BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Rodney Lawley and some other neighbors in the Spring Lake Farms community say they are not surprised by the recent ethics charges against Councilor Lashunda Scales.
Lawley filed his own ethics complaint with the Attorney General’s office in 2011 because he feels Scales pushed through a vote to allow a business to operate in his neighborhood without asking the people who lived nearby.
That vote happened on August 23rd, 2011. During the meeting, Scales said she sought neighbors’ opinions on the matter.
“I’m going to their neighborhood meetings. I was at this neighborhood meeting,” Scales said. “So that’s why I find it interesting no one’s said anything to me and yet, I definitely represent our district not just any way, but well.”
Lawley says those meetings are not representative of the community.
“The community that’s affected, we didn’t know anything about these neighborhood association meetings,” Lawley says. “We didn’t know about the vote that they took and told her that they liked it. Those people don’t even live in this area; they’re way off in other sections.”
Lawley also takes issue with the way the vote in council happened. The first time it came up, the vote didn’t pass.
“Then she went out into the hallway of City Council chambers,” Lawley says. “Got two different council members who were not even present during the discussion, she brought them back in, called for a second vote and on the second vote they passed it and allowed the business to be re-zoned. It was unbelievable.”
In the archive video of the meeting, you can see Councilor Scales leaving the room. Then a few hours go by before the vote is re-introduced. Councilors Smitherman and Royal voted with Scales to allow the zoning change.
“We fought it the best we could,” Lawley says, “But bottom line, Councilor Scales wanted that property to be re-zoned. I don’t know why, and no matter what we did — going to the zoning board, going to meetings — it didn’t matter.”
Lawley says he doesn’t have any problems with the barber shop across the street, but he’s worried that the zoning change opens his neighborhood up to future businesses that may not be so friendly.
CBS 42 reached out to the attorney representing Councilor Scales for comment on this story but received no response.