Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Lake City

Lake City Logo: The Discussion Began With City Manager Johnson & City Council in Stone Silence

LAKE CITY, FL – At the conclusion of last night's City Council meeting an ill wind blew into Florida's legendary Lake City, not unlike the one in March of 2001, when the City Council decided to mug the public at the12th hour and agreed to change the City Logo without any advance notice.

It is not clear if anyone in the City ever thought to save the audio of that meeting, which was voluntarily destroyed in March of 2006.

Today, with the help of the "hometown" newspaper, the Lake City Reporter, history was rewritten to make stone silent City Manager Wendell Johnson and a stone silent City Council look like they did something that they hadn't.

Glynnell Presley: What did he say?

Last night, Glynnell Presley addressed the City Council. Through his words it was clear that he thought the Confederate Battle Flag should be removed from the City logo and all City property. At the conclusion of his presentation he said, in relevant parts:

Whatever you need to do to fix this, I think that needs to be done. I’m asking the council at the next meeting that you, I don’t know if you want to put it on the agenda or – something needs to be done. That’s why I’m here. That’s what I’m askin’ of you...

After the meeting your reporter asked Mr. Presley, "You asked them to put it on the next agenda, or whatever they want. Did you want them to put it on the next agenda, or is it whatever they want?"

Mr. Presley answered, "No, they are going to put it on the next agenda."

The Observer asked, "How do you know?"

Mr. Presley answered, "It'll be there."

The Observer followed-up, "So what you really meant to say was, you were asking them to put it on the agenda. Is that right?"

Mr. Presley replied:  "I was askin' em'. Yeah. There is a move underfoot to rectify that. The Lake City logo, they are going to do something about that."

Next, City Manager Wendell Johnson
He was going to "poll" the Council

City Manager Johnson and Councilman Jefferson. Neither said a single word during the meeting about the logo.

Your reporter spoke to an obstreperous Wendell Johnson. "Mr. Presley asked the issue regarding the flag to be put on the agenda for the next meeting, or whatever you want."

City Manager Johnson replied, "Yeah. OK."

Your reporter followed up, "Are you guys going to do it?"

Mr. Johnson replied, "Are you his spokesman?"

Your reporter said, "He asked the City to discuss it."

Mr. Johnson replied, "He asked the City Council, he didn't ask Mr. Johnson."

Mr. Johnson dug in. "Why are you up here speakin' on behalf of Mr. Presley?"

Your reporter replied, "I'm not speaking on behalf, I'm trying to understand what the City Council is going to do."

Mr. Johnson answered, "I don't know what the Council is gonna do. I make the agenda based on the input I get from the Council."

Your reporter asked, "So you'll poll the board and see what they want to do?"

Mr. Johnson replied, "I'll certainly do that."

The City Agenda

Before he abandoned the North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA), for a time, City Manager Johnson was a kingpin with that failed organization. At one NFBA meeting, after board members continually complained that they were not getting the meeting material with enough time to review it, he announced that he would have no trouble having the City agendas available a week before its meetings.

City Manager Johnson has never done that. Sometime ago, after Mr. Johnson advised the City Council that he could have the City agendas prepared on the Wednesday before the meetings, the Council told him it was fine to have them available on the Friday afternoon before the Council's Monday meetings.

It is not clear when Mr. Johnson is going to poll the City Council, or if he will.

One thing is clear, if the topic of the City logo ends up on the City's August 3 agenda, the public will not know until the 12th hour.

The "hometown" newspaper: Lake City Reporter

Buried on page three of today's Lake City Reporter was the headline: "Rebel Flag in Lake City's logo debated." 

The Observer asked a few people if they thought City Manager Johnson's remarks, reported at the end of the LCR article, were made at the meeting. None thought that they were.

Ralph Kitchens attended the meeting. His remarks speak for themselves.


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