July 8, 2009
If you''re planning to watch the broadcast of the Lowndes County Supervisors'' Tuesday meeting, let us warn you; it''s not a pretty sight.
The story revolves around an Industrial Development Board appointment to fill the remaining term of Kabir Karriem, who resigned after taking office as city councilman. Two people had applied for the position, both of whom Karriem defeated in the council race, former incumbent Jay Jordan and Kenneth McFarland. Jordan was Brooks'' man, but a week and a half before the meeting it was decided since Jordan had real estate interests, he shouldn''t be a candidate.
That left only McFarland, someone Brooks obviously dislikes intensely. "He doesn''t speak to me, and I don''t speak to him," the District 5 Supervisor proclaimed.
Brooks attempted to remove the issue from the agenda and let the position remain unfilled until November when it''s up for renewal. Sanders was having none of it, saying he doesn''t believe the board should be without representation.
"District 5 is my choice," Brooks answered, saying he didn''t want to be "force fed."
"Harry, do the right thing," Brooks admonished.
Citing precedent, Jeff Smith offered support for Brooks, saying he had nothing against McFarland and even thought him a capable nominee.
Ferguson and Holliman voted against Brooks'' motion to remove the item from the agenda. Oddly enough, no one suggested a compromise, postponing the nomination until the next meeting to give Brooks an opportunity to find a candidate of his choosing. Again, we question why these appointments are doled out to different supervisors. The entire board should participate in the selection process.
The issue was not about race. Brooks is black; his choice, Jordan, white. Sanders is white; McFarland, the candidate he supported and who eventually was approved, is black.
Ferguson, who appeared incapable of making a decision, wanted to withhold his vote for McFarland and only voted when he was told an abstention is a yea vote. Later in the meeting, Ferguson abstained from voting on a motion to spend between $5,000 and $10,000 appraising property in Burns Bottom, which may be used for soccer fields, even though he has steadfastly opposed the site. Frank, what gives?
Once defeated, Brooks became the obstructionist, not letting Sanders have his say and boasting that he will not allow McFarland to serve on the board peacefully. "If I have to hire an attorney, I will!" Brooks said.
A resigned Smith said, "We''re going backwards guys. We''re taking one step forward and two steps backward. We''ve done a great deal of damage."
At the beginning of this shameful production, Rev Larry Story prayed for peace and harmony, that the supervisors "may be a blessing to the city and county."
Maybe next time, Rev. Story.
By contrast, Tuesday evening the new city council breezed through its spate of appointments, voting unanimously on every choice.
Both meetings will be rebroadcast on CableOne''s Channel 3: the supes on Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. and the Council Tuesdays at 5 p.m. Segments of the Board of Supervisors'' Tuesday meeting are below. We encourage you to watch them.