The Run Off Election For Mayor – Vote For Sandy Roberson

“you know, they say if you don’t vote, you get the government you deserve.”

On election day, October 8, of those who voted in the mayoral race, they elected Sandy Robinson by a landslide, eliminated two candidates, yet failed to capture 50% of the vote. He was 177 votes short. I’m sure you heard me hollering from the middle of Main Street….who stayed up all night and thought up a system where Mr. Williams, who came in second with his 27.1 % or 2,652, deserves a run-off? Mr. Roberson’s total was 48.2% or 4,718.

Mr. Williams said,  “The reality is Rocky Mount is 67% African-American, and we have not had an African-American mayor since it’s inception.”  Contrary to the talking points about racism being the reason for that, this runoff election is not about skin color. It’s about competence, experience, a proven track record and a moral compass that points to what is best for Rocky Mount. Sandy Roberson provides that kind of leadership. Mr. Williams has the endorsement from the  ‘majority four,’ a lot of campaign rhetoric about how important unity is and all of a sudden how important things are that have been ignored. There is no chance that Bronson Williams can provide the change we desperately need.

It is all academic if people don’t go and vote for Sandy. Don’t make the mistake of thinking he won the first time and will again. Rocky Mount deserves the very best and the man of the hour to bring what we need is Sandy Roberson!  Promise me you’ll go and vote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T. J. Walker Wins in Ward 4 – Let’s Go Higher!

(Click on the video several times until the bar shows up at the bottom. You will see the sound bottom on the right with an X on it, click on it and the  sound will start.)

I love this campaign video on Facebook. It makes me sway with the music and there is no question, it is time for a change in Ward 4. Here is the young man, T. J. Walker, that is going to bring it. It was my loss that I never spent time with this fine young man before the election. I heard him speak at the ECC forum and knew this was the winner.

As luck would have it while taking my slot at the polls for Sandy Roberson, I walked over and introduced myself to a gentleman who had been standing there since the polls opened. Only the pride and love of his son could have kept him on his feet all that time. My hands were cold after two hours and my wet hair started to curl, but  I made a new friend that afternoon while standing with Mr. Walker: T. J.’s dad.

There is so much hope wrapped around this young man’s shoulders. Is he strong enough, his own man enough, brave enough as this new young generation steps up to the plate in Ward 4? He has no idea how much we want him to succeed! He already talks the language of the youth in Rocky Mount. He brings new eyes to our problems, new energy, a moral compass to guide him on his way. You know how the home plate umpire bends down and brushes off the plate before the batter steps into the box? The voters of Ward 4 have done that for T.J. Walker. The fans in the Rocky Mount stands are already cheering the new kid on the team who is warmed up and ready to go.

 

I hugged my new friend, the proud Dad goodbye. The polls closed, the voters in Ward 4 had spoken. From where I sit, I hope this new councilman can hear me cheering, “Come on, batter, batter, batter, let’s go higher.

 

Rocky Mount’s Lone Ranger – Lige Daughtridge – In The Saddle and Ready to Ride

You are familiar with The Lone Ranger, a fictional masked former Texas Ranger who fought outlaws in the American Old West with his Native American friend, Tonto. This character became an enduring icon of our American culture. He is a perfect foil for our Lone Ranger, Lige Daughtridge!

Lige has acted as the Lone Ranger for Rocky Mount for a long time. I have watched him rise from his seat, papers in hand, and walk to the microphone in the Council Chambers, to speak on behalf of the taxpayers. Click on William Tell Overture Finale and have a laugh with me.

This is the music I connect with the new Councilman in Ward 5 who replaces Tom Rogers. A businessman, with a long respected family name in Rocky Mount, Lige has kept watch over the affairs of the city government and work of the Council for years. He has brought his education, passion, and experience to this moment of winning his election. We have cause for celebration knowing this reasoned, bright and articulate man, who has served Rocky Mount in many capacities and helped shape the dialogue over many issues, now has a vote!

 

The Big Winners – Kevin Jones and Tarrick Pittman

“If your actions inspire others to dream more,                                                                                 learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
John Quincy Adams

Young, smart, articulate, confident, engaging, well-educated, each with personal inspiring stores to tell, Kevin Jones and Tarrick Pittman were big winners on Tuesday.  When you add to that mix the hearts they have to raise people up, especially our youth,  you recognize how fortunate Rocky Mount is to have their commitment to the future.

