Letter to Kinston: see you later, but not goodbye

Kinston: See you later, but not goodbye

Eight years ago, the citizens of Kinston took a chance on me. For a young man wanting to make an impact on his hometown and willing to give up 16 years of his life, I am forever grateful for the eight you allowed me to serve.

In fourth grade at Bynum Elementary, I told my art teacher I would live in Kinston when I got older. While watching a laser disc – which cast the vision for the Global TransPark – in the seventh grade at Rochelle Middle School, it solidified that promise in my heart and mind.

During my lifetime, my family has experienced great trials, including the tragic loss of my mother and my sister’s courageous battle with cancer, which sparked a community rally for prayer. Through prayer, family and our community, we have persevered. So too has our beloved Kinston.

We once were the epicenter of Eastern North Carolina where the Magic Mile reigned. However, the loss of tobacco and textiles sent shockwaves throughout our economy. After years of hard work but about the time we started figuring things out, Hurricane Floyd left us with the so-called “Flood of the Century,” which changed the landscape of neighborhoods throughout our community.

Even still, in 2002 upon graduating from ECU, I came home. I enjoyed running the Broken Eagle Eatery, engaging in historic preservation and leading downtown revitalization efforts through Pride of Kinston. These experiences encouraged my love for my hometown and created personal and professional relationships that continue even today.

Over these past eight years, I have enjoyed advocating for our staff, our businesses and our people. Whether it was a crime, a business expansion, Eagle Scout Court of Honor or a flood, you have been worth fighting for.

From the onset, I challenged the status quo and made many mistakes. The incredible team of city leaders, civic organizers, teenagers and religious leaders – mixed with an environment for business success – has led to a new identity for Kinston with incredible hopes of prosperity on the horizon.

I have had the privilege of serving you during a time when our reputation has changed across the state. In the past we were greeted with “You’re from Kinston?” and now it’s “You’re from Kinston!”

Our collective success has been no accident. The City of Kinston has developed a culture of finding ways to say “yes” as a means to create an environment for entrepreneurs to thrive. Our local government has been most effective because of our willingness to be engaged, yet standing out of the way. 

Through the collective of our team and community, we have been able to see some accomplishments. Here are but a few:

  • All major indicators of violent crimes are down 11.7 percent since 2009; that number includes murder, rape, robbery, motor vehicle theft and simple assault
  • The No. 1 issue facing our town for more than two decades had been our electric rates. Electric rates are down 10 percent since 2009 and are projected to be stable for the next several years
  • Street resurfacing has gone from a budget of zero tax dollars allocated in 2009 to $500,000, which will be spent in the coming months. We’re still shy of the $600,000 needed annually to sustain a 25-year life cycle, but we accomplished this without any increase in our total property tax revenue
  • Our fund balances, which are our savings accounts for emergency use like hurricane expenses and one-time expenditures like the Queen Street rehab, across all our accounts have gone from a disturbing $13,059,467 to a healthy $35,275,632
  • In 2009, Kinston’s unemployment rate was 13.9 percent; today, we’re at 5.3 percent
  • We found the right opportunity to split up the Department of Public Safety, so the two disciplines of Police and Fire could better focus on their core functions
  • We have more Community Watch programs than in 2009
  • We instituted prayer vigils as an immediate action following horrific events
  • We are hiring a community development planner to continue to find ways to work with neighborhoods in developing safe and productive communities
  • We have tripled the amount we’re spending in 2018 versus 2009 on demolishing blighted homes
  • We opened the Lions Water Adventure Park, which attracts thousands to our community each summer
  • We have installed thousands of LED street lights that save taxpayers’ money; in the process, increasing brightness and reducing maintenance costs
  • We have worked with the Pride of Kinston board to bring their staff members inside our organization. The new director will now be responsible for not only downtown, but also supporting the efforts of small business recruitment, retention, and expansion throughout our city limits
  • We saw the Kinston Indians leave us with a five-year drought in baseball only to successfully recruit the Texas Rangers. On Monday night, we will pass an agreement that solidifies the presence of the Down East Wood Ducks in Kinston through 2033
  • We overhauled our Comprehensive Unified Development Ordinance to streamline policies affecting our business community and to better position ourselves for growth
  • We took our 40-year dormant power plant and found a way to allow outside investors to launch a new business. Unlike Vernon Park Mall, the City of Kinston now owns (via a gift) the Glen Raven Mills property, which allows the City of Kinston to control its impact on development along the Neuse River and Riverwalk
  • We are investing in the infrastructure and aesthetics of Queen Street to give our downtown a shot in the arm for development; otherwise, Queen Street will remain 50 percent vacant. Although the project has been frustrating to many, this is an investment like never in our history and will give us a fighting chance at recreating the Magic of the Mile
  • We successfully motivated and transferred ownership of the flood prevention issue to the State of North Carolina, who is now studying mitigation efforts for the Neuse River Basin

