“Let’s remind our politicians exactly who they work for”. Linda Lawrence received a standing ovation for this remark at the South Huntsville Civic Association meeting packed into Grissom’s auditorium Monday night. Her SECOND standing ovation came after quoting from the Declaration of Independence – IMO the ovations were given out of appreciation for her efforts to hold the City and HHA accountable.
The applause was also a warning shot to City officials who may find themselves out of office if they continue to pursue the unproven (or failed) policy of deconcentrating poverty.
The South Huntsville Civic Association’s mission “is to unite residents of South Huntsville so we have one powerful voice that lets our local leaders know we expect them to: address our issues and concerns; operate government in a transparent manner”. Their primary function “will be to act as a watchdog” for city government. Their focus is on schools and safety.
The Association is also planning to “screen candidates” and establish a Political Action Committee (PAC) to fund candidates. The meeting was attended by about 1200 citizens.
The group is headed by Mark Dummer and James Steele (disclosure – I put out yard signs for Steele when he ran for Mayor). Challen Stephens of The Huntsville Times interviewed Dummer in this excellent article, “South Huntsville sends loud message”. Stephens is an asset to Huntsville and I wish the Times had more reporters like him (and wrote more about local issues).
The meeting was moderated by a Huntsville Police Department Officer, who I’m certain is a nice guy, but IMO it is inappropriate to have a public meeting moderated by the Police. Maybe someone with the HPD or City can explain that to us.
City Councilwoman Sandra Moon, Mayor Tommy Battle, and School Board Member Jennie Robinson gave introductory remarks; then Robinson gave a summary of the schools in the area, noting that enrollment at Grissom High School has increased (and it was already over-capacity) and that “some schools have been negatively impacted” by “Section 8 and affordable housing”. Robinson noted that “historically, South Huntsville schools were not well-maintained” because of political correctness. She closed by saying “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”.
State Representative Mike Ball (R – 10) said that he ran for public office to ‘make the State Government more open, honest, and accountable’. He described his proposed legislation to hold HHA accountable by: taking away their power of eminent domain, requiring public notification, and requiring the approval of the ELECTED City Council. Ball promised to make passage of this bill his “top priority” next year. Mike received applause after each part of his bill.
Several City Officials made presentations, including HPD South Precinct Captain Kenny Bryant, Terry Hatfield, Shane Davis, and Brenda Martin. Civic Association leaders Mark Dummer and James Steele spoke about “holding elected officials accountable” and asked people to join the organization.
Then Linda Lawrence spoke… Lawrence described Huntsville Community Rights, an organization formed to provide “facts about the intentions of the Huntsville Housing Authority”. Lawrence said about deconcentrating poverty that there is “absolutely no proof that this works” and that “social engineering is socialism”. Lawrence received two standing ovations from the 1200 people assembled – compare that to light applause mixed with boos for Mayor Battle.
The Police Moderator then announced question time – email questions… WE SHOWED UP and the City doesn’t even have the courtesy to acknowledge that by asking questions from the audience. There was a general groan from the audience when he said the first question was about sidewalks, as well as some outbursts from the crowd. The City can’t duck the HHA issue forever, and putting an armed Policeman out front won’t stop people from voting. If the City had handled the HHA situation correctly (or implemented a policy based on more than a slogan) they wouldn’t have to hide.