- Valdosta, Ga. - April 18, 2012 -
City leaders in Valdosta are working to correct long-standing social and economic issues in lower class neighborhoods.
This comes in light of a recent report outlining numerous social and economic issues in Valdosta. It's called the "The Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing" report and it comes from a Texas organization called the "J-Quad Planning Group".
George Boston Rhynes and John Robinson are a pair of community activists in Valdosta who hope the report will spur some change. They walk the streets of Valdosta and see their troubles. They tell Eyewitness News reporter Greg Gullberg why the time for change is long overdue.
"If we keep following the same pattern that we have always followed, we will continue to get the same thing and that is nothing in the black community," Rhynes told Gullberg.
"I'm just hoping that we can get some fairness, we can get some clarity, that this cannot be shoved under the rug any longer," said Robinson.
The Valdosta City Council voted to adopt the report in their meeting on Thursday April 5th. It addresses issues like predatory lending, economic disparities and poor neighborhood conditions.
James Wright is a City Councilman who is putting together a steering committee to help give the city direction in correcting the problems.
"The Steering Committee will be a diverse group of people which we hope will include all citizens in our community and we hope to educate our community about the impediments that we've identified in the Analysis of Impediments," Wright told Gullberg.
But Robinson and Rhynes say it's all old news. This report follows the footsteps of several others in recent years. But they call Councilman Wright a sort of folk hero for his efforts to breach the status quo.
"And so I commend Councilman Wright for taking a very strong stand and for drawing attention to this great problem in our community that has existed for over 16 years. And truly it's time for a change," said Rhynes.
Councilman James Wright helped draw attention to many of these issues when he boycotted the City Council retreat in early March.