Warner Robins Reacts to Negative National Press

6:50 PM, Oct 22, 2010   |    comments
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People in Warner Robins are still talking about a dispute among city council members that went national this week.

John Williams and Daron Lee exchanged shots about a cotton field, Monday. Lee called it racial, but Williams says he didn't mean it that way.

CNN, USA Today, and LA Times picked up the story.

We talked with people in Warner Robins to get their reaction.

Stylist at "Best Barber Shop" on Russell Parkway, Patti Lewis, watched her hometown take the national spotlight. Lewis said, "It's embarrassing. We get out here. We work hard, do what we have to do. Then, get all the council people who are supposed to be supporting and promoting the town, are showing themselves as an embarrassment."

The exchange between Daron Lee and John Williams sparked the spotlight. Lee told Williams he wasn't in a "cotton field" Williams responded, "You should be".

Williams later said the remark was about Lee's behavior, not his race.

Warner Robins car dealer and business owner Wayne Lowe, says the negative attention is just the latest on a long list of bad publicity. Lowe said, "With the dissension at City Hall, it is affecting people moving to Warner Robins and businesses coming here."

Lowe says he takes calls daily about the controversy and fears its' economic impact. He said, "It's appalling to me, that I don't know why it's so difficult for the council people to understand. They can't all pull in a different direction. We all got to pull together."

Owner of Freedom Realty, Freida McCullough called the racial theme of Lee and William's exchange "disappointing", but not a long-term scar.

McCullough said, "We are in the International City, so it does not reflect in a holistic way, what Warner Robins is all about."

New to the area, Airman Derek Terry, says before this week, he only heard positive press about Warner Robins. Terry said, "They have a really good baseball team."

He said the latest topic in the headlines concerns him. Terry said, "I definitely think that would have a negative impact on the area. Stuff like that is uncalled for."

Mayor Chuck Shaheen did not comment directly on the exchange between Lee and Williams. He wrote in a statement Thursday, that he plans to talk to council members about "respect."

He was not available for comment Friday.

Another outside group jumped in Friday. The Anti-Defamation League of Atlanta offered diversity training for the council.


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