Courier Letters to the Editor 4-22-20

Importance of upcoming local election

Dear Editor,

The upcoming local elections are important to each of us, and thank you for writing about them. For County Council District 3 (Pickens), Alex Saitta has a genuine interest in keeping Pickens County the great county that we all know and love. He has the financial background to get the most from our tax dollars and to help not only the public, but other council members understand the complex financial issues the council will face. I have observed that in many meetings, Councilman Wes Hendricks just seems to follow along with the crowd, not saying much, basically just rubber stamping.

A few years ago, when Alex was on the school board, I went to most of the meetings concerning the closing of Holly Springs and A.R. Lewis elementary schools. Alex, most definitely, tried to save the two rural schools in my area. He voted against the closings, and he stated this position at the meetings, on TV news and many times in this newspaper.

He is honest and straightforward, so in the last election, it was sad to see the other side lie and slander him, saying he voted to close the schools or supported closing them. This was never true. Alex has reason and common sense, and for all these reasons, I will vote for him.

In the election for the State House of Representatives in District 3 (Six Mile and Central), I urge you to vote for anyone other than Phillip Bowers. Phillip Bowers, along with three other trustees on the school board, pushed for and voted to close Holly Springs and A.R. Lewis schools, sending teachers, parents and students, at great hardship, traveling miles into town to attend overcrowded schools.

The untruths Bowers and the rest told the public were terrible. They said the schools could no longer be funded. They said 200 students wasn’t enough. After they closed A.R. Lewis, Bowers and this new school board then spent $1 million to renovate the building and put in a new program, with only 50 students.

Bowers did not seem to want public input from citizens in regard to their suggestions to keep the schools open. Leading up to the closings, Bowers held meetings on Saturday mornings as early as 6:30 a.m. The night they voted to close the schools, Alex Saitta and Henry Wilson voted to allow public input. Bowers and the other three board members voted against this, and the public did not get to speak. A large number of us were left standing outside in the rain.

Bowers’ conduct toward me and others was often degrading and demoralizing, and showed no compassion for those who objected to losing their schools. We were not allowed to speak at meetings and then were called names by Bowers for expressing our opinions.

Now, I ask you, do we want this person in our Statehouse? No, at least, I do not. We deserve better than Phillip Bowers.

Barbara Holcombe