I have never made an opinion on here before, but I felt it to be an obligation of myself to let the poelple of this city and particularly District 7 know what I recently witnessed. I was in attendance at a local forum for the District 7 City Council seat.Two prospective candidates, Chris Anderson and Karl Epperson, were on hand including Mayor candidate Guy Satterfield and, of course, the incumbent Manny Rico.
At the beginning of the forum each candidate had a couple of minutes to talk about what they would do as a District 7 councilman.
An upbeat Mr. Anderson was very well spoken, noting his support for stronger public safety, infrastructure, and jobs. I would say that Mr Anderson has a vision to help District 7. Then you have Mr. Rico. In his introduction Mr. Rico never stated what his plans were for the district; he basically stated that he should be re-elected based on the people he knew like businessmen, other council members and so on.
Of course, the issue of public safety was brought up. When asked how each candidate would help deal with the crime problem in the district, there was a very sharp contrast between Mr. Rico and the others. In my opinion, it was disturbing. There was a discussion of if they would support a police precinct in the west side like the city had before and how they felt it would be a deterrent to crime. Mr. Rico stated quote "Police don't prevent crime, they just show up after it's already happened" unqoute. I was sitting in my chair thinking to myself did he really just say that? You could also see a similar look of disbelief on all the other candates' faces.
So let me get this straight, if there is a marked patrol car sitting in the parking lot of a gas station this will not "prevent" the gas station from being robbed? Officers and investigators who arrest murderers, rapists, and thieves are not further "preventing" crime are they? It was very clear how Mr. Rico felt about law enforcement. Mr. Rico put the blame on former Chief Freeman Cooper on why the prior precinct in the west side was shut down stating that the Chief did not find it neccessary to have the precinct or the two others in that case,cstating that officers were "hanging out" at the precincts instead of being out patrolling the streets. I also find this hard to believe.
Mr. Rico also stated giving pay raises to city employees was not his "responsibility", that he is not beholden to city employees but instead to the citizens of his district. I am assuming from Mr. Rico's comment that there is not a single taxpaying city employee living in his district. Strange I can think of three just off the top of my head. Congratulations, Mr. Rico, you now have alienated, marginalized, and all but excluded at least three citizens in your district that are not your "resonsibility", with who knows how many more - obviously Mr. Rico does not.
People of District 7, I know you are tired of the crime in your area and want it to be a safer place to live. I think Mr. Anderson will work with police instead of against them to deter crime in your area and make it a safer place to live. I don't believe that Mr. Anderson would ever alienate anybody in his district - city employee or not.
This is just one man's opinion, but again I felt obligated to at least let the people know how Mr. Rico thinks about all the police officers going out in the city every day and night working so hard to "not prevent" crime.