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Midway City Council ignores resident safety
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Editor, Take pride the next time you’re in Baskin Robins and the person at the front of the line takes 45 minutes to decide between a “sugar” or a “cake” cone. You are privileged to be witnessing the exceptional decision making skills of a Midway City Council member.
I had no intention of addressing this issue, nor writing about it, but the article, “Midway council talks tourism, convict labor,” got my Irish up, and I cannot in good conscious, let it go unchallenged.
This article left the readers with the erroneous opinion that Mayor Emmons was inept, insensitive to the needs of the community and a spendthrift. No sir, I can assure you it was the four council members, Mrs. Clemontine Washington, Mr. Jim Woods, Mr. Henry Stevens Sr. and Mr. Levern Clancy Jr., who appeared inept, indecisive, uninformed, and insensitive to the needs of the community. Mayor Emmons is a nonvoting member with no decision-making or voting authority and yet he tried to support the people. He was the knight in shining armor who championed the citizens.
Here are the facts the council had at their disposal when they failed to make decisions for the safety, security and welfare of the community. At the July 13 meeting, the residents and I extensively briefed the council that the street in question was a major “escape and evade” route for vandals, burglars, dirt bikes, ATVs, drunks, drug users and couples being intimate on the hoods of cars. The very morning I was to appear before the council, a home was broken into. Chief Kelli Morningstar and Officer Paige of the Midway Police Department were present and verified the incidents and how suspects evaded apprehension by city and county officers by disappearing into the darkness. They indicated their support and the importance of installing lighting on the street.
Councilman Jim Woods stated he could not vote until he personally surveyed the area. The motion was tabled until the August meeting. That same evening, Councilman Woods, accompanied by Mayor Emmons and Officer Baxter of the Midway Police, viewed the area. While on the street, they witnessed a crime in progress and Officer Baxter turned on his police lights. The suspect fled and a foot pursuit was initiated. As witnessed first hand by Jim Woods and Mayor Emmons the suspect eluded apprehension by disappearing in the darkness of the street and could not be seen nor located.
At the Aug. 10 meeting, Jim Woods talked about his firsthand experience and advised, “You cannot tell there are even houses down the street it is so dark.” I told the council that since the July meeting, another residence was burglarized, three teens had been apprehended for drugs, a resident had been verbally assaulted by youth, drunks had been wandering the area and unlighted dirt bikes and ATVs continued to operate in the area.
Councilman Woods indicated that there was a streetlight in place at the north end. I advised this was a security light paid for by an older lady on a disability pension to illuminate her property as she currently lives alone. The council expressed this was sufficient lighting and there was no need to install one in that area, as long as she continued to pay.  After two council meetings, 40 minutes of discussion, testimony by the residents and the Midway Police, the council still could not make a decision. Their final decision was for a lighting survey to be conducted throughout the city.
All of this posturing and lack of decision making and failure to approve the funding for the signs, as well as council member Washington’s declaration not to vote to spend money for signs, “until we have taken care of our citizen’s needs” was not lost on those present. It was seen by all for exactly what it was, nothing more than strategic posturing for re-election at the expense of the security and welfare of the citizens.

Terry Doyle
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