They both have to be exhausted and disappointed. They worked tirelessly to meet and greet, shake hands, smile, tap dance, and hopefully, find laughter along the way. I know they don’t regret a moment of this effort. They emerged clear winners! What was impressive to me was the plans they clearly put forth to make Ward 1 a better place and all of Rocky Mount. At the ECC Forum, they stood, they spoke, they were prepared, they had at it, and walked away with the respect and admiration of the audience. We can build a future on the likes of these two gentlemen. Integrity intact, having conducted themselves admirably, we congratulate them both on inspiring others to believe that they too can make a difference. I click my heels and salute you.

 

“Success is not how high you have climbed, but how you make a positive difference to the world.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

 

 

Big Change Ahead – October 8th – Keep Breathing and Believing

As for the election on Oct. 8th-have you voted? With all the talk and speculation, worry and who to believe, it feels at times like waiting for the umpire’s call after the slide into home plate just as the ball hits the catchers glove! Every little something means something even if it doesn’t. Like – look how worried the incumbent in Ward 1 is with all his tactics. Now that’s true!

Someone on Concerned Citizens posed a ‘what if’ question. I put my preacher robes on and answered. I forgot to say what I keep telling myself, keep breathing and believing!

SFH Answer: I knew a little boy years ago that came up with an expression I’ve used ever since.  “Don’t borrow a worry!” I will add what Julian of Norwich said, “All will be well, all matter of things shall be well.” These two notes from today’s sermon a few days before the election.

Count Down to the Election -Thirteen Days! -‘Striding Forward With Growing Confidence’ Or Not?

John Gilbert Winant

I have been keeping company with a man that first captured my attention while reading the book, Citizens of London by Lynne Olson. (I’m reading it again.) His name was John Gilbert Winant and among many things, he was United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom after Joseph  Kennedy went home. He served Roosevelt and Truman. He was a Republican governor and chair of the Social Security Board. This is only a part of his story, but it helps to place him in a setting.

I have pursued Winant with further reading. He must have been a remarkable man. All these years later, he is certainly relevant again to me, and I’m sure to others who met him for the first time, as I did, when reading, Citizens. If you are of a certain age, you are familiar with the cast of characters that surrounded his life; the world they influenced became our world. The likes of Roosevelt, Churchill, A. Harriman, and fascinating others. He spent decades focused on social justice and the creation of a better life for workman and women throughout the world.

With thirteen days left until the election, we turn to Winant. After all the rhetoric and social media videos, and declarations of intentions, speeches, appearances, walking the street, politics at its worst and best, we hope those elected rise to the occasion and become the best they can be. Choosing the right canidate has centered on the issues of  jobs, and housing, economic drivers,  innovation and creativity. Besides looking for a plan and VISION, there is something we hope for that matters more.

The following is taken from a speech Winant made in Durham, England in 1942 to four hundred delegates, representing thousands of striking coal minors. Several hours after the speech, the delegates voted to go back to work.

“We must always remember,” he said, “that it is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail. That caring counts. That where there is no vision, people parish. That hope and faith count, and that without charity there can be nothing good. That by daring to live dangerously, we are learning to live generously. And that by believing in the inherent goodness of man, we may meet the call of your great Prime Minister and ‘stride forward into the unknown with growing confidence.”

Crashing On the Rocks of City Government

The City Council Chambers

The Siren call lures nearby sailors to crash upon the rocks of the islands of dangerous creatures. It is their enchanting music and singing that calls them. I am lured by the story of Main Street and the significance of commercial and residential architecture. The corollary danger for me started with my research and learning. The more people that took me under their wing to talk, the more I grew to love the possibilities, I ended up crashing on the rocks of City Government. I found that possibilities are mismanaged, certain members of the City Council rig the system, talented and good people leave or are pushed out, and we have an investigation into maleficence and the skullduggery of leadership that casts a wide net of consequences.

Crashing on these rocks, my writing on the Main Street blog shifted to finding answers that explain the state of things downtown and in the surrounding areas of neglect. I hate having to grapple with the possibility that we will never have real prosperity; the prosperity of spirit in people’s lives in Rocky Mount because certain members of the City Council game the system for their own benefit.

The longer we hesitate to call out, name, remove, allow further deterioration of our buildings and housing, the further down the rabbit hole we go. Waiting is not soon enough for those who long for a decent life with an opportunity to lift themselves up. I’m talking about job availability for those willing to work hard after receiving a decent education. Waiting for a future in the sweet by and by shouldn’t be necessary with elected leaders, who are committed to Rocky Mount and a better life for people. The answer begins with your VOTE! Until we hold accountable those we have given the power to make a difference, Rocky Mount will continue to be sabotaged by self-interest, mismanagement, and greed.

