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Phenix City deserves better — we deserve answers

It’s taken me months to figure this out. I haven’t been able to wrap my head around how Donald Trump is a legitimate candidate to be our country’s next president.

But on Tuesday it hit me like a 3-2 Phenix City Council vote.

Our local and state governments have created this.

People are angry and fearful, the very qualities Trump is running his campaign on. And our local governments have fostered those behaviors — yes, they are behaviors — by their actions.

You created it by your lack of communication. You created it by your inability to actually do what you say.

You created it by your closed-door meetings and executive sessions where the real conversations happen.

You created it by voting 3-2 to oust school board members with zero public discussion and a vote that happened so quickly veteran reporter Mark Rice wasn’t initially sure where the votes fell.

Phenix City Board of Education president Brad Baker and vice president Kelvin Redd weren’t reappointed to the board during Tuesday’s council vote. They both told our reporter they were “shocked.”

Mayor Eddie Lowe and Councilmembers Jim Cannon of District 1 and Arthur Day of District 3 voted in the bloc that ousted Baker and Redd. At-large Councilmember Johnny Barfield and Councilmember Gail Head of District 2 voted in the bloc that tried to keep the leaders on the school board.

Did they explain their votes or discuss them during Tuesday’s meeting? No.

Would they answer questions following the meeting? Nope.

Only hours later via phone calls would they respond with what can only be described as halfhearted answers.

Transparency?

That’s crap, and you know it.

Transparency isn’t walking out after a meeting and not explaining why you voted the way you did.

Transparency isn’t saying “they did a good job” but “we need a new change.”

With all due respect, Mr. Mayor, what process did you follow when the current president and vice president of the school board say they haven’t received an explanation?

Maybe the “process” needs to change.

Were the dismissals of legendary coach Woodrow Lowe and former superintendent Larry DiChiara properly handled? Absolutely not.

Maybe the public would better understand Tuesday’s vote if the Woodrow Lowe and DiChiara situations were better explained. That, too, was orchestrated behind closed doors with our public officials insisting they couldn’t discuss it.

So we found ourselves Tuesday afternoon angry and fearful of what our local government will do next. We wake up this morning wanting something to change.

Maybe new school board members John Donahue and Will Lawrence will represent that change.

But the people of Phenix City deserve a better explanation. Hopefully, we won’t have to rely on Donald Trump for that.

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