Remarks given by Dr. Richard Thames

at the Montevallo City Council Meeting

27 February 2006

    This evening I would like to take this opportunity to address some issues that are of concern to me. Right at outset I want to make it clear

that I am speaking for myself and no one else, although I am persuaded that many, if not most, of my opinions are shared by

others in this community.

    To begin with, let me say that I completely reject certain allegations and assertions that have been made my the Mayor and some

members of the County Council that the Citizens for Montevallo group are merely a “small group of trouble makers.”

Likewise, I reject the description of myself, or other members of Citizens of Montevallo, as dissidents or members of a clique

or cliques.  And, contrary to the claims and accusations that have been leveled against this group, the simple truth is that, regardless of

personalities or properties under consideration for development, we are a group of individuals who have nothing other than the best interest of

this town and its citizens. Yes, there is no denying that concern for unbridled growth, without real planning and consideration for the

consequences such growth would have on this town, was the principal coalescing factor around which this grassroots organization came into

being.

        Additionally, every opportunity has been offered to the Mayor and the members of the City Council, not to mention the entire community

of Montevallo, to attend meetings of this organization. To the credit of the Mayor, she, along with most of the Council members have availed

themselves of the opportunity to meet with us. We have brought in various speakers who were highly qualified to address many of our

organization concerns. But, regardless of any and all input from these experts, the Mayor has seen fit to reject the concerns, warnings,

and predictions of the consequences arising from uncontrolled and unrestricted housing development. She asserts that such concerns are

nothing new, or that hasn’t been heard before.

    All of this has led to serious frustrations on the part of many in our town, and I believe that this has, in turn, led to much of the

divisiveness and rancor that has arisen, and which has been, at times, demonstrated at City Council and other public meetings.

I believe, too, that the Mayor’s refusal, along with that of her allies on the Council, to do anything but turn a deaf ear to these

concerns have aggravated and intensified the present divisiveness among our citizens.

    Finally, I would like to register my profound concern over recent actions by the Mayor that appear to be aimed at trying to stifle public

debate and to intimidate those who do not share her vision for Montevallo. But, by far, my greatest concern is the way in which it appears

city employees and, in particular, members of essential services, i.e., the fire and police departments have been drawn into this controversy. The

politicization of the police and fire departments should be of profound concern to every citizen of this town. This is especially the case when

citizens are now being asked to sign in, when, for example, attending City Council and other city meetings. One cannot help but wonder how

these names are to be used? In this same vein, one cannot help but wonder what consequences might befall individuals and groups who

stand in opposition to the Mayor on certain issues, now that there appears to be an effort to use the police and fire departments for

partisan political advantage. I hope that my fears are unfounded, but until I see clear evidence otherwise, I shall remain more than a little

skeptical.