The Masonic Temple on Church Street

I want us to be about: saving Mainstreet, the at-risk neighborhoods, restoring and repurposing, creating pride of ownership that promotes safety in our neighborhoods where people look out for one another. I want those who have made a mistake to have a job when entering back into society. I want a tour of our saved shotgun houses and a reason for people to return to Rocky Mount where they grew up. I want the Masonic Building on Church Street to become a boutique hotel, the Carlton House, one of our historic places, back in business. I want to stroll down Howard Street and sit at a cafe table talking to those who walk by. I want to see couples holding hands walking down Main Street headed to restaurants and coffee shops. People shopping and making memories with their grandchildren. I want to see all the entrepreneurs that took a chance on Rocky Mount rewarded for their belief, working hard to make their dreams come true in this place.

A Restored Shot Gun House

Like it or not, life is about politics, especially now. It is essential that the Councilman in Ward 1, after sixteen years, is replaced with Tarrick Pittman who brings a new vision. This is a great opportunity to vote for the new leadership that is running for the open seats in Wards 3,4,5. We want a new Major who has the experience to create jobs and understands the necessity of a trained work force. Be aware of those who sing the Sirens song again.  It’s election time and suddenly, “I care about you.”  I hope you agree we have had enough of crashing on the rocks of City Government.

Betting On The Best Horses in the Rocky Mount Election Derby Oct. 8, 2019

Keeneland Race Track Lexington, Kentucky

At the University of Kentucky, I learned to play bridge in the Student Union, I became a life long college basketball fan, and I learned how to read a racing form! I learned not to schedule a class on Thursday afternoons in the Spring. The reason: the Spring Meet at Keeneland Race track that covers four Thursdays in April.  Opening Race -1:00 PM.

Some pick a horse simply by its name with little regard for its previous record. It is better to study the racing form (like looking at a person’s resume). You consider how many times the horse has raced (a person’s experience) and who trained the horse (a person’s education and work experience). How has the horse performed in prior races (their record)? I walk to the paddock area before a race to watch each horse that is led around. Before I bet, I take a good look at their confirmation, (listen to their plans) and I pay attention to their temperament. You put it all together and make a decision. Watching from the stands, there is sheer beauty and power in a thoroughbred horse turning the corner for the home stretch, bringing a cheering crowd to their feet. Pick wisely, and at the end of the day (Oct. 8th,) Rocky Mount will be the true winner.

These are high-stake races in the upcoming Election Derby. Make sure you check that your ‘horse’ has a  strong moral compass, leadership skills, experience, and is in the race to lead the people of Rocky Mount into a bright future. Self-serving City Council members have given racing a bad name. In Race #1, it is time to put a 16-year incumbent out to pasture. Enough! Place a large bet on the horse named Pittman. He is an absolute winner. There are some fine horses running in Race 3, 4, 5. Be sure the best prevail. We all look forward to the winner of the Mayoral race crossing the finish line signifying a new vision and strong leadership for Rocky Mount.

On Derby Day, as a UK student, I stood in the infield at Churchill Downs with a group of my sorority sisters and our dates. Older and luckier, I have worn a lovely hat sitting in a Derby box. On this Election Derby Day, I’ll meet you at the Winners Circle, where hopefully, you will be holding winning tickets in your hand.

                                  Predicting the outcome of races
Thoroughbred handicapping (in the USA) is the art of predicting horses who have the greatest chance of winning a race and profiting from these predictions. The Daily Racing Form (DRF), a newspaper-style publication, details statistical information about each horse entered in a race, including detailed past performance results, lifetime records, amount of money earned. I have studied the DRF!  and listened closely. I am ready to handicap the races for you. Good luck!

RACE 1  Andre’ Knight (i)   Tarrick Pittman

RACE 3  Richard Joyner (i ) Nellene Richardson,  Gwen Wilkins

RACE 4  T.J. Walker Jr., Elaine Williams

RACE 5  Robert Cordell, Elijah Daughtridge

MAYORAL RACE  Robert Alston, Kevin Jones, Sandy Roberson, Bronson Williams

 

Do You Want to Buy An $18 Million Parking Garage Available On The Rocky Mount Monopoly Board?

For the fun of it, let’s play Monopoly!  On the Board, one of the things we can buy is a parking deck. A deck we are told that will be great for Edgecombe County. Consider a few of the following things before plunking your Monopoly money down.

