Letter-to-the Editor: Kenny Hardin Comments on the Declaration of Interdependence and Why He Did Not Vote for the Resolution

Posted on January 4, 2017

Kenny Hardin, City Councilman

♦ Yes, I voted against City Council’s latest resolution the “Declaration of Interdependence” . We have enough feel good measures in this City that do nothing to alleviate the problems or resolve issues like our gun violence and murders. I saw no point to this document as it will do nothing to solve a murder or bring needed industry and jobs. Do we need a pledge to say to the other 10 municipalities that if they need help, we will step up? The County didn’t need it to assist our City three times last year with law enforcement efforts. Do we need a document to motivate us to show respect to our fellow colleagues?

I took exception to the way County Commissioner Edds presented this. His statement of, “If you don’t like the language or the way it’s written, then get over it.” So you come asking for respectful collaboration, but that’s how you present it? It’s curious that Edds is traveling around the County getting support for this pointless document, but hasn’t presented it to his full Commission. Why? Change starts first with thee and then with me, right?

Instead of this document, let’s create and share a crime control plan or a city wide economic development plan with the public. Let’s put some steps together to stop this out of control gun violence and create jobs instead of this,pointless symbolism. Let’s create and share a plan of how we’re going to build a better relationship between the Police and underrepresented communities so the murder of a child gets caught. That’s real work.

3-4 months ago, Commissioner Craig Pierce and I worked together on a great plan that he came up with that would provide Housing for new teachers and police officers in communities with challenges. The Habitat style houses would be offered at $200 per month with five being built per year. This would turn a problem community around in two years. We called a meeting that included representatives from the City, County and School board. Edds was a participant. The initiative fell through without it even being taken back to the respective Boards for further discussion. Yet, four months later, we’re being asked to sign a form for collaboration and new ideas. I have many more examples.

In 1996, I led a City-Community collaboration that included a series of community based meetings to address gun violence, drugs, gangs, and abandoned/boarded up houses. 20 years later, we’ve had a series of City led community conversations that are focusing on the same exact issues with zero progress in 20 years or the last year. So now this document is asking to hold another series of community forums to address nine areas of concern?

I’m sick of pointless meetings where we analyze the problems, put sticky notes on a wall and then do nothing to implement a viable plan that shows progress or measurable outcomes. This document holds no weight nor has any teeth to offer solutions to the problems. It may make people have a temporary rah-rah moment, but what are you truly offering in the way of solutions or relief?

Do we need a document to tell us to be respectful, considerate and extend professional courtesy? It’s not adhered to anyway. In my time on the Council, I’ve found Councilman Brian Miller to be extremely arrogant, condescending, patronizing, rude and dismissive. I’ve had this conversation with the Mayor and other Council members who’ve shared similar concerns. I’ve had numerous messages from citizens who have shared their disdain for his abhorrent behavior. He doesn’t extend a single professional courtesy nor respect the opinions of others.

I’ve received feedback on numerous occasions from citizens complaining of his rude behavior, dismissive body language and disrespectful non verbal cues as others are talking. Other Council members have shared with me their displeasure in how he cuts them off when they’re talking. He dominates and attempts to control the meeting flow. I’ve reminded Miller publicly that he’s not the Mayor as he has overstepped his authority trying to act as such.

In last night’s meeting and in others before, tried to dictate to tthe Mayor how to move forward procedurally. He has referred to the Mayor as weak and told her to be more assertive. Who gives him that right or privilege? I have no problem dealing with him even if it means dealing with him more aggressively. Respect begets respect.

Yet, with all of that, he was waging a judgmental finger last night in support of signing this document. This is why I asked him publicly if he was actually going to adhere to the documents as he was the worst offender.

I see no point or relevance in this document. Instead of feel good gestures, let’s actually implement real initiatives.

The Declaration of Interdependence:


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