I wrote earlier about how the town selected the newest council member to fill Jeff Weaver's open seat. I am not thrilled about their conduct of business, just as Rick is not. I am sure that Eric Sellers will do a fine job. The way in which his selection came about, however, is just plain wrong. I was not going to write about it in the paper, but did so this week. I don't normally put my column on this blog, since I have a separate blog just for newspaper columns.
Here is today's column:
There are certain topics about which I have not written in this column for various reasons. Some were because they were not timely, some were because they would not have been in good taste, some because I had little interest, and yet others because I had great interest in them but it would have been self serving to so indulge in a column. Today, I am writing about a topic that I told myself, "Self, leave that one alone, because it would be rather self serving to write about that."
On great thing about writing for Rick Stewart is that he lays no real ground rules other than 1. keep the column somewhere around 700 words 2. don't libel anybody. Fair enough, I say. Only one time did he ever ask me to change anything that I had written, and that was just one sentence that could have been better written to convey the same thought. Even though I still liked my sentence better, he was probably correct. That comes under the heading I listed earlier about good taste. I still love my first photograph that was published. Because some didn't, so you get this boring, ugly one each week, instead.
Another great thing about writing for Rick is that he has a sense of fairness. He has recently stepped up his own writing in the form of editorials. He has tackled some topics that he hears about before I do, since I often wait to read this newspaper to know what is newsworthy, just like you do. I even pay the same subscription price all of you do. Secondly, when Rick sees something that he feels is inappropriate, he does his First Amendment thing and "lays the smack down". That is exactly what he did last week. I was not going to touch the appointment of Eric Sellers to the Selma Town Council except to say that I believe that he may very well do an excellent job and I hope it goes well for him and for the town. I truly mean that with all sincerity.
It was painfully obvious, however, that the deliberations over whom to select to fill the open council seat had already been done secretly, out of the public eye. If there were any others that were mentioned, then I doubt that they were given serious consideration. Let me expound upon Rick's expose a bit. I personally am on the Citizen's Advisory Committee for the town. Not once have I ever been asked to attend a single meeting for anything dealing with citizens' advising of anything, including filling a vacant seat on the council.
Next, the long standing tradition, as Rick and others who are prominent in this town have pointed out, was that the first consideration was given to the candidates in the last election. There were two men who would most likely have been a "thorn in the side" to the way of our current administration, both of whom were third and fourth out of four candidates. Those two men got within 13 votes of each other. The top two vote getters are currently on the council and were incumbent candidates. The third place candidate, Tommy Holmes, has been in Selma all of his life, I understand. Unfortunately, I also understand that he has not been doing well lately health wise. Tommy, I wish for you nothing but the best and for a full recovery. Hypothetically, had the town leaders not broken from tradition and Mr. Holmes would not have been able to serve, that would have left one person that was on the ballot last election.
God forbid that someone with that much opinion and guts to say what he means in public, much less in print in a weekly newspaper column so that everyone knows what they would get ahead of time rather than being secretive about it, be installed as a town council member. The apocalypse draweth nigh if that should happen, huh?
Never for a minute think that the politics that were played out on the state level with men like Jim Black can not infect a small town like Selma. Like I said, I was not going to tackle this topic originally because it would have seemed self serving. But, since Rick brought it up, it should be held up as an example. I am now getting off my personal soap box...for a few minutes, anyway.