To Be ThanksGiving, You Must Be ThanksReceiving

A few months ago, after experiencing the evil in people, it took everything I had to put one foot in front of the other and move amongst the very world that seemed to be against me at the time. Yes, it was political season, but I wasn’t a candidate, and yet the acts of cruelty lobbed against me and against my family was something I never imagined a human being could do to another — a purposeful effort to hurt my family’s reputation, finances, hard work.

One August morning, I decided I needed the peace of the mountains and I drove to Blowing Rock. I walked in the downtown, browsed through the stores, watched children swing in the downtown park. When rain started to fall, I meandered to a restaurant with a deck and sat down at a table in the corner.

I ordered a salad and a glass of wine (as a treat to myself for being alone!) and as I neared the end of my meal, a woman walked up from the sidewalk to the side of the deck. “Honey, can you tell me where the Flat Top Manor is?”

Well, I couldn’t, but the waitress Googled it, and as she was looking, the woman told me I “must” go, that it was a beautiful old home on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a stunning vista and available wares from artisans for sale. “Why not?” I told her, and I paid my bill and began to walk to the parking lot to my car.

In an alley in Blowing Rock, there is a giant postcard painted on a wall that tells visitors, “Welcome to Blowing Rock!”. It was there that I saw another woman taking a picture of it. “Can I take a picture for you with you in it?” I asked her. She handed me her camera with thanks and I took a few pictures.

She asked me where I was from and I told her. I reciprocated the question and she told me she lived in a small town in Oklahoma, but then she amended her answer: “I actually am FROM a small town in Kansas.”

I was afraid I knew what she was going to say next when I asked her which small town. “Harper,” she replied. I dropped my shopping bag and my purse on the parking lot ground and heard myself whisper, “I must have needed you.” And then I told her, “if you have angel wings on your back, I won’t be surprised.”

You see, my great-grandmother was the first girl born in the incorporated Harper, Kansas. My grandmother was born there, and my mother. I spent most of my summers in Harper and in college, when I needed love and re-invigoration, and because my parents lived several states away, Harper was my solace, because my grandmother was my best friend.

This woman, Carol, actually had lived close to the family land we call Pilot Knob. She had attended the one room schoolhouse on the property that my grandmother eventually tore down and from which I still have some old books.

Carol joined me on the trip to Flat Top Manor, where we sat on the porch in rocking chairs and talked to other people from far away about the connections that can be made when your hearts are open. I drove home that day incredulous and inspired and overwhelmed…and happy.

I have much to be thankful for, as I always do. In giving thanks this year, I will remember that when I make my heart available, so much more happiness comes my way. I am able to give more, and in return, I receive.

I haven’t received a text lately from Carol and I’ve been hesitant to text her myself. Because part of me wants to believe she was an angel, sent from my grandmother, to let me know all is going to be okay. But I may just send her this note, to let her know that in the randomness of the world, on a day I decided impulsively to drive to a mountain town, ate a restaurant that was closest to me when a quick rain shower came down, sat at a table close to a sidewalk where a woman could walk by and ask me a question and walk down an alley where someone was taking a picture, she will be on my Thanksgiving list today.

Happy ThanksReceiving Day.

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There Are Always Two Sides to What You Read. Make Sure You Ask.

These are the reasons to check into each candidate. Talk to him/her. Ask about what you read. Delve into issues and look at votes. There is usually more to to learn.

Conversely, if someone sends you a “fact”, don’t rely on their research. Don’t rely on mine. Do your own.

Danny Phillips Wins the Lottery

When It Comes to Elections, Just Research

This week we saw Arizona Senator Jeff Flake speak about today’s political environment. I could not help but compare his words to the actions taken recently by those running for office here in Huntersville. Below are his words and some of my own thoughts for those who may be interested in Huntersville and its future.

Senator Flake: “The reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have been elected to serve. None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that that is just the way things are now….

