Makes Me Wanna Holler, Throw Up Both My Hands
At the last board meeting, a representative from the Lumberton League of Voters addressed the board of aldermen; asking them to put aside their differences and work together for the greater good of the City of Lumberton. There wasn't a particular set of concerns presented to the board, but the board (Bobby Gibson) did make an effort to put an end to the rumors about the misappropriation of funds at city hall by having a representative of Nicholson and Company address the citizens of Lumberton. The presentation didn't do much to appease the audience but it did show that the board is trying to steer the public's attention away from what's taking place in the water department.
Going to the board with allegations and no proof is not going to resolve the issues at city hall. I was told that Alderman Rogers asked for the termination of an officer because his certification was in question. It seems that Officer Timothy Ryan Byrd has appealed to the certification department to have his certification re-instated. For some reason, the board of alderman didn't want to terminate Byrd while he's appealing to have his certification reinstated. When this board was under the leadership of Bobby Gibson, the aldermen didn't have a problem terminating certified officers so why was it so difficult for them to suspend Byrd, without pay, until his certification issues are cleared? It's obvious that this board is not going to do anything about this officer. It's up to the citizens to voice their concerns, put their complaints in writing and submit those letters to the certification board in Jackson, MS before they hold a hearing regarding Byrd's certification in November. I know there are people that have issues with how Hobson and his crew were hired, but it is what it is. When Bobby Gibson waited for Mayor Holder to leave for surgery, he made sure that he got rid of certified officers and put his team of officers in place. His actions may not be ethical but they're not illegal. In order to fight the injustices taking place at city hall, we're going to need a paper trail and that trail must be started in Jackson because it's obvious that this board has no intention of doing the right thing.
Last night, I attended a voter league meeting and I must say that I was not impressed with the direction this group is taking. We've said that this is not a black or white issue (or was that me) and that we wanted accountability at city hall, but for some reason, it seems that the group is turning everything over to the NAACP and I don't think that's the right direction to take. In my opinion, the NAACP is about as effective as placing a girdle on an elephant. I've been down this road before with the NAACP and they are nothing more than talk and after they use the events in Lumberton to boost their membership roster, they're not going to do anything other than hold a march and they will feel that the mission is accomplished. I found it strange that the representative was saying that "we" know about this and "we" know about that, but "they" need to be invited in to do something. What? And in order to get invited to the table, they need x number of people to become members and they will give our group access to their resources. I'm not going against those that want to become involved with the NAACP, but I don't think I'll be taking this journey with them if this is the direction they're taking because the money being spent on NAACP membership could be used by the Lumberton Voter League to hire their own attorney and file a class action civil lawsuit against the City of Lumberton. Instead, they're planning on giving almost $1,800 to this organization in hopes that they find some magic solution and I fear that nothing will be done. If the NAACP knows about the things going on in Lumberton, why won't they come in and offer assistance. What happened to the term "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere."
The fact that the board wanted to put an end to the rumors surrounding the deficit in WSOM shows that they're concerned about this matter getting more attention. In order for the Lumberton Voter League to be an effective group, they're going to need to demand accountability from the board of aldermen. That means giving us real answers to the missing money, the billing errors, and the fact that certain individuals are not paying water bills, late fees and/or reconnect fees. There are some that have the proof needed to shine the light of accountability on city hall's water department and it's time for them to come forward and present their information so that we, as a group, can demand accountability. There were a large number of people from our community present at the last board meeting and they need to continue to show up for the board meetings. My problem with the NAACP is that they're ineffective and we don't need another march, we need accountability. We all know that racism exists and the saddest part about the things taking place in our city is that they were approved by Bobby Gibson and Timothy Johnson; let's not spend a great deal of time chewing that cud. The bigger question is, what do we do about the things that we can and must do for ourselves? There's a curfew ordinance and when it was being passed the parents of this city did nothing to voice their opposition to the ordinance. But that does not give the police the authority to harass everyone that's walking after dark. If you're constantly being stopped by the police then you need to document the time, date and the name of the officer so that your complaint can be sent to Jackson, otherwise, you're just chasing your tails. These are not issues easily talked about in polite company, let alone addressed and solved. But address them we must. If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem starts to look like a nail. We need to hold them accountable for the missing money and use our resources to hire an attorney to file our civil suit against the City of Lumberton.