After reading statements such as those by Dwayne Truss last week [Enough is enough – get the high school built, AWN, June 12], Austin residents must ask themselves, are they living in the Twilight Zone? Apparently, people like Alderman Ed Smith and Austin Weekly News columnist Arlene Jones, and Dwayne Truss do.

Do they truly care about the education and welfare of the youth in the Austin community? Mr. Truss, you do not have the heart, nor the vision to pound the pavement with petitions, going door-to-door to inform the community about the $10.6-million TIF (Tax Increment Fund). Ald. Smith is willing to throw away our money like garbage. These teens have worked their hearts out for a good cause.

Mr. Truss, this is not your TIF, nor Dr. Flowers’, Emma Mitts’, Isaac “Ike” Carothers’, Ed Smith’s, even WHA’s or the ACEN’s (Austin Community Education Network) money. These dollars belong to the Austin community. Therefore, the community should decide what is best.

Ald. Smith, you have turned your back on the community and never looked back, not even to smile. But you’re not alone. Alderman Mitts and Carothers are doing the same thing with little to any type of response from the Austin community. Shame on you, for taking advantage of our community and treating Austin like we are stray dogs; shame on you for not treating us as equals in our community; and shame on you, Ald. Smith, for fudging job numbers and not telling the Austin community the truth about ML Realty’s distribution company job growth.

Ald. Smith stressed his loyalty to the community. Don’t believe the hype! His loyalty is to self and the developers. Also, he says nobody showed any interest at the Brach site until a developer came in. Don’t believe the hype!

The community vision for the Brach site is not a traditional neighborhood high school. ACEN sees an adjacent cultural center, a new YMCA, and a high-tech innovation and manufacturing center as a part of that vision as well.

What would our forefathers say about Austin’s vision and investment in our children’s future? People like Fredrick Douglass, W.E.B. Dubois and others, promoted education as a very strong asset to the black community.

What is the matter with the Austin community? We never preserved our heritage and roots for the next generation. Ald. Smith, what happened during the ’60s when outspoken blacks said we are not represented in city council? The community responded and elected blacks to represent us. Now blacks are killing blacks, our teens going nowhere or are headed to jail.

Aldermen Smith, Mitts and Carothers, take a good look at your community, and tell me what you see. That’s right, no hope, no future, and no dreams. Just liquor stores, dollar stores, Laundromats, cellphone stores, nail salons and barber shops.

Judging from your comments, Ald. Smith, that is what you think of us and your community? With little to no prosperity in 25 years of service, that is a slap in the face. You are talking about the future here, not future distributors making $5.25 or a little more per hour, knowing gas prices, rent, mortgages, food, clothing and transportation are going up. Is this modern-day slavery? I propose Aldermen Smith, Mitts and Carothers should commit to print their budget in the community newspapers, so the community knows where their money is going.

For the first time, Austin residents are finally standing up for what is right. We can agree or disagree on an issue without being divisive or belittling our children. Mr. Truss, Ald. Smith, and Arlene Jones need to apologize to the community. Young Creative Minds and Student Freedom Riders, they are the ones you insulted. Our children have the power and wisdom. If you had the same vision for a new high school, maybe it would save some lives and get some of them off the streets.