Racial tensions soar as Sedalia council member resigns

A Sedalia City Council member who had served on council for 17 years has resigned over what she says is rampant racism by the all-black council against white residents.

She said she’s seen enough of City Council members’ harassment of innocent citizens who defy them — and the way city business is conducted like a secret cabal that doesn’t follow the laws on public state meetings.

City council member Valerie Jones, whose term on council was due to expire in 2023, said growing frustration over hostile actions by Sedalia city council members towards her and others led her to resign.

Jones, who is black, said the board was biased against white people and lacked any sense of fairness or consistency.

She added that she was appalled that the council would go after a white resident, Ed Piotrowski, simply for filing his candidacy in the city where the elected officials were all African American.

She said she was particularly outraged when Piotrowski was threatened with criminal “wiretapping” charges after he recorded a city council meeting on his phone and posted it online.

“I didn’t like the way they treated my neighbour,” she said, adding that he was both a friend and a neighbor. “He said he was running for office and I couldn’t believe the way they treated him. They treated him like persona non grata. All he did was give his name and say he was running for office. That was it.”

More than 80% of the city’s 676 residents are black, and the city’s leaders — and election candidates — are also consistently black.

Jones (second from left in a sleeveless pink dress in the photo of city officials above) was first elected to Sedalia City Council in 2005.

She says she sent her resignation letter to the municipality.

Jones added that, like Piotrowski, she faced constant hostility and unfair treatment from council members. She said she was dating a white man and she thinks this angers the other council members and is one of the main reasons for their dislike of her.

Jones also said that recently she had to stay home for some council meetings due to a health issue, but the other council members refused to let her participate remotely.

The town’s mayor and other council members all declined to speak with the Rhino Times for this story.

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