Annexation flap called ‘disgusting’

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 11, 2002

Mayor James Perkins Jr. lashed out at the two Selma City Council members he blames for the controversy surrounding a recent annexation study during a council work session Thursday, calling their actions a disservice to the city and &uot;a disgusting display.&uot;

The study was funded by the state at a cost of $15,000 and passed out to all council members.

When word of the study got out it created storms of controversy in the Valley Grande area. Many residents expressed concern that the city of Selma was making plans to annex the area.

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During a community meeting at which more than 700 people turned out, many residents said that they did not want to be annexed.

Perkins, who spoke at the meeting in Valley Grande, told residents that the booklet was only a study &uot;and nothing else.&uot;

He also accused two council members, Glenn Sexton and Rita Franklin, of spreading false information, telling residents they could be annexed without their consent.

Sexton and Franklin, who also spoke at the Valley Grande meeting, told residents that the study was &uot;more than a study&uot; and that annexation was a very real possibility.

During the council session Thursday, Perkins, in an impassioned address to the council, criticized Franklin and Sexton not only for giving what he said was false information to Valley Grande residents, but also for not representing the city of Selma as council members.

He further criticized the two for &uot;leaking out information to the public&uot; before the council had even discussed the study, which he said the council had agreed to do.

Perkins called the council members’ comments at the Valley Grande meeting &uot;a disgusting display&uot; for the citizens of Selma.

Perkins also said he had received comments from residents in Selma, wondering why Valley Grande residents receive police and fire protection, yet pay less property taxes.

Perkins further recommended that a resolution to reprimand Franklin and Sexton be passed, &uot;at least,&uot; he said, &uot;to condemn their behavior.&uot;

Sexton, responding to Perkins’ allegations, told the council that while suffering from a cold, he had given the booklet to a friend to study and read.

Sexton added that Perkins had also lied on a radio talk show about giving the booklet to members of the Dallas County Commission, saying that Perkins had told listeners he had given the booklet to commission members.

Council President George Evans, who did not agree to Perkins’ recommendation for a reprimand, said that the council should have at least discussed the study before it was presented to the public.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw adamantly criticized Sexton and Franklin, asking for the two council members &uot;to be impeached.&uot;

Councilwoman Nancy Sewell said that Perkins had passed the study out in good faith and that the council should have had a chance to study the issue before it was passed out to the public.