Many years ago there was a murder trial in Vance County in which a lady was acquitted of the murder of her gentleman friend.
The jury consisted of men who were acquaintances of the lady. (Are you reading between the lines here?) That evening someone hung a wreath of black flowers on the courthouse door with a sign that read “Justice and Fairness are dead in Vance County.”
Well, that sentiment seems appropriate when you look around the world of local politics today.
After former North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley was able to slip and slide and maneuver his way out of a prison term, it does seem that justice and fairness are dead. Before he was even charged, he was able to fix a deal that was really nothing more than a slap at his wrist, not even on his wrist. Who else would have faced such light consequences?
Sure, he was able to hire defense attorney Joe Cheshire, one smooth operator in his own right. But if you listened to Joe after the dog and pony show in the courtroom, you soon realized that he was protesting the goodness and kindness of all the Easleys just a bit too much. As Mark Twain said, “What you are stands over you and shouts so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” People are not gullible, and people are not so cynical that they don’t want justice and fairness. I would bet that the careers of many people, from the judge to the prosecutor to even Joe Cheshire himself will be tainted from this circus.
Justice and fairness seem to be on life support in our city as well. Why on earth doesn’t the city council just put its foot down? There was no logical reason to table a vote last Monday evening that could have seen the beginning of the end of joint funding. I believe the council is being played, or it’s playing games.
The city manager is supposed to work for the city council, not the other way around. If things the council asks for are not produced, they need to stop the meeting until they are produced. And, council members, please look up the definition of the word “resolution”.
It seems that the only resolution that the council can agree on is to is to do nothing, do nothing again, and follow it up with a big fat nothing for an encore. Waiting for the county to agree to your proposal it is a joke. Who makes the decisions for the city? It seems as if we are waiting for the county to do that. You don’t need to constantly update the same sets of facts and figures just to say NO. You just have to have some gumption and do something. I hope Garry Daeke will make a motion to end joint funding at every meeting of the council until it is finally done.
Now, if the council really wanted to get some answers and get its business crystal clear, then it should ask the manager to provide the figures on how much money the library has contributed to the Embassy Foundation. While they’re at it, they should ask for an explanation as to why the library has not shown their contribution to the Embassy Foundation in its budget along with an explanation as to what the Embassy Foundation did with taxpayer money? They should also ask the manager to present to them the budget of the Embassy Foundation, the figures on the outstanding debt of the Embassy Foundation, and the date on which the library building will be deeded to the city. They should also ask the manager to provide the figures for how much the county is saving by not paying one cent for a building to house the library.
While they are asking for information from the manager, they need to get him to provide some more answers. How much revenue is generated from user fees at Aycock Recreation Center? How much revenue does 911 take in from the taxes on our cell phones and land lines? How much revenue does the airport generate from landing fees? The council needs to have all the figures and facts instead of floundering around the issue cluelessly or wasting time going back and forth and speculating on issues that can be researched and answered factually.
It was really laughable to read the old, tired, ridiculous argument that your taxes and mine might not even be paying for joint ventures and that all that money could just be coming from sales tax revenue! Whoever came up with that illogical rubbish must think we are idiots and sheep. It does not matter where you say the money is coming from. If the city did not have to pay for joint ventures, we would have that money — whether from our ad valorum taxes or sales tax — for critical needs in the city.
Now that I think about, in addition to justice and fairness being dead, I think intelligence is fading fast too.
What is it going to take to get us off life support around here?