Such behavior does not project strength because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit and weakness. It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?”

In a time when our community needs vision and solutions, we are instead bombarded with signs and candidates who refuse to participate in forums.

Campaigning has become cruel and personal attacks are now the normal expectation. I am no longer in public service anymore, nor am I running for public office, and still, I am maligned on a regular basis via social media. In fact, as I write this, I know that people who don’t know me will spit my name out.  I have to remind myself not to be like them.

In today’s local elections, I am concerned about our Town and the progress and standards our Town has had for decades. I am attached to the Staff that has worked hard to forward a positive vision. I am dedicated to showing our children that public service is indeed a noble ambition (or at the very least, we should make it one again).

I know there are candidates (incumbents) who love their families and whose families would do anything for them. I’m sure as parents and spouses, their love knows no bounds. I’ve seen the dedication of their friendships and how fiercely people will protect them. And because families are also affected by campaigns, I will say their loyalty is the right thing. But not at the expense of the family members of other people.

My qualms with some of the incumbents would be the way they represent our town — is it for the greater good, or for themselves?

Our local Election Day is Tuesday November 7th and we have four men who are running for re-election. They are running as a slate (they call themselves “the dream team”) — their signs are grouped together at every intersection;  their postcards and four pictures in our mailboxes. They are counting on name recognition and a low voter turnout to ensure a win. These men are benefiting from block voting on Town issues and are supporting each other and their supporters in business and personal matters that are not always in the Town’s best interests.

This is why I will NOT be voting for Phillips, Guignard, Gibbons or Boone and why I will be writing in Ed Humphries (former mayor, commissioner and town manager for Huntersville) as mayor). It’s time the good people of Huntersville, not the angry ones, make a statement FOR our town.

The remainder of this post is long, but I hope you find it worth reading. I hope you do your research. I hope you pay attention:

Because without doing research, voters may well be voting in a man who made close to a million dollars as a commissioner (although he didn’t vote), when his slate approved a rezoning on his land despite the town staff and planning board (volunteer citizens) recommending denial. Voters won’t be aware that this commissioner wanted to draw his own designs for a fire department, recommending that firefighters use the same sink to wash off chemicals and human blood that they also use for cooking firehouse meals, or that he accused a fire chief who has been a lifelong resident of Huntersville of potentially running off with reserve funds (insulting and untrue).

Without doing research, voters may re-elect a person who proclaims to be a small business advocate who has been told by God to purchase buildings. But the research would show that God had nothing to do with this man getting his slate on the town board to demand that the owner of the building next to his be required to improve the building, including the SHARED WALL, or that his slate buddies helped approve a rezoning on another of his properties, or that he was caught stealing from a business owner and denying it (and took chicken biscuits to the entire police department after the business filed a report of the theft), and a week later spit on the hood of a woman’s car — while she was in it — because of where she parked.

Without doing research, voters won’t know that a current commissioner believes in landowner rights, which could very well mean that his excuse for supporting a fellow slate member’s rezoning could also mean that in the future, Soil Supply can do whatever they want and affect his own NorthStone neighborhood.

Will voters be aware of the quid pro quo cases among this slate and the current mayor? Will voters know that the slate of men negotiated a contract on behalf of a vendor, not on behalf of our town? Will voters learn that candidates who have so much money that they can put in ads in the paper and sticky  notes on papers and postcards and signage — have that money because of the donors that have benefited from their power?

Research Jake Palillo. He admittedly spent $50,000 on ads against previous candidates — and recently won a rezoning for a 4-story building on Sam Furr and got his wishes with regard to HFFA and the Town Manager.

