Be more organized with plans

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The issue: Selma doesn’t move forward because the mayor faces opposition.

Our position: Leadership moves a city forward.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. needs to take himself off the cross of martyrdom and join the real world.

Email newsletter signup

Metaphorically, Perkins hung his head as a much-maligned public official, and shrugged his shoulders because matters were out of his control.

He used as an example the recent opposition to the $12.3 million bond issue by some city council members.

“The bond contained money for many needed capital projects,” the mayor said in his speech on Tuesday.

We agree wholeheartedly. The city needs many capital projects. Where we disagree is the way the bond issue was presented – in scattershot fashion with no real numbers placed beside real projects.

Instead, voters were asked to approve $12.3 million bond issue and allow the Selma City Council to decide ultimately how to spend the money.

Here’s a city council that has a majority that by the mayor’s own speech only has four of nine publicly supporting the bond issue. The remainder either openly opposed the bond or were silent.

The council rarely agrees on projects or philosophies or anything for that matter, unless it’s to convene or adjourn.

What in the world made the mayor believe that the council could spend $12.3 million responsibly?

Yet, he bemoans the loss of the bond issue as though it was the only hope Selma has left.

“I was disappointed, but once again, the community was hurt.”

No, Mr. Mayor, the community was not hurt. The community voted not to give the city council a blank check for $12.3 million to spend in different areas specified any way they wanted to spend it.

If you really and truly care about this bond issue, about the future of this city, then come back with a realistic plan that takes projects needed – a new public safety building, for example, that’s called for in the police assessment study.

Better yet, allow each council member to appoint a person and you appoint a person to a study committee. Give them a mission of coming up with specific projects badly needed by the city. Allow them to meet with the experts and talk about prices. Include the business community – the economic developers, the chamber of commerce, the bankers – to talk about the funding of those needs. Have them put up a list of projects and prices by them. Then allow the voters to choose, item by item.

Let’s get specific, Mr. Mayor. Let’s get organized. Let’s put ego and pride aside and work with the people through committees. Work with the council and help guide it, instead of mandating.

Then, we’ll likely see change in a positive manner, and you won’t have to suffer the slings and arrows of the opposition.