  1. This parking deck has 700 spaces.
  2. You currently have 328 spaces being used for the Event Center.
  3. The hotel wants 140 spaces.
  4. Building the parking deck On Top of our existing  328 spaces
  5. Net gain 232 spaces.
  6. Parking deck total cost (including the acquisition of land, but not including consultants) $18,350.000
  7. Cost per new space, $79.095

I highly recommend that instead, you consider building surface parking across the street from the Event Center. I don’t see how, but let’s say that costs $1 million. This hotel, parking, mixed-use project is being touted as great for Edgecombe County. Makes you wonder how many times residents of Wards 1,2,3, 4 will stay in this proposed hotel? If they park in the parking deck, they will have to pay to do so.

It is a false premise to say that building the hotel is an economic driver. A hotel does not bring restaurants and shops and living above the store apartments. It is having these things in place that result in needing a place to stay. If this project is really good for Wards 1-4,  spend the $1 million on surface parking and invest the rest of that $18,350.000 in these Wards that have the most distressed housing, missing sidewalks, potholes in the streets, unkempt parks, crime, and slum landlords.

The party line is that Nash County is responsible for these poor conditions, and the plight of these Wards. This is an unexamined idea! You have to ask why Wards 1-4 look the way they do if the majority vote on the council holds the power?  This majority, had they wanted to, could have directed city resources into these Wards, having the best sidewalks, tree-lined streets, liveable and safe housing, the best parks in the city rather than the worst. This is within the purview of the City of Rocky Mount. Wards 1-4 are the Gateway of Rocky Mount and should be seeing growth. Will the October 8, 2019 election finally be the end date when the citizens of Rocky Mount are no longer willing to be disrespected by the leaders who say they want to help them?

September 19 -6:30, at a Meet The Candidate Event held at ECC, the contested Council Seat in Ward 1, held by Councilman Knight since 2003,  spent his time defending himself and the current Council for all the great strides they have made. There is little correlation, however, between those words and tangible results in Ward 1. The winner for the evening was Tarrick Pittman, who is running for Mr. Knight’s seat. A retiring, quiet, gentle young man, he stood head and shoulders taller than all the rest with his articulate, well planned, plans for Ward 1 and his work for the entire city. An impressive resume, his technological expertise informs his approach. He is a bright, new hope, and Monopoly player for Rocky Mount. Next time we’ll talk about buying a Monopoly Utility Company with the money we saved by providing surface parking. A parking deck might be nice to have, but repair and replacing infrastructure is a must-have. 

Early Voting Starts September 18 – “Much is Expected”

Camp Echo Waterfront

In Evanston, IL., the YMCA played an important part in growing up. I started with Little Women in the 5th grade and graduated high school as a member of a Girls Tri-Hi-Y Club. The only thing the Y ever failed at was teaching me how to swim. It was leadership training from start to finish. My Junior year in high school my education included going to Springfield for the coveted Youth and Government program with a selected few. I have wonderful  memories of the Y- owned Camp Echo in Fremont, Michigan where the girls were given two weeks each August. The camp was part of my life for many years, first as a camper, then counselor, and even the summer I was first married, I returned as an assistant camp director. Catch me some time, and I will sing you a few lines of – – I want to wake up in the morning at dear old Camp Echo. where the sun comes a peeping into where I’m sleeping, and the songbirds sing hello.  (You’ll  love it!)

What’s this got to do with voting? It’s about what Zenol Moore said to me all those years ago. Zenol was the director of the Girls’ and Women’s’ Department at the Y. In her 90’s today, we still are in touch. One day during high school, rather than attend a meeting in her office after school, I blew it off to go downtown Evanston with the girls for French Fries and a cherry coke. In those days, authority figures were allowed to call us on the carpet if necessary. I was called! It was the first time anyone had ever said to me, “To those much is given, much is expected.”  To this day Zenol’s council has followed me. I am forever grateful to her for this plank in my platform that has served me well.

We’ve all been given the great privilege to vote. This upcoming election won’t cure all our ills in one fell swoop, but starting with Ward 1 there is the opportunity for change. That incumbent Councilman has been on the Council since 2003. Citizens in Wards 3,4,5  are running for the open seats. If people stay home believing their vote won’t change anything, there isn’t a chance we can “throw the rascals out.” All of us have been given so much, and in turn, much is expected of us.

Don’t miss this opportunity to have a voice in Rocky Mount’s future. Seriously consider your vote for Major. The things that are broken will take experience and maturity to fix. The Council meetings are the Mayor’s meeting, who sets the agenda and presides. We need a strong presence, with a take-charge attitude at the helm to right this listing ship. We all have the right to expect much from this coming election. A new day!