Re-elect Harvey Johnson Jr. | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Re-elect Harvey Johnson Jr.

Photo by Trip Burns

We drive on the same roads that our readers do, and we hear the stories about how hard it is for some people to get a permit from the city or an answer on when they'll be shutting the street down for repairs, or a timetable for when the sewage leak will be taken care of.

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Jonathan Lee Endorsement Interview

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Harvey Johnson, Jr. Endorsement Interview

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Chokwe Lumumba Endorsement Interview

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Regina Quinn Endorsement Interview Part Two

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Regina Quinn Endorsement Interview Part One

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Jonathan Lee Endorsement Interview

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Frank Bluntson Endorsement Interview

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See all of JFP's City Council endorsements here.

Because of that, we liked the idea of new blood in city government in 2013. We are, therefore, both excited and encouraged by the prospect of a number of new, younger city council members this time around.

But the mayoral "new blood" isn't working for us. While we went into this election cycle hoping to get behind a change agent or a turnaround specialist, we feel we can't responsibly endorse the challengers that looked most exciting to us at the beginning of this mayoral campaign.

The first rule at the JFP is "if you can't run a campaign, then you can't run a city." Of the top five candidates we've asked to our offices for endorsement interviews, two had trouble filing their 2012 campaign-finance reports on time, and one is embroiled in too much controversy with his business to receive our endorsement at this time. (And Frank Bluntson's past as head of the Juvenile Detention Center--and his evasive and content-free answers about it now--are simply too much baggage for him to overcome to get our endorsement.)

Our editorial board never came to a unanimous decision, with the vote split 60/40 between Harvey Johnson and Chokwe Lumumba. Mr. Lumumba impresses us as both an intellectual and a "man of the people," although, unfortunately, it isn't always clear how widely he defines "the people." In his endorsement interview, he took great care to help us understand that he would work for people of all ethnicities and backgrounds in Jackson; in speeches some of us have witnessed in the past, however, he has been very divisive and, frankly, anti-white. Anti-black or similar rhetoric in the recent past of a white candidate would preclude him from receiving our endorsement; the same criteria must apply to Mr. Lumumba. (His campaign also had to file its 2012 financial report at our prompting weeks after it was due, which is a red flag.)

What Lumumba does bring to the table are some good ideas--and even some radical ones--that we're not completely convinced he would be able to implement as mayor. Ideas like increasing police pay, expanding student worker programs and being more aggressive in our stance with the Legislature impressed many of us during his interview.

Ultimately, ideas that help create new economic opportunity and that build wealth for families throughout the city of Jackson--instead of just distributing that wealth to the suburbs, Bentonville and China--are those that will help Jacksonians rise to their potential. And those are ideas we'll help bring to the forefront over the next four years.

Regina Quinn would bring great energy to the office, and we applaud her for embracing her past and working to turn it into a strength. But Ms. Quinn has very little political or executive experience, and we're concerned about the state of her campaign; she strikes us as an effective communicator but a less effective leader.

After hours and hours of interviews with mayoral candidates, you realize something about Harvey Johnson: He knows a great deal about the mechanics of Jackson's problems, and he's served as an independent firewall for competing interests in this city that teems with competing interests--an important role for any mayor. He's just, in a word, not that exciting.

In 2013, we have some "visionary" candidates who lack executive experience to take on this continuing "turnaround" job.

And we have an experienced executive who seems to execute sooo slowly.

To be fair, Jackson is a city that has improved considerably in the past 10 years--new parks; a great foodie culture; a rich music scene; growth in Fondren, west and south Jackson; improvements in infrastructure; the Art Garden; the Convention Center Complex--stuff you can give credit to a whole lot of folks for, including Mayor Johnson.

Heck, we never thought anything would replace that hulking K-Mart on Interstate 55 or the abandoned grocery stores that dot the landscape. Yet it's happening.

Jackson is a place with massive infrastructure problems and relatively little income to pay for them--problems that can't be solved overnight with a lake or a sports franchise or a tax commission. It may take all of those things or none of them--but it will take a city, working together on the small things, every day, to improve the lives of the people who live here, the people who work here and the people who visit.

And "working together" means the people with the mayor, the business community with the mayor, the suburbs with the mayor--and the mayor with everybody, including suburbs, legislators, citizens and local business people.

We endorsed Mayor Johnson four years ago and then, like many folks, we took a long breath knowing that the Melton administration was out of office.

We take full responsibility for this endorsement this time around--and, in so doing, we pledge to watchdog the Johnson administration closely while offering a range of voices, ideas and encouragement for how Jackson can improve.

This past term has seemed a little "comfortable" for Mayor Johnson; the next term, if the voters grant him one, will need to see better implementation, more impressive results, stronger hiring and more effective leadership from the Johnson administration.

