Sunday, July 8, 2007

Everett Hobbs Letter To The Editor

Download a copy of Everett Hobbs letter in .pdf by clicking here

Good morning. Today is Sunday, July 8, 2007. You'll have to find something else to read this morning. This is to Everett C. Hobbs, president of the Alexandria City Council.

Dear President Hobbs:

Thank you for your kind letter of July 2, 2007. It is always a pleasure to receive correspondence from enlightened thinkers, particularly the carefully worded missives from public servants, like yourself, that show the man behind the title and reveal exactly what motivates him to cherish a position in the public sector.

In the case of your letter, which we shared Thursday with our readers at your request, you have given the citizens of Alexandria a revealing look at how you perceive the city and your colleagues on the City Council. You stated your belief that you, your actions and the actions of this august council are consistently and maliciously viewed by The Town Talk's editorials through a lens that is colored by racism and fogged by blind support for Mayor Jacques M. Roy.
Your over arching premise is wrong. We do not espouse, condone or promote racism -- period. Just the opposite is true.

Likewise, we do not criticize or applaud any public official on the basis of race, creed, color or what-have-you. Performance in the pursuit of the public's interest is what draws our criticism and our praise.

Performance also reveals integrity. You say we "continually question the integrity of the black city councilmen." That statement is wrong for one reason -- the use of the word "black." Drop that word and you will discover the truth: We continually question the integrity of the city councilmen. We do that when we see moral and ethical lapses, when we see actions taken that are unsound and incomplete, and when we see behavior that divides people instead of uniting them.

Never have we questioned performance on the basis of skin color.

All of that is said to set the record straight on your over arching point. It is not meant to criticize you, personally.

It also is said to endorse your correct perception about a cultural, social and economic issue that, if not addressed, will stunt the growth of this community permanently. The ugliness of racism has hobbled the city of Alexandria as much as it has hobbled any community, which is to say for too long and perhaps intractably. Our community desperately needs leadership on this matter.

Your letter refers to a "total contempt for the African-American community and its elected representatives." That says something important about how you see the city. You see a black community with its own officials. The implication is that there is a white community with its own officials.

This may be a political reality, but only for those misguided office-holders and candidates whose strategy is to polarize people to get their votes. This is not a strategy that puts the community -- the entire community -- first.

The last time we looked, all public servants are supposed to be colorblind in the pursuit of stewardship and doing what's right.

That gets us back to our support for Mayor Roy and his commitment to lead the city in a new and better direction. Our support is not blind. It is extended thoughtfully and conditionally. It is earned day by day, decision by decision, and it is fully warranted.

As president of the City Council, you sit at the pinnacle of power on a seven-member board that is supposed to set policy for one of the most important cities in Louisiana. You say that "we do the best we can and we hope with integrity."

No one here disputes that you are, in fact, doing the best you can and, we hope, with integrity.

Paul V. Carty, executive editor of The Town Talk and, may be reached at (318) 487-6370 and
Originally published July 8, 2007


blogger templates | Make Money Online