Rudy Wright on Hal Row discusses the referendum and says what the opposition was saying about Elite and Million Dollar Tent was unconscionable.
The Hound: I had to force myself to listen to this, because it frankly was like hearing someone take nails to a chalkboard. And I am not speaking in any way, shape, or form about Hal. He was very professional in this interview. The CEG were the trouble makers? When the Mayor and his entourage were out here scaring old people and saying that we were in with ACORN and other things that he is on the record doing. And a No advocate was in the paper saying they ran a high minded campaign. All they have ever said to this day is that we were looking to take a "Right" away to vote in all wards. It is very much apparent that they still don't care about South Hickory.
I don't mind the Mayor not wanting to talk to me. I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, because that is how I am when it comes to these issues, but I really don't care to talk to him either. The reason why I quit calling into Hal's show when the Mayor is on is because Rudy Wright just blew off anything I ever said on that show. He would always say that they would look into it or he was willing to listen, but at the end of the day, he purposefully went in a 180-degree opposite direction. So frankly, I don't feel like wasting my time.
But, ask the Mayor why he refuses to meet with a lead representative of the Citizen's for Equity in Government (CEG) Joe Brannock and he says that he will only meet with people from the CEG of his choosing. What if the shoe were on the other foot?
We have already explained our meanings of the words we used and the Mayor and his friends want to spin it towards some convoluted non-sensical definition that they have come up with. The only people that accept their spin are the same ole people who always fall in line. What the Mayor's indignation is displaying is that we are right on target. If we weren't dead on then he and his buddies would have blown this off a long time ago and they are showing that they can't. As Johnnie Cochran would have said, "If the shoe fits, you must admit."
The Definition of Cronyism and the Million Dollar Tent
People associated with Union Square say just ask Mick Berry, he'll give you the numbers, when those numbers have been requested, but not given, in any professional context. We want to see the line items of where and what monies are accounted for and to whom. Is that so much to ask when it comes to public money?
It is a matter of trust, and the City Council plays a role in that. First it was going to cost $286,000 in December, then they come back with $426,000, and now Rudy Wright has stated that it is $501,000 and we are just supposed to take his word for it as though it is some sort of decree. And Hickory Inc. has now said they must add additional lights and cameras and we haven't seen the appropriations for that. If we don't understand this, it is their job to help us understand this. We are not stupid!
They do a document dump a few days before the election. Official certified documents show that these numbers were requested back in April and I know that requests had been made all the way back to the origins of the Union Square structure. The Hickory Daily Record doesn't even seem to have looked at the material and pretty much prints up what Hickory Inc. wanted the public to read.
We are told the documents are available. A member of the CEG, Rebecca Inglefield, goes to City Hall and looks at these documents that have no context and City Officials tell this member of the CEG that their only obligation is to provide the documents, they don't have to answer any questions. These non-answerers include Mick Berry and City Council Attorney John Crone. When she is insistent on getting to the root of this information they tell her to put her questions in writing. She is arrested as she is writing the questions down. So that pretty much debunks the whole "Go ask Mick Berry" statement doesn't it. Hickory Inc. has continuously demonstrated a lack of cooperation, forthrightness, and transparency.
We are at a standoff, because we do not accept or trust Hickory Inc.'s accounting and documentation methods as they relate to public records.
The other side is the one that has it in their minds that they know better than the rest of us... That they don't need public input on public projects... That they can manipulate processes and numbers to justify their personal ambitions, desires, and goals... and we are supposed to lie down and Rudy Wright is going to tell us what our sign can say. Are these words "dangerous?" Does King Rudolph have a problem with our freedom to speak and express ourselves? Who really seems to be the one that has the dangerous idea here?
We have all been told, "You just don't have the information we have." Any information we don't have is a result of Hickory Inc. not being forthright in divulging it with the people. They are a club. They are a small group of people who have empowered themselves through secrecy and lack of compassion towards their fellow community members to use the Public Trust towards their own personal desires, goals, and achievements. They are supposed to be public servants and work towards the interests of the public, but instead they think we are supposed to be here for them and we are just supposed to go along with whatever they decide... whatever they decree... and just lie down.
The above is what we mean by elite. I can appreciate the Mayor's story about his father. My father died when I was two years old and my mother had three children and was a widow at the age of 22. So Rudy's father and I are similar in many ways and I never called Rudy's family or father elite. Frankly, we didn't call the Mayor elite, but since he thinks this is about him, well I think that says a lot also.
What I (and we) have said is that investments in Hickory do not need to constantly be funneled towards Union Square. They should be treated no better, or worse, than any other commercial enterprise in Hickory. We haven't told anyone to boycott Union Square and its businesses. What we have said is that Union Square property and business owners need to pay for their own marketing and upkeep of their commercial interests and the conflicts of interests need to stop.. What is wrong with that belief? And why is Hickory Inc. doing the same things over and over again and believing that they are going to eventually come to a different result? Where is the evidence?
The whole interview is available above without editing, except for taking out the commercials. I hope you will give it a listen and I encourage you to call the Mayor and talk to him if that is your desire.