Mrs. Willingham is part of the Hickory United Political Action Committee that has aimed to maintain the status quo in this community through fear and vitriol. The status quo has hurt the progress in this community. That is recognized by more than half of the community. Take the people who voted for direct ward elections and add those who feel disenfranchised and feel it is useless to attempt to participate and you have way more than 50% of the community.
I said it in a speech I made before the city council a few months ago:
Newsletter about the City Council meeting of May 21, 2013 -- Citizens Requesting to be Heard - Like Danny Hearn said at the last meeting, people are down on what they aren't up on. He's right, pushing forward ignorance as fact is not a virtue. Trying to keep people from obtaining information about public issues of relevance is therefore not virtuous. But, in reality we know this is about politics don't we. We know this is about enabling a small minority of people to hold power over a small city by controlling the message disseminated to its people.The Citizen's for Equity in Government's aim is not to look back. It is to move forward. I do not speak for the CEG. I will let them speak for themselves. The CEG is not a monolith and we do not aim to manipulate a message.
At this point in time I will announce my support for Dr. Jody Inglefield, Joe Brannock, and Anetia Wright. Why? Because they do not represent the same ole Hickory. Isn't it time to allow other people a chance. The people of Hickory United want to talk about 50 years ago. They don't want to talk about the past decade-plus under Mayor Wright. They want to talk about it being a non-partisan race and then evoke that Dr. Inglefield is a Democrat and talk about Obama. What does any of that have to do with Hickory and Local Governance?
The other side has talked about projects with no specifics. They have spoken of raising taxes and spending $80 million on what? They can't tell you how this is going to create jobs, but the Mayor says he wants to immerse us in it. He specifically says in an Inspiring Spaces meeting from this past June, "The only thing that could happen detrimental is that we lose four Council Members on that side of the table to a bunch of people that say no taxes. He stated that he does not (know) what happens then."
First of all he uses every meeting he attends to push racehorse politics, then he mischaracterizes what people have said. People are not into raising taxes on ambiguous projects, when Hickory Inc. has never even been forthright about the last project it undertook - "The Sails".
The real issue: We have lost the younger generations in this community and we have replaced them with older generations, particularly 60, 70, and 80 year olds. We marketed towards Senior growth and were successful, but in spite of that, we have still begun to lose population. We have been very successful at diminishing prospects and diminishing returns.
We have begun a process of becoming a post-industrialized community. At one time 60% of the jobs in this community were some form of manufacturing and today we have fallen to around 25%. On the path we are on, as these seniors who have filled in the gaps leave this earth, we aren't going to have replacements. The tax base is going to shrink and we are going to see even less economic opportunity in this community. This will mean that we could see rapid depopulation, like Allentown, PA and other Rustbelt communities, unless we take real actions to create modern economic and employment opportunities . Do you understand what either will portend for your future income and property values?
The Good News is that we have a platform. Please go read it:
Go do your research
Dr. Jody Inglefield - Mayor for Everyone
Anetia Wright for Ward 4
Joe Brannock for City Council Ward 5
And Listen to Dr. Inglefield here: