Letter to editor: It Depends On The Change In Rocky Mount Whether It Is Good Or Bad

In response to Mary E. Ward “Change Good For Rocky Mount” depends on what the change one looking for.

I found the opening sentence to be quite interesting, “Taxpayers who are residents, business owners and homeowners have a right to expect city government to make the best decisions for the greatest good of everyone, not just to benefit a cadre of individuals’ personal agendas. I was lost when at the beginning you say taxpayers who are residents what that got to do with anything? If they own property they ought to be concerned and have a voice in what goes on in Rocky Mount whether they can vote or not.

This council has been more transparent than any other council dating back to my following the council since the late 80’s. I am not a resident but have been actively engaged in Rocky Mount politics as an advocate, member NAACP, Democratic Party and have worked in Rocky Mount for the past 32 years and 8 months.

Law enforcement offices/departments can be found short of officers across the state at any given time because of various reasons.

This council has directed more resources in Edgecombe County side of Rocky Mount than any other council.

Who have complained about the noise from the train track over the years?
It is sad that you and those who think like you feel you get to choose that Crossing at 64 is now the best location for progress but where were you when we were fighting trying to get businesses there? The perfect location for the hotel is downtown at the Event Center and walking distance of the downtown area.

It is about race and power in Rocky Mount and that is something that you ought to be able to relate to because you have been an educator and know what is real and what is perceived. However if you feel Rocky Mount does not have a race problem then you are ignorant to the facts.

Rocky Mount is diverse. When the diverse who are taxpaying citizens like you begin to speak diverse rather than acting on the script of what has been played out in the media, the better off Rocky Mount will be.

Curmilus Dancy II

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Letter to the Editor: In response to A.E. Green “City officials must earn public’s trust”

The downtown hotel project is about race, location and personal agendas by those who do not want to see any positive growth on the Edgecombe side of Rocky Mount.

Will you provide one case that council members have had the need to recuse themselves from voting on something that was a direct financial involvement? I have not seen this happen and I have videoed many of their meetings over the years.

It is folk like you who create conflict, create tension and distrust when you say the very appearance of what you perceive to be a problem but do not give one fact when it comes to the council members real estate is legally bought or their business lawfully operated. Name one case that makes this a fact and not a perception. You say the city do not need anymore negativity. It is not the city who are creating it it is the haters.

What is the bad news coming from the public officials? Why are the employees leaving? The newspaper has been blamed because there has been some haters who have created a narrative for the newspaper to follow. The papers are reporting the news created by the haters.

You say Wilson is coming out on top because they have hired some of Rocky Mount employees. Well those employees have and can be replaced.

Wow, you concluded “Residents of Rocky Mount and the Twin Counties can only do so much to advance the metro area on their own in business and in civic organizations without continued negativity coming from public officials negating the benefits of their work and preventing others discovering what we already know to be true: that Rocky Mount is a great place to live with even more potential.”

What negativity? Which council members have negated their work? Which council members have prevented others from discovering what you know to be true? What is the truth?

I do agree that Rocky Mount is a great place to live with even more potential. This council has shown what potential is and that is the progress they have made on the Edgecombe County side.

Curmilus Dancy II

In Response to Letter to the Editor: Change good for Rocky Mount – Rocky Mount Telegram (Mary Ward)

I get so sick and tired of folk throwing out mess without making direct examples that one can truly respond to them. They do the same things they accuse others of doing. They say b.s. but when you question them they either change the narrative or go away.

Taxpayers who are residents, business owners and homeowners have a right to expect city government to make the best decisions for the greatest good of everyone, not just to benefit a cadre of individuals’ personal agendas. This is a great vision to have no matter what the reality is.

So how does these folk get to determine what is the best decisions for all of the citizens in Rocky Mount?

Who are the cadre of individuals who benefit from personal agendas?

With transparency has come revelations that a high level of accountability and credibility are questionable with our current City Council and city management.

So what is considered transparency?

So what is questionable with the current City Council and city management?

The fact that our current police force is short by at least 16 officers, some of whom have moved on to salaries that afford increases and benefits that put their standard of living above struggling, should concern everyone.

So why should everyone be concerned?

So what do you suggest is the solution for this issue?

