In last night’s city council meeting, I presented a public comment alerting the council to the unlawful appointment to the traffic commission of somebody who is not a resident of the city. I’ve done a good many public comments, and have the rhythm down pretty well, to promptly end shortly before the 3 minute mark. So it startled me when, in the middle of my comment, I was cut off by what I thought was the mayor telling me that my time was up. I wrapped quickly, only to be told by Mayor Jones that in fact, my time wasn’t up, and that she didn’t know who said that it was.
Fortunately, we record every council meeting. And fortunately, Zoom identifies speakers. We pulled the clip, which you can see above, and Zoom indicates that the interruption was by somebody identified as “Ann Bell.” Just a few minutes later, the same speaker had a public comment of her own, and is identified as Annette Jenkins. Ms. Jenkins, a solid and vocal supporter of the Ella faction on council, then proceeded to attack me for exposing the political use of the YMCA by a council member who is employed there.
Of course, Ms. Jenkins is entitled to her opinion, and I’m flattered that she can think of no more important issue to address with city council than my editorial. But her liberty to comment does not give her the privilege to act with the manners of a hog. Mayor Jones, who has been generally fair in her management of public comment, was swift to correct the situation, but the damage was done. If you want to see why our city is in constant strife, you need look no further than her public comment.
On a related note, we continue to receive reports from ward 3 of racist campaigning on the part of advocates for Fran Griffin. An appeal to one Mike Palmer supporter started with, “You know he’s white, right?” When that didn’t close the sale, they proceeded to remind the voter that Palmer “is with Knowles.” Of course, Mr. Palmer is with nobody but Mr. Palmer, and his record in rehabilitating numerous abandoned homes in ward 3 speaks for itself. I can think of nobody who has done more to improve ward 3 than Mr. Palmer. Ms. Griffin, whose latest “accomplishment” was a twice failed attempt to expose the city to lawsuits from food truck customers, needs to find a more compelling sales pitch than racism and rudeness.