Staff Editorial: City council member found guilty of lying, racism must go


Jennifer Pyper-Muno

City Council candidate Justice Spriggs (left) addresses (from left to right) council members KT Jacobs, Mayor Amáda Márquez Simula, Rachel James and Connie Buesgens.

This story was originally published in the Heights Herald fall print edition. Staff editorials reflect the views of the majority of the student editors on staff with The Heights Herald. Opinions do not necessarily reflect anyone employed by Columbia Heights High School or Columbia Heights Public School.

The city of Columbia Heights (CH) has seen some frustrating behavior from a particular local leader that is still having an impact on today. But have things been swept under the rug amid the busy and distracting election season? The Heights community is working hard to make sure that doesn’t happen but may need someone to lead the charge.

On July 24, sitting city council member Ms. KT Jacobs reportedly made a phone call to then running city council candidate Mr. Justice Spriggs (who has since been elected to the council and will be sworn in January 2023). Spriggs went on record during a council meeting public forum that the comments on said phone call were vulgar and racist toward the then-candidate, wondering if he’s biracial or not Spriggs’s caller ID read “Kay Jacobs,” but the caller refused to identify herself over the phone. When confronted about the incident, Jacobs blamed the call on a family member that used her phone. Later, it was proven in an investigation by Red Cedar Consulting that she indeed made said phone call to Spriggs.

Jacobs making this decision to lie to CH City Council, and thereby all of its residents, is in breach of the code that council members must follow. This happened in July, and while she has been removed from commissions and other council duties, even now she’s still on the board. She refused to leave even after CH Mayor Amáda Márquez Simula publicly asked her to resign from the board.

Many CH residents are not very happy about this. There have been articles, social media posts and op-eds written about the council member’s proven racism and lies, yet she remains on the council and will remain until either a successful community-led petition for her removal is presented to the council, or until she is up for re-election in 2024. As of now, she is censured by her fellow council members, including Mayor Márquez Simula, which means her colleagues have officially expressed disapproval of Jacobs in a formal manner. However, she is still able to vote on whatever is presented to the council.

The residents here in Heights refuse to let anyone forget, and several have stated plans to continue to hold her accountable at council meetings. There has been online and in-person chatter about starting the formal petition process to have her fully removed from the board but largely no forward movement or official community organizing to make it happen. Meanwhile, Jacobs continues to bite her tongue and stay on the council regardless of mass disapproval from the council and residents alike. Her term ends January 2025. Do we want Jacobs to be one of the faces of Heights? Let’s continue to fight for what’s right and not have Jacobs making decisions for our very diverse community anymore.