I have lived in Camilla for almost 10 years now. And never have I seen such an absolute fucked up situation! So my neighbor (who by unwritten, unspoken request will remain nameless) is a gentleman who moved here recently from Alabama by way of Brooklyn. He started up a flea market, which was an absolute breath of fresh air here, after having very little progress since 1997. The only things we've gotten as far as progress since then are a new tractor store, and a new tire store. But last week, the City Council hauled him in front of them to charge he didn't meet their timeline to get buildings up on the site, get bathroom facilities up, clearly mark off the property, and anything else they could come up with. He countered that they gave him no such timeline. Last night, in a 4-2 vote, they ordered him to close up shop.
Had he been from Camilla and opened it up, it would've been welcomed with open arms. But no, just because he is an outsider, they decided to close it down. Mayor Powell campaigned on the idea that we needed more business in Camilla to keep money in Camilla, and not have people drive to Albany, Thomasville, Cairo, Moutrie or Bainbridge to shop. I believe this is the same man who almost ran Cagle's out of town, the city's largest employer. I remember my dad had to fight tooth-and-nail to try to get the city to go along with Cagle's expansion. That hatchery and that processing plant up where the city limits weren't at the time are, for me, a part of my dad's legacy, and without them, the unemployment levels here in Camilla would be through the roof.
But I think what it also boils down to is prejudice. Cagle's employs a lot of minorities, who until it expanded didn't have a job or had to drive to Albany, Thomasville, Cairo, Moultrie or Bainbridge to find work. Considering that minorities are the majority in this town, that probably meant a lot of unemployed people here. I'm not sure about who the majority of people who sold items at the flea market were, but I bet it was also minorities. City council couldn't have THAT in addition to Cagle's, so they did what they felt was best for their dwindling numbers... the dwindling numbers of people who think the South won the Civil War.
One last comment will hit the papers I believe. My neighbor said he would supply the paint. When asked what he meant, he quipped, "To paint over that part of the water tower that says 'Growing towards tomorrow.'" I will gladly help him if he does it.