Morehead City, N.C.
Oct. 21, 2019
TO THE EDITOR:
This letter is to hopefully start a discussion about the upcoming municipal election in Morehead City, and state my personal opinion on a couple of candidates whose campaign signs I have seen around town, as well as to pass on my impressions of their past performance in office so far as I know and remember.
First, I have observed Harvey Walker and talked to him numerous times over the past couple of years about neighborhood problems and projects that affect my area. I found him to be always available and willing to listen. More important, he takes the trouble to get in his personal vehicle and come look for himself, every time. He then, every time (and this is important, at least to me) follows up with me, and I found that he has been effective in getting support with his fellow board members to the extent he could. In the public council meetings I have attended, he is always plain speaking and direct. That, too, goes a long way in my humble opinion, whether he wins or loses.
Having lived in our town on and off for the past 50 years or so while I first served in the military for over 30 years of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, retired, went back to school at CCC and ECU for four years, earned a bachelor’s degree in education (with honors), taught Middle School in Beaufort for five years, and finally retired a second time. THAT experience taught me, if nothing else, just how time consuming and difficult dealing with the public, and in the process, with government at any level is, and always will be. It is also very rewarding for people who have the qualities to do it well, in terms of knowing your efforts have touched the lives of many individuals in a positive way.
I learned THAT the hard way over many years of working in difficult and challenging career fields.
Mr. Walker obviously has my vote in November, and I hope he gets many more and is re-elected. The town, and all of us, will reap the benefits of his re-election, his experience, and the job he is doing on the board.
Second, I believe David Horton is an excellent candidate who, as I remember, served previously on the board and is finally running for the seat again. He is experienced, knowledgeable and also plain speaking and direct. I believe he will work well with Harvey Walker without getting into the “tax and spend syndrome” that our town board just demonstrated unnecessarily and unfortunately this year in spite of many residents still recovering from Hurricane Florence.
If you don’t believe me, just drive around town and look at the work still being done to many homes and at the businesses still here and trying to stay open. While you are looking, look at the vacant stores in particular pay attention to roofs, fences and siding. Please start at the state port away from the high dollar waterfront and then move North of Bridges Street, then do the same thing heading west along the Highway 70 “corridor.” That’s where us peons all live, at least most of us.
Third, I talked with Dennis Goodwin Friday, and found him to be impressive insofar as his background and education and knowledge of this area. Seems to be a good man.
Fourth, George Ballou is not up for re-election this year, but if he were, he would have my vote as well. He and Harvey Walker put up a spirited and well reasoned argument in the discussion leading up to the tax increase this year. They were, of course, out voted even though both Walker and Ballou demonstrated the increase in taxes was not absolutely necessary this year and those figures were not disputed as such. Our present board needs to remember that a good number of residents in Morehead City are retired and living on fixed incomes, many more are working more than one job per household just to pay bills and care for their dependents. Not a few are working several jobs per household.
Looming next year, another tax revaluation, and every one of those ends up with effective tax INCREASES no matter what we are falsely promised every time.
Insurance rates just went up again for our area, and there will undoubtedly be another increase as soon as those bloodsuckers can ram it through the governor’s office and legislature. That’s just the way it is living and working here in the “Hurricane Alley of the East Coast.”
Any Morehead City Council, no matter who makes up the membership of that council/board, needs to remember we are NOT and hopefully never will be Myrtle Beach, Emerald Isle, or any one of Florida’s beachfront towns that cater exclusively to wealthy retirees and even wealthier tourists with practically all of the local residents getting by at subsistence wages doing service jobs such as waiting tables, cooking, cleaning, housecleaning, and so forth.
Because of being blessed with some of the cleanest and best beaches on the East Coast, the best salt water fishing, and the cleanest water on the coast, we are also paying the highest insurance rates in the state, and thus some of the highest prices for homes and rentals. That same city council membership should ALL know what the average city worker takes home per month in wages per 40-hour week (excluding department heads, management and executives) and how many can match what the state calls the average wage nowadays ($52,000 per year)!
The person driving that big, pretty, extremely expensive new street sweeper is going to be paid $52,000 per year? Not in Morehead City or Carteret County anytime soon! How about the individuals maintaining it after the initial warranty period? More about THAT in another letter.