TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) - Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor accuses Tallahassee City Commissioners of being racists in a letter asking the Commissioners to pay for the funeral of a man hit while riding his bicycle.
The letter was sent to City Commissioners on Wednesday. In the letter Proctor says he is requesting they, "...pay for funeral expenses of Mr. Andrew Buggs whose funeral service was held last Saturday July 11, 2015."
Buggs was killed Monday, June 29, while riding his bicycle on the 3100 block of Ridge Road. Proctor claims in the letter that Buggs was crossing from an un-sidewalked side of the road to the sidewalk on the other side.
Proctor goes on to say that the City started the sidewalk project 3 year ago but it was never completed, "Only to a black neighborhood have you started, but never finished providing a sidewalk. You are negligent in protecting the citizens who travel North Ridge Road as pedestrians and bicyclists. You are racist in assessing this black community property taxes from which they can never receive finished roads, covered ditches, sidewalks, bicycle lanes or covered bus stops."
You can read the full letter below:
"Dear City Commissioners and City Manager:
I formally request that you pay for funeral expenses of Mr. Andrew Buggs whose funeral service was held last Saturday July 11, 2015.
While crossing from the un-sidewalked side of North Ridge Road (East) to the sidewalk side of North Ridge Road (West) Mr. Andrew Buggs was struck and killed while he was riding his bicycle.
The City of Tallahassee’s refusal to provide the safe sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclists has resulted in Mr. Bugg’s death. But for the City’s failure to provide safe sidewalks for citizens who walk and bicycle down North Ridge Road daily, Mr. Buggs may not have been killed.
In light of numerous public requests, I have made to you seeking sidewalks for North Ridge Road; I know that you have purposefully denied this African-American community an important public safety infrastructural need. The City built a partial sidewalk about three years ago and you abandoned completing this project.
Citizens of North Ridge Road have been paying property taxes and utility fee taxes for over 50 years to the City of Tallahassee. Why did the City build a partial sidewalk and abandon this project, leaving the community unsafe? Mr. Buggs got killed crossing over to the sidewalk portion of the road. He was killed at the juncture that served as an invitation to proceed safely.
Only to a black neighborhood have you started, but never finished providing a sidewalk. You are negligent in protecting the citizens who travel North Ridge Road as pedestrians and bicyclists. You are racist in assessing this black community property taxes from which they can never receive finished roads, covered ditches, sidewalks, bicycle lanes or covered bus stops.
And now another pedestrian death has happened on North Ridge Road. What does it take for us black people, who pay for City utilities, who are arrested by City police, whose children are dissed by City parks, whose taxes support white neighborhoods across this City including the most recently built white neighborhoods, whose black neighborhoods are butchered by vehicular traffic and whose City Commission gives not a damn about black lives that are affected on a dangerous street that has zero speed bumps and no speeding ticket citations given to anyone this year?
City government fails black communities, period. It is the same everywhere in black communities; South City, Springfield, Bond, Allen subdivision, and Frenchtown. This City refuses to provide safe sidewalks although these taxpayers have paid property taxes and City utilities for well over 4 decades.
And now, the Buggs’ family has received a funeral bill that is the City’s fault. I am requesting that you do the honorable thing to amend for your dishonorable negligence and reimburse this family the funeral expenses for their loved one, Mr. Andrew Buggs.
Please note it is quite disheartening and downright unforgiveable that the City has failed this community again as another pedestrian death has occurred on North Ridge Road. This is why the 27 percent tax increase is so wretchedly despised and opposed by those who receive less for their tax dollars in order to support those who receive so much more.
I am again requesting that North Ridge Road receive the safety improvements that people who have paid taxes for forty plus years deserve to have. More Specifically, I am asking that North Ridge Road receive sidewalks that are completed and safe; that the ditches are covered, as has been promised years ago and that speed bumps be placed to slow traffic down in this residential neighborhood. And now Mr.Buggs is dead thanks to the City. Damn.