And here are just a few things to happen in the next few years:

  • The completion of Harvey Parkway Part C, which will connect Hwy 58 at the Global TransPark to Hwy 11 south of Dupont
  • The completion of the Carey Road Extension (which has been three decades in the making) from Rouse Road to Daly Waldrop and Hwy 258
  • The extension of Doctors Drive so citizens and emergency services personnel can travel from Herritage Street to Airport Road via Doctors Drive
  • The construction of a second point of distribution for our electric grid to reduce the likelihood of emergencies like the Outer Banks experienced this past summer
  • The implementation of Smart Grid systems to give you better control of your energy consumption and bill

Come Monday, December 4 at 5:30 p.m., I will freely step aside for our new Mayor. Our country is the greatest on earth because of moments like this. Granted, I’d rather stay, but Don Hardy is now my mayor and yours. I encourage you to join me as I pray for his success. Pray for the team of leaders that surround him that they may be able to carry this momentum to a new level.

Kinston deserves prosperity and I believe she is in the best position to capitalize on it. For now, I will do more listening on city affairs than talking. I will turn my attention to my social media marketing firm and incredible family. I encourage all of you to look for opportunities to become more involved in our community. Our kids, our neighbors and this beloved community deserve your best. I’d #ExpectNothingLess because #IHeartKinston.

Less talk. More rolled-up sleeves. Less condemnation. More prayer and encouragement.

May you and our city’s future be blessed with much success and happiness!

Forever in love,
Mayor BJ Murphy

Mayor Murphy Announces Re-election Bid for 2017

Thank you, family and friends, for your attendance today.

A little more than six months ago, our beloved community was faced with a calamity like it had never seen before. Flood waters were rising and threatening to destroy our city when I and other leaders stood on the picnic table just a few yards away and prayed in unison. Our community banded together in a way that it has never done before. Neighbors helped neighbors, and we were one people with only mission in mind: recover from this awful flood.

There is still much work to be done in the aftermath of those frightening times, and we must not forget our friends, business owners and neighbors who are still struggling. But there are many successes to celebrate following those terrible times, including the re-opening of nearly every business that was affected and the continued support of federal and state agencies in rebuilding.

Similarly, the City of Kinston has faced two devastating decades of declining population and a shrinking tax base. But through the sheer determination of forward-looking entrepreneurs, a steady manufacturing base, an engaged civic community, sound policies and teamwork at every level of city government, Kinston is in the beginning stages of an economic comeback that many didn’t think was possible a decade ago. We are doing the impossible.

Our community is experiencing a Renaissance right before our very eyes. Our downtown is bustling, professional baseball is back, crime is down and momentum is on our side. The past seven-plus years have seen a reduction in electric rates, more streets resurfaced and the removal of blight.

And although we are making incredible strides engaging our youth, business community, religious leaders and civic institutions, I promise you the BEST is YET to COME!

Serving my hometown as your mayor has been one of the greatest honors of my life. It has been my goal to make life better for every single person who resides within these city limits, and I have worked hard day and night to make that goal a reality.

As a husband and father of two girls, I have a vested interest in creating and facilitating an environment so that our community thrives. My girls, your children, and your grandkids deserve the absolute best that our community can provide.

Therefore, today I am announcing that I am seeking a third term as the Mayor of the City of Kinston.

Friends, supporters, and others can engage my campaign via our newly redesigned website at www.murphyformayor.com and connect via social media with @bjmurphy360.

Lastly, we ask for your prayers for our family, this campaign, and our beloved City of Kinston.

Mayor blames Charlotte mayor for loss of World Series event

Mayor BJ Murphy
Statement after NJCAA removes 2017 Division III Baseball World Series
10/3/2016

Good afternoon.

As you may know this past week the city of Kinston was informed by the NJCAA that we are losing the third year of a three-year deal for the division 3 baseball World Series.

