So the first city council meeting featuring our newly elected officials took place this past Monday. In a constant running saga, I am amazed that our local daily media failed to pick up on the most interesting item that surfaced.
In full disclosure, I did not make it for the start of the meeting, and I left before it was fully over. But what I did get to see was great, in the classic unintentional comedy sense.
I am of course referring to our esteemed city councilman, Mr. Ed Robinson, who really met his potential during the course of the discussion of abandoned houses.
The discussion kicked off with Dr. Dawson's wife talking about the burned out building on Palmetto street that housed that sandwich place. She explained how the thing has been burned out for ever (a year I think) and how the city has been no help. How she had made calls and basically been told the city really could not do anything because the owner lived out of town. At some point, I think some official for the city explained there was a problem getting service on the owner in Columbia.
Trust me...that is laughable. The idea that the city can't get someone served in Cola is ridiculous and is a BS excuse.
Kelvin Mitchell then got up and complained about abandoned houses and lots in East Florence. He had pictures of several houses in the area.
At this point, Council Robinson for some reason decided to ask Mr. Mitchell if he was for taking people's property. To illustrate his point, Councilman Robinson explained that he owned a piece of property he had inherited and if he could not afford to fix it up, would Mr. Mitchell be for taking it from him.
Let's ignore the fact that it was ridiculous to ask Mitchell this. He's coming to council complaining about a specific problem. It's up to council to address it, not Mitchell. Secondly, it was stupid because Mitchell had not mentioned any such action. It's obvious Ed is worried about this. But why question a citizen about it?
Robinson continued to ridiculously complain saying he only hears talk about "destruction" in these neighborhoods and nothing about "building them up." Of course, this shows how foolish Ed is. These are not homes that can be rebuilt. They are blights on the community. And most of the pictures were on Ed's street. Ed is trying to play it like these are "homes" inhabited by folks who just can't afford to keep them up, when that is clearly not the case. NO ONE lives in these dilapidated buildings. They are blights on the community and are dragging down the neighborhoods.
Now...it as this discussion went on, all I could think of, was what is Ed doing? These were his constituents complaining and he was picking a fight with them. When Powers and Octavia called him on the fact that condemning property was a last resort, someone asked him if his property looked as bad as those in the pictures. Now immediately, I thought...no, Ed was doing a hypothetical there...but then he answered. Disclaimer, I am not exactly sure of what was said, but I think he said something to the effect that his property probably looked worse.
So is Councilman Robinson taking a contrary position to the majority of his constituents, against what was a very big issue in the election, because it would hurt his personal finances????
Seriously...how does that not make it into the paper? Come on, Chuck...buckle down.
BTW...the building pic'd above is not from Florence. Our abandoned buildings aren't high-class enought to be brick.