I don't think anyone would disagree that our city, Talladega, is a mess! Our City School Board can't seem to agree on anything -- even who should be superintendent. As far as our City Council, what can we say? The last several issues of the Daily Home paints a dark and troubling image of our City Hall, while the downtown area wallows in decay and industry passes us by!
As far as a flood of complaints that residents are not being allowed to speak at council meetings by Horace Patterson, this is not new at all. I attend the majority of council meetings. Patterson and the council allow their friends and supporters to speak freely without being on the agenda despite council rules that to address the council one must give notice to the clerk at least a week prior.
An example of this is two meetings ago when Wilby Wallace was allowed to speak at length with political bantering back and forth with Horace Patterson. He was not on the agenda!
I have personally tried to speak to the council and the city manager twice regarding my handicapped daughter being denied access to Spring Street Recreation Center for walking exercise on doctors' orders. We were told each time that she would have to pay each time since she was insured by Medicaid and the city could not bill them as they do private insurance companies.
Remember, students are allowed to use the center without charge (on Horace Patterson's recommendation). We consulted an out-of-state law firm specializing in claims involving the Americans With Disability Act and agree that all we want is fair treatment for our child. We would discuss with the City Manager. However, when I went to City Hall, the manager's secretary told me I must discuss with her and she would decided if I could speak to the manager. At the next council meeting, I tried to address the issue with the council and was told by (then Council President) Horace Patterson I could not speak. All we wanted was fairness -- no litigation, no damages, yet Patterson, the manager and the council don't want to talk about it. The matter remains unresolved.
If this is not redneck southern small-town politics, then I don't know what is! I have stated before, we are long overdue for a 100 percent house-cleaning at City Hall. Our current council has clearly demonstrated that it has outlived its ability to govern and must go!
I am not sure we can afford 10 more months of the goofy antics by this council.
I implore you, for the good of our community, please pay attention, participate and absolutely demand better government from City Hall.