Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news from Florida for working families since 2007


Lake City Council Should Be Respected – More Importantly – So Should the Citizens

Areatha Franklin with headline: Lake City Council should be respected, so should the citizens
Photo: Jan Persson/Redferns/Getty Images | Columbia County Observer graphic

LAKE CITY, FL – As defined in the dictionary, the word COUNCIL is outlined as follows: a body of people elected to manage the affairs of a city, county, or other municipal district.

I have been at different council meetings, and a COUNCIL is not what I see here. In many instances, the discussions are monopolized. The Council seems to bow out.

It is also essential that the citizens feel comfortable giving their opinions free from reprimand on any given subject. As all of the citizens are part of this town and pay the salaries of the council members, it is logical that they get the opportunity to voice their opinions and bring ideas to debate when it moves them to do so.

What I have been witnessing in Lake City has nothing to do with debate, but aligns itself more with what I would call "oral flagellation." Decorum is nonexistent here. A strong factor of manipulation is taking place at these meetings. Moreover, there is total verbal disrespect toward the Council, as well as to the participants of these meetings, who have been tolerating the rudeness of certain individuals for some time despite the rules of conduct read at the beginning of each meeting.

I have had the experience of living in a foreign country for many years and can honestly tell you that this country still offers the best options in the way of freedom to its citizens. You do not want to be elsewhere. You can be assured, and should know, that I have witnessed the ruling tyranny that exists in other countries where citizens have no say.

I also refer to the formality and respect that I and all should willingly give at the start of every meeting here in City Hall by standing and pledging allegiance to our flag, a symbol of freedom that was fought for so that we can be here today. Prayer is equally important, even if you are not especially spiritual.

I am not an expert at the unfolding of council meetings, but what I have so far witnessed is constant badgering of subjects that are of exclusive interest to some and not the majority.

As we are here to debate to have decisions ultimately made in tandem with this Council, it is of utmost importance that ALL citizens feel a sense of freedom to express themselves and obtain satisfaction when decisions have been made. They should not be fearful nor threatened to participate.

Denigration and the use of manipulation to gain one’s interests should not be a part of these meetings. Yet, what I have so far witnessed is ceaseless chastisement by some actors as a manipulative ploy for personal gain – not for the interests of the majority of this town. In addition, there should not be any question in our minds about the expenses incurred by this City. They should be justified, proven, and at the disposal of every citizen.

The Council should be respected, but more importantly, so should all the citizens of this City!!!

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