Let Me Know When You're Ready for Progress
I don't care that Melissa cussed out Alderman Jay McGraw, quit and allegedly cussed him out again after the meeting. What concerns me is the fact that they don't think we saw through this farce. One of the deputy clerks got ill and will probably be out of the office a couple of weeks. And...... Other clerks have worked in that office, alone, for weeks. There's no industry in Lumberton and the busiest times are the first through the tenth. But no, they go and hire another clerk without advertising the position and did it in executive session. What's going on here? Is the other clerk returning? Has she asked for a LOA? If not, when she return, the city that's suffering from budget restraints, will have tnree clerks. Also, let's keep in mind that the court clerk is still a part time employee because giving her more hours is "not in the budget" but they can rehire a quitter and approve her for 32 hours a week. In case you didn't know, that's full time and a full time position comes with benefits (insurance/vacation days/comp time). Do you seriously think they're going to risk another dispute with the labor board. They just paid over $13,000 because they were not paying the police officers overtime. So watch the hours add up. But the board does not care what the taxpayers think and they make a point of showing you they don't care month after month after month.
This move was another slap in the face of the citizens of Lumberton but I guess it should be swept under the rug bevause Ben Winston says he's a praying man and think he's holding bible study mot a board meeting. Collectively, the entire board is wrong but I hold Mayor Ben Winston, Alderwoman at Large Cora Rogers and Alderman Tommy Dukes personally responsible because they came into our communities, asking for our votes and support but the three Sambos sold us out. Don't get me wrong, this is not about race, this is a matter of integrity. Time and time again, Alderman Jay McGraw and Alderman Kent Crider made it clear that they're not looking out for our best interest. When they fail to give a second of vote favorably everytime Chief Elsie Cowart asked to give the court clerk 32 hours and they would say it's not in the budget, even after Melissa quit, they made it clear where they stood. But miraculously, they have enough money to rehire a clerk because she came before the board, fell on her sword, kissed the ring and the bottom of Jay McGraw in order to get back in city hall. Tommy Dukes allegedly said that everyone deserves a second chance but this board has refused to give Betty Speights one chance. But all of this was able to happen because Ben Winston think his grand cooning scheme will put him in the graces of them "good white folk" he's relying on for votes in November. Cora Rogers is going along because she think she will become mayor if Ben wins the supervisor race. I am a true believer in forgiveness but I can not and will not go into partnership with a person that tried to get a court order to keep my 80 year old mother from her attending the church she attended since birth. I guess she loves the thought of being mayor more than the need to support and protect her elderly mother. I can work with a dog but that don't mean we're going to share a bone. And who knows what loan Winston co-signed for Tommy Dukes but his support was purchased, allegedly speaking of course, and when Ben tells Tommy to be quiet, he obeys. Good boy! I'll give you a Scooby snack after the meeting. How emasculating!
Ceasar Chavez once said,
"we cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community...Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the inspiration s and needs of others, for their sake and for our own."Sadly, that's not a concept that's embraced in Lumberton. Year after year, we're plagued with elected officials that are concerned with getting all they can and canning all they get. The progression of Lumberton is not a part of their agenda. Over the years I've dealt with the personal attacks, the pending lawsuits and ridicule because I want a better Lumberton. This blog has never been about what I could do; it's about what we could do together. I have never been one to speak tactfully but I've always been one to speak truthfully and that seems to be problematic in a world obsessed with flattering tongues and likes on social media.
After Tuesday's meeting, I kept thinking about the question I was asked when I was interviewed on SuperTalk FM. They asked why I blogged? Why was I spending so much time and effort to make sure people knew what was going on? And I told them that I blogged with the hope of igniting others so we can help move this city forward. They did asked me if I considered the idea that the people of Lumberton are satisfied with Lumberton's condition? I told them that I honestly didn't consider that idea but it make sense. I've been blogging for 6 years and nothing has changed. I can't get people to vote and I can't get them to attend the board meetings to hold their representative accountable. So why continue? The people seem to be satisfied that there's still inaccuracies with the water billing process. The people love to grip to me and among themselves anout the unprofessional behavior that's on display at city hall but it's not enough to make them vote. I started posting videos to reinforce the written blog posts. They were never intended to be a substitute for participation. It seems that my attempt to inform has become another form of social media entertainment. I don't know what else to do. Maybe if I stop talking, people will start listening.
I think it's time to step back for a moment to refuel. You know what, I'm going to see what it's like to stay on the sidelines and do nothing/say nothing. For the next 2 months, I will take a break from blogging, unless something inspires me to pick up my pen again. I'm not taking a break because of any court order and definitely not out of fear. It's exhausting and frustrating when you can't get others to realize the importance of attending a board meeting. Before they start doing a happy dance at city hall, I will not shut the blog down completely because there's a lot of time before the November election and when Ben Winston and his board continue to master the art of jackassery, I will be there to report it. I'm not sure if I will continue with the videos or not but I'm rethinking some of the commentary and will focus on other things. I tried to be your voice but I can't continue to stand on the front lines alone. If you like Lumberton the way it is them continue to do what you're doing. I want a better Lumberton and I know the leaders we need might not fit your perception but you need to stop thinking about outward appearances and start focusing on those that are actually concerned about the city.
The fact that city leaders (and I use that term hastily) are not concerned that we have over $900,000 in uncollected fines while crying broke every month is a problem. The lack of police protection is still a pressing issue and football season is about to begin. How can one officer per shift deal with the crowds at the football games while securing businesses and neighborhoods? There's so many areas that are getting left out the equation and until citizens consistently demand better they will not get better. Well, I think I ranted enough. I hope Danny Davis keep up the good work and hopefully the board will release the money from that $450,000 grant before our sewer system break down completely. I hope Chief Cowart watch her six but those that don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. Kudos to the police officers and public works employees that are struggling to keep our city safe, our water drinkable, our mosquitoes at bay and the grass at our cemeteries and parks cut. I know I've been critical of the public works employees but they've made some improvements and I couldn't imagine working in those conditions. Everybody knows the epicenter of Lumberton's woes and until we get rid of the political eunuchs, nothing is going to change. I hope you get involved before it's too late. This is Jay Griff and the J is for Justice. It has been a burden as well as a privilege to serve as a beacon of light seeking transparency and accountability from an administration of darkness. I'm stepping back to refuel and regroup. It's been surreal. Now let me sit back and enjoy this tea.