And as I stated in my letter pleading for reconsideration, the cost to our economy is $350,000, but more importantly the truer cost will be missed opportunities to help mold and shape the lives of our young boys who simply want to play baseball and who look up to these Collegiate athletes.

So today I’m going to discuss the process under which ordinances and laws are made and I’ll call on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts to take action based on the olive branch extended to her 3 weeks ago, which could’ve saved Kinston from losing the JUCO World Series.

As a mayor of a municipality in the state of North Carolina it is common knowledge by all locally elected officials that we are creatures of the state…meaning the state of North Carolina allows counties and municipalities to exist.

They create our borders…they allow us to pass ordinances that affect our communities.

But never should they allow us to pass an ordinance, a city-wide ordinance, that would have statewide implications.

Even after repeated warnings by state leaders about the unlawfulness of her ordinance, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts instigated an unnecessary fight with state leaders by drafting and passing a local ordinance that could have implications in the other 530+ cities and towns across our state.

Then, accordingly, the state leadership stepped in on behalf of the other cities and towns and ensured we would not be beholden to the City of Charlotte.

What has ensued next has been a polarization of policy and an unfortunate series of tournament departures.

Just as recently as three weeks ago the mayor of Charlotte had an opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with the state of North Carolina to right this ship.

However, Mayor Roberts chose politics over policy.

Mayor Roberts chose politics over the people.

And Mayor Roberts chose politics over Kinston’s youth.

Most everyone knows when I was elected almost 7 years ago that I was the first Republican to serve Kinston since Reconstruction.

And one would also know that I have served with an all Democratic City Council.

However, on a local level we fix potholes, we sit down and discuss economic strategies to move our communities forward. We put the interest of our citizens ahead of party politics.

So, we’re proud to now run on non-partisan platforms, because that is what we do…non-partisan work.

Which leads me to Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts.

Instead of being the kind of leader who sits down and discusses differences. Instead of working through challenges in a constructive dialogue, Mayor Roberts has chosen political discourse.

Had she taken the olive branch extended by the Governor the City of Kinston could still have the NJCAA Baseball division 3 World Series playing in Kinston next summer.

Kinston’s youth are the victims of Mayor Robert’s politics.

And that is unfortunate for us all.

Simply because an item is not on an agenda does not mean it cannot be discussed at a council meeting.

And considering the Statewide and National discussion on this topic one would think that the Mayor of Charlotte would have enough knowledge to have a sensible discussion with her council members on this subject.

I believe she intentionally withheld discussion at her meeting three weeks ago in an attempt to stonewall more discussion simply because it’s an election year.

So, today I’m calling on Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts to take Governor McCrory up on his olive branch…his offer to have a more meaningful discussion once Charlotte City Council repeals their ordinance which could have statewide implications.

And, in doing so, maybe she can save other rural communities just like Kinston from the devastating effect from the loss of income our small business operators will experience next summer.

Thank you.

WITN Coverage of the Press Conference

Kinston Free Press Coverage of the Press Conference

Letter Exchange with NJCAA about Decision to Remove the 2017 Div III Baseball World Series

Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts
Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts

Guest Column: Current nepotism policy works for good of whole city

Although we are facing issues within our community at the moment to include electric rate reductions and crime, I am deeply troubled by a city of Kinston policy discussion up for debate again tonight at 5:30 p.m. Maybe you’ll agree with some of my conclusions, maybe you won’t. Join with me if you will and remove personalities from this discussion and truly consider the policy question at hand: Should elected officials’ family members be allowed employment with the city of Kinston?

Let’s take a step back for a moment. The mid-80s saw many positive happenings within the city of Kinston. We landed some major industrial plants and were named an All American City. And in August of 1987, the city Council was concerned enough about nepotism in the workplace that they paused their busy schedules to take up the issue. They concluded that family members of their body should not be allowed to work for the very organization they were charged with overseeing.

One could determine that the current policy has worked well since 1987 when it was unanimously approved by Councilmembers Eddie Kornegay, the Rev. W.C. Dortch, Andrew Culpepper, Mansfield Creech and Herbert Spear Sr. The presiding mayor was Buddy Ritch. What problem were they trying to solve? What would cause them to want to forbid their family members from getting jobs with the city?

I’m not certain of those answers and I’m not certain how many applicants have succumbed to this policy. I would submit, however, that in my six years of elected office only two applicants have been denied employment based on this policy. Does the current policy limit the pool of applicants which could also include the most qualified candidate? That answer is yes.