We believe Mayor Johnson is interested in building a strong legacy for himself while building a stronger Jackson for the widest possible constituency of Jacksonians.

We also believe he has the wisdom and character to represent the city well and to improve on his record thus far.

Vote Harvey Johnson on May 7, 2013, in the Democratic primary for Jackson mayor.

Listen to audio of all five of our endorsement interviews on each of the candidate pages at jfp.ms/mayorsrace2013.

The JFP editorial board consists of Todd Stauffer, Donna Ladd, Ronni Mott, R.L. Nave and Tyler Cleveland.

Comments

hottytoddy 4 years, 5 months ago

What a sad thing. An endorsement because he is the lesser of 5 evils.

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Tom_Head 4 years, 5 months ago

That's not how I read this endorsement at all. Every candidate, if you're honest about it, comes with both positives and negatives. 60% of the editorial board felt that Johnson's positives outweighed his negatives more than any other candidate's did—and I respect that. It's a fair judgment based on consistent criteria.

What makes me a lot more nervous is when there's no "lesser of the evils" thinking going on at all—when people think they've found themselves a messiah who has all positives and no negatives. Because nobody's perfect. What I hear from Johnson supporters, now and in 2009 and 2005, is that he's not perfect but he's the best choice; what I hear from many Lee supporters, and what I heard from Crisler supporters in 2009 and Melton supporters in 2005, is that their candidate is completely without negative attributes and that the choice should be obvious to everyone, without analysis.

So, yeah: give me a "lesser of the 5 evils" analysis any day. I'm voting for Lumumba, and I'm proud to do it, but it's reasonable to look at the speeches he gave when he was younger, or the ambitiousness of his policy proposals, and weigh those into the equation. That's what journalists are supposed to do.

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

Put another way, Tom: Haters hate, reporters report. ;-)

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darryl 4 years, 5 months ago

2/5 for Lumumba is how I read it. So, the "baggage" that Bluntson had or Lee has was a concern but not Lumumba's "baggage." Right

No, this is clearly a lesser-evil endorsement, back-handed compliment even. Congratulations, Mayor Johnson. You're so slow and so un-exciting that you are "safe." You've got our 3/5-throated support.

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

There was disagreement on the board, Darryl. The two who voted for Lumumba, which is their right, had not heard the rhetoric that I did. He comes across very differently these days. But note that we did not endorse him.

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

Actually, I'm not surprised Ms. Ladd that you would be one who would NOT endorse Lumumba. It takes a certain amount of courage to look back 40 years to when this man was in his 20's and see what Black men FACED in the state of Mississippi - the murders, lynchings, bombings, beatings, torture etc. Let me put it this way, you would probablly be more apt to endorse a 68 year old Jewish man who had seen his relatives endure the torture of the holocaust and who in his 20's had joined activist groups to fight against the Nazi's and hate mongers. He had worked diligently to defend his people from the powers at the time. Some 20 jplus years later he is now running for offce in a counry which once supported the holocaust and where the vestiges of it still remain. He has spent the past 20 years working non-violently to support Human Rights and Human Dignity with yes, a cointinued commitment to making sure that Jewish people are treated with fairness and dignity. I submit that you would NOT have the same concerns about his past that you have about Lumumba's. UM ,WONDER WHY NOT? Mississippi whites need to FACE the TRUTHS of the past Racial injustices and resulting/sustained white Privilege in this state, confront their REAL fear of living and working in a predominately Black city, and live up to their rehortic that they are a progressive, inclusive, POWER sharing people. I know it is hard Ms. Ladd, but you can do it!!! WELCOME TO PROGRESSIVE THOUGHT!! .

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

Donna Ladd, where were you when Chokwe Lumumba and his so called rhetoric were fighting for the very LIVES of PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THIS STATE! All of us who were active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s saw and directly experienced horrors that you can never fully appreciate and by your comments, seem to dismiss. We ALL used Rhetoric to express our horror, frustration, and disgust at the horrors going on in this country and state. Try walking in the shoes of activist during the 60's and you just might not have such a white elitist attitude. I

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darryl 4 years, 5 months ago

No, but you were one uninformed boardmember short of doing just that.

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

Darryl51, I am a Lumumba supporter and am SO PROUD to be. I guess if I were a white Mississippian, I might be irrationally afraid of a Black man who was as a young man an advocate for fair treatment of a suppressed people. He stood on principle and tried to stand UP like a Black man in a country that tried at EVERY turn to KILL him, his children, wife, mother and father. Lumumba is an advocate, a Freedom Fighter, a Human Rights proponent, a lawyer, a father, a christian, a businessman, a proud African American. Being all of these things does NOT equate to anti White. It DOES equate to anti racism, anti-discrimination, anti-human rights. It seems to me that you need to examine your FEAR to find TRUTH and PERSONAL FREEDOM!! Be Blessed and consider this an invitation to live and work with Mayor Lumumba in the city of Jackson for a diverse, economically equitable, educationally competitive, and PEACEFUL city!!!

