(UPDATE) – Email from former mayor blasts two candidates in Nov. 3 elections

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt October 30, 2015
Decatur City Hall

Decatur City Hall

An email written by former Decatur mayor Bill Floyd has been making the rounds and it is unsparing in its criticism of two candidates running in the Nov. 3 elections.

Floyd sent the email to friends offering his personal views on the upcoming election. It was forwarded along to other parties by Mayor Jim Baskett and eventually was forwarded to Decaturish.

In the email, Floyd takes aim at candidates John Ridley, who is running against Tony Powers to replace Baskett, and Eric Tumperi, who is running against incumbent city Commissioner Scott Drake. Drake joined the Decatur City Commission in 2013, winning special election to fill a vacancy created by Floyd’s resignation.

“I have watched the campaign for the commission seats with interest and concern,” Floyd wrote. “The team of John Ridley and Eric Tumperi are running on the same negative and divisive platform. There is nothing positive in their comments or positions. The most disturbing thing is their attempt to divide this community by driving a wedge between the schools and the city. They have chosen to ignore the positive strides that the city commission and the school board have made over the last few years in coming together toward a common goal. We now have a joint public works facility and the Beacon Municipal Complex contains the Police Department, Active Living Department and the CSD Administrative Offices. Because of the joint effort of the school board and the city commission both the police and the school’s administrative personnel have facilities built to their needs that will be adequate for years to come.”

Floyd told Decaturish he sent the email to “friends of mine” and, “I was simply letting people know my feelings.”

“I feel strongly about every election that comes up in Decatur and this one, particularly about the bond vote, I think that’s critical and the email I sent had some information about my opinion about that,” Floyd said. “This election is a little more contested and a little more political than most Decatur elections are, so I think that drew my interest also.”

Decaturish reached out to the candidates for a response. Tumperi said it’s, “Sad to see that Mr. Floyd and Mr. Baskett feel a need to use such strong arm and negative tactics to try to influence a local municipality election.”

Ridley sent the following statement in response to Floyd’s email:

Many of you have read or heard about the disparaging comments made towards me by former Commissioner Bill Floyd and soon to be former Commissioner Jim Baskett.  Following this statement is the email being circulated by Commissioner Jim Baskett on behalf of ex Commissioner Bill Floyd who resigned because of a financial conflict of interest. It does not surprise me that Bill Floyd supports my opponent, as he is the paid lobbyist (Pendleton Group) for developers who recruited Tony Powers to run against me and has participated in fund raising efforts to defeat me. As an influence peddler, Mr. Floyd wants to see people elected to office that will be beholden to and servants of the special interests that employ him. It does surprise me that he would use his position as an ex commissioner to make such hurtful and untruthful remarks about me that my offering new, innovative, positive, and cost effective policy options was somehow divisive. It also surprises me that soon to be ex commissioner Jim Basket would sign this email with his ceremonial title as Mayor when by law he has no executive or administrative authority and cannot legally speak as Mayor on behalf of the City Commission without a legal and formal passage of support for a resolution from the City Commission. By his own definition of his ceremonial role on the City Commission his use of the ceremonial title is not lawfully authorized and inappropriate.

I have lived in Decatur for thirty years and this community is of the utmost importance to me.  I have served publicly as both a neighborhood association president and as a Decatur City Commissioner. The current city commission and staff has repeatedly acted in a disrespectful manner towards the school system. My intention is to give the school system the support it needs. I have nothing to gain personally by running for Decatur City Commissioner at Large, my only motivation is doing what is best for Decatur. It is time to put our children’s interest ahead of special interest. Mr. Floyd and his sidekick Mr. Baskett apparently have very different agendas.

I am not the only one who has noticed the issues that our city faces. Every day I receive calls and emails from citizens who are concerned about issues like school overcrowding, traffic congestion, and reckless development of high density apartment complexes. These issues have been repeatedly raised at City Schools of Decatur board meetings and Decatur City Commission meetings. The current city commissioners and staff have ignored many of these concerns, and has responded to these issues by misrepresenting my views and the views of other citizens as divisive. This is the type of dirty politics that discourages many good people from participating in our political system.

The City of Decatur belongs to all of us. We deserve to have our voices heard and we deserve a city government that is responsive to our needs. Let’s work together to find solutions to get our students out of trailers, get on a road to addressing our current and upcoming challenges, and stop this silly talk that discussing differing ideas is somehow divisive.

I encourage everyone to look at the facts and the public record to see who is really making decisions that are detrimental to our city. Look to our current Decatur City Commission and our members of the Decatur Planning Commission which is chaired by my opponent, Tony Powers. If you like trailers, if you like the irresponsible high density development in downtown, if you like the lack of appropriate land use planning and zoning, our lack of effort to insure pedestrian safety, and our lack of greenspace – look no further than to those who have brought this mess to Decatur. I say it’s time for a change. It’s time for new leadership. It’s time for an elected Mayor for Decatur. It’s time for a new partnership with the City Schools of Decatur. We are better than this mess and we can – together – make Decatur an even better place today and in the future.

John Ridley

Here is the full text of Floyd’s email:

From: “Jim Baskett” <jbaskett@bellsouth.net>

I got this message from former mayor Bill Floyd. It is well written and I wanted to share it with you. 

The upcoming election will be important for many reasons.

I have watched the campaign for the commission seats with interest and concern. The team of John Ridley and Eric Tumperi are running on the same negative and divisive platform. There is nothing positive in their comments or positions. The most disturbing thing is their attempt to divide this community by driving a wedge between the schools and the city. They have chosen to ignore the positive strides that the city commission and the school board have made over the last few years in coming together toward a common goal. We now have a joint public works facility and the Beacon Municipal Complex contains the Police Department, Active Living Department and the CSD Administrative Offices. Because of the joint effort of the school board and the city commission both the police and the school’s administrative personnel have facilities built to their needs that will be adequate for years to come.

The conversation about annexation has been intense over the last few years and has involved not just the city commission and the school board but the community as a whole. It is important that we continue that discussion together.

We should not allow Mr Ridley and Mr Tumperi to divide this community. They seem to believe that with the school bond issue on the ballot they might gain some support by dividing the community. I don’t know if that tactic will work but I can promise if we allow them to succeed by making us think that we have to choose between our city or schools, in the long run we will all suffer.

So I am asking you to join me in voting for Scott Drake, Tony Powers and Brian Smith, all of whom have played a big part in building the positive image people have of our community and our schools at home and around the state. They have our best interest at heart and are willing to listen and learn. So I urge your support for these candidates who will work with you to continue to move our community forward:

Scott Drake (incumbent)  City Commission District 1

Tony Powers   City Commission At Large

Brian Smith   City Commission  District 2

We have come a long way over the last 20 years, but there is more to do. Let’s continue to do the hard work of moving our city forward…. Together!!!!

Thanks,

Bill Floyd

Please feel free to share this with your friends if you like.

Jim Baskett

Mayor, City of Decatur

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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