I learned about ElectriCities back in the late 90’s when North Eastern NC Committee on the Affairs of Black People (NCCABP) held a meeting at Truth Tabernacle Church in Rocky Mount.
(NCCABP) members were Carol A. Batchelor, Jackie Norris, Lewis Turner, Andre Knight, yours truly and a couple of others who I can’t remember. We formed to deal with every day people issues.
The meeting at Truth Tabernacle consisted of the Rocky Mount City Utilities Staff. This was a very good meeting and most of all very informative.
As the years passed and Angela Bryant was elected to the Rocky Mount City Council, she was appointed to sit on the North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency Commission (NCEMPA). This is when we found out that the ElectriCities Board of Commissioners were paid a stipe-end $1,000 a month to attend their meetings. The NCEMPA Commissioners didn’t get paid to attend their meetings however they do go to Parkers Barbecue and Restaurant in Wilson to eat after their meetings.
Folks it appears that some folks in Rocky Mount are reaping some good benefits off the backs of the citizens. It is a damn shame that it has been made to appear that it is the current council who is the reason why Rocky Mount is having hard times.
I have much respect for former Mayor Fred Turnage who was mayor of Rocky Mount for 30 plus years. He was the attorney for Nash Edgecombe Economic Development Inc. (N.E.E.D. Inc.) when I was the vice chair of the board during the late 90’s. It appears that some choices that he has made has not been in the best interest of Rocky Mount be it intentional or unintentional. I would hope that he thought that he was doing the right thing but we all know sometimes we all make some choices that we find out later may not been good after all. Some things we can change and some things we can not and it appears that the ElectriCities is one of those things that can not be changed as Turnage stated.
Angela Bryant had a meeting about ElectriCities in the early 2000’s.
Lewis Turner, Andre Knight, yours truly and some others became a member of Common Ground. Chris Miller chaired this group was elected to the Rocky Mount City Council the same year that Andre Knight was. We had a meeting about ElectriCities in the early 2000’s.
Later Andre Knight was elected the Rocky Mount City Council and then when Rep. Angela Bryant was appointed to the NC General Assembly, Knight was appointed to Bryant’s seat on the NCEMPA Commission. He has been speaking questioning the commission and now the discussion is where we are today.
But guess what folks when Knight was elected to the Rocky Mount City Council he was attacked by some in the white community questioning his residency and tried to get him off the council. They also said it was a conflict of interest that he is the President of the Rocky Mount Branch NAACP and serving on the council. After they couldn’t get him removed from the council, Roosevelt Higgs a Safe Negro, a former convicted felon in Edgecombe County was successful in helping the whites to remove Knight from his council seat for only a short period of time. The NC Court of Appeals ruled that Knight’s rights had been violated and Knight continues to be a strong voice on the council.
It appears that since more black folks are being elected and/or appointed to boards, commissions, councils and etc. that some darkness are being uncovered that would not otherwise have been brought to light. You see this is a prime example of someone being outspoken and labeled as a troublemaker. Besides myself the only person I can think of at the moment is Rocky Mount Councilman Andre Knight who has been unbought and unbossed unlike some other black leaders in Edgecombe County. Just think, if Knight was not on the council and the NCEMPA Commission, would we be discussing ElectriCities to this degree.
The article in the Sunday, March 29, 2009 paper that reads, “Debt keeps region bound to ElectriCities,” take the discussion about ElectriCities to a whole new level. Am I surprised? Oh hell yeah, never thought I would read an article of this magnitude about ElectriCities and Rocky Mount.