Local leaders need to take responsibility

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dear Editor,

I would be remiss if I did not thank you for publishing my letter approximately one week ago and thank the citizens for their positive response. We had over 1,200 people contact us in person or through various forms of communication. The responses were 100 percent favorable and supportive. I am very humbled and grateful for the cross section of this town that would love to see significant changes:

• The old textile worker who has lived in the same neighborhood for 60 years and is afraid to go outside at night;

• The NAACP representative who visited my office and said everyone can agree on the items you pointed out;

• The die-hard conservatives and tea party members who called and came by my office;

• The black coach and teacher who referred to me on Facebook as his “brother.”

It is my hope that maybe the community will push for changes. The mayor, in response to my letter, acknowledged that all of the issues are real and he is attempting to address them.

The problem with his approach is that these issues did not occur overnight. The deterioration has slowly occurred over the last 20 years. The city administration has sat by and done nothing as all of these problems have continued to grow.

The elected officials for the city must replace the top administrative employees who allowed these problems to occur. The same would hold true for the Board of Education and the appointed hospital board. Positions of public service, whether elected or hired, should not be used solely to increase one’s personal wealth or elevate them to a higher elected office.

In closing let me say two things.

First, I will be happy to address each of the five issues which I raised in my initial letter – how the problem was allowed to happen and my opinion to a solution. I am not going to continue to write letters, but I will be happy to address these issues at any time.

Secondly, there is hope. Get with someone who is computer literate and listen to Denzel Washington’s 12 minute speech at Dillard University. This was given last month and is worth watching time and time again.


Ellis C. Smith