I see this retention issue as a City Council and city management and budget issue that has nothing to do with race or ratio. City Council members are elected by the public to represent the public’s interest and secure economic climates that are stable.

So what is the retention issue?

A city is an entity of a whole and the Committee of the Whole is elected to maintain equitable distribution of improvements in all wards and recruitment of capital investments that enhance the quality of life for each citizen. The Crossing at 64 and Springfield/Raleigh boulevards has land for a motel and mixed income housing right off the highway that goes from the coast to the mountains of North Carolina. It has less intrusive noise lodgers long for because no one wants to sleep next to a railroad track that carries industrial as well as passenger trains 24 hours a day.

So when did you get to determine that the land at the Crossing at 64 and Springfield/Raleigh boulevards has land for a motel and mixed income housing? Or are you speaking from a factual source or only from the talk from the Special Cs in Rocky Mount who have mentioned what could be and what ought to be at the Crossing at 64?

So how did you come to the conclusion that the Crossing at 64 is the location that has less intrusive noise lodgers long for because no one wants to sleep next to a railroad track?

Has the Rocky Mount Planning Board recommended to City Council to pay $100,000 to hire a firm to conduct a feasibility study? With most of Edgecombe County’s city residents being people of color as well as the current City Council, it would seem an obvious and perfect location.

So you ask the question about has the Rocky Mount Planning Board made a recommendation to to City Council to pay for a feasibility study? Well hell the Planning Board meetings are open to the Public so have you attended and or questioned the Planning Board? 

So you accuse others of interjecting race in the equation but damn you are getting somewhere now when you say with most of Edgecombe County’s city residents being people of color as well as the current City Council, it would seem an obvious and perfect location. Oh hell no the the obvious and perfect location is where the proposed area has been chosen and I stand behind this even though I am not a residence of Rocky Mount. It just makes damn business sense and makes common sense.

As an African-American who has lived in Rocky Mount for 30 years, I see no fruit in throwing the idea of race out there every time there is opposition; opposition is what makes for high-level thinking processes.

As a Black man who has worked in Rocky Mount for 32 years and almost 8 months I have been actively engaged in Rocky Mount Politics.

I began voting when I turned 18 and I joined the Edgecombe County Democratic Party as a Precinct Chair around 38 years ago and I have served on the Edgecombe County Democratic Party Executive Committee as the 3rd Vice Chair, 2nd Vice Chair, 1st Vice Chair and Chair. I have been serving on the Executive Committee all of these years and continue to do so today.

Rocky Mount Elected Officials that live on the Edgecombe County are members of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party Executive Committee so that is one of the reasons why I am concerned about who will serve on the committee with me.

I joined Black Workers for Justice which consisted of Caucasians, Black and others 32 years ago. Black Workers For Justice was located right across the street from the little white church where the Rocky Mount Event Center is located. I get so damn tickled when the Special Cs say that the Knight Family moved the church to that location. 

I attended some community meetings in Rocky Mount beginning back in the late 80’s and still continue to do so.

I joined the Rocky Mount Branch NAACP 27 years ago and I am a happy Life Fully Paid Member. I have been a Vice President all of these years.

I began attending the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission meetings back in the early 90’s and this is when I met Mr. & Mrs. William & Gardenia Hobbs as Mrs. Hobbs served on the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission. The Hobbs became my mentors.

I began attending the Rocky Mount City Council meetings often after the city was up for the All-American City in the late 90’s early 2000’s and during that time was when the Rocky Mount Planning Board voted against Andre Knight being able to have an Adult Daycare at the Prestigious Big House he purchased on Falls Road that was previously owned by a former banker Wimberly Gregory. Andre challenged the Planning Board and the Rocky Mount City Council.

Andre Knight and Carol Batchelor along with the late Rev. Dr. Elbert Lee who was the President of the Rocky Mount Branch NAACP went to Philadelphia and challenged that the city was not ready for the All-American City because of Race Relations in Rocky Mount NC.

Since Andre Knight challenged the city becoming an All-American City, he ended up losing his job at Edgecombe Community College because the Caucasian Big Wheels Blackballed him. I told him that he College was going to fire him because he had challenged the city.

