Selma needs a color-blind leader

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2007

To the Editor:

In the first six months of this fiscal year, the city’s sales tax revenues have decreased $263,960 compared to the same period last year.

This desperate situation is compounded by the fact that the Mayor recommended and the city council adopted without question a budget provision projecting a $219,000 increase in Sales Tax revenue for this fiscal year.

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At a 4 percent sales tax rate, sales in Selma will have to increase $11 million from April to September this year to make up this $482,000 deficit.

It is not going to happen.

Sales tax figures indicate that Selma’s economy is tanking.

In the first six months of this fiscal year, the city’s lodging tax revenues have decreased $33,148 compared to the same period last year.

This figure indicates that fewer people are visiting our city and staying overnight.

Even with the Jubilee in March, the lodging tax for March of this year was $2,072 less than it was in March 2006.

Part of the reason our sales tax and lodging tax figures are decreasing monthly is that Selma’s city government is not color blind and does not actively promote all of Selma’s history.

Contact official state agencies who keep tourism statistics and they will tell you that in the South, many more people visit War Between the State sites than visit other historical sites.

Selma’s city government needs to realize that tourism is the only thing that will save this city economically.

It is to our own detriment if we do not develop and promote all of our rich history.

The reason for the sales tax decline in Selma is relatively easy to understand.

The population of Selma in 2007 does not have the disposable income that the population of Selma had in 2000.

Productive, working people have left the city in droves since Mayor Perkins took office.

Why? Not because he is black, but because his priorities are not those of middle and upper class working people who primarily want to live in a safe city with a wholesome quality of life.

Middle and upper income blacks are leaving Selma as well as whites.

Look at how many educated blacks have moved to Valley Grande in the last five years.

Instead of trying to keep working and productive people who make money to spend and thus generate revenue for city government, Selma’s city government caters to low and no income housing groups, gives away free this or that to employees and citizens and generally promotes ideas and programs which inevitably keep people poor and dependent on government and who vote for the leaders who give them the most free housing, food, health care and other forms of welfare.

This philosophy may well keep Mayor Perkins in office for life, but what he will be ruling over will be a crime infested, low rent hood, with decreasing revenues and increasing noise and violence.

What Selma needs is a color blind servant-leader, who, recognizing that tourism is our only hope of economic survival, will promote all of Selma’s history,

hires a competent police chief who knows how to rid the city of thugs and criminals, makes a sincere effort to keep middle class blacks and whites from moving out of the city, ceases promoting programs which attract and increase the number of government dependent citizens in the city, and who realizes that a true leader leads by being a servant example and does not lead by threats, intimidation, and in secrecy.

Hopefully, that true servant-leader will emerge in Selma before August 2008.

Cecil Williamson

Councilman Ward 1