He’s the Auburn City Councilman of Ward 1 who in 2009 removed rebel flags from the graves of Confederate soldiers and was forced by the City Council to apologize for desecrating gravesites, which are private property and protected by the First Amendment.
He also has a history of speaking without thinking.
In the midst of his celebrity as a desecrator of graves, he laid out his idea for a new City Council.
“If (the mayor is) going to have to have voting powers, then we should have a seven-member council with the mayor voting and being one of those seven. I think that would be fair, with two of the council members being black.”
Dowdell has now graced us with more racially charged inanity.
“It looks to me like there’s an underground conspiracy to downsize the city of Auburn,” he said, “so that only rich whites and students can live in Auburn at the expense of poor blacks and poor whites.”
It seems only logical that the chief concern of the City Council and developers in Auburn would be conspiring to undermine the livelihood of minorities and the poor in Auburn. Thank goodness our social crusader has come along to rid our town of the Illuminati.
Does Dowdell really believe that his constituents are under attack in Auburn? If so, then we have a deeply paranoid man on the council.
We do not accept Dowdell’s ideas. At best, they’re ridiculous, irrational and irresponsible. At the heart of it, we have a difficult time convincing ourselves that this man can even truly believe these things.
We think the councilman is using this game of “us versus them” to secure his voters on his side. What better way to keep winning reelection than to become the champion against the spectre of a villian?
Even more concerning is that he’s leveling part of the blame on fellow city officials, rather than just the ever-contemptible land developers with better things to do than concern themselves with Dowdell’s petty politics.
Making accusations against hardworking members of our community with no support for your claims is unacceptable behavior from a man who represents part of our town.
“It has become too expensive for the black community to continue living in Auburn, so they are moving out to Opelika,” Dowdell said in 2009. “Opelika is welcoming them with open arms.”
This is a statement from 2009. The numbers just don’t back it up. In 2000, the black population of Auburn stood at 16.8 percent. In 2010 it stands at 16.6 percent. Those figures certainly don’t reflect the Trail of Tears-style exodus he’s claimed.
Even more concerning is Dowdell’s lack of respect for the minority population of Auburn he claims to represent.
“The poor just can’t afford to live in Auburn,” he said. “The city hasn’t been fair in regards to providing housing for minorities.”
This statement also comes from 2009. What exactly is minority housing? Is he referring to low-income, government-subsidized housing? Are the minorities he claims to represent not offended and insulted by the idea that they need assistance because of their skin color?
The simple truth is that the ideas Dowdell has expressed in the past and continues to express do nothing for the city of Auburn. They are regressive. They are fearful. But most importantly, they are false.
We can’t be certain about Dowdell’s intentions, but we do know that until he provides the community with quanitifiable proof to back up these wild accusations, his yammering about lawsuits and conspiracies will remain just that.