From: <jpalillo@aol.com>
Date: June 12, 2016 at 11:14:40 AM EDT
To: <rkidwell@huntersville.org>, <mgibbons@huntersville.org>, <phil3147@bellsouth.net>, <dboone@huntersville.org>, <mbales@huntersville.org>, <gferguson@huntersville.org>, <dpeete@huntersville.org>, <janeralla@bellsouth.net>, <bcoxe@huntersville.org>
Good morning Mayor and Commissioner,

I finally had a little time this morning to read several weeks of local papers and I have a few questions. I spent over 50,000 dollars in the last 2 elections to bring change to the Town of Huntersville. I spoke to several of you during the last elections and you were all pumped on getting in and changing things. The People of Huntersville spoke and showed they wanted change. 
OK…..you have been in office for 6 of your 24 month term. “GOOD” leaders, “SMART” Leaders come in and make all of the changes within the first 6 to 9 months. Jan 2017 you should be bragging about your changes and your success and 12 months from now you will be focused on telling the people why you should be re-elected.  Your window to make change and keep your promise to the people is passing.

Please tell me what this new Leadership has done to improve the Town in your first 6 months? I challenge all of you to tell me the difference between the Swain gang and the this new Mayor and Board? The only claim to fame I see is selling a 3 million dollar Town property to a local developer for 1.2 million. It was a “STUPID” sweetheart deal and I told all of you so. I’ll leave out names for now, you will know if I’m pointing you out.
I met 2 of you at TMAC and was told this deal was “GREAT” and the reason for giving it away for half its value was within 60 days of approving it the people would see the announcement of a grocery store and a large brew pub. This was the start and it was going to start the redevelopment of this area. Its been 60 days…. where is all the great news?

The question I have and you should have is who is the one behind pushing this deal and gathering the support to approve it? This was a sweetheart deal, who’s taking credit for giving it?

One of the biggest changes the Town needed was to get rid of Bill Coxe, the Town Manager and several rude employees.  Everyone of you with the exception of Mrs Bale agreed in the last election this was needed and all of you agreed number one to go was Bill Coxe. He supported the 77 Toll project that the People of Huntersville showed in the election they didn’t want, he chased away businesses and development. His road design ideas are the worst, he doesn’t have a single project ready to go and the list goes on and on. Six months in office and he is still there!  His biggest fan it the Town Manager feeding you-all with BS on why he shouldn’t go and some have bought right into it. One of you told me: Quote, that was how they acted then, I can’t judge them on that, they are working for me now!  BS! They aren’t working for you, they are working for the same Town Manager that was hired by the old Mayor and Board, the same Mayor that will probably run again in 12 months.
One Commissioner said, trust me in 4 weeks Bill Coxe will be gone!  I spoke to him 2 weeks ago and he flipped and he asked me” What do you propose we do without him?. I said are you kidding me? You have a department head that needs to be replaced because of poor performance, doesn’t share the vision you have, doesn’t have a project ready to go, is still supporting the tolls and your asking what do you do without him? He said well you are right they are all true points. I said then let him go and find a better qualified person. 

David Pete and Brad Priest are still in planning giving people a hard time and chasing people away. I sent all of you one example a few weeks ago. This Town as a reputation of being hard to deal with and under the new leadership 6 months in, is still the same. Not a change as been made. NOT ONE!

Here is a prime example of the continued stupidity: Great schools are the foundation of a community. People purchase homes based on the quality of schools.  Meck County schools are some of the worst in the County. We now have Charter schools that are improving education for our children. Lake Norman Charter is a great school and expanding rapidly . Instead of the Town partnering with them and asking how you can help, your jack-ass planning department and idiot Bill Coxe want them to improve Town roads. Not at the entry to the school, miles away.  They are in the education business not the business of improving Town roads. Here is where you could of cut some budget waste, to improve YOUR roads to help the school and ad value to our community. Show the People quality education is a priority in the Town, help schools become better and welcome more to come. Here is your time to show Leadership and fix things…….. you’re failing at even this!  Better yet, lets build another bridge to a business park. You will roll out the red carpet for a company, but stick it in the backside of a school???  The next Charter school looking for a location will look elsewhere because Huntersville is ridiculous!!! 

