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Resident Questions Lee County Board About Racial Impact

May 6, 2014

A Lee County resident wants to know whether race is a factor in what he sees as a lack of action by the Board of Supervisors.

Frankie Reyes wants Lee County to add speed limit signs to 320th Avenue near his home.
Credit maps.google.com

Frankie Reyes has been a regular at county board meetings in recent weeks.

He has repeatedly asked the county to place speed limit signs on 320th Avenue, near his home, to slow down truck traffic on the gravel road.  He says the excessive speed generates extra dust and damages the road.

The board has not taken any action, instead referring the matter to County Engineer Ernie Steffensmeier.

That prompted Reyes, who is Hispanic, to ask the supervisors whether his race was a factor in their consideration.

Frankie Reyes

“Since I am not getting a result, is it because I am Hispanic?  Would the result be different if I were a white person complaining?”

Board Chairman Ernie Schiller says he was blown away by Reyes' question.  Schiller says race has nothing to do with it for him.

"It makes no difference the color of your skin," says Schiller.  "It really belongs in the secondary roads department."

Schiller says he visited the gravel road in question and did not see the speed or dust issues raised by Reyes.

Reyes says he only came to the board of supervisors because he has spent two years trying to convince Ernie Steffensmeier to install the signs.

Steffensmeier said during this week's meeting that adding signs would not change the current speed limit on 320th Avenue.

Reyes says he will be exploring other options to resolve his concerns, though he would not discuss the options when asked about them after the meeting.