Letter to the Editor: Facts really do matter by Gardenia Hobbs – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: They don’t want to hear these trues! I am familiar with all of these facts.

E. B. White said “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”

There are people who live their whole life believing over-generalized stereotypes that supposedly set them apart from a particular group of people. The belief that people of color are not intellectually equipped to assume leadership roles is a longstanding stereotype. The election of a people of color council majority in 2003 and the chatter and expressed perils that followed gives credence to this misconception.

The day these council members were sworn in the crusade began to recapture control. They have been criticized at every turn, for every initiative taken to improve economic opportunities and quality of life. This council majority has been criticized for a lack of transparency, yet more issues have been discussed in an open setting than ever before and citizens have been encouraged to attend Committee of the Whole meetings to get direct information.

It was this council majority that brought to light the fact that the city owed hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of a failed utility venture. It was Councilman Andre Knight who was at the forefront of this fight. It was this council majority that heeded the call of citizens and established new guidelines to accommodate those having problems paying utility charges.

At the seating of this council majority, longstanding inequities existed. Only one person of color was serving on the Planning Board and one on the Board of Adjustments. All other boards and commissions dealing with growth and development had none. Goods and services on the east side were almost none existent and plans were on the drawing board to bulldoze the Douglass Block and Booker T. Washington High School. Preservation of African-American history was not a consideration.

Is this the kind of governing that critics are clamoring to reinstate?

The critics leading the charge spent every waking hour trying to prevent the construction of the Event Center so it is surprising that they would be so aggressively interested in the center’s medical contract. It is also surprising that they are so accusatory of downtown real-estate purchases considering they abandoned the area. It is unlikely such untruths would be on display if these critics had been successful in preventing construction of the Event Center.

Al Kersha said, “No matter what you believe, it doesn’t change the facts.” So true.

Gardenia B. Hobbs

Rocky Mount