In last week’s column, I reported to you that some Columbus citizens had complained of work being done by city workers on the entrance of Dean Acres, a subdivision in which Columbus Mayor Robert Smith resides. Flowers had been planted and maintained at that location by city personnel. An alert citizen claims it’s been going on for years.
I was unable to attend Tuesday night’s Columbus City Council meeting, but Packet reporter Sarah Fowler, who regularly covers that meeting, was there. Ms. Fowler said that Mayor Smith read my column (pertaining to the city workers allegedly performing work on private property) aloud during the meeting. He then claimed that the entrance to Dean Acres is indeed city property and stated, “Mr, Williams, we are doing the right thing in beautifying our city.” He also added, “I would hope in the future Mr. Williams would report factual information instead of mendacious [A fancy word for calling me a liar, basically. – RW] deceitful and inaccurate information.”
Did I check property lines to see if the entrance to Dean Acres is private or city property before reporting? No, I did not, mainly because it’s hard to imagine property to the entrance to a subdivision as city property. Furthermore, it was the opinion of others in the know that the property was not only not city property, but not even located in the city at all at some point [Though was apparently annexed during the last annexation. – RW.]
The mayor might certainly be right. He might be able to show me that the property is indeed city property. If he does, I’ll gladly apologize and write a retraction. In the original story where I said that Public Works Director Mike Pratt freely admitted that city workers planted the flowers, I never said that Pratt was admitting to doing work on private property. I just said that he admitted to doing the work. I doubt Pratt knows whether he’s doing work on private property or not because he just does what the mayor instructs him to do, which is exactly what he’s supposed to do.
Because of the July 4th holiday, the property lines can’t be researched until after publication of this Packet. If the mayor is right, he’ll get his apology and retraction next week. Either way, I’ll always strive to do exactly as he suggested…to report accurate information! At the same time, in the future I’d like to see the mayor more forthright and open to both the media and public himself. He could certainly use some improvement in that category.
And while I’m being nice, I must say that District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks could not have been more cordial during the supervisor meeting this past Monday [Not to me…just in general. – RW]. Brooks conducted himself in a manner that he’d been known for in the past couple of years…more businesslike and less combative, using his long tenure on the board to ask needed questions and provide informative insight into various issues facing the county. Though it’s fun writing about the other Leroy Brooks, this is the one we really hope to see at every meeting.
Bernard Buckhalter Reappointed to Columbus CVB Board
This is no surprise. And why not? Instead of appointing applicant Glenn Baldwin, a legitimate Columbus restaurateur who actually pays the 2 percent sales tax…the council, instead, appoints Buckhalter, an out-of-town employee who has never seen a festival he didn’t love!
And the beat goes on….
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com0