“You hush up your mouth!” howled the mighty King Yertle. “You’ve no right to talk to the world’s highest turtle.”
from “Yertle the Turtle”, by Dr. Seuss
At February’s city council meeting, Manassas Mayor Wanda “Yertle” Rogers issued a new edict limiting citizen comments at the end of city council meetings. Video of this Marxist new policy is provided below:
Note the denial that this is a new policy. Evasion and denial is an important feature of the Manassas government, so we’re not surprised that she would try this new approach, and then deny that it is a new approach, yet glancingly concede that it may have been prompted by our previous interview of Councilman Michael Godbee in January (Godbee is absent in the video above). The Dr. Seuss world of Manassas doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to entertain.
While a city (or county) government body can restrict citizen comments or questions during meetings, or forbid them entirely, it is rarely done, and when it does, citizens become justifiably suspicious of what the officials are trying to hide. Even more so when an official has created a ridiculous criminal allegation against a citizen after that citizen merely presented a lawful records request and insisted that the city government follow state law. Only recently, Reidsville considered such a muzzling policy, then quickly backed off of it after realizing that it would cause more harm than good. Unfortunately, it appears that Manassas intends to dig in its heels, leaving us all with having to assume the worst when silence prevails.
In other news, Mayor Yertle claims to have been advanced to the position of President of the Tattnall Chapter of the Georgia Municipal Association. If true (her claims are becoming increasingly less credible the more we dig into city operations), this could prove to be most embarrassing.
Mayor Yertle enjoys a private moment in the Leech City swamp after her coronation as GMA Chapter President.
My first clue that Manassas is a far cry from Mayberry was when our old school complex was burglarized back in January of 2015 over a multi-day period, and not one city official admitted to seeing a thing (this factoid will become really interesting when we publish a map). My second clue was when Mayor Rogers, within minutes of being sworn-in back in January, 2016, held a special city council meeting in her office, and took votes, while the public was gathered in the meeting room down the hall. Our regular readers may compare this shady behavior against the provisions of the Georgia Open Meetings Act.
We attended the Manassas city council meeting on the 13th of February, and were greeted by our fan girl! Notice Councilwoman Tonya Edwards snapping paparazzi photos as we entered and began setting up our equipment:
While she was snapping these photos, I was reminded of my Naval Academy days. Tourists were always snapping photos like this; I always thought it was kind of flattering, especially when a tourist would want to have a picture taken with some of us in front of any of a number of historic Annapolis monuments.
During the Manassas city council meeting held on the 9th of January, 2017, Leech City interviewed Councilman Godbee regarding the funding of his 2016 Mexican vacation romp. This interview is shown below:
Note particularly Councilman Godbee’s initial evasiveness, in an embarrassingly petulant fashion that would make an unruly teenage girl blush with shame. Later, Godbee attempts to conceal the connection between his vacation and Cole Swindell, Cole’s record label or the former city attorney B. Jay Swindell, Cole’s half-brother, and then finally caves and admits these connections. If he truly believed there was no conflict of interest, then why try to hide any of this?
The Friends of the Library announces their February program, a chocolate cookoff preceding what promises to be an interesting presentation on the history and heritage of rural Georgia churches. Details below:
Enter the Chocolate Cook-off
Do you love to bake? Are you crazy about chocolate? Do you have a favorite dessert that contains chocolate?
Now is your chance to be the Grand Winner of the Tattnall County Library’s first-ever Chocolate Cook-off. We’re calling the event “Chocolate Heaven.” Come celebrate Valentine’s Day, our community, and the glory of chocolate at our local library!
All you have to do is bring a chocolate dessert to the library by 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9. A panel of judges will choose the very best chocolate dish. That evening, after the program on Historic Rural Churches of Georgia, the chocolate entries will be available for sampling as refreshments for the event. Coffee will be served.
So there are two things to do. First, plan what chocolate dish you want to use to delight and impress all of us. Then, prepare it and bring it to the library on Feb. 9. And attend the fabulous talk planned for that evening in order to see all the desserts and try the impressive desserts of others.
If you are going to enter a dish (and please do), call Stephanie at the library at 557-6247. Or call Friends of the Library, which is sponsoring the program, at 557-1053. We will let you know the three simple rules for the Chocolate Cook-off.
And tell your friends! We want all our great bakers to enter.
Last summer, due to pressure from us, Manassas adopted the first actual budget it has had in decades, if ever. Now, like a pre-teen who spent her allowance and wants to rifle through Daddy’s wallet to go to the mall with her friends, a few months ago Councilwoman Tonya Edwards led an effort to bypass the budgeting process.
Now, we are proud to report that we have also exposed this effort, using a combination of meeting attendance and open records requests to smoke out truth from fantasy and subterfuge. This story isn’t over yet, though, it has just started, and you, fellow leech watcher, will get to see it unfold live on these pages.
A previous article, Leechwatching Tools, introduced many laws and other resources that a citizen can use to keep their local government in line. While I am not an attorney, and none of what you read on this site is legal advice, the applicable laws, both state and federal, are clear enough for anyone to read them and know what they mean. In a previous article in this series, we introduced the Georgia Open Meetings Act. That law is an important tool which allows you to identify attitude problems in public officials and to spot lies, both of which help direct leechwatching efforts. In this article, we flesh out an even more powerful tool, the Georgia Open Records Act.
At the Manassas city council meeting on Monday, the 12th of December, three of the four council members admitted to not having had the state-mandated elected officials training, and agreed to attend this training in the new year.
Pictured above are the three officials in question, each wearing the royal purple, perhaps reflecting their voting as one mind: Councilwoman Tonya Edwards (left), her son Councilman Shaun Edwards (center) and their newly seated friend, Councilwoman Emily Callaway (right). Not pictured is long-time councilman Michael Godbee, who was absent. This action photo shows the trio at the moment of admission to not having had training, and thus, by extrapolation, literally not knowing what the hell they are doing in their respective offices, stumbling around like blind mice.
This week, we’re delighted to announce that the Pixie Mafia, fearsome South Georgia crime and corruption syndicate, has granted us an exclusive interview. With us today is Bobby “Bo Weevil” Cheetle, pictured to right, Pixie Mafia press secretary and part-time human trampoline.
Leech City: Bobby, thanks for granting us this interview.
Bobby Cheetle: You’re welcome, I’m happy to be here. Are these doughnuts free?
Leech City: Sure, help yourself. Let’s dive right in. For generations, the Pixie Mafia has been criticized for being insufficiently diverse. Can you address that?
Bobby Cheetle: That’s a nasty rumor that is blatantly untrue. We’ll steal from anyone.
Leech City: Fair enough. Let’s talk about the name. How did the name Pixie Mafia come about?
Bobby Cheetle: Well, we’ve struggled with branding for a while. We finally realized that everyone dreads the idea of fairies sneaking onto their property and flitting away with their things. Very intimidating stuff, very scary.
We attended the Reidsville city council meeting yesterday evening, and have much to report. As our regular readers know, we make fun of a lot of stupidity by public officials, as well as shame local criminals, but we give credit where credit is due. In this case, credit is due to Kellie Murray, the Reidsville city clerk. The minutes she prepared for the meeting are exceptional. Detailed and accurate, they serve precisely the desired role of minutes in that one can tell what happened in a meeting without having been there. Her work can serve as a model for how other clerks can perform their work.