How Cromartie's Constituents Contributed to Cromartie's Actions.
BY: Keith H. Seymour
I have been a journalist for close to twenty years in this town,and most of that time, I have dealt with the African-American press. I have been a community advocate for slightly longer. From 1994-2001, I was even public information director for a non-profit organization in Mr. Cromartie's district. During and since that time, I have always be confused that in spite of this man's public known dishonesty, that he has been re-elected. Having said that, I am going to make a statement that will get me in trouble, but needs to be stated. Yes, E.W. Cromartie has caused a lot of people a lot of problems, and he did it with the help of his constituents. They knew about this man's dishonesty, and still re-elected him, when there have been alternatives over the years. Let's look at the fact that prove that Mr. Cromartie's own constituents assisted in creating this situation that has disgraced their district and this city.
Mr. Cromartie has been found guilty of every thing from parking illegally in handicapped zones, and running up expense accounts, to landlord violations and not paying property taxes. As Public Information Director for Waverly United for Action, Inc. neighborhood group, I actually had a run in with him. The situation was at a forum where one of his constituents/tenants complained about the sub-standard conditions of the rat infested apartment building in which she lived. The woman must have been about eighty at the time,and this was in 1995. The woman complained that one apartment in her building was so rat infested that, the rats chewed through the ceiling though the floor, which was a ceiling that landed on her neighbor's bed.Mr. Cromartie's answer was he would get around to it, when he got around to it.
This same man has run up expense accounts, and then had his constituents hold fund raisers to pay off his overspending of "thie" tax dollars. So my question is: Why are they surpised. There is an old saying: If you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem." Columbia District Two residents chose not to be part of the solution, by voting his sorry ass, out of office, so they are part of the problem.
Now, I am not denying that Mr. Cromartie has done a lot of good things for his community such as cleaning up Read Street, the Saxon Homes area, and getting the funding for the Drew Wellness Center. However, to keep re-elect him because of this, when his lack of ethics has become habitual, is like keeping on a dishonest employee, because he came up with some good ideas. As sorry as I feel for the residents of District Two, I also acknowledge that they got that for which they allowed their tax dollars to pay. The real sadness here, is the that if only the District Two residents had exhibited the good sense to vote this man out, when they had the chance, they would not have to deal with the disgrace of knowing that there first and only district representative will now be a “federal” convict. Mr. Cromartie committed his most recent and most criminal acts for one simple reason. He knew he could do it, and either get away with it, and if he got caught his constituents would forgive him, and not hold him accountable. Well, thank goodness the federal government is holding him accountable. Even if it is for less time than anyone else would get, for the same crime.
The best thing that could have happened to Mr.Cromrtie's constituents, and this city, was his being kicked out of office. I am just sorry that it had to be in a manner that will mar the reputation of his constituents, this city, and honest African-American leadership of this town.
Keith H. Seymour is a 32 year resident of Columbia, who has worked for about 20 years, as freelance journalist, media consultant, and community advocate. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 803-233-9622.