City Hall fair?Published 4:23pm Saturday, August 25, 2012
In the last couple years, the Escambia County Republican Party has asked Mayor Howard Shell’s office on at least two occasions to utilize Atmore City Hall for political events. We were told that city hall is not available to “political organizations.” While I was disappointed that the city would not allow a group of citizens to use a building that their taxes had paid for, I was resigned to the fact that Mayor Shell had the right to set the rules on who could and could not use the facility.
Imagine my surprise when I read that the Alabama Democratic Conference would be holding a mayoral candidate forum this past Thursday night. Now don’t get me wrong, I applaud the fact that the ADC held the forum. I think the more opportunities the citizens of Atmore have to meet their candidates, the better. However, I do have an issue with the mayor applying a different set of rules to Democrats by allowing them to use city facilities for a political event, but not Republicans.
Regardless of one’s political affiliation, I believe we can all agree that city government should be responsive and fair to all of its citizens and should not play favorites. I hope Mayor Shell’s successor will choose to do away with such double standards and actually encourage political involvement on all sides, rather than suppressing it.