City ignores complaints, dumps on Southside anyway; not good!

The Ellis Administration is continuing to use the old dumpsite to burn debris collected from Hurricane Laura, even though the public, press, and two of city’s three black councilmembers have voiced concerns about opening the site for any dumping use.

Not only has the city made the decision to use the closed dumpsite, the administration is making no public statements, explanations or apologies for choosing a site in the Black community rather than other areas. The decision to dump, even temporarily, in the Black neighborhood is disturbing because the city only dumps in areas that don’t matter.

At last week’s council meeting, two council members, Juanita Woods and Kema Dawson-Robinson raised concerns and posed questions about the dumping site choice, but received no answers or public explanations.

Last week the Free Press reported that the city had sought and received permission to use the old city dump site temporarily to dispose of trees and debris by burning or wood chipping. In an interview with the Free Press, Public Works Director Tom Janway said the DEQ ordered the city to burn or chip the trees to reduce the tonnage being sent to the landfill.

It turns out that there was no written order from DEQ to burn or chip the storm debris. In reality, it appears that it was a cost-saving decision made by the administration.

When council members began asking about the site choice, the mayor and Janway began showing a letter from DEQ dated September 2nd that gave the city permission to use the old city dump once an emergency is declared.
What is missing was the DEQ order to use the site; it does not exist and it forms the basis of the unrest in the Black community.

In short, someone in city hall decided that the city could save money if it burned everything and then carried it to the dump. The decision was made to use the old city dump, even though it was located next to new housing being constructed in the area and was a historic nightmare for the African-American community.

There was never any other site considered, and no other alternative was explored.

That’s what’s disappointing, that this new administration that boasted building relationships and communication, did not seek to inform or even communicate to black community leaders, elected council members, and most of all the residents occupying new houses near the dumping site, the details of the city’s temporary plans.

It seems that our feelings on the matter did not matter. At the council meeting, questions from the public, councilmembers, and the NAACP were ignored. They did not matter.

It seems that the city adopted the attitude of Don Corleone in the 1972 Movie “The Godfather.” The Mafia bosses debated whether to go into the drug business. Don Corleone said, “It’s true I have a lot of friends in politics, but they wouldn’t be so friendly if they knew my business was drugs instead of gambling which they consider a harmless vice. But drugs, that’s a dirty business. …sell it to the Niggers they are animals anyway.”

That’s the way Black residents feel about the city choice for a temporary dumping site, the Black community site was available and there would be little resistance, they won’t complain anyway.

All hell would have broken loose if they had decided to dump and burn the debris in North Monroe.

Council members Woods and Dawson, posed questions but received no answers or even a public explanation. They were patronized when they asked privately and ignored in public.

NAACP president Ambrose Douzart questioned why the city chose a condemned site in the black community and not somewhere else. “Cease and Desist,” said another woman at the public hearing. However, neither Mayor Oliver Ellis or any of his department leaders chose to offer any kind of explanation, adding insult to injury.

Wood said she wants the city to save money, but not at the expense of the health of District three.

Dawson said in all other storms over the years the city never used the old dumpsite, it wasn’t even considered, why was the old dumpsite selected.

Even though Woods said she was told that the dumping was a temporary staging site that would be cleared in 30 days, the DEQ permit was not for 30 days, it was for two years.

That means unless somebody makes some noise, after each major storm, the city will continue looking for a South Monroe site to “temporarily” dump storm debris.

A North Monroe site will be out of the question.

Don Corleone’s words trouble us, but nobody in city hall cares.