Laken Riley’s murder prompts one Athens pizzeria owner into action: ‘I… all of a sudden… had a reality check’

The murder of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley allegedly at the hands of an illegal Venezuelan migrant has prompted fear and fury across the nation, but for one Georgia resident, the tragedy has inspired action.

Sidney Anne Waters — better known as “Mama Sid” to her Athens, Ga., community — has been using the same recipe for her sumptuous Mama Sid’s Pizza for 41 years.

“My pizza is absolutely wonderful,” she told Fox News’s Todd Piro on Friday’s “Fox & Friends First.”

But Riley’s death was a “reality check” for the small business owner, and, with local officials and “the entire community” behind her, she announced her candidacy for a seat on the Athens-Clarke County Commission.

(Video: Fox News)

“I… all of a sudden… had a reality check…” Waters explained. “There are a lot of us in Athens that really didn’t know what our government was doing… The day before… qualifying ending, I decided I would go in and put my name on the ticket.”

Waters hopes to replace incumbent Carol Myers in District 8 with a commitment to transparency.

While Athens isn’t technically a sanctuary city — that’s not permitted in Georgia — she said, the policies of Mayor Kelly Girtz, a Democrat, have potentially opened the unsuspecting community up to the “resettlement” of refugees.

“Everybody is quite concerned because we have discovered that our local government is not transparent with us… They have resolutions and agreements going that the public had no idea about,” Waters said. “I don’t really know how familiar our commission was… with the 2019 resolution that opened up a lot of sanctuary.”

“We’re not a sanctuary city,” she said, “but we have sanctuary policies that somewhat control us.”

The people of Athens, she noted, had little say in the matter.

“Mayor Girtz just came out and read that policy one evening and signed it,” Waters said. “He personally petitioned the U.S. State Department for us to become a refugee resettlement site. Nobody knew about that, so what does all this mean? How many people have we welcomed into our community and who are they?”

Following Riley’s death, Girtz insisted at a press conference that Athens is not a sanctuary city.

“There’s been no legislation from this government that’s created sanctuary city status,” he stressed, according to Fox News Digital.

But Georgia’s 2019 resolution, which Girtz signed in August of that year, welcomed “people from all lands and backgrounds,” and that includes illegal migrants.

“He was repeatedly heckled during the heated press briefing, with protesters calling him a ‘liar’ with ‘blood on your hands’ and demanding his resignation,” Fox News reports.

Waters wants to be a voice for her community that is “heard.”

“When you’re standing on the outside looking in and talking with them at different chamber meetings… You don’t think they’re listening,” she said. “And the way you get them to listen is to become a part of them… I want to be a part of the commission so I can at least express my opinion and know that they are heard.”


Melissa Fine


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