The Rocky Mount Bill of Rights Versus A $18 million Parking Garage

I have only a few pages left in Charles Krauthammer’s book, The Point Of It All. He has been gone a year now and is sorely missed. A syndicated columnist, political commentator, physician, he wrote columns in the Washington Post for 33 years. This book is a second collection about everything from baseball to chess, policy, the space program, the state of many things. A brilliant man whose writing, use of language, and clarity are as fine as any class you could possibly take on the subject of writing.

While reading my way along, I’ve been aware of many voices talking in the background as if a radio has been left on in another room. These voices are in deep conversation, some frustrated or discouraged, some saying nothing can be done, but many bent on hitting the pause button until the investigations into the wrongdoings of city government can be concluded. I know you have been hearing these voices too! The opening lines in the Lindell Kay Telegram article (Friday, July 5, 2019) sum up what these conversations are about.

“What started out as a simple non-binding letter of intent presented six months ago during a hectic Rocky Mount City Council meeting is poised to become an $18 million downtown parking deck.”                                                  Click here: READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

Enter Charles Krauthammer – paraphrased – a few words from an address at  Hillsdale College celebrating Constitution Day. (page 268-269)

The essence of constitutional power — the separation of powers and the inherent rivalry among the branches would check the ambitions of any potential tyrants. The skeptics, however,  insisted on the Bill of Rights, not trusting that the enumeration of powers would be enough to actually prevent tyrannical rule. The Bill of Rights ensured that each citizen would explicitly be given a sphere of inviolability in the form of rights against the government–inside of which the citizen remains sovereign and free.  

My sense is that the crux of all these conversations taking place, regardless of how well stated they are, is that the proposal for a hotel leaves us feeling that we have no rights in the matter. City Council meetings are held, a sham of a public hearing takes place, but the vote has already happened. It is maddening.

Here is what Lige Daughtridge had to say the other day: “There are alternative uses for $18 million that could benefit downtown and the city far more,” said council candidate Lige Daughtridge, who has been a vocal critic of the hotel and parking deck proposal. “$10.5 million could solve the downtown drainage issue; we could speed up the installation of sidewalks and road repairs throughout the city. If the developer is serious in his belief of the success of the hotel, there are far less expensive ways for the city to incentivize the project, such as providing 140 surface spaces instead of a parking deck, or property tax rebates.”  So you see the conversation is not all nasty or thoughtless. There are those trying to protect the RIGHTS of Rocky Mount citizens when it comes to a project like this. A project we are told will happen, whether we like it or not, rather than what is prudent and a part of a master plan. No wonder we feel our Rocky Mount Bill of Rights are being treated as a no never mind!

Be Sure To Scroll Down to See Comments.

Come to the City Council meeting on Monday, July 8th at 7:00. Come early and if you are going to speak, try your best to be clear, reasoned, stating your objections and WHY. I’ll be there cheering you on.