And, if one could conclude the pool is limited without those family member’s applications, then one could also conclude that changing this policy may actually keep the most qualified applicant from applying out of fear of competing with an elected official’s relative. If the choice for a position came down to two people, an elected official’s child and your child, who do you believe has a better chance at getting the job?

Is that hypothetical? Yes. Is that possible? Yes. Does changing the policy build goodwill? Is changing the policy fair, equal and beneficial to all concerned? You decide.

Another concern of changing the policy is the culture of our organization. When a department head is faced with your child’s application versus an elected member’s child’s application, then this presents a lose/lose scenario. If your child is hired, then a department head may rightly or wrongly fear retribution or further scrutiny during our public council meetings. If an elected official’s child is hired, then their co-workers could well conclude that the hire was made as a favor to the elected official. Passing any policy that systematically causes lose/lose scenarios that didn’t exist before is simply unfortunate.

If it’s so easy to discern the negative cultural impact to our organization, then what tangible benefits does the change provide for our citizens and employees? The change is only directed at helping six families in Kinston.

The policy to be voted on tonight states that a board member’s relative is allowed to work at the city of Kinston “provided there is not a direct or indirect reporting relationship.” Yet, every single employee of the city of Kinston either directly or indirectly reports to the City Council by the fact they are ultimately hired and/or fired by the city manager. For example, the council was the entity that instructed the human resources manager to bring a revised policy back to them. And she complied, of course. But, why did she comply? Why do department heads implement any policy as instructed by the City Council?

Who’s to say the next HR Manager, Public Safety Director or any other department head wouldn’t also be a family member of an elected official? This is the slippery slope.

As I’ve wrestled with communicating these concerns, I can only conclude with one question. If the elected members of the city of Kinston are voted on by the people to enact budgets and policy that best reflect the people’s positions, then if this policy were voted on by the people, what would they decide? Although we are two months away from municipal elections, if you could walk in the voter’s booth tonight and push a button, would you vote to relax this nepotism policy or would you keep it as is?

Your opinion counts, so please let us know how you’d vote. You may call us at 252-939-3110 to let us know your thoughts or send us an email to council@ci.kinston.nc.us. Feel free to copy me at mayorbjmurphy@gmail.com.

I write this out of love for this great community and sincerely want to hear from you. We have so many great opportunities ahead. Let’s continue to grow Kinston together!

BJ Murphy is mayor of the city of Kinston.

Should elected official's family members be allowed employment with the City of Kinston?

  • No (82%, 210 Votes)
  • Yes (18%, 45 Votes)

Total Voters: 255

Loading ... Loading ...

Published in the Kinston Free Press on 9/8/2015.

Mayor Murphy’s Speech at the Salute to Veterans Ceremony

11/8/2014 Salute Speech

Pearson Park

Mayor BJ Murphy

 

Good morning. Thank you Mr. Tribula for your introduction.

Fourteen years ago Jan Barwick Parson, Mary Beth Dawson and Ted Sampley created a USO type tribute show on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It was cold. It was windy. Did I mention it was windy and cold?

But a tribute group made up of Kinston’s finest dancers and singers and friends from Wilmington were there to do one thing, honor our veterans. My future wife was dancing that day and this skinny little, shivering college student held onto a stage light for what seemed like hours to ensure it wouldn’t blow over. The next year our country suffered through 9/11 and Salute! A Tribute to America’s Veterans made its way back home.

Over the years we’ve met DC police officers who gave much to honor their brothers and sisters in the armed services. We’ve chatted with, hugged on and listened intently as the sister of the former Unknown Soldier shared her brother’s testimony and how one man, Ted Sampley, championed his identification and a return to his final resting place. We’ve broke bread with veterans from all our conflicts and wars since World War II. We’ve watched Vietnam Veterans with scruffy mean looking faces who drive Harleys give the biggest bear hugs and drop the largest crocodile tears when seeing young amputees.

We’ve witnessed a United States Marine stand in perfect salute as over 500,000 motorcycles took over 4 hours to pass by on Constitution Avenue. We’ve witnessed motorcades for Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama on their way to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We’ve heard the cadence of cannons in salute to the Commander in Chief as he walked up to the Tomb.

We’ve even enjoyed receiving eye witness accounts of Ted’s interaction with then Senator John Kerry at the Vietnam Wall, which ended with Senator Kerry flipping the bird and Ted being politely escorted away. In fact, I had the opportunity to each lunch with Senator McCain just a couple of weeks ago and it took every bone in my body to not just welcome him to Kinston, but to let him know that this was Ted’s hometown.

