The residents can always tell when it is election, especially in Talladega. Roads that have not been paved, overgrown drainage ditches, debri-filled drop inlets, and much more needed services that have not been provided since the last election, are being provided. The same song and dance being given for having not performed these critical services is no money. So what does four of the council members do, since there is no money? Vote to spend upwards of one million dollars for a splash pad.

Approximately 20 years ago, under the prodding of Ward 1 Councilman Horace Patterson, who has been in office for 28 years, was successful in getting the form of government changed from mayor form of government to city manager form of government. This took the power away from the mayor and gave it to the city manager. The city manager does not have to take instructions from a resident or council members. The city manager is a political god.

Since the successful prodding by Patterson, the new form of government has cost the Talladega residents, in excess of $2 million. Patterson has led the pack to fire five city managers. This has cost the residents more than $250,000 additional dollars.

The city of Talladega cannot be progressive as long as there appears to be a dictator form of government. For the most part, the residents have been shut out, but have to pay hard-earned dollars to support this non-responsive government.

The splash pad is not finalized, and I strongly urge the present council to delay a final decision and let the new administration, who will take office in November, make the decision to go forward or postpone the project. There will be at least two new council members, since two present members are not seeking another term, so I think it will be unconscionable to obligate them for a million dollars.

Ward 1 has two outstanding candidates seeking the council position presently held by Horace Patterson. There is a saying: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. The residents of Talladega have been played for a fool long enough. We are not ignorant, stupid, back-woods hillbillies, and we intend to send a message that we want a change.

On Election Day, we will be successfully voting for a mayor and three council members who want progress.

Larry Barton