It is very upsetting that one can say whatever they want to say about a leader and have it published in your newspaper these days. I was always taught if you don’t have anything good to say, it’s best that you don’t say anything at all. However, after reading the column on Alderman Ed Smith, published in the Austin Weekly I’d like to change that saying to, “If you don’t have anything factual to publish then don’t publish it at all.” I’d like to also ask this question: If you don’t have a compatible person to compare someone with why would you even bother to make a comparison?

First and foremost, it is an insult to compare a man of such great integrity, spirit, and strong will to a pimp. As a strong black woman I feel that there is no positive impact that can come from a pimp. A pimp- despicable in character-simply tears down and uses his endeavors to his own advantage. A pimp does not care nor is he concerned with the lives of others because he only cares about his own greedy intention. I could go on and on about all of the negatives a pimp exhibits. But because I believe anyone can change with the help of my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, I will just talk about the situation at hand.

For a while I thought maybe I was reading the National Enquirer because they often publish far-fetched stories. During my observation and encounters with Alderman Ed Smith I have experienced no less than leadership at its best. If he would have been compared to Dr. Martin Luther King that would have been fine because I know him to be a peacemaker; always striving and fighting to stand up for his ward and make the best decision possible for the community. I also know him as a great supporter, believing in his community to get to the top of the mountain.

In 2006, I held a benefit dinner to raise funds for my church’s community center. Alderman Ed Smith was among my supporters. He didn’t come because he knew me or received a scheduled invitation, but solely because he believed in helping his community. It was not held on a weekday or during regular hours, so he didn’t have to show up. But because of his humble character and willing spirit he did show up. Today, because people believed in what a community can be, if you ride down Jackson Boulevard you will see the JLM Abundant Life Center. Many are being blessed and coming alive in a community where there once was no hope. It’s because of leaders like Alderman Ed Smith that communities improve.

Most of the time when people speak negatively about a person it’s because they have not been honest with themselves, have not done their research to know enough about what they are talking about, or just need to examine themselves. Tearing down leaders in the community does not make us look good or get anything accomplished. I value the word TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More). Austin Weekly should be working as a team to uplift the community and embrace leaders. If you allow something like this to be published it makes the community wonder about the character of the staff working for the Austin Weekly. When I see a pimp on TV I turn the channel because a pimp can not lead me. A pimp has shown no worthy example. I am a strong black woman and I stand up for what I believe. If I see Alderman Ed Smith, I listen to everything he has to say because I know he is a leader.

I ask in the future that you consider what you are publishing. Ask yourself what any successful business should ask: Is this in the best interest of my company? I can tell you the choice to publish this column was not a wise choice, but we all learn from our mistakes. People can say what they want to say out of their own mouth but you have to be wise when publishing something with your name on it. Sometimes one wrong turn can cause a dreadful accident. To make it plain-you reap what you sow. Printing up columns such as this when there are people in the community who know better can cause those same people to never read your newspaper again.

I will count this one as a mistake but do feel that Alderman Ed Smith deserves an apology or even a new article that is fact-based expressing his true character.