Who is John Hood? Where does he get his information? He certainly is wrong about progressive politicians and downtowns (“Progressive politicians hurt downtown,” July 1).
Downtowns thrive where people want to be, they falter when people no longer want to go there. Why is that? What changes that makes them thrive or fail?
It is a complex interplay of factors and rarely do politicians have anything to do with it. It is generally a corporate or business decision or decisions that kill downtowns. Boone had a dying downtown in the ‘80s. The Boone Mall had taken two major retailers out of downtown and investment was lagging. Remaining businesses joined to address the problem and made changes that make today’s downtown Boone a thriving, active place that people want to be.
Politicians in Boone followed the lead of the business community to make the changes needed. They created a CBD (central business district) that levied special taxes on those businesses. These funds were reinvested in downtown businesses and buildings. The business community created a variety of events to bring people downtown.
None of the original events still exist, Daniel Boone Wagon Train, Frontier Days and street dances. But other things that came out of that era still exist. The Jones House became a community center and housed the Watauga County Arts Council. Mast General Store was recruited to open its second location. Facades of buildings were renovated and the community advertised together. Now First Friday is celebrated with art crawls. Maybe not now with the virus. But, all of these activities have made downtown a thriving vital business community. Not a single progressive politician stood in the way or demanded anything that the downtown business community didn’t want.
To address one other statement from Hood’s missive, progressive politicians didn’t allow the protests to devolve into riots. There is a significant difference between protestors and rioters. It has been shown time and time again that the rioters during the latest BLM protests were not protestors turned rioters. The rioters were there for one purpose and that was to cause mayhem that would be blamed on the BLM protestors. The provocateurs were police and white supremacists. They were not the people protesting police brutality.
This is one of the many reasons that “Defund the Police” has become a soundbyte. Police in many areas are not here to serve and protect, they are here to control citizens. In reality the supreme court says police have no duty to serve and protect. They need to be defunded and a different system implemented. If they don’t have to show up when you need help, they aren’t serving and they aren’t protecting. They only protect their own jobs and power. That needs to change and fast.
Hood needs to understand better what he is writing about and stop spreading dissension. He needs a dose of reality and come out of whatever hole he hides in. Talk to all the people of the community; not just the haters.