Mayoral Candidate Kenny Hardin on Last Night’s Sad Spectacle at Salisbury’s City Council. Once Again Public Input Got a Fast Shuffle

Posted on September 20, 2017

Kenny Hardin, Salisbury Mayoral Candidate

♦ There was a sad spectacle last night at the City Council meeting. What was sadder this was just a repeat and continuation of arrogant and callous behavior shown by a weak Mayor and other self serving Council Members in the past. I was disappointed in the way things unfolded and eventually turned out, but not surprised at all.

It was obvious that decisions were already made about the proposed Fire Station site prior to the meeting. Why give citizens the illusion that their voices will be objectively heard if you already knew what the decision was going to be before the meeting? Why waste Citizen’s time putting on this charade? If groundbreaking and construction of this Fire Station will not begin for four years, what is the urgency to force this into an area where it’s not conducive or welcomed, destroy wildlife, create more traffic congestion, and alter the complexion of a community while destroying the area’s livability? I did ask that question.

Several citizens came and spoke to defend the integrity of their neighborhood, but didn’t realize they had no legitimate chance of being heard or taken seriously. I was informed by a citizen who lives in the Catawba College area that one Council Member said over the weekend that “the deal was already done” with regards to the vote. Prior to the meeting, I correctly predicted how the meeting would unfold and how the vote would go.

Before a vote was even taken or the opportunity given to me to ask questions, detailed discussions were being held by others on how the proposed site would look. I spoke up and questioned why this level of discussion was being held before any vote was taken? I asked them, unless they already knew this was going to pass, why would we be having such in depth discussions ? I told the Council this was disrespectful to the Citizens who took the time to come and speak in hopes that their voices and concerns would be given fair consideration. A pointless and meaningless explanation was offered to cover for this obvious purposeful slight and prearranged plan. After I brought this to light, other Council members feigned self righteous indignation that their integrity was being questioned. They spoke of how they didn’t know which way they were going to vote. A Citizen watching online from another State, contacted me after the meeting and asked if I heard the Mayor Pro Tem say that my concern and defense of the citizens rights to a fair process was nothing more than campaigning.

A vote was then taken and they all voted in favor of the site as I said they would.

The Mayor and other Council Members showed once again they care little for certain citizens and communities. They also showed that if you don’t go along with their devious plans and will fight for citizen rights, they will try to paint you as uninformed and against progress. If you’re a citizen and question their abhorrent behavior or speak up for your rights, you are quickly deemed out of order. The Mayor and others have made it clear that citizen concerns are not City Business and validated it by limiting free speech rights and the ability to address their elected officials in Public Comments. I am the only Council Member who has voted against all changes to the Public Comment process.

We have no real leadership in this City. This Council is a joke. They feel comfortable talking down to me and directing disrespectful and unprofessional behavior towards me, but get upset when I respond and call them out on it. Because I’m willing to ask questions and demand accountability, I’m labeled as difficult and against against progress. Now I see why there has been a push to have “at least one Black on the Council.” Just one who will know his place and not speak up on any issue.

Democracy died again last night at the hands of a dysfunctional Council who continually show they care nothing about all the Citizens of this City equally. There is little wonder why our City is in the condition it finds itself. We need all new leadership on this Council and in City held roles. I can assure you if I get the Mayors seat and a real Progressive Council, I will clean house. I’m embarrassed by the way this Council operates and treats its citizens.

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