Submission to Letters to the Editor that the Hickory Daily Record refused to post relating to the issues about the Hickory City Council. By the way, the CEG had nothing to do with the articles the Hickory Daily Record put in the paper a couple of Sunday's ago. They are entitled to their opinion, but those examples of conflicts pale in comparison to some of the real issues that have gone on over the years.
You know that what the Hickory Daily Record original article, a couple Sunday's ago, showed was that there did not have to be a criminal intent for there to be conflicts of interest. We agree with that. Now all of the sudden they seem to have retreated to a position that there has to be an express financial gain to rise to being a "Conflict of Interest".
And now we see where the paper spoke to this issue and subsequently is falling all over itself retreating, which certainly is disappointing and shows that they have no interest in independent journalism. The Citizens for Equity in Government has certainly shown more respect to the Hickory Daily Record than Hickory Inc. ever has and yet they come to beat up on us on a regular basis, while constantly giving the local Hickory City Government a free pass and a platform. If we say something, then Hickory Inc. are allowed to respond. If they say something, we aren't allowed to respond.
I've held back on these, because the HDR was the proper forum for response, but since they want to censor relevant responses to issues in which people and organizations have been spoken of, here you go.
From Harry Hipps - submitted July 11, 2013:
There are many people who respect Sally Fox, of the Hickory City Council, for her efforts in the community over the years. I respect her and I believe Mrs. Fox when she thinks that she has done nothing wrong. But, the intent does not match the reality of what defines a "Conflict of Interest".
Mrs. Fox as much as admits that she steered the Farmer's Market to Union Square. There were many who wanted it located on Spring's Road. Mrs. Fox's multiple hats on the Farmer's Market Board, Downtown Development Association, City Council Member, and Union Square shop owner skewed the outcome.
We also know that Jill Patton wears as many Board hats as Mrs. Fox; formerly being on the boards of the Farmer's Market, Lake Hickory Country Club, Bank of Granite, and now the Rotary Chair. Along with Mrs. Fox they demanded and got the Million Dollar "Sails on the Square".
This cross pollination of these various interests have tilted the decision making process in Hickory towards Property and Business Owners in the immediate vicinity of Union Square at the expense of the rest of this community. Areas only a few blocks from Union Square have been ignored and fallen into disrepair.
We have seen multi-millions of dollars pumped into Union Square over the past two decades and we are constantly told that it isn't enough. We have even seen the Parking Fund monies, created to expand parking capacity, misappropriated according to the ordinance that created it. That was the fund used for this structure. And the City still hasn't been forthright about the associated costs.
The question begs to be asked. At what point do the bail outs of Union Square end? At what point does Union Square stand on its own feet?
From James Thomas Shell - July 23, 2013:
In reading Jill Patton's Letter from Sunday, I have issues with some of her assertions. No one can deny that she has the support of her ward, which originated from her steadfast doggedness on the Lowe's Home Improvement in Viewmont matter. An issue, which over time has proven her to be wrong, in my opinion.
I stood behind the HDR reporter the other night as Mrs. Patton made a beeline to berate him for not coming to city officials first about his queries and told him how ugly he had been to her in the story he had written. I too have been a subject of this anger in the past, when Mrs. Patton and I have had disagreements.
No one is out to embarrass Mrs. Patton. We're interested in how our local government is functioning. Jill certainly had no problem telling everyone that the local government was dysfunctional back in 2005. Now that she is on the inside, it seems she believes her government can do no wrong.
Yeah, Mrs. Patton and Mr. Seaver recused themselves from the votes for those loans for their kids. But it certainly doesn't look right when city officials procure these city funded, first time homebuyer loans for their children, when 99% of the people don't even know they exist. That reeks of the type of insider politics that many of us are tired of!
Jill, this type of scrutiny comes with that seat you hold. We all have had personal, emotional ups and downs with what goes into the paper. I hope that the HDR will continue to allow Mr. Tinkelenberg to move forward and keep doing his job like any good independent journalist is supposed to do! Because he is doing it well.