I mention these illustrations because I’ve been greatly shaped by your sacrifices. You see at the age of 18 I had the choice of going to college, getting a job or joining the military. I chose college. However, I stand before you today as your mayor because your sacrifices allowed me to make a choice. Many of you volunteered. Some of you were chosen. But all of you served.

Back home a tradition of honoring our veterans is deeply imbedded in our culture. Our community is proud to host the Walk of Honor, NC Veteran’s Home and tonight’s tribute show at Grainger-Hill Performing Arts Center. We can’t thank our Salute committee members enough for their tireless dedication to this cause.

As I wrote this speech many times I became emotional. Sometimes it’s very hard to verbalize or even conceptualize the love I have for men like Guy Skinner, the Eight Eighties, the Golden K Kiwanis and the appreciation I have for the Cantu’s, McLawhorn’s, Wade’s and more.

Years ago a mentor told me, “BJ, you are a combination of the five people you hang around the most. Consider your finances, your career, your philosophies, your spiritual life, your political leanings…all five of them influence who you are.” For those of you who I walked with today and those who are seated right now, I would be honored to have you in my five. My experience with you has always been one of passion, forgiveness, patriotism, duty, service and humility. These are qualities I want to instill in my own children and to share with the people of our community.

It’s people like my late Uncle Bill Page who served in Iwo Jima, who took the time to send me words of encouragement via handwritten letters of love. It’s people like Joe Tyson, who faithfully served his country and who continues to serve the people of Kinston today.

Because of you, this community transcends racial lines and property lines. This past week this county elected our first African-American Sheriff and you’re looking at the youngest mayor in the state elected on a partisan ballot just five years ago. You see, because of your sacrifices we’ve been handed the duty and responsibility to make these choices.

Because of you people can go to City Hall and complain without fear of retribution. People can make status updates on Twitter and Facebook challenging the status quo. However, nothing burns me more than knowing they have that right, but don’t exercise those opinions in the ballot box. True, they have the freedom to vote or not to vote, but in my humble opinion, we all owe our freedom to the men and women before us today.

I want to close with a word of encouragement and challenge. During my tenure as mayor, I’ve been asked to attend many Eagle Scout Courts of Honor. It’s on these days that young men receive witnesses to their character and their accomplishments, and then are bestowed the rank of Eagle. Less than three percent of all Boy Scouts ascend to this honor. And, it’s at these ceremonies that I’ve been honored to speak many times. And many times I’ve shared this philosophy of the combination of 5 people who associate with.

Not too long ago, I gave this philosophy and at the end of the event a man approached me. He handed me his business card and on the back he wrote, “The Combination of 5 philosophy is very true. Don’t forget that you are one of somebody else’s five.” You see I believe that although you’ve served our country that you still have a chance to impact the lives of our next generation.

There are many kids in this community that simply need someone to say, “I love you” or to challenge them to complete their homework. We have kids that need to understand what patriotism is and what duty to our community and country is all about. My challenge to you is to not give up on the next generation. These kids need you to pour into them as you have poured into me.

So, to many of you I say, “thank you”. To some of you I say, “welcome home”. And to all of you I say, “I love you.” May God bless you, your families, our city, county, state and nation. Thank you.

George Washington’s Earnest Prayer

Six years before he became our nation’s first President, George Washington offered this prayer to the Governors of the first 13 states. Today, during our Chamber’s Legislative Breakfast I read the following asking everyone to bow their heads for the last paragraph.

The Prayer below was written by Washington at Newburgh, New York, at the close of the Revolutionary War on June 14, 1783. It was sent to the thirteen governors of the newly freed states in a “Circular Letter Addressed to the Governors of all the States on the Disbanding of the Army.”

 

I have thus freely declared what I wished to make known, before I surrendered up my public trust to those who committed it to me. The task is now accomplished. I now bid adieu to your Excellency, as the chief magistrate of your State, at the same time I bid a last farewell to the cares of office and all the employments of public life.

It remains, then, to be my final and only request that your Excellency will communicate these sentiments to your legislature at their next meeting, and that they may be considered the legacy of one, who has ardently wished, on all occasions, to be useful to his country, and who, even in the shade of retirement, will not fail to implore the divine benediction on it.

I now make it my earnest prayer that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection; that he would incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for brethren who have served in the field; and finally that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind, which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy nation.

