County Commissioner Sonna Singleton now has gone way too far.
Her recent behavior and pattern of attacking Clayton County citizens has been troubling at best, but now her words have risen to an entirely different level.
Fellow commissioners and county officials would be best advised to not only distance themselves from Singleton, but once again we suggest they should consider a public censure.
It is one thing for her to disagree with citizens. It is quite another for her to refer to those she disagrees with as “the modern-day Klan.”
As if there is any doubt to whom Commissioner Singleton is referring, in an e-mail to the Clayton News Daily she referred to “the Tea Party people who continually perform at board meetings,” as “the modern-day Klan.”
These are her words in an e-mail to the newspaper following last week’s meeting of the Clayton County Commission.
Once again, the disturbing attack on Clayton County citizens was sent from her official county e-mail account: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is this the position of county government?
Does this inflammatory statement reflect the views of fellow commissioners, the commission chair or county office staff?
Is this language which county officials endorse regarding the county’s own citizenry?
At the meeting referenced by Singleton, a handful of county citizens followed established protocols to address the commission during the public comments portion of the meeting.
Nothing in their speech was inflammatory.
Nothing in their speech was of a personal nature.
We are not saying we agree or disagree with their political ideology.
That is not the point.
Their conservative views may not represent the views or values of the majority of Clayton County residents.
Again, that is not the point.
The point is, they are citizens.
They are taxpayers.
They followed established procedures to address the commission.
They spoke against the alleged misuse of taxpayer dollars.
There is a total disconnect between Singleton’s comments and what transpired.
Again, we are in no way defending the positions, views or political ideology of these citizens.
Their views are their own.
Maybe some of their presentations are a bit too dramatic.
Perhaps they could express themselves in a way that is a bit more business-like.
However, regardless of whether a county official agrees or disagrees with what they had to say, these citizens had every right to address the commission and to express their concerns.
In fact, that is the intention of the public comments portion of a meeting.
What do officials expect to happen during public comments?
Do they expect citizens to only show up at meetings and to comment on how great a job they are doing?
Do they expect citizens to show up at meetings just to tell them they are good stewards of taxpayer dollars and reassure them with a positive job performance evaluation?
Do they expect citizens to agree with every action they take, every decision they make and every dollar they spend?
Does Singleton intend for the regular meetings of the Clayton County Commission to be a true public meeting or simply a public relations campaign for county government?
Does she think these reckless comments will help bring citizens together and build consensus?
This is not the first go-around for her. Actually this is the second time this month she has sent a rash e-mail attacking citizens.
She sent a message Sept. 12 saying that citizens who dare to question county government are a “group of disgruntled citizens who are mad because they cannot afford to move out of the county.”
Following those comments we called on her fellow commissioners to speak up and let citizens know her views do not reflect their views. We even suggested that she be reined in, if not censured, for using her official government e-mail account for these attacks.
To their discredit, her fellow commissioners and the commission chairman sat in last week’s meeting and did not say a word about it.
What will they do now?
Commissioners, do you truly consider these citizens the “modern day Klan?”
The wording of Singleton’s e-mail signature is ironic: "Working to make Clayton County a better place to live, work and raise our children."
This kind of rhetoric is hardly a way to live up to that mission.
— Editor Jim Zachary