Fearless: Speaking TRUTH to POWER

The picture attached to this post shows how I've evolved as a blogger. At one time, I was fearful of how people would react, fearful of expressing my views publically and fearful of retailiation. Well, since I've started blogging my car has been egged/keyed, I was arrested for a parking ticket, I lost an election, I'm the subject of executive session conversations in a city that has denied me employment, accused of being a stalker (even with a trick knee) and now I'm forced to defend my first amendment rights in court. Despite the many obstacles, I feel that it's more important to provide a forum for truth despite the threats of liars. It amazes me that this board is so focused on keeping secrets from the public. Well, maybe it's not the public, it's just me. But, for some reason, I always find out what's going on. Last month, I learned from an alderman's wife that my blog was the topic of discussion during executive session and the conversation included a stack of printouts of my blog and various comments. Hummm. The City of Lumberton is supposed to be broke but there's money and resources available to monitor my blog. I wonder when Lumberton Informer was added as a line item in the 2015 budget? I don't recall any amendments. This Sunday, I learned from Paul Ockmond that Ben and Jay secured a $600,000 loan for a sewer project. I guess I missed the meeting when Ben and Jay were given the authority to secure a loan for the City of Lumberton. It amazes me that they can actively solicit money to fund Ben Winston's pet project, Lake Lumberton, but can't find money or obtain a loan to fund the police department. Priorities. (sarcasm intended). For those of you that might not know, the sewer grant is supposed to be used for improving the sewer systems across the city but I think a major portion of the grant will be used for sewer access to Winston's property aka Lake Lumberton, the plot of land across from the former Dirt Cheap store. Did you really think Winston was actually looking for something to help Lumberton? There's a reason why the project and alleged loan are not part of the minutes.

Whenever I attend a meeting, prepare a blog post or file an ethics complaint, I remind myself of a quote from Audre Lorde.

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”

That one sentence has given me the strength needed to dare, to challenge the status quo, to seek truth, transparency and accountability from those that were elected and/or appointed to serve the community, the citizens of Lumberton. Sadly, I think many have forgotten about those that elected them and their reason for serving. Sunday night, a reader said that she didn't always agree with me but she felt that this was the only forum to allow citizens to voice their concerns since they are neglected by the mayor and most board members. There are some that think I have the need to be right and that's not true. I, along with the citizens of Lumberton, have a need to be heard. I don't think anyone on the board was elected to cut police protection; leaving the citizens and businesses vulnerable to criminals. I don't think anyone on the board was elected to neglect services to citizens that are forced to pay water bills without any confidence in system. I don't think any board member was elected to violate ethic laws, open meeting laws and zoning laws. So many on the board are focused on the messenger but not the message. When I composed this post, there were over 1,750 views of yesterday's post. That number represents individuals that are looking at your city but instead of using the feedback to make better decisions, this board is focused on how to halt my freedom of speech and aid in the establishment road blocks on the the freedom of information highway.

Like it or not, blogs are here to stay. Scott Rosenberg said it best.

"Whatever the drawbacks and limitations of blogging, it serves, today, as our culture's indispensable public square."
A significant advantage of the blogosphere is that readers don't have to pull their punches or bite their tongues. The mayor and the board members in Lumberton may see this blog as a forum full of gossip, nonsense and hurtful truths but when the smoke clears, nuggets of gold shines through. It's time for this administration to either embrace the fact that citizens are reading the blog just as often as they are or continue to neglect those they were elected to serve. Tonight's regularly scheduled board meeting starts at 6. Hopefully, I'll see you there. Let's be clear, Lumberton will not get better by chance; it will only get better by change.

Comments

  1. It seems that the more things change the more they resist change at city hall. It's amazing that Merlene and Stephanie are just alike, aside from the fact that Stephanie knew how to do her job and would never use executive session as a meeting about a blog, but both are students of this blog. Stephanie and Hobson were on your blog everyday and now Merlene is doing the same thing. She can't learn BBI but she is printing out everything you write. Why? If the blog upsets you then don't read it. It's that simple simple. You said that you can tell a man by the company he keep. I also think you can tell a company by the men or women they keep. Ben is keeping Merlebe for a reason. He need that lying spirit to cover for him.

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  2. Merlene said she can't take it anymore. So why is she still here? When she started playing the re of a victim she knew her son was a crack head, she knew her daughter in law was a crack whore and she knew she had a bad attitude when she took a job dealing with the public. While she's trying to run everything at city hall she should focus more on her crumbling household. Fix your hair honey because your horns are showing.

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