Everybody, calm down and listen

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 17, 2008

The issue: Selma elected officials are preparing to run for office and posturing themselves for the public.

Our position:

Infighting and acting tough do not impress the voting public.

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After listening again to the Selma City Council meeting, it&8217;s obvious that an election year is upon us.

Council members and Mayor James Perkins Jr. are posturing themselves for the voters who might listen to the radio broadcasts, read the newspaper or for those who sit in City Hall for the five hours it takes just to have a meeting.

The other night, city business couldn&8217;t continue because council members had to comment on every issue that came before them.

For example, during last Monday&8217;s meeting, attorney Faya Rose Toure brought up the need for a complaint procedure when citizens wanted to file a grievance against police officers. She had her public speaking time.

One would think the council would nod and say something to the effect of some action in the future.

Cecil Williamson brought up the $48,000 police study&8217;s version of a complaint policy.

Bennie Ruth Crenshaw countered Williamson and wanted the new police chief to handle those administrative issues.

George Evans wants the police chief to attend the meetings.

Williamson comes back and laments the fact that the $48,000 police study&8217;s outline of citizens&8217; complaints is already out of date.

Crenshaw restates her desire to have the new police chief handle administrative affairs.

Williamson comes back and says that letting a new police chief handle the issue isn&8217;t what&8217;s going on right now.

About 10 minutes and a conversation between two council members who usually are at odds with one another.

Somewhere there has to be order in the meetings. It is not imperative for each council member to point out the shortcomings of other council members sitting at the table.

Anyone who attends or listens to the council meetings know that Crenshaw, Jannie Venter, Johnny Leashore and Sam Randolph generally stand in opposition to George Evans, Williamson and Reid Cain. Sometimes, depending on the issue, Jean Martin and Dr. Geraldine Allen will vote with the oppostion. Generally, though, they vote with the three men.

Anyone who has spent a month in Selma, listening to the meetings or attending them, knows that Venter, Crenshaw and Randolph support the mayor in almost every endeavor.

The meetings would become much more tolerable if each of the council members could contain their remarks.

Brevity is the soul of wit, wrote Shakespeare.

We believe that is true.

Council members and the mayor should take a cue from the bard.