Councilman weighs in on school board debate

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, July 23, 2014

After much consideration I have come to the conclusion that despite her past performance or competence, Mrs. [Edna] King was the best choice of the two nominees despite her color.

I have openly stated before anyone else publicly that I was not happy with the school system or board and there should be major changes to the board. However, being one who interviewed Mr. [Will] Councill for reappointment to the school board, it was my opinion that he didn’t have a clue despite his great attitude and enthusiasm.

While I have no overwhelming confidence in Mrs. King’s credentials or expertise, I think her experience with and in the field of education make her more qualified than Mr. Councill regardless of race. I think it is in The Tidewater News’s typical poor style to be divisive and play the race card at its convenience whenever to serves its purpose, particularly Tony Clark and Steve Stewart who in the past supported Mrs. King. Now that they have been proven wrong regarding her selection they are ready to lynch her and call her peers’ support race based.

The truth is the only two persons on the school board now with a clue regarding education to my knowledge are Ward 3’s representative [Dr. Andrea Hall-Leonard], who should do well if she applies her ability more than her ego, and Mrs. King, who both happen to be African American. The other five are fitting to the minimum standards of being willing citizens, not on the basis of competency who City Council has appointed.

I hold the City Council responsible for appointing ill-equipped or incompetent persons to fill the school board. It is not their fault — I’m sure they are all great people with the best intentions. However, would you hire your best friend to operate on you if you needed surgery because he’s a great person?

Mrs. King has the most experience and for that reason I hope she was elected by her peers. Now, was race the reason the three whites didn’t vote for her? If it was it would be far from the first time that such a thing has happened in Franklin. Franklin City government is bursting with racism in management and treatment. A person’s skin color does not make them loyal to their race and the Mayor [Raystine Johnson-Ashburn] is proof of that as is Supreme Court justice Clearance Thomas and others who will sell their soul to be accepted by white America. I see plenty of places to examine the race issue in Franklin, like the police force, but, unfortunately as similar as it may appear to be, fortunately this vote went to the best qualified of the two candidates. Let’s just hope and pray that the change in leadership we have made pays off despite the obstacles, like President Obama, he [Superintendent Willie J. Bell] has inherited from this school board.

GREG MCLEMORE is Ward 3 representative for Franklin City Council. His email address is