LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Pine Ridge editing citizen's comments in minutes
Pine Ridge, SC - 02/15/2021 (Judith Cooper) - Citizen Comments summited, to be read at the Town of Pine Ridge Council Meeting, are being edited. Edited is actually being kind. They are being hacked and cut to the point that the original purpose of the Comments are being omitted from the minutes. This has been occurring at the hands of the Town Administrator.
Some of the purposes of the Citizens Comments are to allow Town Residents to do the following:
Talk about something that was on the agenda
Redress a grievance with the Town Government
Air their thoughts and ideas of issues
Suggest change for the betterment of the town
Disclaimer: Although I do not agree with ALL the requests/demands, I am conveying them none the less.
As for the future of The Town of Pine Ridge we want The Town of Pine Ridge Council to address and vote on the following:
The Police Commissioner (if even needed) to be a Police Officer and never a member of the Council or the Mayor
Eliminate ALL current Committees except for what is an absolutely necessity
Definitely eliminate Public Safety Committee and allow the Police to Protect and Serve
All decisions to be made by the Council at a Council Meeting in front of Citizens
The Citizens Comments portion of the Council Meeting to have Q & A even if it takes to the following meeting to get on the agenda and address
Limit the number of Council Meetings that can be missed by the Mayor to keep their job
Hold money making events to offset town expenses, provide what the P.RP.D. needs and promote camaraderie
Reinstate our most recent past P.R.P.D. if they would grace us with returning
The following is what was actually entered into the minutes. It is the introduction to my Citizens Comment. The entire heart and purpose of the Comment has been omitted by the Town Administrator. It is also what was entered into November 2020 minutes: "Pine Ridge, whose name refers to a breath of fresh country air welcomes you to be a part of a community where children learn to ride bicycles." Doesn't this sound like a pleasant place to live? How serene. Perhaps at one time this description matched the Town of Pine Ridge. In recent years it has become a Town where:
Slumlords take over residential streets without fear of punishment
Our award winning schools have to fear students bringing in guns
We no longer have a police dept. to protect and serve
Expert Law Enforcement Officers come here to end their career
Where committees meet making decisions without a vote from Council Members
Disclaimer: I do not agree with all of the requests/demands, but I am relaying them none the less Since my 11/10/20 Citizens Comment was entered incorrectly I have done the following to get it corrected:
Emailed the Town Administrator about it
Bought it up in Citizens Comments on 12/22/20 and 1/13/21
Spoke with Pro-Tem Mayor Davis at the 12/22/20 and 2/9/21, as the Mayor was not in attendance
Gave copies of correction to all Council Members 12/22/20
Gave second copy of correction to Pro-Tem Mayor Davis and Town Administrator 2/9/21
It should NOT take from 11/10/20 until March 2021 to get a correction made. That is, if the Town Administrator actually makes it by then. Neighbors, we can NOT allow our words to be changed. We can NOT allow our purpose, for submitting a Citizens Comments, to be decided by someone else. This is not acceptable! Our Town Administrator needs to be held to a higher standard.
Entering the entire Citizens Comments wasn't an issue prior to 11/10/20. No corrections were needed because they were our words. It has to be easier for the Town Administrator to copy and paste an email into minutes rather than writing bullet points without reading it in its entirety. I believe if she had read it in it's entirety she would have realized what was entered into minutes was an introduction.
Neighbors, please continue to submit your Citizens Comments. Your voice will be heard during the Council Meeting. Susan Kyzer will ensure that it does. Then check the Residents Package the following month to ensure it appears correct and ready to be voted into minutes. If it has been edited to remove your purpose, of submitting your Citizens Comments, make a complaint. There is no reason that we can not go back to pre 11/10/20 minutes entry.
Should the Town Administrator have the right to decide what "you and others mean"?
Should the Town Administrator be able to decide what others should hear?
I think NOT!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Judith Cooper is a Pine Ridge resident and a community activist. She has been concerned with the lack of police protection in Pine Ridge since the last officers resigned in 2020. This Letter to the Editor was penned and sent by her and represents her thoughts and concerns regrading the town. It does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the staff of The Lexington Ledger. If you would like to send a Letter to the Editor for consideration to be printed, please check the opinion page at thelexingtonledger.com.