I’m positively speechless. The reckless, irresponsible, disrespectful, illegal, immoral and downright idiotic behavior of Harrisburg City Council President Wanda Williams has taken the reputation of the City of Harrisburg to an all new low.
About a week ago, Council President Wanda Williams ordered the bulldozing of a community garden located in a blighted neighborhood and maintained and managed by a local organization called Green Urban Initiative.(GUI)
GUI leases vacant lots owned by the city for the purpose of providing space for public gardens to be cultivated. Anyone so inclined may rent a box stocked with fresh soil for ten dollars from GUI and plant and garden to their hearts content.
One resident – Sylvia Regal – opposed the garden. She somehow believes that this community garden – plots of dirt growing carrots and cucumbers and tomatoes and radishes – added to the culture of crime, drugs and violence which exists heartily in many sections of Harrisburg.
So she bent the ear of Williams who, in turn and with zero authority to do so, ordered the demolition of the community garden. Poof. Overnight, she made a call and rallied a bulldozer and crew of city employees to get out there and tear that garden down.
The public was OUTRAGED. And rightfully so. Not only did The City of Harrisburg blatantly violate the terms of it’s own lease (the plots required the city to give tenants thirty days notice prior to any changes being made to the property), a member of city council DOES NOT have the singular authority to order ANY work to be done in the city without due process.
Obviously, there are many layers to this rotten onion. Not the least of which is the blatant racial tension that’s reared it’s ugly head in the way of comments from some neighborhood residents and Sylvia Regal herself regarding the nerve of these people coming into a neighborhood that isn’t theirs and planting a garden.
But what is most dumbfounding, frustrating and shocking is Council President Wanda Williams absolutely psychopathic indifference to the public’s outcry. In a statement delivered at Council tonight, Williams alleged that GUI wasn’t properly maintaining the lots and allowing weeds to overgrow to a point of being an eyesore.
In some crazy, fucked up, twisted logical twist and turn, Williams also somehow tied this garden to drug use, drug sales, prostitution, sex acts, rodent infestation and a decrease in public safety.
Didja read that? Let me type it again – and bold, italic it so you can get it loud and clear:
Williams also somehow tied this garden to drug use, drug sales, prostitution, sex acts, rodent infestation and a decrease in public safety.
At the end of the day, this isn’t about a community garden being torn down. Rather, it’s about a glaring example of just how incredibly unqualified some of our elected officials are and react to situations from a state of emotion, instead of logic and reasoning.
Will Wanda Williams face any repercussions from her egregious actions?
Probably not. Which isn’t surprising. The people who make the laws are the ones who break them so viciously and without punishment.
The best way the public can punish Wanda Williams is by simply voting her out of office next term. She clearly doesn’t care about her entire constituency.