The City Council Meeting From The Second Row-Aisle Seat-July 8, 2019

I have a take on tonight’s Council Meeting that you won’t get from anyone else. On the way home, I thought, Andre Knight and Ruben Blackwell could charm the bees out of a tree. Here are these two handsome men, right off the cover of Gentleman’s Quarterly Magazine. Both have a great sense of style and wear their clothes well. Both men have great speaking voices. They are articulate, bright, and sincere. Tonight, they each had their moment in the sun; moving and memorable. Mr. Knight reminded everyone about the great work OIC does in the community. He personalized this with a heartfelt story about how OIC  has influenced his life, beginning with help to go to college.  You know how Usher walks on stage to sing? He often says, “Let the whole church say, amen!”  As Mr. Knight talked, there was soft amen- like reactions from the audience.

Mr. Blackwell spoke some lines from a Martin Luther King address that were inspiring, with his delivery style. His smile alone could melt butter. This is the kind of thing that can happen at a City Council meeting.  I wouldn’t have missed these ‘bee charmers’ for the world tonight. During the public hearings, many who spoke were at their best and made reasoned justification why an 18 million dollar parking garage and attending issues are a bad idea. There were a few comments I couldn’t make heads or tails of, and one man made a poor attempt at subtlety about not liking ‘crackers.’  There was good humor, especially from an older gentleman, who delighted everyone. I think every seat was taken. (I got there at 6:00 to be sure I got mine.)

What I didn’t get about tonight’s meeting is this position, which Mr. Blackwell, articulated beautifully, even if I don’t agree, that somehow the Edgecomb side of life has been waiting for a hotel and parking garage for too long and the time is now, and by gosh, regardless of the cost to the taxpayers, the closed bidding process, or that there is no overall plan, or check and balance on what things actually do cost, this project is meet and right, so to do.  (a phrase from my Episcopal prayer book) Don’t forget that the projections of occupancy and usage etc., are a shot in the dark. I don’t even think people are bent out of shape over the idea of a hotel, as much as they have rightful concerns about the costs, decisions being made by people under investigation, and the priorities across the board….. and the rationale that we, the black community, deserve this. A hotel and parking garage hardly compares to Richard Worsinger’s comments about needing  $62 million for our water and sewer system infrastructure.

 

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in Stepheny's Rocky Mount Reflections and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The City Council Meeting From The Second Row-Aisle Seat-July 8, 2019

  1. Dave Iery says:

    You write great blogs with memorable lines.
    I like how you described the passionate speech of
    one who spoke as”His smile alone could soften
    butter.”
    Concerning the justification for a hotel and parking
    garage I would add the advise I once received from
    a CEO of an International Company :
    “In God we trust, but all others bring facts and data.”

    Like

  2. Rodd says:

    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15

    Wise words for anyone to consider Christian or not. And it seems particularly appropriate when considering individuals (especially those who are elected) who profit from the business of poverty, land grabs and obfuscate important facts by beguiling and charming the public.

    As Lotte the storekeeper in Moon Struck said to her husband “I seen a wolf in everybody I ever met and I see a wolf in you.”

    Well RM I see more then a few wolves in your town.

    Better go hunting by voting them out of office and demand a complete accounting of your tax dollars.

    Like

  3. Randy Adcox says:

    Once again Stepheny your observations are spot on. I too, noticed the “we deserve this” comments by councilman Blackwell, and couldn’t help but
    think about all the poor, undeserved citizens of this city who could be helped by an $18 million infusion of cash into their neighborhoods. That won’t happen of course, because it’s apparently easier to get federal and state grant money for pet projects, than it is to get money to help those who need it most.

    Like

    • Thanks, Randy. I have grown quite fond of our “go to meeting” crowd, place holders, for Rocky Mount taxpayers. Neighborhoods, ah, that’s the ticket. Another reason why these projects become suspect. As you say, think what that money would do to restore our neighborhoods. we have to keep on plugging.

      Like

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