As the first African-American elected to the Duncanville City Council, having fought many battles in and for this city; and, as one whose life has been over the past decade, dedicated to teaching, writing about, encouraging and counseling those who serve lead and govern, I write this absent any anger, malice, targeting no one.
People need to know the truth because we are witnessing something I have never seen in this city and my family and I have been residents here since 1984.
Through some of the roughest times and through some of the best. I love this city and too many of us have worked too hard. Some are now home with the Lord who would be as appalled as I and many others at the brazen and damaging behavior of many who claim the mantle of leaders but are acting like anything but.
With this, I want to shed light without bias or malice as to what is happening here. Because truth still matters. Because so many people are being misled and have been misled.
I can unequivocally say that Duncanville dodged a bullet when the City Council dismissed former City Manager Aretha Ferrell-Benavides (former city manager). Many actors, one scheme. The goal? Total takeover over the city. By any means necessary.
For what would have been the crown jewels. City contracts. Redirected funding for The Duncanville Community Theatre and the Duncanville Chamber of Commerce. Money, control, and assets that some want re-directed to their own businesses and projects. Tell the truth shame the devil behind the lie.
Fueling the flames of race, anger, and deceit. This is not God's way and innocent people would have been hurt. Many already have been.
Many innocent people have been lied to, lied on and many good people misled.
Some longtime, loyal employees who wouldn't go along with wrong were released and replaced with sycophants that would.
Our city government, with budget time looming, has major, multi-million dollar projects left hanging in the balance even when the prior city manager was on the job this was so. Audits have been left incomplete, which if continued would have very serious implications.
The state, when cities consistently do not complete audits, when this continues, the state can, by law, take over any municipality by law, that fails to produce timely audits.
There is no reconciling of millions of dollars in cash which leaves the city vulnerable to corruption as James Talley of the audit committee pointed out last Thursday.
As a side note, let me divert here. By the way, unlike what the former city manager and her supporters claimed, there was found to be no "two sets of books." And no corruption. Absolutely none.
And another side note. The former city manager experienced no racial discrimination.
She had the most prominent and influential white people in town eating out of her hand. Not to mention the wealthiest.
She bamboozled them. I will not name them as not to embarrass them because this is not a hit piece on anyone. Not even the former city manager. I wish her well and nothing but good. In Jesus, there is redemption for us all. I thank him for my own.
There was never any racial discrimination. After a while, people in town wised up when two plus two consistently didn't add up to four.
And there were and are way too many blacks jumping on the bandwagon led by those with personal motives and agendas. Using people. But sadly many innocent unknowing black people are being lied to and used unaware.
Back to City Operations - Audit Committee and the Farce of "Two Sets Of Books"
The Audit Committee met last week which finally cleared for citizens the issue of supposedly the city nefariously and fraudulently operating, as the former city manager claimed, under "two books." Not true.
It was revealed during the Audit Committee meeting that there is no proper accounting for millions of dollars in cash. Without proper financial reconciliation, just as in personal bank accounts, there is no way to tell where the cash has gone, is going, and to whom.
I do not believe this is with criminal intent by this administration, but in my opinion and based upon experience, just blatant and extreme incompetency, in basic city budgeting and finance.
This will prove costly. Very costly to us the citizens and taxpayers.
Our budget rating has for years, been stellar. Our rating with bond rating agencies is now in jeopardy of falling which means an exponential increase in the cost for the city to borrow money to complete capital projects.
Basically, in municipal finance, the lower a city's bond rating, the higher the interest rate when borrowing for major capital projects. Guess who pays for this? The taxpayers in increased taxes and fees. No different than private finance. The riskier the borrower, the higher the interest rate charged.
Actions By Council and Actions of the Former City Manager
I know for a fact the four city council representatives who voted to finally have the courage to dismiss the former city manager had more than justifiable causes.
Those men, two African Americans, one Hispanic and one white knew the blowback would be severe. Ancillary, to this, let me say this --- the white councilman who voted to terminate the former city manager was also the swing vote in hiring her on a 4/3 split at the time.
When the former city manager was hired, the three white council persons voted against her, including our current Mayor who admitted as such but today is one of her staunchest supporters. The vote ended up being a 3 to 3 tie. The three minorities on the council voted in the affirmative. Three whites voted in the negative.
The same white councilman who voted with the minorities in the affirmative to dismiss the former city manager is the same white councilman who voted in the affirmative with the minorities to break the tie to hire her because he did not want the vote to appear racially motivated.
This man has no racial malice. If he did, trust me, I would call him out too. As I said, I've been in Duncanville since 1984. I know where the bodies are buried. Who buried them and why.
This man is no racist. Nor was his dad who I knew from Lions Club back in the day. One of the ones who was very welcoming to me as a black woman when it was not cool to be. This is who this man is. He comes from good stock and he is a good person. A man who loves God and people and he did not want to be the vote to dismiss her.
