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Archived Story

Ward explains comments

Published 10:45pm Thursday, March 7, 2013

City Council voted during its Wednesday meeting to hold a public input session on the budget before a proposal is issued.

The motion by Councilman Charles Parr to set the meeting, tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. March 18 at the Hilton Garden Inn and Conference Center on East Constance Road, looked like it would be a simple one.

But it became a 20-minute discussion after Councilman Lue Ward seemed to question the need for hearing from the citizens.

“Are we willing to listen to the people that come in?” he asked. He added later: “The people don’t have no idea how the city works” and questioned whether there would enough attendance at such a meeting to make it worthwhile.

Ward ultimately voted in favor of scheduling the meeting and elaborated in a phone interview Thursday, saying he realized after his comments that they might be misconstrued.

Informal meetings for citizen input on the budget have been held in the past, but attendance is generally low — for both taxpayers and City Council members. Some of the members suggested their presence at the upcoming meeting, plus its neutral location, would foster more attendance.

Ward’s fellow council members disagreed that attendance would be low and asserted that the citizens need to be given a chance to speak.

“I think we need to hear from the folks that are paying the taxes and the folks that are receiving the services,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said during the meeting, adding later, “I think you’ll get the attendance. I really do.”

Councilman Roger Fawcett agreed that the meeting should be held, referring to anticipated low revenues and higher demands on the available money this year.

“We might have to make some tough choices here,” he said. “This is a good time for them to weigh in on those tough choices.”

On Thursday, Ward said he wants to hear from the taxpayers, adding that his Wednesday comments “maybe didn’t come out the way I wanted it to come out.”

“I want to make sure all the people’s voices are heard,” he said. “We’ll make sure all the comments are taken seriously. Anything that gives the people power or gives the people a chance to be heard, I’m with it.”

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  • spdrltr

    they must hand out stupid pills when these guys walk into city hall. That or Linda is feeding them their lines.
    We have a good idea of how the city runs, Loo-ser, and most folks don’t like it. Do what you promised you’d do when you were campaigning for office. Challenge the status quo!

    Suggest Removal

  • thekytikat

    I watched the statements. It seemed to me that Lue Ward was asking the rest of the council if they were REALLY going to listen to the citizens, or just waste our time again.

    When he said the people don’t know how city works – Vice Mayor Brown had JUST said that exact same thing! VM Brown was trying to say that the citizens don’t realize how homogenous the city departments are. Lue Ward repeated Brown’s statement without the 10$ words, and he’s getting attacked?

    Seriously folks, more and more I believe that Lue Ward is our best hope for getting the citizen’s voice heard on this council.

    Suggest Removal

    • happyGoLucky

      Do you mean $10.00 words or proper English? You subconsciously corrected his grammar in your post..;-) I suspect they were not saying the same thing. The VM was pontificating about how streamlined and structured the city is (a Lie) Mr. Ward mumbled something about people “don’t have no idea how the city works” (idiotic statement)and a (lie)…On second thought…maybe you are correct.

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  • stown23437

    I say we give council credit to at least offer the meeting to us citizens.
    Being optimistic, maybe your voice has been heard and your
    Input will be listened to. If given the opportunity, one must take it positively, with the hope your voice will be heard. Go, be heard and hope
    For the best.

    Change doesn’t come through perpetuating negativity about the past, change comes by being a part of the process for the future with passion, not pre-conceived reservation before a meeting happens.

    Suggest Removal

    • jhuxster

      Why give credit? This council consistently DOESN’T listen to the people. We protested last year the absolutely unjustifiable pay raises for some city employees. They tabled it temporarily, and then by the words of one member, plotted to bring it up when people would not be in the meeting. Council members have decreed they are above answering to the people they supposedly represent. Write your council person and you’ll get a reply–from Ms. George who happens (from my conservations with her) to be a very nice person but I don’t want her answers. I’ve lived in Suffolk for over 8 years now–and my councilmen has NEVER been in our neighborhood. Here’s what’s going to happen. They will hold a meeting. Council members will declare their intentions “to hold the line on taxes” and then do exactly what they want to do. the truth is you can’t get budget information from the city–everything that stands behind the budget is called working papers and exempt from FOIA–according to the city. If you get them to admit they can’t stand legally on that (they can’t) then then propose to charge you so much you can’t afford to get the information. Bottom line: city council doesn’t care about the people who pay the taxes. They just want to continue to waste the taxpayers’ money and spend like there is no tomorrow. Trust me–nothing will change when they hold the meeting. Everyone better hold on to your wallet because they are coming at it.

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  • sillysal

    I agree that a special meeting is a waste of time, and is Just for appearance sake only. This council has no intention of listening to the people. They have made it crystal clear what they are all about. THEMSELVES.

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  • chief601

    I don’t think his words were miscostrued and I don’t think they are going to listen. I think it’s just a way to say “Hey, we let you subjects speak, didn’t we?”. After all, they knew full well how the citizens would react to the salary and benefits raise the city manager demanded and got. So they made sure they didn’t have to listen to the peseants. Remember them well at election time.

    Suggest Removal

  • gs

    He is the Joe Biden of Suffolk.

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  • jhuxster

    Actually the problem with such a meeting is that it’s useless. This city council has demonstrated REPEATEDLY its disdain for the citizens of this community. They have only one philosophy–we’re in charge and we’re going to do what we want to do (as long as the city manager gives them permission).

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  • MrJiggyFly

    No Mr. Ward, your comments were not misconstrued.

    And I have a stong feeling you have no idea how the city is “run” either.

    Suggest Removal

    • KNRMCO

      AGREED. HE TURNED ME OFF WHEN HE WAS RUNNING FOR COUNCIL & REFUSED TO BE INTERVIEWED.

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      • Lovebug

        The sad thing is we have a council member that refused to be interviewed yet he is now on city council and already spewing nonsense out of his mouth.

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