Mayor under fire for comments

April 15, 2008 6:00:42 AM PDT
Tuesday morning the Mayor of Garner will meet with community leaders from Southeast Raleigh after the mayor said things that some took as racist.

In a letter to Mayor Ronnie Williams dated April 10, the son of Raleigh's first black mayor writes.. "comments about not wanting anymore Southeast Raleigh students in Garner were disengenuous.. and a slap in the face to the youth of Southeast Raleigh."

Bruce Lightner adds, if that's the way the mayor feels he should "pass an ordinance to discourage black people who reside in Raleigh from shopping, eating or doing business with establishments in his town."

Read Bruce Lightner's letter to Mayor Williams .

Williams tells Eyewitness News he regrets the words but not the message.

"Its possible that I could have had a better choice of words."

Williams says bussing more students from Southeast Raleigh to Garner would only add to an already high number of lower income students in Garner schools.

"We don't want more of the same," Williams said. "We feel like in the classroom based on our experience it's difficult to try and educate high numbers of free and reduced lunch kids."

Lightner tells eyewitness news over the phone that he now sees where the mayor is coming from.

By the two sides coming together Tuesday, they'll try to come up with a plan that'll be best for children in both areas. School board members will be listening since Garner issued a 30-day delay on permits for a new school on Bryan road until school leaders determine where the kids will come from. They have just more than two weeks before the 30 days are up.

The meeting Tuesday is scheduled for 10a.m. at Garner Town Hall in the board meeting room.


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