Secrecy in news will hurt candidates in future elections

Published 7:05 pm Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dear Editor,

Periodically a co-worker will deliver to me a copy of’s latest hot button issue. If it were not for the anonymity of the authors of the site, I would call them to discuss some of the issues brought forth. I sometimes agree and other times, disagree with their opinions. It is rare for me to respond to either their righteous rhetoric or their ridiculous rants.

The web hosts are to be commended for breaking the story about trouble at the CAA. However, the personal attacks that followed information that had no named sources were totally uncalled for.

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The Rev. Coley Chestnut is certainly articulate and erudite enough to defend him against the less than subtle inferences included in the angelfire article. I am baffled by the fact that he became a part of an article about implied corruption at the Community Action Agency, apparently based on the fact he is related to a former employee of the agency and is an in-law of former mayor James Perkins Jr.

I left Selma prior to Mr. Perkins’ eight-year tenure as mayor. I returned to Selma in time to witness the changing of the guard in the chief executive office. The voters elected Mayor George Evans in the latest election. I’m certain that Perkins’ defeat had nothing to do with the character of his family. The Perkins family has long been a pillar of the city and should no be maligned because of the outcome of an election.

Most, if not all, of us may find an outlaw or two in our families. It would be wrong to make a blanket indictment on a family or any other group because of the actions of a few.

It appears that these attacks on the Rev. Chestnut were a mere prelude to the upcoming vote to decide if Selma needs and elected or appointed school board. I assure you that there are pros and cons to both. I am sure that both sides will be presented prior to our reek to the ballot box.

Selma has one of the most diverse and educated school boards in the state. There are some good people on the board. I sometimes disagree with the outcome of their votes, but I respect them for having the courage to toss caution to the wind and do what they think is best. I trust that future board members, whether selected or elected, will do the same thing. I salute all of our elected and selected officials–democrats and republicans, blacks and whites, Muslim and Christian–who offer themselves for public service and scrutiny. Our vote should be the only “secret” weapon used to determine our future course. Stay tuned.

Joseph Rembert Sr.