Kenny Hardin: Thank You for Allowing Me to Serve // Todd Paris: Congratulations to Salisbury’s New City Council

Posted on November 8, 2017



Kenny Hardin, Salisbury, N.C.

♦ First, I would like to congratulate the new City Council selected by voters last night. I am very happy to see new representation and think this is what our City needs.  Al Heggins will accomplish good things as our next Mayor and I’m excited to see her much needed strong leadership qualities in place. Tamara Sheffield will bring a balanced voice to the Council, ensuring that equity, fairness and inclusion of all Citizens is maintained. I was proud to serve with David Post, and as the Mayor Pro Tem, he will continue to be the analytical voice that ensures openness and accessibility.

I appreciate that Citizens have sought to have experience and familiarity on the Council and Brian Miller has that longevity. His intentions for our City are honorable and he cares deeply about helping this City improve. But, there has to be an acceptance, sensitivity and understanding that not everyone exists in the same positive reality and people are suffering in this City. Karen Alexander possesses the needed compassion for the role of a Council Member. Her intentions are genuine, but when mixed with political interference and misguided outside interference, it can come across as insincere and disingenuous. That is not who she really is as I’ve seen her true character. I don’t subscribe to the belief that she is racist or harbors any similar views. What has to be found is a deeper awareness and outward respect for all people and not just a few with whom she feels comfortable.

I accomplished my goals of ensuring that an increased level of accountability, true transparency, open access, and making everyone feel as if they are a part of the process and direction of the City. I sought to raise the standards of leadership and work at building a stronger relationship with citizens. There were a number of people who attended their first City Council meeting and voted for the first time in their lives because of my actions.

I fought hard for the rights of all neighborhoods and voted with integrity even when I was the lone dissenting voice. I did not get into the race two years ago to be a politician for notoriety or to curry favor with any group. I stood strong in my beliefs and listened to the needs of people. There were many nights I left the comfort of my home in the middle of the night to ease suffering and calm fears. I stood up for the undervalued and those in the margins giving them hope and a belief that their concerns were just as important as anyone else’s. I cared little for how I was perceived and never sought to correct erroneous characterizations and mislabels assigned to me. I was comfortable being perceived as a disruption, the angry Black man or a fictitious boogeyman in the name of progress. I sought to be a Servant Leader who never compromised who he was. I was never afraid to speak up and out. I showed I would call out inequity and expose wrong regardless of who it was or the ethnicity involved.

I have been involved in some form of public community service for nearly 30 years. In that time, I have sacrificed my health, income and precious family time. I’m tired. So, this signals a new chapter in my life where I’ve decided to step away from all involvement and aspects of public service and public life. I have done enough and see it as time for others, hopefully our younger folks, to step up and take the lead. I want to thank everyone for their love and support over the years, and for allowing me to serve and fight for you for early three decades.

Peace.

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Todd Paris, Salisbury Attorney

♦ Congratulations our new Salisbury Mayor Al Heggins.  Salisbury will have its first black female mayor and the gavel is firmly out of the hands of Karen Alexander. After only two years, the public has demoted her to a mere council member. Her leadership failed. I think Mayor Heggins will treat citizens at public comment with the respect due taxpayers and voters and not treat her position as if gained by royal warrant or the divine right of queens.

Congratulations as well to our next Mayor Pro-tem David Post and Council member Tamara Sheffield. Perhaps these three can do something about the hexavalent chromium in our water supply and all the asbestos-concrete water mains in the city. I expect good things.

I see that Brian Miller was re-elected. Perhaps he might actually sell the Empire Hotel without the city or DSI being financially connected to it for the foreseeable future.  I predict with its notorious bad phase one environmental and the lack of state and now federal income tax credits, it will continue to waste 90K per year for years to come.

While I would like to thank the kind folks who manned nine polls for me tonight and my financial supporters, this effort never been dependent wholly upon me being elected. The race was never all about me. It was about securing better government for the City of Salisbury and with the election of Heggins, Post, and Sheffield it has at least an incremental chance of improvement.

The “all seeing eye” of The Rowan Free Press will continue to be focus on local government and will continue to work in the best interests of the tax-paying public.  Stay tuned, we have the 2018 School Board and County Commission races to come.

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