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

So you can easily write Lee off with "one is embroiled in too much controversy with his business to receive our endorsement at this time," (and without ever actually using his name, unlike the other 4 contenders), yet the legal troubles that the city is currently having, under the Johnson administration, have no bearing on your decision?

First, I'd like to challenge you to find a single company that deals with as many clients as Mississippi Products, handles as much money as MP and has been around as long as they have and hasn't faced multiple lawsuits. When you deal with that much $, lawsuits will come.

Second, how do MP's lawsuits have more impact on your decisions than the city's current lawsuits from JPD, because they haven't paid police officers their due overtime, or the fact that the city used money from a federal grant, which specifically requires all money be used on American-made materials, to buy foreign materials for their new JATRAN building?

Third, giving Johnson credit for the "great foodie culture; a rich music scene; growth in Fondren"? Really? How about we give Obama credit for the Miami Heat's great season and Trent Lott credit for the creation of the Jackson Free Press? When was the last time you saw Harvey Johnson sweating over a meal in the kitchen of one of Jackson's great restaurants? Or on stage at one of our music clubs playing a song he's practiced 10 times a day for a year? Or working to revitalize an old, formerly deteriorating building in Fondren and filling it with a thriving art gallery, restaurant or retail shop? Giving a politician credit for the hard work of others is disgusting, and not something I'd expect from people who started their own business. How much credit does Johnson deserve for the creation of your paper?

I'm not here to endorse any candidate. That's not my job. But this Johnson endorsement is an unsurprisingly close-minded, infantile, anti-progressive and pro-Democratic-Party status quo move by the Jackson Free Press. I used to think more highly of this publication. I still value some of its news coverage, but the opinions and stances taken by its editorial board seem more like the stubborn hissy fits of unreasonable children than the sums of insightful, open-minded thought.

You could have wrapped this endorsement up in a very short, and much more truthful package:

There are only two candidates who actually have a chance: Johnson and Lee. Lee is the candidate of the wealthy, right-leaning citizens. Johnson is the typical Democrat. Therefore, the JFP is endorsing Johnson, because we've lost all ability to think outside the confines of the current Democratic Party.

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tstauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

@AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee I understand people are upset when we don't endorse their candidate. But your cute little screen name is more of a "hissy fit" than our endorsement.

Let me know when you're ready to discuss it reasonably. We're right here.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

If you'll read my comment, you'll see I didn't endorse any candidate. If I'm being honest, I probably like Quinn most of all. I mentioned Lee because of your obvious work to ignore and quickly write off the only challenger with a real shot, without giving any thoughtful basis whatsoever.

Not surprised to see you pretend as though I have a candidate, Todd, despite the lack of any endorsement whatsoever in my comment, then take a jab at my screen name (as though it matters at all), and completely ignore the actual content and purpose of the post.

We could start by discussing it reasonably here, on your company's public comment section (isn't that the whole point?), instead of hiding behind child-like pokes at names and imaginary "you're upset because we don't like your candidate" media BS.

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tstauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

So Anonymous Commenter is free to call weeks worth of work on our part a "hissy fit" and "unsurprisingly close-minded, infantile, anti-progressive and pro-Democratic-Party status quo move by the Jackson Free Press" and then tells me all you're trying to do is discuss it reasonably?

Tell you what -- put your name there and ask a reasonable question and we'll start a conversation. Act like you're in public.

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tstauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

I'll say this about Lee... I'm not sure how it would be responsible to endorse him with as much controversy swirling as it is. He's run on a platform of being a successful business owner but, when he sat with us, he couldn't explain the turmoil at his family company and wouldn't give us any evidence that over $200k in summary judgements against the company were somehow unwarranted or being handled professionally.

You can call it off-handed if you want; I disagree. I have the advantage of having been there, thinking my thoughts while considering my part in this endorsement.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

So where's Johnson's explanation of the city's current lawsuits and legal troubles due to violation of federal law?

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tstauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

Are there summary judgements in these cases? I'm a little out of the loop (I'm not a reporter) but I don't even think there's a lawsuit in the JATRAN case.

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

Sarahmina, I actually like Lumumba a lot as a person and admire the struggle he has endured. I do believe he could be polarizing as a mayor and did not vote to endorse him as a result. I make no apologies for that.

