The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Town Hall meetings

This is a letter that I sent to the Western Star in Bessemer, that they elected not to publish. But you will still get a chance to read it, because I'll put it on Bessemer Opinions:

Dear Editor:

The more I think about it, the more I consider the inappropriateness of Mayor Ed May’s Town Hall meetings. I have not attended many of them recently, but I used to attend them all when he was first elected eight years ago.

The modern concept of town halls brings to mind large meeting rooms like the auditorium at City Hall, or the auditoriums in the numerous public schools in our city.

The mayor chooses to conduct his Town Hall meetings in the security of a church, and the meetings bear some resemblance to the service one might hear on a Sunday morning.

At a recent Town Hall meeting in a local church we heard how the recent pattern of scattered thunderstorms, for instance, was pre-determined by God. That didn’t bother me too much, as someone’s uneducated belief about the weather doesn’t concern me, unless that person is the one in charge of issuing tornado warnings, for instance, the paths of which I think are determined by natural forces and not the hand of God taking aim at certain ones of us.

But at a meeting three years ago after the tragic death of 14 year old Josh Hughes the mayor offered a solution to the crime problem in Bessemer that does affect me as well as the rest of Bessemer’s citizens.

The solution to violent crime, according to the mayor, rather than increased police protection would be for each one of the audience members, to tell another resident about Jesus and for that resident to do the same, until all of Bessemer had converted.

The recent murder of 23 year old Maurice Thomas at a Bessemer club shows how well that strategy has worked.

Conducting Town Hall meetings in churches is exclusionary because not all citizens feel comfortable in a particular church, or any church, for that matter. Government should be separate from religion, and combining the two, even on this level, is dangerous and inappropriate.

We have plenty of public buildings throughout our city where this type of meeting could be held, and in buildings that are paid for and owned by the citizens, we would all feel welcome.

(PS - Disclosure: I have no control over the ads that appear below the posts. I mean, which ads. I don't necessarily approve or endorse the products or politicians or whatevers that may appear.)


MGM Innkeeper said...

Bravo on the point that religious structures should not be a gathering place for civic events, like a Mayor's Town Hall Meeting. Or even as a polling place! Has anyone ever taped the Mayor at one of these things and put the entire meeting up on YouTube? An eye opener for sure.

Joe said...

Lol, MGM. If you remember, I tried to videotape a town Hall meeting, and the mayor would not let me.

Big J said...

I believe that his reasons for hosting these meetings at churches has less to do with religion and more to do with control.

By not having these "townhall meetings" at city hall or on other public property he can dictate who can or cannot record him and can prevent other elected officials, city employees or candidates from speaking/refuting his statements.

This way he can say anything he wishes, whether it is true or not, without repercussion. I have been to one of these meetings where a member of the press was present and after that person left the mayor stated something to the effect of: "well now that _________ has left, let me say this...." and proceeded to state something that was untrue and was easily fact-checked after the fact.

This man hides behind a facade of religion but is one of the least Christian people I have ever met.

MGM Innkeeper said...

Record the next meeting and let him try to stop you. Create a scene that forces him to break ANOTHER law.

Oh, and find some way that you can block any ads that do not support your messages. Simply because the word "church" appears in your blog doesn't give some advertiser the right to slap an offensive or church related ad.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all. He does not conduct the real businees of the city. He needs to be exposed to let the people know what he really is doing. It seems his hand is out to many houses and businesses They also seem to be afraid. Could it be blackm__l??? Somethings going on. Keep up the work Joe, your doing good.

Big J said...


I know the city workers are scared to death of him. When he first got elected he fired several city employees just because they had worked on an opponents campaign. The county personnel board re-instated them and noted that the firings were improper.

He has emotionally abused one employee so bad the person had a stress induced seizure. No city worker can openly speak out about this man without harsh repercussions.

Anonymous said...

The is no question that May conducts all city business as his business. The mayor needs to conduct city business are our business, which it is. The residents and business owners within city. Bessemer need a new leader, hopefully on August 24, that will do things different and form a team between the council, mayor, city employess and business people in the city.