The swim place still has the same management and sweetheart deal. If you like the management you simply go to the Company and tell them you don’t like the contract and they have two options. Either renegotiate a fair operating agreement or you’re canceling the contract. Its that simple and easy to fix!

New Budget is a joke! I don’t agree in cutting taxes unless there is massive waste, but I do agree with good judgement in trimming fat and moving it to places to provide better services. The Town is a 35 million dollar service business. You collect taxes and provide your citizens services. The Citizens and business owners are the shareholders, they elect a Mayor and Board as Directors and trust they will appoint a Qualified CEO ( Town Manager) who will hire qualified department heads to manage the business (the Town) in providing quality services and a great quality of life. Do some or all of you understand that? Quality schools is a part of the quality of life people in Huntersville want. The Town is not in the education business, the county is but it can be in the helping make our schools and education better by helping Charter Schools develop and expand. Forces their construction costs higher to improve roads is a JOKE!

I have met with most of you and I leave blown away on how little you know about running government or business. Per the law you can’t directly fire anyone, agreed! but per the law you as a group of 4 sit with the Town Manager and nicely and even politely explain to him the new vision and direction you would like to see this Town go. You explain the problem with rude employees that you believe should be let go and you explain you don’t agree with the vision and direction of a department head ( Bill Coxe) and you believe its time to change direction there.
(Hint! Fire him)  If the Town Managers doesn’t take your suggestions you FIRE HIM! He works for you, He is “NOT” elected “You-all are!” You were elected because you promised the people ( your shareholders) you would change things and if you fail the people they will soon FIRE you!   

You “DO” run the Town, it takes 4 of you as a group on the same page. You don’t run a business or Town with poor management because you’re afraid of the termination fee or a lawsuit. That’s the cost of doing business, most or all of you just supported paying millions to terminate the 77 Toll project at the expense of the people of Huntersville.  That requires massive legal fees and damages. That’s  OK, but your afraid to fire a Town Manager who was hired via a contract that says you have the right to fire him if you so desire? In 95 % of the County its a fact newly elected people appoint and hire their own team. Not Huntersville! Here the OLD Town Manager tells the newly elected what to do! ……. and they listen!

Replacing the Town Manager who is trying to steer you in the old direction and convince you to keep bad actors as department heads and staff is the proper thing. The People elected you because they wanted change and want to see the Town go in a different direction. You don’t govern a Town in fear of lawsuits and you don’t listen and take advise from the person you need to replace.

12 months from now someone with the guts and money might replace my yellow ads and get rid of several of you for failing to change things like you promised. No one likes to be called a liar, but right now if I wanted call 3 of you out I can honestly say you lied. You have failed to do what you said.

I didn’t invest my time and money to get favors or be friends, I invested it because I have my children, grandchildren and a business in Huntersville and I want to see good government providing good services, good schools and a great quality of life for them. I have proven I have the guts and money to run ads to inform the people. I don’t want to tell anyone what to do, all I want is for you to do what YOU said YOU were going to do if elected. The one thing people across the Country are tired of is people that run for office, get elected and  then lie.

I have included the Town Manager in this email along with Bill Coxe, Brad Priest and David Pete, unlike some of you I’m not afraid to let it be know that I believe they need to go for cause. I have that right as a tax payer (shareholder)  and want them to know they work for the Town that I pay taxes in. If they don’t like it then one or all come and sue me. 

Unlike some of you I’m not afraid to let them know how I feel, I don’t say things behind their back and I don’t lie.

Did you run for office to change things for the better or get a name tag to feel important? Name tags can be easily changed, but changing the direction of a Town can give great benefits for the people for years and years. 

Please take a few minutes and tell me all the exciting changes over the past 6 months that I missed. Tell Bill Coxe and Ferguson why you ran for election with the platform of getting rid of them and tell me and them why they are still there. Or better yet call me a liar and say you never promised that!