KFP Guest Column – Mayor: We are all one Kinston

“North Carolina’s Distressed Urban Tracts,” by the Center for Urban & Regional Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently referred to the “Neighborhood or Area” of “East Kinston” as being the number one most distressed rural tract in North Carolina. The city of Kinston has already been working on demolishing blighted properties, collaborating with UNC to market the Hampton Shirt site, installing new lighting and new pavement, partnering with the Kinston Housing Authority to provide newer housing and more. We’ve acknowledged the distressed state and have been working on improvements and strategies to overcome this issue.

However, we all should be offended that any person or organization could simply blanket half of our city with such poor choice of words. Rarely is “East” or “West” used in a positive connotation when referring to locations in Kinston. Not only have these phrases been ingrained in our local culture, but even UNC referred to “East Kinston” rather than a street block, school area or neighborhood. If we hyper-focus on where the issue is, then our community can use our energy and resources to focus on alleviating the problem.

We all should give careful thought to our words when describing areas, communities and neighborhoods. I disagree with the old saying that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Our English language gives us many choices to be descriptive. The wrong choice of words, especially in a negative context, could have long lasting negative consequences on the recipient of those words.

Many times I have used a wrong phrase or word and, regardless of intent, words have a way to cause harm in our relationships. Facebook is a prime example of an area where people love to give updates on their kids, lash out at their governments or to quote scripture. Many careless words are typed on our computers and cell phones each day on social media. Although I have failed often at this, one principle that I try to live by is to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

Through efforts to revitalize our community, increase tourism traffic and enhance our quality of life, our community has much to offer. And, as we move forward to increase our economic prosperity, let’s be mindful of our use of “East” or “West.” Instead, I would encourage us all to be more descriptive about a location to which you are referring.

The Kinston comeback is happening right before our eyes and your involvement will improve our community more than these “words” can express.

BJ Murphy is mayor of the city of Kinston.

http://www.kinston.com/news/local/guest-column-mayor-we-are-all-one-kinston-1.354006?tc=cr

Call to Action: NC Historic Tax Credits

If you like what’s happening in downtown Kinston with all the revitalization, then please TAKE NOTICE. Without the Historic Tax Credit then there is little incentive for developers to spend an enormous amount of money into rehabilitation. Instead these 75+ year old homes and commercial properties are receiving much needed face lifts, energy efficient appliances and TENANTS. That’s right, they are now being occupied. Cities and counties are receiving higher tax base, utility usage and less opportunity for crime. See the Kinston Free Press article here: http://www.kinston.com/news/local/kinston-could-lose-out-if-historic-tax-credits-axed-1.329767?tc=cr

Tomorrow morning the NC General Assembly’s Finance and Appropriations committee’s will have an opportunity to amend the house budget. Please ask them to add the Historic Tax Credits as already proposed by Governor Pat McCrory.

Finance Committee Members: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_24

Appropriations Committee Members: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_6

 

Other articles of interest:
Eliminating Historic Tax Credit Would Be A Mistake – Winston-Salem Journal
NC Credit to Preserve Historic Properties Pays for Itself Many Times Over – News & Observer

Kinston High School Academic Banquet Speech

Kinston High School Academic Banquet Speech

Kinston High School Logo

KHS Academic Banquet

5/15/2014

Mayor BJ Murphy

“Just Do It”

 

Good evening Kinston High! I stand before you a proud member of the Viking family. I wasn’t nearly as smart as some of you so this is only my second Academic Banquet. But only because I’ve been asked to speak at both of them.

Congratulations to all of you who have earned the right to be here.

(Recognize my father, Buster Murphy)

Your philosophies (what you think), drives your actions and your actions drives your results. I want to take a few moments here tonight to share with you some philosophies that have shaped me in to the person I am today.

See, I love that we’re in this gym tonight. Basketball is a sport that has created a culture of success for our community. Basketball is a team sport. Sure, there are great players, but none of them can win without a team.

Coaches can only be great coaches if they put the right mix of players together.

So too is and will be your success in life.

A mentor of mine once said, “BJ you are combination of the 5 people you hang around the most. Consider your future goals and aspirations, your health, your finances, your career choice and more. Now who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? You will see that in many ways you are just like them.”

Wow, I thought to myself. So I said, “Self, what changes do I need to make?”

Two of my 5 people were negative influences in my life. See, I want to surround myself with people who are closer to God, make more money, give more of their time, have integrity and so on. So, I cut them off. Now, I didn’t tell them that, but I did stop hanging around them as much.

