Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to Cover Your Behind When it is on Fire From "Environmental Racism" Allegations

**Please see the pages at the footer of the post entries for the Hurley letter to Mr. Otis McCrimmon dated July 2, 2010

On Saturday July 3, 2010 the McCrimmon's received a visitor at their farm on the River Loop near the Vincent Hills proposed quarry site in the form of Vincent City Council member Bridgette Jordan-Smith.

Ms. Smith is one of only two minority members of the Vincent local government and the only minority on the City Council.

She was chosen to be the designated deliverer of the letter from WRQ President Jim Hurley to Otis McCrimmon. Mr. Hurley could have mailed the letter (Mr. McCrimmon's address is on the letter) or he could have met with them himself especially since he acknowledges he was aware of "the various perceptions." Instead,  he chose to use Ms. Smith as his "cat's paw," and she went right along with him as she usually does, as they all do in Town Hall.
*American Heritage Dictionary of idioms: Cat's paw
A dupe or tool for another, a sucker, as in You always try to make a cat's paw of me, but I refuse to do any more of your work. This term alludes to a very old tale about a monkey that persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of the fire so as to avoid burning its own paws. The story dates from the 16th century and versions of it exist in many languages.

The most obvious point is that Ms. Smith was not offended by what Mr. Hurley is patently doing-- using her as his pawn to get what he wants just as he is using the entire Town of Vincent.

Ms. Smith and Ernest Kidd of the Vincent Planning Commission have had more than enough time and opportunity to visit the McCrimmon's in the last 15 months, so has Mr. Hurley. In fact, he even says in his letter that, "Ms. Bridgette Smith has spoken to me on several occasions about the need to address your concerns and the various perceptions..."

But they have not bothered to acknowledge any of these concerns until now, right before the City Council vote on the quarry and accusations of environmental racism hit the local papers and Internet.

All land acquisitions by the quarry were of white land owners solely. No minorities were even asked or approached by quarry reps in the two years it took to acquire all the land.

Ms. Smith may have expected to be well-received by the normally mild-mannered McCrimmon family, but instead she got a rude awakening that was very much deserved.

She has sold them out and turned her back on her own people who were in no mood to hear anymore propaganda and excuses from an elected official turned "master." 

Mr. McCrimmon has made it very clear to the Town of Vincent that he does not want to sell his land, and he does not want the quarry to come in and force them off their land. For some people it is about more than the fast buck; it is about family and a place called home.

Mr. McCrimmon almost lost his wife three years ago and the family has spent all this time getting her back to good health. He told Ms. Smith this more than once and she had no response. One can only imagine how much strain it is on his wife dealing with the stress of wondering what will happen to her home, her land and her family.

Does this matter to Mr. Hurley, the Town leaders, Shelby County and Ms. Smith? How much value do they put on one older minority woman's well-being? Mrs. McCrimmon deserves some peace in her golden years and what she has gotten instead is heartache and aggravation.

We understand that Ms. Smith left the McCrimmon's in tears, good, she should have felt some of the pain she has inflicted upon the River Loop people for far too long.

One has to wonder what and who those tears were for and we doubt that she has had any kind of awakening about what she has done to her own people. It's always about the money for her and her controversial history proves that point.

Her political career will be short-lived to be sure, and if she stays in the community with the rest of the turncoats masquerading as officials, they will also be ostracized by a great number of their citizens. Actions have consequences and payback is tough, but it always comes around in the end. 

We have heard that the FBI does take a keen interest in public corruption on many levels, including zoning ordinances.

Mr. Hurley also states in the letter that, "We closed on various parcels from the Fleming family in the center of the property we had acquired. This completed the 1000 acres needed for the project." So, in other words, they surrounded them in their predatory, aggressive and secretive land acquisitions. What choice did the families have left?
This supports one of the seller's words about the last visit from one of Mr. Hurley's "independent brokers," "The man was very aggressive and told us that if we didn't sell and convince our neighbors and family members to sell too we would be sorry. You don't want to live with what will surround you."

Another fine example of that "good neighbor policy" that WRQ keeps crowing about that must be as well.

Mr. Hurley even mentions "my planners" in the letter. His planners? We all know who has been handling the planning; Shelby County and Ms. Kristine Goddard, Planner II of the Shelby County Development office. This is just more fuel to the residents suspicions that not only does WRQ "own" Vincent Town Hall and everybody in it, but Shelby County too.

He also states that, "We were relieved when they agreed to sell," in reference to the Greene/Gates properties, as if it was not known beforehand that they would. These families are the current Mayor's kinfolks, and one of them, Robbie Greene, was a member of the Vincent Zoning Board at the time WRQ was sneaking around Vincent buying up land. Ms. Greene's 40 acres is adjacent to the Evangel Temple, one of Vincent's black churches, and the McCrimmon Farm, which is 55 acres.

BCI drilled on Ms. Greene's land in early summer 2008 to test for limestone quality, ( the truck and rig were seen on her land by a number of residents)  but she continues to "feign ignorance" as to the "independent brokers" true intentions for her land. Someone gave permission for BCI to be on the land and we doubt it was the wind.

Regarding the race issue addressed in the letter, Mr. Hurley puts it off on the "independent brokers" and states, "No one at MY company had any idea about who owned property near our selected site." In a small town everybody knows everything, including businesses that have been slinking around since at least 2007, so he is either lying or showing his ignorance of local conditions.

As we have heard from Mr. Wood, WRQ geologist, Mr. Hurley tries to placate the McCrimmon's with an empty offer that they will do this and do that once "the project is up and running." The term "willing sellers" is thrown about often from WRQ; the Fleming's were clearly not "willing sellers."

This letter has a forced conciliatory tone to it and is certainly offered up as an attempt to "appear sensitive," but it is way too little far too late and therefore collectively unbelievable.

WRQ targeted this community of black citizens as almost every intrusive and offensive business does, particularly in this state, and now that they have been exposed things are heating up on them.

This is a strong case for an environmental racism legal action and the seat of those expensive, Palm Beach trousers are sure as hell smokin' Mr. Hurley. We would offer you some water, but the quarry took it all.
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  1. I am sending an email Max to talk with you about this.
    It's time, maybe I can help.

  2. Thanks for the attention that has been brought, to this environmental racism! This company is so racist! They are the pimps and the Vincent council is their prostitutes! Our elected officials are so pitiful!

  3. two words Uncle Tom catch up on your reading jordan-smith

  4. Do they really think they are going to be able to explain this?
    A three year old can see what is going on here....


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