Kindly
Jake Palillo

Research the owner of the landfill on Everett Keith Road. He won an extension on his landfill permit, despite the recommendation of staff — and he contributed to campaigns of people who voted for his extension. Research the relationship between the mayor and the new contractor for management of the HFFA facility.

Without research, local business owners won’t know that the town board doubled the rent on a fledgling business that was just making a profit. Nor will business owners know that the current mayor and slate of men formulated a resolution to say they would not support the Huntersville Chamber of Commerce. And although they decided not to vote on that resolution, they have said publicly they will not attend any local Huntersville Chamber function. While their excuse to not attend is likely because of MY involvement, in doing so they are dismissing the successes of over 100 businesses in our town and surrounding areas. Not attending ribbon cuttings, not being willing to give updates to our membership on town issues and even purchasing domain names that are similar to HuntersvilleChamber.com, to divert traffic away from our website (purchased AFTER the announcement of the formation of our Chamber) … is not the behavior of a true public servant.  Nor does it help the economic foundation of our community.

WHOIS search results

Domain Name: HUNTERSVILLECHAMBEROFCOMMERCE.ORG
Registry Domain ID: D186777746-LROR
Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.godaddy.com
Registrar URL: http://www.godaddy.com
Updated Date: 2017-02-17T13:00:23Z
Creation Date: 2016-02-16T23:06:30Z
Registry Expiry Date: 2018-02-16T23:06:30Z
Registrar Registration Expiration Date:
Registrar: GoDaddy.com, LLC
Registry Registrant ID: C173193757-LROR
Registrant Name: Daniel Phillips
Registrant Organization:
Registrant Street: 14720 Brown Mill Road
Registrant City: Huntersville
Registrant State/Province: North Carolina
Registrant Postal Code: 28078
Registrant Country: US
Registrant Phone: +1.7045334685

If your tax dollars are important to you, check out how many dollars you are spending because the town board — the mayor and his slate — broke at least two contracts. See if the town board has kept the terms of those contracts or if our Town is liable for a potential lawsuit.

We should be a town represented by people who CARE about the town’s well-being, not their own. All we need to do is research.

Please. For the sake of our town, please research.

 

 

A Master Class in Politics

Recently, I got into a dialogue with a political foe in the NextDoor application. He made some old insinuations about me, and rather than trying to rise above, I’d reached my limit and responded exactly how I felt — mad.  And then  he responded….
[For those of you unaware, there is a HUGE division in our community about the construction of managed lanes on a state/federal highway that cuts directly through four of our communities. It was a campaign issue four years ago, two years ago, and it seems, this year. I mean, why not? Anger people to get them to the polls.]
But I’m writing this because my foe, in his responses, actually provided a Master Class of how politics (even local) works. And you gotta give it to those who employ this method. It is offensive to those of us who believe in truth and fairness, but it is effective for those who don’t care…. Because most people seem to believe whatever they read, IF it is negative.
So I’ve taken notes on the post by Jim Puckett. Because although I have zero respect for his methods, he is pretty darn good at well, politics.
Here is Mr. Puckett’s note on NextDoor (his typos are his own). I’ve numbered my responses and posted below.