After the city fired Andre Knight his solution was to move to Edgecombe County Ward 1 because that Ward was up for election so he could get on the Council and be a voice for the folk of Rocky Mount. Hell the blackballing didn’t stop there and the Big Wheels along with Rev. Roosevelt Higgs who was Chair of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party was the chosen one the Field Negro to go after Andre Residency. He also challenged my residence and Lawrence Taylor. Andre challenge ended up going to the courts and Andre appealed it and he came out victorious. Edgecombe County ended up having to pay Andre’s attorney fees.

I served as Vice Chair of Nash Edgecombe Economic Development N.E.E.D. Inc. over 24 years ago and served for several years. I served until myself and Mr. William Hobbs who was the N.E.E.D. Treasurer and also Chair of the Nash County Democratic Party and I was also the Chair of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party. Mr. Hobbs and I were kicked off the N.E.E.D board by the Edgecombe & Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners because we were going to honor the N.E.E.D. Director’s resignation but he wanted to rescind his resignation and we along with some others said it was time for him to go. When we got kicked off some others resigned in support of us.

I joined Common Ground around 19 years ago that was founded by now Rocky Mount City Councilwoman Chris Miller and we met up until the group disbanded due to some of the members began to have to take care of aging parents and other. Common Ground consisted of training on how to deal with Race Relations in Rocky Mount. The group 1st stared out with the business community but didn’t get the participation and then it was offered to the Ministers and didn’t get the participation. When it was offered to the Community the group that participated we continued to meet for years after Chris and Andre Knight were elected to the Rocky Mount City Council in 2003.

Somewhere around 1997 Lewis Turner one of my mentors that I met with Black Workers For Justice and he traveled with me across the state to meetings, Carol Batchelor, Amanda Taylor, a few others along with Andre Knight and myself we founded the group Northeastern NC Committee on the Affairs of Black People after learning about the work of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People.

The group held meetings around the city dealing with Rocky Mount politics. We held meetings about the high utilities in Rocky Mount. We held a community meeting at Truth Tabernacle and we invited the Rocky Mount Utilities Commission to come address the community. During this meeting this is when our group found out about the City Electric rates were tied to the partnership with ElectriCities.

After Councilman Andre Knight took former Councilwoman Angela Bryant’s seat on the ElectriCities Board that met in Wilson NC and he fought them. I took time off work and attended some of the meetings.

Learn more about ElectriCities – The Energy Behind Public Power – ElectriCities.

Andre also had to fight on the bigger board NCEMPA Board. Click on the previous link to get more information about the fight.

You can learn more about North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA).

I have much family, friends and associates along with enemies in Rocky Mount.

I have put in the time, energy and resources when it comes to Rocky Mount Politics and I will challenge Black Folk, Special Cs and whomever.

I propose that we look beyond race and gender issues and begin to strategically and objectively look at what the citizens and taxpayers need from City Hall leadership.

Race has been and is the driving factor of the climate of the happenings with the Rocky Mount City Council, City Manager and Staff, Police and Fire because the City Council is a 4 –3 Black Majority, City Manager and many Department Heads are Black, Police Chief is Black and most recent just this past week the new Black Fire Chief was introduced.

Rocky Mount needs the diversity of brilliance that breathes life into all communities inside this city.

So you say you been here for 30 years so I assume you moved here. However 30 years ago the city Council was majority Caucasian, City Manager was Caucasian, the Departments head were all Caucasian, Chief of Police was white, Fire Chief was Caucasian so you question diversity back then? Oh if I am correct you retired from the Rocky Mount School System and I remember you reaching out to me about school issues years ago unless there is another Mary Ward in Rocky Mount.

I strongly disagree with Rocky Mount needs diversity of brilliance that breathes life into all communities inside the city because this council has been more transparent than any damn group since I have been attending Rocky Mount meetings.

Change is necessary to all eviate complacency. Term limits to serve on the City Council need to become policy.

It is a damn shame and an insult to me that you as a Black Female has the audacity to write this b.s. when I have been a part of the struggle and have had to fight. Let me rephrase that, I didn’t have to but because I chose to be a voice for the people, I chose to fight. It is an insult to me and those whom allow me to speak for them all I have fought for when it comes to Race Relations and Injustices in Rocky Mount and you talking about damn term limits.