Being intentional about what’s influencing you is important to your success in school and in life.

Another philosophy that has helped shape me that I hope to impart on you this evening is the difference between your standards and your goals. At the beginning of each of the seasons represented by these banners, the coaches and the players agreed that their goal was to win the conference, advance to regionals and win a state championship.

We all can agree that’s a valid goal. But let’s explore what a standard is.

Did you wake up this morning and set a goal to brush your teeth?

Did you say, “Oh, I will work so hard to make sure I put that toothpaste on the brush?”

See, I hope we all can agree that brushing your teeth and presenting yourself in a positive light is a standard.

Your goals can become your standards.

If you are here for your second, third or fourth Academic Banquet, then please stand. (applause)

What once was a goal has now become a standard for you. What once was a goal to win championships in Kinston is now a standard for this community. Kinston is proud of our young people. We are proud of who you are. We are proud of what you’ve achieved. And because of this environment of success, we expect you to do your best.

We expect you to achieve greatness.

And we expect more banners to be hung in this building.

But, we also expect you to be here next year. And seniors, we expect academic success from you at the next level. We expect it, because you’ve proven yourself capable.

One philosophy that has changed my life involves the Cheetah and the Gazelle and it’s called “Gazelle Intensity”.

You are probably thinking, “what in the world is gazelle intensity?” I’ll get back to that in a moment.

First, I’d like to encourage each of you to take the time to set your goals for the summer and for the remainder of 2014. What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to bless? What do you want? Then how will you get it?

Once you’ve done that you need to have “gazelle intensity”. Dave Ramsey, who authored the book called “The Total Money Makeover” introduced me to gazelle intensity.

You can’t just plan out your goals…you have to run as if your life depended on them.

Cheetahs run fast, really fast—as in 70 to 75 mph fast at their top speeds. The cheetah is the fastest animal on earth, so the gazelle doesn’t have a chance, right? Wrong! Gazelles have learned that the cheetah’s speed is limited to straight-line running. So the gazelle bobs and weaves and runs in circles until the cheetah gets tired and gives up.

The gazelle is so intense during these few moments that a cheetah only catches it in one out of nineteen chases.

I want to challenge you to focus your energies on your goals like the gazelle.

Do you want to be on this platform next year?

Do you want to earn scholarship money for school?

Or do you want to finish first place in your competition?

Figure out what you want to do, map out how you are going to do it, put sticky notes on your mirror and write it in your journal, and then focus with the intensity of a gazelle like your life depended on it.

The City of Kinston has goals. Each year we craft a budget. Each year we review our progress. But the only way we can succeed in creating an environment of success is by relying on the future success of our young people. See, without you, the Global TransPark is a dream. Without you, there’s no need to keep searching for a baseball team. Without you, there’s no need to put money into Holloway and Fairfield. Because without you, none of our work makes any sense.

Kinston has a bright future. But Kinston only has a bright future because you are here tonight.

Kinston loves you. We are proud of you. And once you’ve gone off into this world to achieve great things, we want you back home to help the next generation of kids.

What you’ve achieved is significant. For most of you it was not easy. It was hard.

Life is hard too. But take a look up for a moment.

Looking up at these banners is inspiring. These banners aren’t just for decorations. They are a constant reminder that winning is a part of our culture in Kinston. They provide inspiration to our players when times are tough. When they’re down by a few points. When the clock is working against them.

Thinking of the greats who have played here is impressive. Names like Reggie Bullock, Jerry Stackhouse, Craig Dawson, Michael Dunn, Quinton Coples, Josh Dawson, Jeremy Ingram, Michael Jenkins, Denzel Keyes, Angelo Keyes and I could go on and on and on.

They are all winners. They are all from your neighborhood. What makes a winner?

Winners simply take action. They don’t just think about something, they do something.

And you can ask my wife, I’m not a big fan of excuses. I don’t do whining. When I was four years old, my mother was kidnapped, raped and murdered. My father withstood this incredible test of adversity and showed how prayer and “knee-o-logy” as he calls it can change your attitude. This event left a family split, which led to a new family for me and my siblings and our world changed in an instant.

Several years later, one of my sisters contracted two different forms of Leukemia and Cancer. Again, our course in life drastically changed through this circumstance. I vividly remember the jaundice face, bloated cheeks, hairless little 13 year old girl. Her mouth was so full of sores that she couldn’t take a sip of water. I remember taking a Q-tip, dipping it in water just to quench her thirst. But, God is good and today that little lady is now a married and successful woman, who’s building a house and raising an infant son.