See, I'm telling y'all stuff that others won't tell you. I have no dog in this hunt other than one who has paid some serious dues, loves this city, raised our daughter here and this city has been good to us. So many black, white, and brown want to live in harmony but are being exploited.
Yes, we had to fight and I am still a fighter for what's right I don't care who it is. Truth should be made known at whatever expense to me. God will protect me from any attack. He always has.
But no one could have anticipated what this now former city manager and her sycophants would do in tearing apart this city. Nothing like this all-out scorched earth burn-down the city madness.
And even then, the one who has caught the most hell, African American Councilman Patrick Harvey was for months, the single holdout. The other three had made up their mind a long time ago. They had seen and had had enough.
Councilman Harvey never caved to the pressure from his supporters, of letting this woman go. He fought to get her here. He called her. Cajoled her. Persuaded her to come to Duncanville. He did all he could.
But as the former city manager grew in stature, prominence, and popularity she mistakenly believed she didn't need him anymore.
The former city manager, in my opinion, is a masterful manipulator. And she is very good at it, as I told her when I went to her privately and to her biggest supporter to help. What did she do to me in return? Cut and paste text messages and sent to God knows who all in an attempt to damage my name and reputation. But this is a separate issue and will be legally resolved. As a human and child of the King, I still wish her well. I have no malice toward her.
It was the former city manager, not the city council, who manipulated her absence on the day they took the vote to release her. She insisted it be a public meeting.
Normally city managers do not. But she had a plan.
The Mayor, another council representative, and the former city manager were all at the same meeting in Washington, DC that week. That meeting ended. The Mayor and council representative came back for the Council meeting. The former city manager chose not to.
She knew what the legally posted agenda was about. She knew. The council had attempted three times before, since January to set her review. Each time she ducked the meetings. It was twice COVID and then something else.
The former city manager did not inform her bosses, the Council she would be extending her stay in DC and she had ample opportunity, as did the Mayor and the council representative (both her staunchest supporters) to be present at the meeting and from what I understand, was even offered the opportunity via Zoom.
She declined. Why?
The master manipulator knew the theatrics and the visual of being terminated when she wasn't there "to defend herself." To intentionally and manipulatively make the council and city look bad. She knew.
And the desired effect is what she got. Master manipulators always go for drama and effect. People, especially African Americans in town, misled by some with a political agenda, got up in arms about her being "fired when she wasn't there to defend herself." It was planned that way!
Not realizing that they too were and are being played and manipulated. The former city manager also knew that having her attorney read her statement, rather than her being there herself, would be Kings X. (She misled those attorneys too. But, that's not my deal. They will figure it out too).
The council would be automatically silenced because it then became a legal matter rather than what it was - a personnel matter. Allowing more time for delay, to flame and inflame.
She took a page out of Donald Trump's playbook. Like Donald Trump, she is a master. And her sycophants are doing what she needed and need them to do. Yell and scream. Accuse and manipulate. This dear friends is why the council members who voted to rid our city of this clear and present danger CANNOT speak on this.
The master manipulator made certain they wouldn't be able to so she could control the narrative. And she and her sycophants have and are.
If any of the council will say anything regarding this issue, Duncanville friends, it will cost the city dearly and this is what the master manipulator and her sycophants are trying to do. Bait them.
They won't take the bait and won't. I call periodically and check on each of them. Pray with them. For them. Their families. This has taken a tremendous toll on them and their families and it's just not right. It's not right.
But right and truth apparently mean nothing to this master manipulator and her sycophants outside and within the city structure. Many share the same thirst for power and control and will do or say anything, no matter who they hurt to take down whoever they need to take down to take over.
But there is God. And many of us are praying. In fact, many of us are taking time each week leading up to the election to fast and pray for our city, candidates and council.
And please vote. Some are wolves in sheep clothing. Doing good deeds for manipulative reasons. VOTE.
African Americans like me who wouldn't go along with the madness have been unfairly ridiculed, talked about, called names, and attempts to ruin some of our names and reputations ... by other blacks, not whites.
I thank God for hearing so many of our prayers and saving this city from total ruin.
But the battle is far from over. In fact, just beginning in many ways. But we won't give over our city to the spirits of division, greed and power seekers, black OR white.
It's not "old Duncanville vs. "new Duncanville." But truth vs. deceit. Peace vs. division. Right vs. wrong.
They had their champion but God said differently. And for this, I am grateful.
Vote Duncanville. This is the most important election in a decade.
District 5, keep Greg Contreras
District 3, keep Jeremy Koontz
And Duncanville friends please elect DeMonica Gooden as the At Large representative.
I refuse to go along with wrong no matter what or who. It is a badge I have proudly worn and will continue to wear with honor.