And while we are at it, I am re-releasing the debate that took place between Rudy Wright and Joe Brannock on August 21, 2012. You can hear in this the foreboding negative tone of fear that has been expressed throughout this process by many of Hickory's Public Servants and their entourage. They may as well be saying, "These sinister Commonist radicals are cummin ta gitcha and they're gonna burn down your house."
If there is one thing that I can convey to people. Never let fear rule your life. If people use fear to sway you, then you need to figure out what their real agenda is.
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