August 22, 2016

We The People Will Decide

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Vote For The Team, Not The Individual 

We The People

The Semmes municipal election is tomorrow, Tuesday, August 23rd. Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Semmes First Baptist Church, 4070 Wulff Road.

Even if we wanted to, it appears we no longer have the choice of voting for individuals. As evidence of this, clusters of signs along our roadways indicate this election has two teams vying for your vote – not twelve individuals.

This “team” bombardment all began when land was cleared for these political signs, including a parcel of land on Illinois street previously proposed by the mayor as an excellent site for City Hall. This land purchase was voted down due to questions raised regarding the purchase price which many members of the council felt was inflated by almost 300%.  What a stroke of luck that this land purchase was voted down so the Mayor’s team signs could be posted on this site during this campaign! They say that politics make “strange bedfellows” and that is the case here in Semmes with the same real estate developer of this parcel actually volunteering to assist with the mayor’s team’s campaigns so much so that his picture is posted on a proposed candidates site as being on team F…… .

There are even “straw ballots” floating around with names already checked for their teams by prospective council members. Let’s hope that proposed council candidates do not post any results on their sites for these “fun” polls before the election tomorrow. Campaign officials might consider this a violation of fair campaign practices since it was launched and shared by a candidate.

Nevertheless….

We have David Baker’s team vs Judy Hale’s team.  Depending on your view, fortunately or unfortunately, we, the citizens of Semmes, can’t put our hopes and dreams in the election of one person. We have been forced or manipulated once again by our current leadership who set the stage for this election to consider not just candidates on their individual merits, but opposing teams.  So indeed we find ourselves as a community looking at teams of individuals running for office at this point instead of considering candidates on their individual merits and qualifications for office. Not an ideal situation, but it is what it is and now as voters we have to deal with what we have been dealt as our choices for office at Semmes City Hall in this election.

We have to ask ourselves do we want change or four more years of the same?

One team represents a positive change in leadership with familiar team members that have selflessly served over the last four years at great personal cost to their reputations and families…. the other team…well we have a new set of fresh faced public servants clamoring to serve with the same team captain that has stirred a swell of negative sentiment among the citizens of Semmes over the last four years due to her poor leadership skills.

Regardless of who our next mayor and council members may be, we need to ask what committees will our next mayor create. Which council members will be on which committees and what citizens will volunteer to be members of those committees. Citizens wanting to volunteer for committees may or may not elect to serve on committees depending on their views of the mayor/council makeup and after seeing the recent smear campaign launched at many of those faithful local servants, once so highly thought of by our current mayor.

Who will comprise the Planning Commission, possibly the most important consideration of all. Will Tim Hale be removed as chair of the Planning Commission or will it be “business as usual” at City Hall. If its Team Hale, nepotism will continue as will the turnover in the public works and Semmes Volunteer Fire Department. You too may be facing down Tim Hale over a ridiculous and costly stipulation placed on you when you try to develop a piece of real estate in the City of Semmes for commercial use or just a home site that your parents may give to you.

A vote for Judy Hale’s team…four more years of the same….

Will we ever again have a Public Safety Committee? It was abolished remember under the present administration? Don’t look for any change here.

A vote for Judy Hale’s team…four more years of the same….

Who will sit in the chairs of the Finance Committee, Historic Preservation Committee and other committees?

Any takers volunteering for the Finance Committee are moving into treacherous waters unless they request a forensic audit in November 2016. There is a day coming somewhere in Semmes’s future when such an audit will be performed…I hope good people will not be caught with their eyes closed and their pants down….

A vote for Judy Hale’s team….four more years of the same with new faces occasionally heading these committees when the old ones pose too much of a threat with pesky questions concerning spending citizen’s tax dollars or questionable real estate purchases.

And what about our lack of communications between city hall and citizens? If the management of this Municipal Election is any indicator, then we are in for more of the same over the next four years.

A vote for Judy Hale’s team…. Four more years of the same….

What about our Fire Department concerns and our stagnant growth? Will we abandon those pleas for help posted on this site while we ask for these brave souls to put their lives on the line for us every day?

A vote for Judy Hale’s team…four more years of the same….

Do we need an annexation committee or do we leave annexation requests under control of the mayor?

There needs to be an annexation committee. What we have here now is a mayor who wants to touch and control everything. A good leader delegates tasks to capable people. The problem here is the current mayor wants to micromanage all things Semmes.

A vote for Judy Hale’s team four more years of the same….

All of these committees, chairs and people will have a huge impact on our future. We need to choose wisely. We need to choose the team which will get moving and sustain all efforts to get Semmes headed in the right direction.

There are highly capable and qualified individuals asking for our vote. But, if this election is about teams, then we must not consider each individual on their own merits. Instead we have to look at the team.

I am guilty of stereotyping the candidates by association. I cannot vote for any member of Judy Hale’s team regardless of their merit. I came to that decision when none of the team members elected to view documents I have which I hoped would encourage them to disassociate themselves from Judy Hale. None took me up on that publicly posted invitation – not one. It was then that I formed the opinion that if they were unwilling to even take a look at cold hard facts, then they are not even willing to be open-minded. They did not want to see facts that could be laid before them.

One candidate stated on their Facebook page that they were “appointed” by Mayor Hale to run for city council. That candidate will not receive my vote.

Two candidates participated in last minute maneuvers that if they had taken place a short hour or two later could fall into the catch phrase “under the cover of darkness.” These two candidates will not receive my vote.

One candidate has consistently sided with Judy Hale and cannot act or think independently. This candidate will not receive my vote.

There is one wild card in this election – Tony Ebright. Every which way I look at this man, he is good. I have looked at his activities and his associations and I have found nothing of concern. However, he is not on the team I will be voting for.

For Mayor: I am voting for David Baker. He alone had the spirited initiative and resourcefulness to go up against Judy Hale and her henchmen.

For Place #1: I am voting for Charles Watts. His testimony speaks volumes about his character. He is a good man and will lend a refreshing spirit to the city council.

For Place #2: I am voting for Howard Smith. Mr Smith has consistently questioned Judy Hale’s actions and is quick to point out inappropriate actions or statements. He is also directly responsible for bringing interesting information into the light.

For Place #3: I am voting for Mr. Lawrence Webb. This man has to prove himself to no one. He is a man of his word and does what he says he will do. And, it appears he is ready to fight when all other actions have failed. It will be interesting to see how he handles himself when he is unchained from the Hale regime shackles.

For Place #4: I will vote for myself, Terry Platt.

For Place #5: I will vote for Jerry Shirey. Mr. Shirey is another council member that has been bound by the code of the southern gentleman. He has come to me many times over the years to talk of his concern that our minority citizenry is not represented as it should be. Jerry and I live in the same neighborhood and have been friends for twenty years or more.

In closing I would like to say that Semmes can and will have a great future. It may sound melodramatic but it is true that tens of thousands of people across the country are following us through Talk of Semmes articles and our Facebook comments. Let’s not let our opportunity for a good ending to this time in our history go to waste. Let’s clean up our act and get ready for Football.

Vote for positive change tomorrow Vote Team Baker, not four more years of the same.

Terry Platt


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