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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Huh... Hickory Bond Booster Inconsistencies

Here I am as a Citizen Journalist laying  out a chain of important information that is relevant to understanding how our local government has operated. It pertains to the largest Bond initiative in the history of this community. The campaign is over and the initiative has been approved. All of that is in the rear view mirror. The purpose of this information I present to you is to shine a light on some of the previous conduct in hopes of getting a better performance as we move forward.

Our local newspaper, the Hickory Daily Record, has sold the series of events surrounding the Bond Referendum, the local government, and the Committee formed to promote the passage of the Bond Referendum, as three separate and unrelated entities and matters. They have presented the information as money related issues, when in fact it is one ongoing story about the lack of openness and transparency in this community when it comes to local governance. This in light of the fact that Hickory Inc. (and proxy Boost Hickory) has boasted about and promised the public that very openness and transparency more times than Lucy has offered up Charlie Brown an opportunity to kick a football. The HDR hasn't been able to connect the dots. They have put the information and stories in Silos.

This has nothing to do with the Mayor profiting from the Boost Hickory campaign.  It has to do with an unwillingness to comply with the law that they themselves prescribe. The head of the Boost Hickory campaign is quoted in the first HDR article related to the matter, as having said that they " ...would bend over backwards to comply with the law." Yet, that group has just now submitted reports that were due weeks ago. The last check they wrote, to close out their campaign committee status, was written over a month ago. There are many inconsistencies in information as it has been presented.

The initial inconsistency was the involvement of Joe Brannock calling the Mayor to inform him about Boost Hickory's illegal campaign signs. It is interesting that the Mayor treats a private citizen in such a negative manner in print on a Saturday morning and then turns around and is almost light-hearted about the situation 48 hours later.

Boost Hickory Campaign Signs Illegal - Frank Bumb - Hickory Daily Record - October 31, 2014

Here is the audio of the conversation in question from the HDR article above. Would you describe these as leading questions? He was asked whether he was going to do anything about the signs. It is obvious that he wasn't going to do anything about it. He was asked if he saw anything wrong with Boost Hickory not voluntarily complying with the law -- a law unanimously passed by his City Council and a law he is in charge of administering. Ponder if a political opponent were not complying with such a City Code and the Mayor was aware of the non-compliance. Do you think the situation is treated differently?

Two days later during the "Monday Morning Meeting with the Mayor" on First Talk with Hal Row, the Mayor wants to talk about being recorded, but he doesn't want to talk about the subject matter of the article, 'whether the signs in question were legal or not?' Also note how this was purposefully saved for the last two minutes of the broadcast... hard for someone to call in and challenge the Mayor's assertions under such circumstances... Fair?

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