Hell years ago former Attorney, former Judge and now Congressman G.K. Butterfield, former Attorney, former House of Representative, Retired Judge and now Senator Toby Fitch along with others had to fight to change the make up of the Rocky Mount City Council because they used to be At-large so in order to get Black Representation they had to go to the courts to get Wards put in place.

So this damn mess with Rocky Mount City Government is not just about Councilmen Andre Knight and Reuben Blackwell. The Special Cs have attempted to discredit our Black Leadership over the years and I have refused to be silent even when I have had to stand by myself calling these haters out.

So for the Mary E. Wards of Rocky Mount, I refuse to allow you and any others who have the mentality when it comes to Rocky Mount Politics to discredit the struggle that has gone forth and that still continues.

The problem with Rocky Mount Politics is the Special Cs are mad because they are now the majority minority. I believe the bible says that the 1st will be last and the last will be 1st. Now back in the day the population was majority Caucasian but now the population has shifted.

But although I have an issue with the Special Cs my biggest issue is with ignant Safe Black Folk who pushes the Special Cs agenda. However I recognize and understand that some folk are ignant to the facts because they don’t know the Whole Trues!

I know the history of Rocky Mount Politics over the past 32 years and I will challenge anyone and I don’t live in Rocky Mount. I have been fighting for the folk in Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County and abroad for over 32 years. I fight for those who don’t know me and that I am even fighting for them. I fight for those who love me, I fight for those who hate me because I believe the bible says forgive them, for they know not what they do.

I am for justice no matter who it is for or against!

I am have no permanent friends no permanent enemies only permanent interest!

I am Unbought and Unbossed!

I am The Watch Dog of the East!

I am The Political Agitator (Professional)

Letter to the Editor: Facts really do matter by Gardenia Hobbs – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: They don’t want to hear these trues! I am familiar with all of these facts.

E. B. White said “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”

There are people who live their whole life believing over-generalized stereotypes that supposedly set them apart from a particular group of people. The belief that people of color are not intellectually equipped to assume leadership roles is a longstanding stereotype. The election of a people of color council majority in 2003 and the chatter and expressed perils that followed gives credence to this misconception.

The day these council members were sworn in the crusade began to recapture control. They have been criticized at every turn, for every initiative taken to improve economic opportunities and quality of life. This council majority has been criticized for a lack of transparency, yet more issues have been discussed in an open setting than ever before and citizens have been encouraged to attend Committee of the Whole meetings to get direct information.

It was this council majority that brought to light the fact that the city owed hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of a failed utility venture. It was Councilman Andre Knight who was at the forefront of this fight. It was this council majority that heeded the call of citizens and established new guidelines to accommodate those having problems paying utility charges.

At the seating of this council majority, longstanding inequities existed. Only one person of color was serving on the Planning Board and one on the Board of Adjustments. All other boards and commissions dealing with growth and development had none. Goods and services on the east side were almost none existent and plans were on the drawing board to bulldoze the Douglass Block and Booker T. Washington High School. Preservation of African-American history was not a consideration.

Is this the kind of governing that critics are clamoring to reinstate?

The critics leading the charge spent every waking hour trying to prevent the construction of the Event Center so it is surprising that they would be so aggressively interested in the center’s medical contract. It is also surprising that they are so accusatory of downtown real-estate purchases considering they abandoned the area. It is unlikely such untruths would be on display if these critics had been successful in preventing construction of the Event Center.

Al Kersha said, “No matter what you believe, it doesn’t change the facts.” So true.

Gardenia B. Hobbs

Rocky Mount

Letter to the Editor: Council critics offer nothing by Gardenia Hobbs – The Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: The Special Cs do not have to offer anything because they are just that special. They have nothing to offer not even common sense because if they had any they would think before they lie.

In the annals of history, there are many stories about African Americans who dared to take a stand for justice and equality and how they faced character assassination and even death at the hands of those who saw them as a threat to their way of life.

In these same annals there are also stories about betrayal by African Americans who would have been the beneficiaries. Sadly, not much has changed over time. The struggle for justice and equality continues, unwarranted criticisms rage on and betrayal still lurks among us.