Jim Puckett: A few comments, First the idea of managed lanes for Bus Rapid Transit along I-77 started BEFORE Gov. Purdue, in fact the biggest proponant was Ned Curran when he chaired the Committee of 21 who brought us the half cent transit tax that Ms. Swain was a MAJOR * (1) supporter and I fought due to it not working for our area. Ms. Swain and I suspect more accurately her contacts at Cintra *(2), are correct in the items that are needed to be “close” to a change of the actual contract. When I say close to change it would be better stated as close to getting the current administration to acting on how best to change and/or cancel the current contract That doesn’t mean that the items outlined by Ms Swain are not correct. There are many moving parts to any change. I do trust the the current Sec. of Transportation and the Governor fully understand the need to make changes and that is the reason they have contracted Mercator to outline options and help in any negotiations going forward. The guaranteed travel time on the toll lanes takes precedent over any congestion or travel times on the GP lanes so regardless of what anyone tells you at the times of highest congestion the toll lanes will not be working to relieve congestion on GP lanes. Profits are unknown but rather easily projected (see any of Kurt Naas’s paperwork *(9)) based on know use and projections. Cintra is a Spanish company so profits end up there *(4) and are distributed as to the makeup of their shareholders, while I can’t say how much stays in Spain Ms. Swain can’t say how much stays there either * (7). I do know that IF the State of NC were to own and manage the project * (6) as we have suggested there would be no private profits to go to Spain. Bottom line is regardless of who makes profits or doesn’t the design works against the people who live in our area and is a potential death knell to logistics (logistics experts opinion not just mine) What I and others have and are achieving is we are at least making the state of North Carolina take a long hard look at a project Ms. Swain and others allowed to go forward *(3). We have changed the people in charge who refused to even consider changes and shown the current administration that the people who Ms. Swain calls “angry” have and will continue to force change via the ballot box. I will not waste time going back and forth with Ms. Swain but will end with this fact. The towns of Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville and the Mecklenburg County Commission (twice) have voted to end what Ms. Swain supported as a viable option * (8). The fact she continues to argue to the merits of a project over 95% *(10) of the citizens of this area repeatedly say they want to end says more than I could say if I spent a month doing so.

Swain Footnotes
Get the History Right
  1. The ½ cent sales tax referendum took place BEFORE I was involved in Huntersville issues and when he was a self-proclaimed champion to repeal the tax, over 70% of residents at the time were against the repeal (supportive of the tax).
My (lack of) involvement with the Toll Project 
  1. I do not have “contacts” at Cintra.  This was stated as a buzzword by a politician that knew voters who were not aware of the truth might believe it.
  2. I did not allow anything to “go forward.”  I have seen reports that I engineered and designed the road and received money – this is absolutely FALSE.  But maybe a bit flattering, as I would have liked to have gotten an engineering degree. 🙂
  3. I-77 Mobility Partners is a business operating in Huntersville specifically for building this road. Their engineers live in Huntersville and their children go to local public schools here in Huntersville, their families go to local churches and they shop in local stores.  I-77 Mobility Partners happens to have paid the $150 fee to join the Huntersville Chamber (along with lots of other companies and small businesses).  They have also done outreach to local schools and other organizations since they know they are going to be a part of this community.
  4. Because I was mayor of Huntersville, I refrained from being for or against an issue instead I strived to bring information to citizens and businesses and then conveyed comments from both sides to the NCDOT leadership.
Follow the money
  1. The state legislature did not want to wait until it had the money to pay for the roads in 20 years and the toll lane contract was their way of funding it.  People agree and disagree on whether this was right or wrong but an essay does not change the funding by the State (not Jill Swain. I really have very little money. Really.).
  2. Similar to other companies in Huntersville like Saertex, Ingersoll Rand or Daetwyler, Cintra is a parent company.  I-77 mobility partners is based in the US, has US funding and uses American workers. The salaries paid to them and the taxes from those salaries stay in the US.  The “Spanish Company taking American jobs and money” is a political scare tactic again used to garner support of those who will believe it.
  3. The “people in charge” at the time could not change the State mandate (again the decision made by the STATE – not Jill Swain).  But they did decide to get as much out of the project for Huntersville as possible.  Things like: the 21 and Gilead project happening 15 years earlier than planned and the Greenway connecting Rosedale to the East Side of 77, etc.
Anti-Toll Politics and Surveys 
  1. There is an entire slate of candidates running on the Anti Toll platform (some are mentioned in this article).  (What else are they running on?) None of them have a transportation background or experience in logistics.  And they’ve had at least four years to make change. But haven’t been able.
  2. The phrase “95% of citizens” is a number based on the responses from a newspaper poll or another group polling only its membership.  If you ask a group of 100 people a question and only 5 disagree that gives you 95% respondent agreement rate.  It does not mean 95% of the town’s citizens answered the question.  Using the word ‘Poll’ and ‘95%’ are designed for those who won’t question the details around that number or who is providing it.
For the record I had ZERO to do with any votes or approvals related to the toll lanes on I-77.  They were agreed upon at the federal and state levels I am finally responding after all this time because quite frankly, I am sick of the lies, slander and harassment from county and local elected officials.
Most of you know the Anti-Toll rhetoric was used heavily against me and others in the last election and a new Town Board was elected.  That rhetoric started again in earnest around the time candidates began filing paperwork and deciding if they wanted to run (June/July of this year).
That same Town Board that was elected in 2015 has not managed to stop those toll lanes they said I was responsible for.
If you feel I am not accurate on any of this, please reach out to me, let’s talk because more than anything I want the people of this community to know that I truly do care and I am always looking for ways to work together.

