This column originally appeared in the Sept. 29, 2016 edition of the Herald Weekly. I’ve included the services contract below between Huntersville and Huntersville Fire Dept., Inc. – I’m going to try to start including source documents whenever possible here at the site since this was something I couldn’t do at the paper.
Some random thoughts and questions on topics in and around Huntersville a la the great Thomas Sowell (Google him, kids).
• Two questions about the recently announced Lake Norman Transportation Commission replacement, the North Meck Alliance, composed of officials from Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. Why did Huntersville taxpayers fund the LNTC for years if apparently town officials are now meeting without any cost to the taxpayers? And how long before our elected leaders will be advocating for a new, salaried executive director for this North Meck Alliance?
• Did you know the Huntersville Fire Department is not actually a department of the town but a nonprofit corporation that contracts with Huntersville to provide fire, rescue and other emergency services? The most recent service agreement (see below) between Huntersville and the Huntersville Fire Department, Inc. was signed in October 2012 for a period of five years. This contract will be up for renewal next year during an election year. It will be interesting to see whether any current town board members advocate for a competitive bidding process for fire services prior to agreeing to a renewal of the current agreement.
• The most depressing aspect of the presidential election isn’t the candidates we have to choose from, but how many individuals seem to believe the next president will have a greater impact on their lives than the impact each individual can have on his or her own life. Start learning more about your local government prior to municipal elections next year if you want to make a difference in an election with real impact on your life.
• Why is it that certain media outlets insist on referring to riots as protests? Some media outlets even elaborate and label what occurred in Charlotte last week as “angry” or “violent” protests. Why were police officers in “riot gear” if it was just a protest? Even if the “it was a book” narrative is later discredited by evidence (similar to the “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative discredited by the Department of Justice report on the Michael Brown shooting), has this narrative now become irrefutable fact in the mind of the protesters and their sympathizers? And how long before we begin to see articles in credible publications praising the rioters for all of the economic development opportunities they created by destroying so much property in Uptown? Just think of all the glass makers who will benefit financially when they are paid to repair all the broken windows in various Uptown businesses. Not to mention all the police officers who will benefit from being paid overtime. And the defense lawyers who will get paid to represent all of those arrested during the mostly peaceful protests.
• Finally, if the recent solicitation ordinance passed by a 4-2 majority of the Huntersville town board is really all about safety, why is an exemption allowed for applicants with at least $2 million in liability insurance? Don’t the lives of people who work for organizations with just enough insurance liability coverage matter too? Since this ordinance was passed ostensibly to ensure the safety of those soliciting contributions and not to raise revenue for the town, I expect town board members to push for the application fee to be a mere $1. Commissioner Rob Kidwell cited the recent death of a homeless man soliciting on an off-ramp in Charlotte as a reason this ordinance was needed. If it is up to the town government to ensure people don’t get run over while soliciting on interstate off-ramps, is it also up to town government to ensure those people have enough money so they don’t need to beg to begin with?