Activist Martin Luther King Jr., with his nonviolent approach, and Malcom X, with his straight talk approach, advocated for the same thing and were assassinated for the same reason because they dared to challenge the status quo. The Rev. William J. Barber and Rev. Al Sharpton are demonized not because they mislead their audience but because their truth to power undresses the ills of injustice and inequality in a way that is unsettling for those who fear the loss of power. At this writing I cannot think of one African American activist spared misrepresentation of intent and purpose. Indeed, there are those among us who obviously believe they alone have a monopoly on leadership ability. (Read more)

Letter to the Editor: Dancy won’t be silenced – Rocky Mount Telegram

Sunday, April 21, 2019

There has been a lot of talk about my appointment on the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission. I was appointed by the NAACP.

Lindell John Kay asked me to talk to him about my appointment because I am not a citizen of Rocky Mount. I told him to talk to the NAACP and the Rocky Mount City Council about that. Councilman Andre Knight is also the president of the NAACP. Lindell got mad because I would not talk to him and did an open letter to me on the Rocky Mount Concerned Citizens Facebook page.

On Monday, April 1, during the Rocky Mount City Council meeting, the council discussed boards and commissions appointments. After the boards and commissions appointments had been completed that were on the agenda, the mayor pro-tem brought up the issue with my appointment. Pam Casey, city clerk, explained what happened and that some appointments such as the NAACP’s and chamber’s has been done differently, not actually coming before the council for years. However, the problem here was because I don’t live in Rocky Mount.

I was removed from the commission due to a technicality. Councilman Knight responded to Councilman Rogers when he brought up the issue and said he had spoken to me and said I had no problem with whatever they did. But like I told Lindell, that was a council and NAACP issue because I didn’t appoint myself.

The problem is beyond the residency issue but more because I have been very vocal during the Human Relations Commission meetings, especially challenging a member Attorney Ralph Steve Stevenson, and he didn’t like it and took it personal. I have also been very vocal in the Telegram, responding to Lindell’s articles about the Rocky Mount City Council members Andre Knight, especially, and the City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney.

Lindell has been trying to paint a negative picture of me because I talk about racial issues and because of how I respond to folk on social media pages that attack me. Because I say “Ignant Whte Folk,” “Ignant Safe Black Folk” and “Special Cs,” Lindell and his followers have just gone crazy. Is it really that serious?

Now the NAACP will appoint another person, however, I am going to still attend all the meetings and report on them like I do other meetings across the county.

Curmilus (Butch) Dancy II

Pinetops

Letter to Editor: I Did Not Step Down

There has been a lot of talk about my appointment on the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission. I was appointed by the NAACP.

Lindell John Kay asked me to talk to him about my appointment because I am not a citizen of Rocky Mount. I told him to talk to the NAACP and the Rocky Mount City Council about that. Councilman Andre Knight is also the President of the NAACP. Lindell got mad because I would not talk to him and did an open letter to me on the Rocky Mount Concerned Citizens Facebook page.

On Monday April 1 during the Rocky Mount City Council meeting the council discussed boards and commissions appointments. After the boards and commissions appointments had been completed that were on the agenda, Councilman/Mayor Pro-tem brought up the issue with my appointment. Pam Casey City Clerk explained what happened and that some appointments such as the NAACP and Chamber has been done differently not actually coming before the council for years. However the problem here was because I don’t live in Rocky Mount.

I was removed from the commission due to a technicality. Councilman Knight responded to Councilman Rogers when he brought up the issue and said he had spoken to me and said I had no problem with whatever they did. But like I told Lindell, that was a council and NAACP issue because I didn’t appoint myself.

The problem is beyond the residency issue but more because I have been very vocal during the Human Relations Commission meetings especially challenging a member Attorney Ralph Steve Stevenson and he didn’t like it and took it personal. I have also been very vocal in the Telegram responding to Lindell’s articles about the Rocky Mount City Council members Andre Knight especially and the City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney.

Lindell has been trying to paint a negative picture of me because I talk about racial issues and because of how I respond to folk on social media pages that attack me. Because I say Ignant Whte Folk, Ignant Safe Black Folk and Special Cs Lindell and his followers have just gone crazy. Is it really that serious?

Now the NAACP will appoint another person however I am going to still attend all the meetings and report on them like I do other meetings across the county.