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Friday, 22 April 2011

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Michael Noll

John.

I just noticed that blogs (quite similar to City Council meetings) seem to develop their own dynamic. So let me reply to your comments:

As a husband and father I can certainly relate to the importance of spending quality time with your family. Too often we get wrapped up in our jobs and forget the most important thing in our life: our loved ones. Still, my comments have to be seen in the larger context of where we are as a community at this very moment.

As Dr. Mark George explained eloquently, biomass is just a symptom in the larger scale of things. For more than eight months citizens have come to respectfully speak at city council meetings about their concerns in regard to the proposed biomass plant and to ask questions in hopes of receiving answers. However, the only answer we have gotten from our elected representatives is silence or yet another attempt to shed responsibility and point the finger at either the Industrial Authority or the Lowndes County Commission. Curiously enough, the Industrial Authority and the Lowndes County Commission seem to display very similar patterns in their behavior.

Thus, for all practical purposes we are living in a society with rather oligarchical structures and a disturbing disconnect between a citizenry and its leadership. Citizens come time and again to share their concerns (about biomass, private prisons, or unemployment in the South Side) but at the end of the day they are de facto ignored. There is absolutely nothing polite or respectful about such a behavior.

To come back to your question: “So please tell me why you found spending a precious few hours with my family most disturbing.”

I cherish every single moment I have with my family, but for a Mayor to be absent from a city council meeting at a time of upheaval is disturbing, or at the very least poorly timed.

Also please note, that I shared four other observations upon reflecting on the last city council meeting:

- sexist comments made by Mr. Taylor, who has unfortunately displayed such behavior before

- City Council members that hide behind a policy that supposedly does not allow them to respond during meetings, while they lack the courage or decency to respond before or after meetings.

- City Council member Yost going into a tirade about my wife's comment in regard to "boring" meetings, when she was referring to the experience of our children

- the same council member then goes on to "thank" all of us for staying until the end of the meeting so that we could witness the “important” work he does? Yet he and his colleagues have blissfully ignored one of the most important issues for our community. I am sorry, but the issue of biomass (or private prisons, or high unemployment in the South Side) is just a tad bit more important than, say, regular maintenance questions such as the replacement of two belt press sludge pumps or the renaming of a street.

Sincerely, Michael G. Noll.

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