Claude Simpson: A political activist and proud of it

August 11, 2011 10:49:00 AM



My name is being tossed around publicly in the Sunday Dispatch as a "political activist" because I have offered to serve on the Board of the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau. The labeling suggests I have something to gain by serving on that board. 


Mr. Sanders'' insistence on labeling me as a "political activist" is rather peculiar. I do not consider myself or even aspire to be a political activist.  


What I do try to do is to encourage growth and development in Lowndes County.  


Since returning to Columbus, I have learned that real people with Democratic ideals "live in the closet" politically, because they are afraid of being falsely accused and labeled as socialists, communists, permissive and biased tax spenders, on the wrong side of a racial divide, so "political activist" or any other label imaginable can be stuck on them by self-serving politicians and media.  


It sounds to me as if Mr. Sanders and others are practicing political activism themselves or have some other ulterior motive themselves by using such labels as a justification for the reason not to appoint me to the CVB. 


I am beginning to suspect that what is at stake here is the revenue of the CVB, which has grown to more than a million dollars, and now certain local politicians and other vested interests are trying to divert these funds for use in their own personal and project advancement. 


What would I personally gain from serving on that Board? Nothing. The CVB is an unpaid watchdog committee. It was established to assure that the taxes paid by our visitors and guests to city''s restaurants, hotels, and other transit facilities are properly and fairly distributed in the best interest of promoting a positive image and development in our community.  


By agreeing to place my name on the list of people willing to serve on this board, my aim was pure and simple to try and help the city grow and become an even more interesting place to live, with properties again increasing in value.  


Mr. Sanders, sir, if that is political activism, then so be it.