After the swearing-in of Fire Chief Frank R. Tidwell Monday, I stopped in the City Clerk's office to look at the agendas for the two City Council meetings to be held later. Someone said there were news cameras outside and some kind of rally going on.
When I left City Hall, I took a look. Six people were holding up posters that read, "Enough is Enough." Kind of generic for a protest, I thought. They tried to get me to join them on camera, but I was not interested in becoming "part of the story," a role forbidden to reporters. Anyway, I had no idea what the story was.
It turns out this rally, recorded on the group's own camera, not that of some news outfit, was in support of Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and in protest of the inquiry into the use of $20,000 in city funds for the Aug. 1, 2010 Town Meeting featuring The Rev. Al Sharpton. The money was paid to radio station WBLS for a live broadcast
The early evening rally, a couple hours too early for the council meetings and unrelated to the swearing-in ceremony, had no audience on the street. The protesters repeated the question, "What is $20,000 compared to the cost of a life?" and condemned those who would ask about the mayor's decisions in regard to use of the money. But it seems that City Hall was just the backdrop for a 15-minute videotape that is now online as a YouTube video that you can see for yourself.
The City Council, after receiving no cooperation from the mayor in explaining the use of the funds, used subpoena powers granted to the governing body in the city's special charter and held three investigative sessions, the last on Nov. 9. A report is expected in December. Plaintalker and other bloggers have reported extensively on the investigation, as has Courier News reporter Mark Spivey.
The Rev. Zechariah Jackson is the creator of the video and many others related to protests. I leave it to the readers to assess the efficacy of this protest. Anyway, if you want to see it and hear what the protesters have to say, take a look at the link above.