We were just as surprised as anyone when we learned that the "Dalton Gang" — composed of Covington City Council members Keith Dalton, Chris Smith, Ocie Franklin, Mike Whatley and Hawnethia Williams — voted to discontinue all discussion of the purchase of abandoned Norfolk Southern rail lines without notice to the community or the press.
A vote on such an important topic should be appropriately placed on a public meeting agenda, but this vote was not. It also comes prematurely before a public information meeting regarding the topic scheduled for April 29 (which will still occur at 5:30 p.m.).
To tell the truth, we thought this type of underhanded politics only existed in Washington, Atlanta and other big cities.
Dalton cited the economy and the idea of turning the lines into multi-use trails as the reason he wanted to halt all discussion on the matter.
The real reason this backdoor and short-sighted vote was taken was to embarrass the mayor.
At times we have taken Mayor Kim Carter to task on this page for her aggressive attitude on this subject. However, in their haste to show the mayor who was boss, the Dalton Gang deprived the community the ability to understand fully the details and implications of the rail purchase.
After Monday night’s meeting we also were left wondering how this particular vote was orchestrated so smoothly since it reeks of collusion, which is strictly forbidden by Georgia law.
The Dalton Gang may be proud of their accomplishments, but we don’t believe the majority of the general public is so proud.