Great news everyone: City council meetings filled with vitriol aren’t limited to Norman, Oklahoma. While that town saw its residents step to the microphone to say disgusting things about gays, in Warner Robins, Ga., it was the actual officials who traded barbs.
Responding to an interruption by his colleagues, Councilman Daron Lee, who is black and had previously been called “boy,” told white Councilman John Williams, “I was disrespected last Monday. I’m getting about tired of you all, talking to me any kind of way. I’m not working in a cotton field.” Responded Williams: “You should be,” Williams retorted. Lee replied: “Oh, I should be?” Then he walked out.
“No white man can speak for a black man,” Lee said. “‘Boy’ may not carry that much weight with you, but it’s the same weight carried for many years for a black man.”
Williams later said that his retort about the cotton field wasn’t intended to be a racial slur since he had picked cotton himself. “I worked in a cotton field,” Williams said after the meeting had adjourned. “I drug a basket many a mile. It’s not a racial remark at all.”
The 71-year-old Williams is no stranger to controversy. In September a tenant accused him of pointing a gun at him. In June he was accused of filing a false police report against a homeless woman for allegedly stealing his cellphone at a Waffle House (it was later found in the bushes near the restaurant). Also in June, Williams went to a man’s house, blocked the driveway with his car, and peered through his window before going to the door, after the gentleman sent him an e-mail asking him to resign.
Appearing together on CNN, Williams said he would not apologize to Lee, because it was Lee who made it a racial issue. Well, that takes care of that.
Interesting to note: The LAT relays Warner Robins was named by BusinessWeek as one of the “best places to raise your kids.” The Ohio town of Mentor received similar accolades from Money magazine. It’s also where four teen suicides, many of them caused by LGBT bullying, have taken place in recent years.