Another Soundbyte from our friend the Conover Crusader: Rudy Wright and his surrogates have taken no responsibility for what has happened to the local economy over the last 12 years. I will be fair. There was a perfect storm that hit this community's economy in 2001. We had a convergence of the bursting of the Dot.com bubble decimating Fiber Optic production, NAFTA kicked in full throttle and had a very negative effect on our furniture and textiles, and then 9/11 was a haymaker that accelerated this reality and sent us reeling.
Many people knew that we had troubles long ago, because the type of manufacturing we had in this community was low-skilled and labor intensive. These were the first jobs that would be offshored. Jim Rice, who was a manager with Superior Cable and now is the founder of Visionaire Jets, knew that it was necessary to diversify our local Manufacturing Economy for the sake of its long term viability - Jim Rice - A Man ahead of Time - He wanted to diversify Catawba County Industry in 1977.
For years of his tenure, I'd listen to Mayor Wright do Hal Row's show on those first Monday mornings talking about how we were going to turn it around and how this was going to be our year. This Mayor and City Administration pushed the idea of moving retirees in here and turning Hickory into a retirement community and now he says that was never an emphasis. I sat in a room 4 years ago where Mick Berry talked about the Low Hanging fruit of retirees, how easy they were to attract with our infrastructure, and how it would be very difficult to get the younger generations to come here. When he didn't like the direction the conversation was heading, he split. That was a huge part of their plan, whether they want to change history or not.
This is not about me, but the constant refusal to talk about our realistic situation frustrated me to no end and that is the reason why I wrote my first letter to the editor, which they allowed as a guest column six years ago: An All-American City deserves first-class leadership - July 15, 2007
Rudy has taken no ownership over our local Economic Malaise since he took office. He was given a pass over the first four years, "because the downturn wasn't his fault and Jay Adams was one of those Wascawie Develwopers." Then Rudy had the audacity to talk about what an honor it was to be unopposed in 2009 and pushed his "All of one Mind" Council Agenda. He got everything he wanted and we're still in the same economic rut and time is still a wastin'.
Rudy's Go To Economic Development strategies/philosophies are short and sweet..... 1) Scott Millar, 2) City Staff 3) It's all Washington's fault, 4) It's all Raleigh's fault, 5) The other local communities are dragging our numbers down, 6) It's out of our control. 7) The Insider Boondoggle of the year, 8) Obfuscation with the help of surrogates.
Honestly, most rational people will understand that it would be a lot easier to actually try to accomplish some difficult tasks and let the chips fall where they may. That is the reason why Term Limits are very effective, because they render such messes as above futile. You know what or get off the pot!
Rudy was taken to task about his never accepting responsibility for his 12 years as Mayor. He's the CEO and we've lost 30,000 jobs. There aren't career options for young people. Family children, other than those of the top of the food chain around here, move away and parents don't get to see them much. Much of our problems come from the loss of these generations.
In answering, Rudy sounded incredulous that anyone would ever mention his name in the same sentence with the downturn. That is the attitude of much of the upper government of Hickory Inc. When asked about accepting responsibility, he talks about not casting blame (as if he never does) and then says that he is responsible from this day forward. What will be different in the next 4 years compared to what we have seen in the previous 12 under the continuation of a Wright Regime?
If it weren't true, it would be hard to believe.