"...Records show that Perkins and three other council members
-- Yvonne Johnson, Claudette Burroughs-White and Don Vaughan
-- went so far as to call on City Manager Ed Kitchen
to investigate then-city audit director Jacky Dowd and another employee.
King had complained to the council members
that Dowd and the other employee, whom city officials declined to identify,
harassed and discriminated against Homestead.
...Dowd had tried to audit Homestead in 1997,
but King halted the process after about three weeks,
complaining that the audit was interfering with Homestead's work.
According to a memo..., Perkins asked for the meeting
and opened it by saying that there had been "harassment by city employees"
against Project Homestead,"
and that there appeared to be some discrimination
... in that Project Homestead was being treated differently.
"The implications were that city employees were not acting appropriately
and this should be dealt with. ... Robbie indicated this treatment needed to stop."
Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson,
...said she doesn't remember the meeting with Kitchen and Edwards.
But she says now -- after the disclosures in the recent audit report
-- that King's cries of harassment and discrimination
were "manipulation on the part of Michael."
Perkins said he believed then and now that he and the other council members
were correct in taking King's allegations of racial discrimination to Kitchen.
"That was the appropriate way to handle it," he said. "I took those allegations very seriously."
Perkins said King was clever.
"He knew which buttons to push, and he pushed a lot of them."
But the problem is that elected officials work for all of the taxpayers
-- not the director of a non-profit who happens to be a principal in a political machine,
and who has a certain degree of electoral clout.
And elected officials are supposed to be sufficiently insightful
that they can see through smokescreens.
I do not think Robbie Perkins or Yvonne Johnson should be elected next week.
I think their actions on Project Homestead,
if Stan Swofford reported the story correctly,
were sufficiently problematic that they should not hold any elective position."