Are You Thinking About Running for Office? You Too Could Be: Trashy, Bi-Polar, Unethical, Disgusting, Crazy….

Prior to the campaign filing season, I gave a lot of thought to running again for office. Quite simply because I loved representing Huntersville. I have also spent years working with other good people to help make Huntersville a great place to live. I learned a lot along the way, I had challenges that made some votes extremely difficult and I’ve suffered the loss of good people who gave their lives to public service. I still often tell children that public service can fill their hearts, that giving to others is indeed the ultimate gift and while public service may not pay a lot in dollars, it can make you the richest person in town. 
But elections have become painful and vile. While I have long believed that anyone who wanted to serve a COMMUNITY should campaign on reasons to bring people together and create positive reasons to be voted in, Huntersville is the microcosm of what our country seems to have become. Create division, stir up anger because angry people, and even better — uneducated angry people, will be the ones to vote.
When Huntersville had a population of maybe 5,000, the mayor at the time, Mayor Randy Quillen, received a family membership from Northstone Country Club, which was just beginning to build what is now a completed neighborhood. Northstone’s offer came as Huntersville was beginning to realize that residential property taxes don’t pay for the infrastructure needed for a growing community and our town government had few places at the time to host potential corporate leaders for economic development recruitment to diversify the tax base. Northstone allowed the mayor’s office to host important visitors for dinner, have meetings (the Town’s meeting space at the time was a former bank building with tables and folding chairs) — and use Northstone as the showcase of what our community planned to be. When Mayor Kim Phillips took office, she too had the Northstone offer and that was the time when Huntersville, Davidson, and Cornelius worked together to create an economic development council to increase shared efforts for corporate recruitment. Northstone was the place to have informational meetings and dinners and continued when I became mayor in 2007. As our town grew and we had more places to entertain out of town visitors, we’d take them to Arnie’s at Birkdale, Mickey and Mooch, Mama Mia’s Two, Cafe 100, Dressler’s, Red Rocks and others. And Northstone became a place for meetings and fire department banquets and quiet welcome announcements prior to a corporation signing intentions to move here. If anyone bothered to check the registration for the spa, pool, etc., they’d not see any family names. Maybe family names in their directory of members.
Northstone didn’t realize I left office and a year into his term, the new mayor received the same offer and immediately went to the media. He didn’t call me to ask how the membership had been used, didn’t ask questions of Northstone, but seemed to see this as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a new campaign: Accuse the former mayor of impropriety, give it to the media on a day when the country club is always closed and the story cannot be substantiated — to hurt the reputation of someone who MIGHT run against him. And hurt the reputation of a business that has been supportive during Huntersville’s most intense growth period.
The Board of Elections actually apologized to me for his campaign ploy. And yet, when that wasn’t enough, those associated with his campaign decided to go a step further. Here is how it likely panned out (based on research and follow-up): A phone call to the State Bureau of Investigation.
Caller to SBI: “I think you need to look into this situation with Jill Swain and Northstone Country Club”.
SBI: “Thank you for calling, We’ll look into it to see if there is an issue.”
Caller to WSOC: “I have it on good authority that Jill Swain is being investigated by the SBI.”
WSOC to Jill Swain: “Are you cooperating with the SBI?”
That’s how campaigning by some works these days. Because for some reason, some people really, really want to win. Perhaps it’s the thrill of perceived power (which is missing the point of public service), or the reward of voting on issues that will help their property value, or maybe it’s to use the public office as a stepping stone to some higher office.
I’ve served. I’ve loved my community. My rewards are knowing that I worked with good people who wanted to achieve good things for our town. And we did:
  • lowered taxes during a high growth period
  • successfully passed two bond referendums
  • kept taxes lower than than the majority of the largest communities in North Carolina
  • built Discovery Place Kids/Town Center without a tax increase
  • purchased a police station building for $6 million instead of building one at three times the amount projected
  • worked to receive federal dollars for a bridge to our industrial park,
  • brought in ABB (a $90 million facility)
  • welcomed Burkert
  • successfully placed Nutec
  • created Veteran’s Memorial Park
  • purchased land and built Fire Station 3 (again, no tax increase)
  • purchased land and began design for Fire Station 4
  • developed relationship with CPCC Merancas and the County for the new rec Center on Verhoeff
  • hosted a Chinese delegation (who gave 3D printers to two public high schools)
  • hosted the first visit of a sitting U.S. Senator
  • worked hard to develop positive relationships with not only the towns in our region, but in our state
  • increased the capabilities and security of citizens and our police force with new technology
  • advanced monies to the State for the widening of Sam Furr Road (ahead of the State priority list)
  • moved forward on numerous road improvements
  • worked with state and federal leaders for bonus monies to advance road projects at Gilead and 21 and the Gilead overpass
  • worked with state officials to allow an underpass greenway from Rosedale to 21 to be included in I77 road construction
  • celebrated the expansion of Saertex
  • celebrated the expansion of Poly-Tech Industrial
  • worked with the Arts and Science Council on a Community Culture Plan
  • held leadership positions in State and Regional planning and coalition councils

