President Evans running for second term

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2004

With just weeks left before the elections, City Council President George Evans is embroiled in a tough election to retain his seat.

Evans, who qualified for the position last month, says he wants to serve his city once again.

“Why am I running? This is my home,” he said. “I’m interested in Selma moving forward as it relates to job opportunities, education opportunities and unity between the races.

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I want the job to see if I can continue to try and be a part of that story.”

Evans says is there still a lot more work to be done.

“We have made progress,” he said. “There is still a lot of room for improvement.”

Evans, who won the seat for the first time four years ago, said that the job has been much different than he expected. He talked about people’s inability to work together and solve Selma’s issues peacefully and amicably.

However he still wants to make things better.

“I never dreamed it would be like this,” he said.

“I never gave up on the visions that it wouldn’t be like this.

I’m somewhat disappointed on the way things have turned out as it relates to people working together.”

Still, Evans says, the council has done many positive things and Selma has progressed in his four years.

However, people tend to remember the negative.

“The negative things stay on people’s minds the longest,” he said. “One bad thing tends to wipe out all the good.”

Evans talked about some of the council’s accomplishments during his tenure that he is especially proud of, including the Youth in Government Program, new lighting for parks and playgrounds and the new job opportunities that have sprung up in Selma.

“I’m proud to see our young people have the opportunity to shadow (us),” Evans said. “I’ve seen young people really speak out about where Selma should be headed.”

Evans also spoke about the changes he’d like to see in the next four years.

“I would like to see a better working relationship with the council and the mayor, were there is respect for each other’s position,” he said. “I would like to see all neighborhoods of Selma work together.

One of those places where the relationship could be improved is the appointment powers issues.

During the Joe Smitherman’s tenure as mayor, a public outcry eventually led to the council taking department head appointment powers away from the mayor’s office.

During mayor James Perkins Jr.’s tenure, some have suggested those powers be returned to the mayor.

Evans points out that those powers were given to the council before he became president and that it was only by a public outcry that the powers were given to the council at all.

Evans added that with improved trust, the parties could openly discuss the issue.”

With the election nearing, Evans expressed disappointment at the negative turn the race has taken.

He vowed not to go into attack mode himself.

“I guess I really have been surprised at the negative feedback I have received from people who don’t know me, what they know is what they heard,” Evans said. “I have been as fair a council member as anybody.

I’ve done a good job.

I’ve represented the citizens.

I’ve always voted my true convictions based on what I believe to be true. I think for myself… I don’t make decisions hastily.”

In the end, Evans says his first four years as council president have been a success.

“I have learned a lot.

I didn’t come in wanting to change the system,” he said, “I came in wanting to learn the system. I feel much more qualified now then I felt four years ago.

I believe I will do a better job, knowing what I know.”