December 30, 2010 6:51:00 PM
In recent days, I have been thinking about our "Friendly City" and considering our progress and collective problems. Moreover, we have lately through the leadership of the Mayor and City Council made significant progress in clearing dilapidated houses throughout the city. However, while removing these eyesores is a positive, we have some significant problems festering.
First, there is a revenue shortfall. As many governments are discovering throughout the nation, a recessed economy reduces revenue. Columbus'' problem is worse and can be expected to worsen since most of all new industrial business is locating in the county. Thus, we must find ways which allow for revenue sharing.
Specifically, Columbus as the seat of Lowndes County must not be allowed to "die on the vine." Rather, revenue sharing between the county of Lowndes and City of Columbus needs to happen. This is not a novel idea since it''s happening all over America as a financial necessity resulting from changing demographics.
Second, another problem we must solve is the hiring of personnel at the highest level of administration in the city. While the city is overwhelming African-American, the key department heads, i.e., Chief Operations Officer, City Planner, and Police Chief remain white even as the political terms of those elected to hire employees have changed at least once. Never let it be thought or said that we should hire persons solely based on race as opposed to qualifications, however, I am certain there are qualified African-Americans to fill these positions.
Thirdly, we must examine the city authorities, boards and commissions and look at who is holding these seats. In the words of former President Andrew Jackson, "to the victor belongs the spoils." Clearly all commissions, boards and authorities should be at least half African-American and half white.
Lastly, we must re-evaluate the racial make-up of the Columbus City School Board and the administration of the Columbus City Schools. It is important to remember many have died so that African-Americans will have the right to participate in governing themselves as opposed to plantation government where the slave owner makes the decisions for us. Columbus is the only or one of the few urban areas in Mississippi with a majority African-American student population with a white superintendent.
I think of the late Medgar Evers and Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer who gave their lives so we might have the opportunity to lead ourselves as opposed to being locked out of the halls of government. Some of the attorneys for our boards and commissions should be African-American. It''s just that simple. Columbus let''s make some progress in 2011 by changing the guard of appointed leaders. If our elected leaders will not do the job, then we shall elect new leaders.
brian commented at 1/1/2011 11:13:00 PM:
zenreaper commented at 1/2/2011 7:33:00 AM:
Half black and half white? So a system that says only whites is wrong, and a system that says only blacks is wrong, but a sysytem that says half and half is okay? It seems that making any rules as to how many of each color should be in a job is, on its face, racist. And why stop at black and white? What about latino? Or are they related to the numerous Mexican restaurants in town? How about women? How about dwarves/midgets?
In 2008, this country elected to its highest office an African American, proving to the world that in this country, you rise and fall on your HARD WORK, and talent, not your background or skin color. It is about time we stop all of this nonsense. To the white people, look past the color of the person's skin, to the black people, look inside and see if the rejection in employment is something besides skin color.
mom2five commented at 1/3/2011 10:41:00 AM:
This is not the 1950s anymore. People with dark colored skin get hired if they are the most qualified candidate for the job, just like people with light colored skin get the position if they are the most qualified candidate for the job.
It doesn't matter what "side" you are on, we ALL need to stop seeing things in terms of skin color...it's only perpetuating the problem.
momof3 commented at 1/3/2011 5:13:00 PM:
Perhaps Carl Lee doesn't remember the process for hiring the CMSD Superintendent. Each candidate was interviewed publicly and made a presentation to the board at a public meeting. Without a doubt the most qualified candidate was hired and skin color was not a factor. I don't see any reason to question his right to the job now.
I'd be glad to see the best qualified applicant for a position be African-American, but that just hasn't been the case for these city positions. The real question is why haven't the African-American candidates been the most qualified. Think about the answer to that one.
1. Lynn Spruill: A watershed moment LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Voice of the people: Don Newman LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)
3. Lisa McLeod: One horrible thing wrong with schools NATIONAL COLUMNS
5. Slimantics: Our greatest unofficial national holiday LOCAL COLUMNS