The Hound was the first source to talk about the desperate situation with the job picture in the area in the fall of 2008 and even before that in Letters to the Editor in the Hickory Daily Record. We were the first source to talk about the loss of the young people in the community -- Building a Bridge to Hickory's Future. Make no mistake, the articles are available from late 2008 discussing the issue and below is the conversation that I had with Mayor Wright in March 2009 in which he basically dismisses what I am saying to a great degree. The local Powers That Be had been marketing the area to Retirees for years and it has led to the current plight we face with our demographics so far out of whack.
In August of 2009, Taylor Dellinger brought statistics to the Future Economy Council meeting that showed statistically how bad things were becoming and the situation has worsened over the subsequent 4 years -- Just The Facts about Hickory's Loss of the Younger Demographic. Once again, I called up Hal Row's show to speak with the Mayor on August 31, 2009. That conversation is below.
And now we come to last month's Hal Row Show with the Mayor, in which Mayor Wright finally fully acknowledges what I had been getting at 4 years ago, but now his acknowledgment comes with money strings attached. Mayor Wright summarizes exactly verbatim what I stated 4 years ago. He stresses urgency now, while I was stressing it 5+ years ago. The lesson should be that it's good to listen to everyone and not just the people you deem "Business Leaders." Many of these "Leaders" are the same people who have brought us to the edge of the cliff where we reside today. Fixing Hickory isn't about infrastructure boondoggles (ie local Stimulus) aimed at insider's personal interests. It is about investing in people and that means all of the people. As they say, and I do listen, "A hand up and not a hand out." We'll spend a ton of money on Statues, Paint, and Shrubs, while completely dismissing microlending. That is just insane.
In speaking at the Council meeting a month ago, I was not addressing the Council. I was addressing everyone in Hickory. That is who everyone who speaks before the Council should be addressing, because in the end the Council are Citizens. This Council rendered themselves impotent long ago. You take an idea to them and they don't look at how they can help you get it done, they tell you why it can't be done. That is unless you are an insider and the insiders are always looking for personal interests over the interests of the entire community. I really hate saying that, but after you continually see regular people ignored you have to say it.
"I have resolved to take a stand, with the help of a few, to move this community forward into dealing with reality. As long as I am here, I will continue to do my part.
Matthew 25:40 talks about looking out for the "Least of These." It is time to start looking out for our neighbors. I am not the Judge. There is a higher Authority."