Open letter to Josh Bill
As a lifelong resident of Sikeston (70-plus years), I feel compelled to ask you - are you really concerned about Sikeston's future or do you just want the citizens to praise you for your intelligence and concerns?
I recall when you were mayor (and helped create the financial problems that the present council is attempting to resolve), and that you appeared on television and stated, "Sikeston does not have a crisis." That same week I drove an eight-block radius of our home in the West End (a home we lived in for 44 years and raised our children). I listed 38 homes in that eight blocks that had burned, were condemned or abandoned.
Our neighborhood at that time was dangerous with drug dealers, prostitution across the street, shots fired every week. (We had bullet holes in our bedroom window sill and a felon was arrested under our kitchen window as I was washing dishes at the sink.)
When our grandchildren came to visit they were threatened with guns pointed at them from passing vehicles. Of course you didn't think we had a crisis. You lived on the North End, as well as the other members on the Council.
These are some of the reasons my husband served 20 years as a firefighter and in public safety to make Sikeston better. This is why he petitioned, walked neighborhoods to try to get the Charter Council we have now so all of Sikeston would be represented.
We needed LCRA back then and we need it now.
We had a crisis then and we still do because of past councils' lack of concern, lack of action and overspending. This present city management and Council did not create the problems we have now; they are merely trying to resolve them so our children and grandchildren do not inherit a hometown that is either "status quo" or worse.
You can print all the figures and statistics you care to because we all possess that right but what is your real reason for doing so? Is it to impress people, cause confusion or just because you don't have enough to keep you busy?
I can't conceive it is from concern for Sikeston's future or you would be trying to help resolve the problems that face its citizens.
A lot of us remember when you were on the Council and Sikeston's mayor - we could dig out a lot of skeletons about that - but we need to focus not on the past or the present but the future.
It is my opinion, as a person who cares about this town and its progress (or the lack of progress for the past 10 years), to either help resolve problems or suggest some positive solutions or shut up.
You had eight years as councilman and one year as mayor to help alleviate these problems and I don't recall any progress made during that time. Some of the salaries you complain about now began during your administration, however, you didn't bother to mention that.
Incidentally, this is my own personal opinion and my husband, Jim Terrell, a council member representing Ward II, had nothing to do with it.
I have been here a lot of years and I know many things that past councils, administration and people of power have done (or failed to do) to fit their own agenda, due to the lack of knowledge or for more power, prestige or greed. Some of these that the public has never been aware of would probably shock even you! As a former city administrator said: "I can do whatever I please because half of Sikeston doesn't know what goes on and the other half doesn't care." My hope is that this statement is not true, that the majority of Sikeston's citizens do care.
Come on Josh, concentrate your attention and dedication to help solve the problems instead of increasing them.
A truly concerned citizen