You say, “But BJ, oh I came from such and such a block.”

Great. Just do it.

“No, no you don’t understand. See I was raised by a single mom.”

Wonderful. Just do it.

“Mayor, we live paycheck to paycheck and it’s hard just to pay the rent.”

Super Duper. Just do it.

What do winners do….they do it and do it and do it and do it.

“But coach, I forgot….Teacher I lost…Mom, she said this…”

Excellent. Just do it.

It’s not the disasters and disappointments in life that determine who you are, it’s how you respond to these circumstances. The same wind blows on us all. The winds of opportunity, challenge, adversity and prosperity. It’s not the wind you should concern yourself with, its how you set your sail.

Take action today on whatever you desire the most in life.

Because if you do today what others won’t, you’ll have tomorrow what others don’t.

 

 

Oath of Office Speech: Forward in Prosperity

City of Kinston Oath Office

Mayor BJ Murphy

December 2nd, 2013

“Forward in Prosperity”

Video (30 minute mark):  http://tacc9.com/city_council_december_2_2013.htm

Years ago, the people were subject to the will of a ruler. Whatever religion, law or political preference he or she desired was carried out throughout the land. Two hundred and fifty one years ago, the people of Kingston said, “enough”. The people rose up in defiance to claim what was rightfully theirs. We dropped the g, claimed the first Governor of this great state and became a part of the greatest union of states in the world’s history.

Today, the people of our lands choose who lead them. The people’s preferences of character, humility and policy are chosen through a democratic process. And, it is with your votes that you have chosen this body to carry out your wishes through policy.

This body is a reflection of our community. And, although we may have different stories as to how we got here, today we stand as one.

The Kinston Comeback is only just beginning. Our duties as a government body are to shape policies and create an infrastructure that enables you the business owners, you the church leaders, you the civic organizers, you the future of our community to focus on your strengths to make Kinston a great community.

This body might have microphones and a budget, but you have the vocal chords and the pen.

What you can expect from this body is simple. We will be reactive out of necessity, but proactive on purpose.

Government is designed to be a methodical body, responding to the needs of its people through fair and legal means. We will continue policies that provide us with clean water, reliable electricity, good roads and safe neighborhoods.

We will proactively continue the policies that have started this comeback. We will be more aggressive in planning the redevelopment of Kinston. We will be more engaged with recruiting new businesses, both large and small. We will use the power of our offices to strengthen our resolve for growth, using whatever fair and legal means we have available.

We will reduce the phrases of “east” and “west” and instead focus hyper local attention to a street block, a neighborhood, a school zone or highway corridor. We will not stand for a division of communities, but rather focus on solutions for each unique situation.

The slogan of the City of Kinston depicted on our City Seal says, “Forward in Prosperity.” This dream of prosperity can only happen if this body of one, along with its citizens agree that this is our goal…prosperity.

I challenge our citizens to seek out opportunities to serve your neighbors. To be vigilant for your neighborhood. To be engaged with community events and to bring your children along to experience what a community really feels like.

I challenge our staff to treat each interaction with our citizens as an opportunity to serve, for that is what we are here to do.

I challenge the City Council and myself to go out of our way to develop individual relationships with our fellow school board members and county commissioners. Although we aren’t involved in the day-to-day affairs of either body, we are all inter-dependent on each other’s success. The failure of one body is the failure of all.

Furthermore, I challenge us all to be more involved in the lives of our young people. Make it a habit to attend a middle school basketball game, start or support an afterschool program and be involved in the lives of our youth. Learn what Snap Chat is or figure out what Twitter does, because this is where our kids are today. To help them grow and appreciate Kinston, we need to understand them better.

We will never know the exponential impact that we have when we issue an encouraging word, or by taking a group of kids to the Nature Center or by simply showing up at a recital.

Our responsibility is to instill hope. When people say, “I’m from Kinston” I want them to say it with pride. This comeback starts with us.

Prosperity can only be realized when we focus on the strengths of each student, each citizen, each business, each school, each neighborhood and together prosperity will be realized by “we the people” or otherwise known as Kinston.

Much like our forefathers claimed these grounds, today we must claim that we will move in one accord “Forward in Prosperity”.

May God bless our endeavors together.

Thank you.