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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

20130319 - Hickory City Council Audio




I wanted to get this audio out as soon as possible, because of what happened this night.

The main subject of this meeting was Video Taping Hickory City Council Meetings. Citizen David Crosby stood against the process along with Alderman Bruce Meisner and  Council subsequently voted to delay a vote on the video recording of meetings until after it examines the budget for next year.

Council approved of an Offer to Purchase and Contract from Habitat for Humanity of the Catawba Valley, Inc. to City of Hickory to Purchase Property Located at 159 12th Street Court SE, Hickory, in the Amount of $54,000

Alder Sally Fox spoke on the issue of a bill in the NC Legislature about the Overlay Districts in Historic Districts. This bill would limit cities to set their own policies.


The Hound is very much disappointed in Bruce Meisner. If he hasn't spoken to anyone who is in favor of videoing these meetings, then I suggest that he get outside of this little group he runs around with and frankly I don't care to hear about what his wife thinks from him again.

This is about transparency. Mr. Crosby can talk about the waste of money and only 30 people listening to this. This is the same David Crosby that wanted to shut down members of the CEG from passing out materials at the Saturday Farmer's Market when the referendum was taking place. Once again the oldsters going about trying to shut down Democracy in Hickory when it doesn't fit their criteria.

I've seen some nights over the last few years that certainly deserved video coverage. A few examples would be the nights when the battle over the pools were taking place. There were also a couple nights that involved moving the Farmer's Market from the Depot Parking Lot to Union Square. And of course there was the fiasco surrounding the structure on Union Square where they made it a Departmental Report so that Citizens couldn't speak. And there was the night when representatives of the CEG, with the help of Rebecca Inglefield, had items removed from the Consent Agenda and this is in my opinion is why the City hasn't dropped charges on Rebecca related to the incident at City Hall when they didn't want to be forthright about the cost figures related to the structure on Union Square.

You can go on and on. Yeah 30 people might start out watching it, but I can tell you that the number is more than that already. And if these meetings are televised, and something like what I pointed to above does happen, then there will be many more people paying attention.

Danny Seaver says "if they aren't going to be live, then what good are they." Well the deal is that they will be archived. On the Hound I have people looking at the old Newsletters related to what happened at City Council meetings back in 2008 and 2009. They are history and references and I would think a school teacher that I have heard so many people show appreciation to would understand such a concept. Mr. Seaver talked about by the time this is released it is old news and already been in the paper. God Bless Larry Clark and the HDR, but the limited articles produced in the Record do not convey what is happening at these meetings. I learned that when I started attending these meetings. Sometimes you need to eyeball some things yourself. It is all about checks and balances. The people are the government. They deserve to know what is going on.

The comments above were highly disappointing, but they are entitled to them. I personally don't think the Mural of Downtown needs to be removed. You can see it on the videos I have made and it is laughable to say it detracts from anything. What is getting old is the overuse of the "Well Crafted" logo and saying. It is called over saturation and y'all are beating it into the ground like some 1980s Loverboy song -- over and over and over again.

I appreciate the information provided by the City Inc. related to this video recording process and I think it is a great basis for the conversation moving forward. This is very important and if we have hundreds of thousand of dollars to spend on a glorified tent on Union Square and the other "priorities" I have seen over the past years, then we have a few thousand dollars to spend to have transparent and open government brought to the people. Mr. Crosby might want to take us back to 1938, but most of us understand the evolution of this world and trying to hold these realities back is hurting Hickory. The people like this are never going to get it. We will continue marching forward.


6 comments:

examiner said...

LOL! What's up?
Do the folks on the Hickory City Council all pal around with the City of Morganton and the Burke school board? Are we rubbing off on your leadership, or is it the other way around?
They belong to the "Let's do the people's business behind closed doors where we're not held accountable" club. Drinks provided. Bring your own snacks.
Too funny.

talferris said...

$54,000. That’s what, 10% of what was spent on the Big Top on the Square, give or take? And I don’t believe that price for one minute. Just from looking at what is available on the market, the only thing that I can fathom is that someone with a local hook submitted that bid to get a piece of the local pie for themselves; does that ring with a certain resonance?

When did numbers suddenly become the single determining point of when/how money gets spent? Do they only matter when those in opposition to proposal deem it applicable? Is it only to be a waste of money when it doesn’t comport to the whims or desires of those in power and their supporters? I see sidewalks all over the city, miles and miles of them. I wonder what their use is in relation to the population and the number of miles of sidewalk? Common sense would dictate that there should be some sort of algorithm for determining the number of pedestrians per population per linear miles of sidewalk to determine cost efficiency. I also find myself wondering how many people actually attend the bi-monthly meetings of Hickory City Council, that aren’t on staff or employed by the City. I mean, they pay for all of those seats, and the d├ęcor, and the really neat mural, how many people actually turn out to see it twice a month, since numbers are the determinant factor on when and how money gets spent.

The opponents don’t want meetings recorded or posted for several reasons. Chief among them is it provides an inability to make disclaimers on what is said, by whom, and when. When words and statements are posted, it puts out to everyone exactly what is said, who said it, and the position they took; in absolute deference to what they say they did or said, which might not be absolutely representative of reality.

This should be a non-event, non-issue and it is, in every other place except Hickory. We wonder why people from places are loathe to come and invest here, well, now you know. Conduct that can only be best described as backward by the elected representatives of a political subdivision that restrict or limit the availability of information to the public; in the information age no less! Why would anyone want to relocate to such a closed and narrowly focused locale when they already have two strikes against them; they’re coming in from the outside and they have no connection to the obvious power base that runs things like a micro dictatorship? A place where, generally speaking, if you are not a member of or known favorably to that inner circle, your input isn’t desired or welcomed. It’s only allowed because of the first Amendment to the Constitution. And as we have seen previously, sometimes it’s not allowed either.

James Thomas Shell said...

It's around $16,000 and that includes some things that aren't necessarily necessary.

talferris said...

I went back and read and found my error on the estimate. I so stipulate the corrected amount and acknowledge my error.

Harry Hipps said...

Lately, we've heard a lot about how much we want young people to come here and live here. Well here's one fact about younger people: they are video oriented. If we are ever going to gain interest over time in the actions the City takes video and access to info via internet is essential.
One of the things killing Hickory is the lack of a serious media and public following actions like many cities do.
This won't solve the whole problem but it is a step in the right direction and $16000 is routinely spent for awnings and shrubs for friends of the Council. Where was the gentleman's concern about waste when money was spent on wayfinding, studies on the pool that were never followed, or the tents?

Harry Hipps said...

Lately, we've heard a lot about how much we want young people to come here and live here. Well here's one fact about younger people: they are video oriented. If we are ever going to gain interest over time in the actions the City takes video and access to info via internet is essential.
One of the things killing Hickory is the lack of a serious media and public following actions like many cities do.
This won't solve the whole problem but it is a step in the right direction and $16000 is routinely spent for awnings and shrubs for friends of the Council. Where was the gentleman's concern about waste when money was spent on wayfinding, studies on the pool that were never followed, or the tents?