I will not deal with your views on the firing of former City Manager Rochelle Small–Toney in detail except to say that the attacks on her credibility seem to have preceded her actual accession to the post, which creates some awkward presumptions. She was preceded by a white man who had held the job without criticism for many years. Who knows how the Purchasing Department was run then? And could a new City Manager turn it around from “perfect” to “dysfunctional” in six months? And who decided it was dysfunctional?
We do know that one of Michael Brown’s achievements was to secure an agreement for a marvelous retirement benefit to be paid to himself whenever he left his job until death. Savannah taxpayers are picking up that tab. And when Brown did leave for another post in a different city he lasted only long enough to be found out as a maneuvering scamp and then was thrown out. Unless he had a serious twist of personality and behavior, he had presumably learned his tricks in Savannah – only in Savannah he was allowed to get away with them. Why was that?
Which brings us to the issue of race. The editor is pitifully ill–informed on issues of race in this country, a country in which a racial caste system has figured more prominently than any other factor. The idea that the Civil Rights Movement has answered all questions of race and that this is now a colorblind society, and that people who “play the race card” are deluded, is dealt with magnificently in Michelle Alexander’s new book The New Jim Crow. The book takes the reader through the crises of black history, pointing out how each time there seems to be a gain, new laws are instituted to ensure blacks could be disbarred from engaging in the society as a whole, and imprisoned if possible, often for slight offenses or none. She deals primarily with the so–called “War on Drugs,” a war on black youth, and its monstrous effect on black communities.
For those of you who have any serious interest in the future of this country, and any decency and humanity left over from the onslaught of daily miserableness, you may take heart in the fact that there are people who understand the severity of this racial caste system, and don’t believe for a minute that “no mention of race” means that racism has been eradicated in the U.S. Far from it.
Oh yes. And if the new appointed city manager is a white male, I suggest a thrilling march and demonstration outside City Hall to uphold the city representatives who came to Small–Toney’s defense.
Editor’s Note: We actually do have some idea “how the Purchasing Department was run” before Small–Toney became city manager, since there was 100 percent turnover in that department soon after she took control of it.