Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Willis Totally Wrong in Remarks about Parks

Arnell Willis
HELENA-WEST HELENA- Mayor Arnell Willis made some outlandish claims in his State of the City Address about the status of the North Helena Park under his administration.

After discussing some budget issues, Willis went on to lavish praise on the accomplishments of his parks department saying, "They have been restored under my administration."

No Home Games Under Banks
Following his speech, he was quizzed extensively on the parks by Inside Scoop Online staff.  When asked if the parks were in better condition than this time last year, he said, "I don't know about last year, but they are better than December 31.  You couldn't even sit in the bleachers."  On a follow up, Willis could not correctly name the field that had bleacher damage.  He said it was Gene Bearden Stadium.  In fact, it's the smaller field and the bleachers collapsed on his watch and remain collapsed.

When asked why the fields failed to be ready for the season opener of Cougar baseball for the first time in years, he blamed the recent flooding.  The season opener for the Cougars was scheduled for March 1st, long before the current floods.  He was also quizzed about the presence of water in the park, which are protected by the levee system.  There was no levee breach reported.

Anthony "King Deuce" Banks
Clearly, the statements about the parks were erroneous.  The deterioration has happened since he fired O'Shea Burrell and put in place the embattled Anthony "Deuce" Banks, who has faced allegations that he made improper remarks to a 12-year-old girl while on the job.  However, Willis maintains the problems are "Mother Nature" instead of his personnel choices in the department.

The Inside Scoop Online looks forward to the day when Willis's claims about the parks are actually realized at the facilities.  They had come so far under O'Shea Burrell.  It's depressing to watch the backward movement under the current regime.

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