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SERWAN ZANGANA: We Have Until Nov. 8 To Clean Up City Council

As we have a few days until the election which is on Tuesday, November 8, it’s not too late to make a change. If we can put all the political differences aside and ignore the political conflicts at the national level, we can just focus on Roanoke City. That way, we can flip to a new page with no scratches or dark spots, and start afresh with new City Council members who have the mindset to benefit the people of Roanoke instead of themselves.

It is undeniable that the present City Council members with Mayor Sherman Lea are not only disregarding the Citizens and ignoring their requests, but they are grabbing power for themselves to rule the City and control the Council for the interests of their own political agendas.

The current City Council members have maneuvered on many occasions and manipulated the people of Roanoke. How long should we listen to Mr. Lea and his Council members and wait for them to make our City safe? Isn’t there a shooting every day in our neighborhoods? Furthermore, do we have honest Council members in handling the taxpayers money? Mr. Joe Cobb was quick to spend time with a group of people and have a lavish dinner in the restaurant spending the city’s funds, but when I asked him, in 2019, about a concern regarding a homeowner’s real estate tax grace period, he did not have time to respond to me. It is noteworthy that being one day late paying that tax incurs a 10% penalty. That means there is no grace period which gives homeowners a few days to pay their tax after the due date.

I was flabbergasted that no one on City Council opposed paying $3.6 million to purchase the old Ramada Inn motel and demolish it. According to The Roanoke Times, a federal government program paid 75% and the city paid 25%, which was the citizens’ money that was paid to the owner of an old, dilapidated motel. Did our money make one man, the Ramada Inn owner, richer without our consent? Are our City Council members handling Roanoke business with integrity?

We need to give Roanoke a new start and let the people get a breath of fresh air by stopping city council members from continuing to abuse the city and deceive people. The rigid mentality of the council members will not shift the city’s direction onto the correct path. When the intention is merely to win, control, and expand their power, the common people will be ignored.

We should remember from 2019, Mayor Lea and some of the Council members, regardless of much opposition, voted to move the city’s elections from May to November. This was completely a political strategy. It’s time to remove the current members up for re-election and replace them with the honest group of four in the office.

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.

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