The current campaigners banked on their warning shots that I would not run for office again. And yet, they misunderstand the entire situation. My voice is perhaps more effective now. And giving back doesn’t require an office or a title. Serving your community doesn’t mean ruining someone else’s reputation to get votes. I feel so strongly about Huntersville’s sense of community that I refuse to be part of the divisiveness, but I will challenge town board decisions. In one Facebook stream last week, people who don’t know me called me the following: Bitch, Trashy, Bi-Polar, UnProfessional, Unethical, Disgusting, Crazy, Worthless Joke, Embarrassment, Cannot Hold a Job, Disgrace, She needs to move.  They were reacting to a FB post of my own, which challenged what I personally see as several self-serving decisions of the current town board.

A man named Dave Mancuso, whom I met once and hugged (thank you for reminding me, sir), started a nasty meme contest about me, in response to a rumor that I might be running again for office. In each of the memes, there were statements attributed to me that were simply untrue. Based on a social media campaign years ago that got citizens so riled up and angry that they still believe the rumors that I had something, anything to do with the current construction on I-77, they’ve gotten themselves so worked up that their hate has been targeted at a few people for nearly three years, including me.

As a private citizen, I will continue to plan on making sure candidates are answering questions about the future of Huntersville and their plans for progress. I have been thrilled at the successes at the Huntersville Chamber and watching it grow along with the many businesses associated with the Chamber. My biggest hope is that this election unlike the previous election is less about lies, false statements and mud slinging. Huntersville residents deserve more from those running. They deserve to know what the candidates stand for, details on plans to continue growth and maintain the wonderful community spirit that makes Huntersville so wonderful.

 

And if you aren’t pleased with what you see, you can always write names in. I’ll be happy to give you some recommendations.