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OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE HIGH POINT MODEL CITY COMMISSION
Rice Will Stay Involved
After He Leaves Office
The forceful, outspoken voice of
Willie Lee (Jimmy) Rice won’t be
heard in an ofiBcial capacity anymore
after the next meeting of the Model
With the swearing in of new Com
missioners January 4, Jimmy will no
longer hold his place on the Com
mission and its executive committee
as a representative of the Harrison
But although he chose not to run
in this fall’s neighborhood election,
Jimmy Rice still plans to stay in
volved with the Model Cities process
he believes in so strongly.
“In spite of criticism I’ve had in
the past,” Rice says, “I’ll take a role
in Model Cities as long as there is a
Model Cities in High Point.”
For the past two years. Rice has
served as an executive committeeman,
elected by the Commission itself. A
vocal advocate of citizens’ rights, he
has some definite opinions on the suc
cesses and failures of Model Cities
since its inception here in 1968.
With his retirement from ofiBce close
at hand, he shared some of his
thoughts with What’s Happening.
PUT INTO WORDS
“First of all. Model Cities has done
more for the city and for the city’s
poor and minority people than the
city itself has done since its incorpora
tion,” he said.
“My contribution to Model Cities
has been to put the average citizen’s
input into words, especially in the
area of housing.”
As a member of the Housing Task
Force in addition to his other duties.
Rice has seen the development of the
Turnkey III and London Woods pro
jects as a result of Model Cities ef
forts. He is proud to have been a part
of the work which brought these im
His decision not to seek reelection
came not because of any ill feelings,
but a desire to give some other Model
Neighborhood resident the chance to
learn what he has learned about the
city and its politics.
“I’ve learned more about city gov
ernment than I’d ever known in my
life,” he says of his two years in
office. “And it’s frightening! I want
others to get involved on this level,
Many times during this period he
has felt frustration, he says, at not
being able to do more. “My only re
gret is, that the people who have re
ceived our projects’ services have
failed to thank Model Cities by par
ticipating in town meetings, task forc
es, and so forth.
LACK OF SUPPORT
“I feel disappointed that the cit
izens have not supported Model Cities
for all Model Cities has done for
them,” he went on.
“I don’t want to infer that our CP
(Citizen Participation) project has fail
ed. The citizens themselves have fail
ed. They have failed the city. . . .”
Rice, a resident of 811 Meredith
Street, is a native of High Point. He
and his wife have two children. A
graduate of William Penn High
School, Rice is a Navy veteran with
four years’ service and is now a
Revenue Sharing Grant
WILUE LEE (JIMMY) RICE
customer engineer for the IBM Corp
Over the past several years he him
self has experienced what he calls
“intimidation” because of his own
publicly outspoken views on various
“At times I’ve been criticised for
monopolizing discussions at meetings,”
he recalls, “but I’ve only tried to get
others present to speak out as I do.
I feel I’ve been a voice for those who
couldn’t, or wouldn’t, or didin’t speak
out their inner feelings,” he says.
Rice regrets that Model Cities “has
not been acccpted by city manage
ment, some City Councilmen, and the
business and financial leaders of the
community. If they had accepted us,
then Model Cities could have been
more effective. As it is, we’ve been
stymied. . . .”
Looking to the future, Jimmy Rice
hopes that every project will be car
ried on as long as it is needed. But
more important, he feels, is that the
decision-making process itself must
“The most disappointing aspect of
my term in office,” he concluded,
“is that citizens themselves have not
gotten out and supported Model Cit
ies. These people, too, share the blame
for Model Cities’ ineffectiveness. . .
City Council Can Spend As Wishes
With the arrival December 11 of
a check for $608,300, federal revenue
sharing is now a reality for High Point.
The decision on how this money will
be spent, however, has not been made.
In all. High Point is expected to re
ceive aljout $1,287,000 this year by
this new federal funding technique.
The remaining amount will arrive in
While the decisions are being made
to determine how this new windfall
money will be spent, the money is in
a City bank account drawing interest.
Many groups around High Point
have ideas on how this lump sum of
money — granted by Congress this
fall — will be spent. City Council has
Look, We’ve Got A Problem
Sfory of Town Meeting, page 2
Ask 99 people what citizen participation is, and you’ll
get 99 different answers.
It’s easier to say what citizen participation is not.
Citizen participation is not sitting at home griping
about how bad things are in High Point, or in your
neighborhood. (It’s coming to Model Cities meetings and
griping about those same things.)
It’s not letting your neighbor say what’s on your mind.
(It’s speaking out yourself.)
It’s not being afraid to say what you think because
someone might think you’re a little foolish. (It’s giving
your opinion no matter what, because you know best
what things affect you and your family.)
Citizen participation is a state of mind on the part
(rf a community.
It’s knowing that by attending meetings, working to
gether, speaking out, making an issue of the things that
affect your daily lives, changes will take place.
Maybe it sounds like a nice ideal that doesn’t quite
work in practice.
Well, take a look around at some of High Point
Model Cities’ projects: day care. Family Planning, the
Demonstration Health Center on Elizabeth Street, Con
sumer Credit Counseling, A&T and UNC-G Special Serv
ices scholarship programs, rodent control — these projects
didn’t come about overnight.
They also didn’t come about by neighborhood resi
dents sitting at home, not caring.
These and all other Model Cities projects are the
product of interested people like you and your next-
door neighbor saying, “Look, we’ve got a problem. What
can be done about it?”
The result of their concern was action, and projects
that are helping improve High Point.
There’s a long way to go. No one person or agency
has the solution.
What people from all over High Point must realize is
that they too — as individuals — can make an impact
on the way decisions are made, and on the way their tax
dollars are spent.
Model Cities is here to help them be heard.
The next time you’re asked to come to a task force
meeting, think about it.
the final word on its use.
What does revenue sharing mean to
people in the Model Neighborhood,
Well, it means that their voice is
more important than ever in the de
cision on how their federal tax dollars
Explaining it in another way, citi
zens can now have more influence over
the way their federal taxes are spent
on a local level, because it is their
City Council — rather than the govern
ment in Washington — who identifies
the problems that need to be solved,
and plans for their solutions.
Revenue sharing was set up, after
all, because Congress felt that the fed
eral government was getting too com
plex and bulky to watch how every
one of its dollars was spent on a local
level. Therefore, it entrusted local
leaders to spend this money wisely in
the form of block grants.
As this lump sum reaches a locality
such as High Point, it comes from
Washington with no strings attached.
With only two exceptions, this money
can be spent on any project City
Council sees fit.
Now, more than ever. City Council
men will need the help and advice
of people from all over the community
to help make these crucial decisions
(Continued on page 2)