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Protests — By Tommy Purser

I briefly mentioned last week about a few instances of overwhelming public opposition to issues that have arisen here during my 50-plus years of covering the news Jeff Davis County.
This week, I happened upon a folder that has been on my computer desktop for a number of years. It is entitled “Protests.”
When I opened that folder, I found the following. Those of you who were around at the time of these “Protests” will remember those instances well. Those who were not around may be encouraged about our community joining forces to get our elected officials to listen. Here’s what I found:
In the 1970s, then-Rep. Bayne Stone announced his intention to introduce legislation to expand the city limits of Hazlehurst. At the next meeting of the City Council, a protest crowd overflowed the city council meeting room and spilled onto the sidewalk.
In the 1980s, the City Council was considering whether or not to allow the sale of beer and wine inside the city. At their next meeting, a protest crowd overflowed the city council meeting room and spilled onto the sidewalk.
In the 1990s, the City Council was considering changing Tallahassee and Cromartie street to one-way pairing. Again, same result. At a Department of Transportation public hearing on the change, the meeting room at the then-recreation department building was flooded by protesters.
In 2004, when the County Commission was hesitant to financially support Jeff Davis Hospital the courtroom at the courthouse was standing room only with people upset with the commission.
In the mid 2000s, when the County Commission was considering curbside pickup of household garbage, so many people showed up at a commission meeting the meeting had to be moved to a courtroom. The protesters filled the courtroom and many had to stand.
In 2007, Lumber City citizens packed the council meeting room to learn about the engineering study of the old Amercord site.
In 2007, when the County Commission and the Industrial Authority were at odds, the Authority’s meeting room was packed with onlookers concerned about the situation.
In 2008, when Mayor Stone suspended City Attorney Ken Smith, Attorney Nathan Deaton, Police Chief Steve Land and Police Investigator Geoffrey Parker, over 100 people crammed into the city council meeting room and spilled into the streets in protest.
In 2009, when the County Commission changed how they provided insurance for county employees, those employees and supporters packed the county meeting room in protest.
In 2011, when the County Commission was exploring going to curbside pickup of household garbage, their meeting room was almost full with those protesting the idea at their next meeting. It happened again a few months later.
In 2011, when the City’s water system was having problems with water turning brown in homes and businesses, the council meeting room was packed with concerned citizens.
In 2012, more than 30 people attended a County Commission meeting protesting the county’s handling of an audit of the Sheriff’s Department.
In 2013, after the County Commission fired County Administrator Carlos Tobar, their meeting room was filled with protestors at their next meeting.
In 2013, when charges of racism were being leveled against the Hazlehurst Police Department, the council meeting room was packed with concerned citizens.
In 2018, after the City Council decided on the roundabouts, five people spoke at council meetings in opposition.

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