by Malaika Wells

Though it saddens me to see citizen pitted against citizen in the effort to turn Stonecrest around, I’m also not surprised. 

While my husband and I were out walking in our neighborhood today, we stopped to chat with a neighbor. Together we discussed and lamented the increasing divisiveness in the world as well as expressed our hope for solutions and our children’s futures, safety and well-being. 

However, at no time in our discussion did we allow political allegiances to invalidate the risks (and benefits) of the major players whose actions are contributing to the instability and divisiveness we lamented. 

Concerning Stonecrest, I believe that anyone who’s been paying attention (and has not pledged their allegiance to a candidate such that their reasoning ability is comprised), is aware that former mayor Lary could not have wrecked the havoc he did without being allowed to do so. I think some assume that the council was powerless to prevent his schemes and abuses. That’s not true. They had power — but for a long time didn’t use it. And we may never know why. 

Once again, we are in an election year. We’ve seen before the flurry of activity and engagement from those who will soon be candidates. And while that’s all good and fine (especially when it benefits the citizenry), it’s also important to reflect on the levels of activity, engagement, presence in, and contribution to community and community building during non-election years. Because it matters. And unwillingness to do so seems disingenuous and likely contribute to us repeating the mistakes of our recent past. 

A long time ago, I was accused of being a hater because I questioned the decision of a friend to purchase a very expensive, very large house at a time when he and his wife were empty nesters and they didn’t have the income to support it. But I loved this couple and highly regarded them — it was love that compelled me to risk questioning their decision. 

It is entirely possible to like someone, love them even, and disagree with their choices and actions. In regards to Stonecrest and its most vocal citizenry, it is love not hate that motivates their engagement, their willingness to call out improprieties, and to question the motives and actions of those elected to govern us. They love the city – the residents and the land – and still hope that it will fulfill its potential. 

In the history of this nation, we’ve observed that often those elected to lead aren’t always able or willing to lead ethically or well. And while grace is important, so are morals and motive.