Let’s remind our politicians exactly who they work for

“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.

2 thoughts on “Let’s remind our politicians exactly who they work for

  1. I agree, it was odd that the Police were monitoring the meeting. Also, I didn’t appreciate the stern opening comment from the Police, “I just want to ask everyone one thing, which is to please be respectful of everyone here…” I thought that was a negative way to start the meeting, especially in light of the fact that many people had been waiting patiently for the meeting to start for about 30 mins.

    Thought it was kind of weird that the City pushed Civic Associations so much, saying that is the way to reach them and get them to do things. It’s great to start up organizations like that, and I’m glad people are doing it, but is it not good enough to just be concerned citizens contacting our elected officials?

    Loved Linda’s comments!! She was right on, and we need more people like her to stand up and voice the truth! Even if it’s just simple facts and the simple truth, people need to speak up so that others (who may not know) can hear… We can’t just assume people know things and agree with us. Speak up!!

  2. Christie — The city officials pushed civic associations because, as the city “diversity” official (I believe that’s what they said her position was) strongly implied, City Hall would love nothing more than to co-opt such organizations and keep them in line. SHCA and other South Huntsville groups will politely decline the city’s offer of nurturing and support.

    Reactionary — Challen Stephens is a mixed bag. Some of his stories are good, but he still has a bad habit of letting his biases slip into his reporting. His report on last night’s meeting was good, but Sunday’s rosy propaganda piece on HHA’s “self-sufficiency” program was awful. The reporting he did a couple of years ago on “re-segregation” in the city schools was also pretty slanted.

    Regarding Lawrence’s standing ovations, some of it was certainly appreciation for what she is doing. But I think most of it was an emotional outpouring. After feeling victimized by our local government and having them dance around the issues for so long, hearing someone finally stand up right in front of our stone-faced city officials and forcefully and unapologetically read the words of our nation’s founding document, asserting the power of the PEOPLE was quite stirring. Personally, I found it both liberating and empowering. That’s why I stood. Tommy Battle looked like he had just been forced to eat a slug… and I loved it.