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

The only reason you believe he is polarizing is because whites have not faced their own FEARS of living, working and contributing honestly in a Black run city. If that we're not true, the state would invest in the Capitol City in the same way it did when it was controlled by whites. I do understand why whites, like you, prefer Harvey Johnson or Jonathan Lee. They are "SAFE" and do not force you to confront your privilege or challenge you to HONESTLY face your fears. Whites are victims of institutionalized racism too. They have learned over the same 600 years to fear anything Controlled by Black people. Conscious or unconscious, it is alive and well as evidenced by your ability to see the intelligence, creativity, experience, and devotion to human rights of Chowke LUMUMBA, YET unwillingness to endorse him. He is divisive only because he stands up to confront the inequities in the city and will try to correct them. It is In the interest of whites to embrace this kind of man, offer your support in overcoming these issues, help him stand up to those white state lawmakers who block support for the city, move into the neighborhoods, teach in the schools, join Black churches, expand your social circles. Yes it takes you out of your comfort zone but it's impact can be huge for you and the growth, inclusiveness, diversity of the city. After all, Black people have been doing this for years in predominately white communities. It is NOT Lumumba that is divisive, it is holding on to the status quo because of your own FEAR.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

Again, back to the name. I'm beginning to think you have no thoughtful response to any of the content of the comment. I've chosen to keep my name off of this, because including it would likely make the discussion personal, something I have no desire to do. Instead, I'd like to hear some sort of response to anything I had to say. Why does the originator of the words matter so much to you?

And what makes MP's legal troubles "controversy" and not the city's legal troubles, aside from "swirling" by media outlets like yours?

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

No, I guess you got me on that one, Todd. The city government and its contractors violating federal regulations in the use of federal funds is nowhere near as important in the realm of city government as lawsuits between private companies. (Please read in extremely sarcastic tone)

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

AndGoodbye, if you have story tips and sources, feel free to send them to ladd@jacksonfreepress.com. Anything without evidence is rumor in the journalism world. And perhaps you'd sit down for an interview about your accusations? That would be helpful as well.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

Wait, what? What accusations? I'm confused. Certainly, Donna, you're not referring to the things I've mentioned about city's legal woes, all of which are issues I've read about in your publication.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

Correction: I don't think I have read about the JPD overtime lawsuit in your paper, but I have read/heard about it from pretty much everyone else in town, including the other media outlets, the mayor and City Council.

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justjess 4 years, 5 months ago

OK, let's talk as if this is a lecture to a "2" (TWO YEAR OLD).

Mayor Johnson never ordered any items/ products for the City of Jackson and didn't pay for the order.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

If Lee is held responsible for the actions of the company under his leadership, though, shouldn't Johnson be held responsible for the actions of the city government and the contractors that are under his administration? Especially concerning matters of federal funds which Johnson applied for and contractors which Johnson's administration approved? It wasn't his job to order the materials, or pay for them. Paying for them went to the taxpayers. It was his job, however, to assure that the taxpayers' money was spent according to the regulations of the federal government, who awarded the city the money at Johnson's request.

This is basically my entire argument: that if you are going to hold one candidate to a standard, and disqualify him/her from contention for your vote or endorsement, you must hold every other candidate to that same standard. In this case, if MP's lawsuits disqualify Lee from contention, then the city's current lawsuits and violations of federal regulations should disqualify Johnson.

If that's a "2" (TWO YEAR OLD)'s way of looking at things, then we ought to lower the voting age considerably.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

And Johnson did, however, allow several JPD officers to work overtime and didn't pay for that.

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tstauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

This is basically my entire argument: that if you are going to hold one candidate to a standard, and disqualify him/her from contention for your vote or endorsement, you must hold every other candidate to that same standard. In this case, if MP's lawsuits disqualify Lee from contention, then the city's current lawsuits and violations of federal regulations should disqualify Johnson.

Then let me be clear, because you don't seem to understand what we wrote in the endorsement. Lee wasn't "disqualified" from our endorsement on some sort of technicality. He wasn't endorsed because he didn't get enough votes from our Editorial Board.

A primary reason (among others) he didn't get enough votes is that he ran as the business candidate and it turns out his business is subject to a number of default judgements from vendors -- meaning the company didn't show up to defend against them -- that Lee isn't willing to explain on the record.

Another is that he told us he had never owned the business, although he had previously represented himself as a business owner. Still another, is that he couldn't get the timeline straight on when he left the company, and he seemed to be putting all of the trouble off on his mother.

This despite the fact that a search of the online records showed that he hadn't done anything with the Secretary of State to step down as president (which he'd claimed) and a search of our own interviews with him in the past showed that he had claimed to be a business owner, which, last week, he said he has never been.

In other words, he's not running a great campaign. And if you can't run a campaign, we feel like you can't run a city.

Disagree? Fine. Ignore our endorsement and vote for someone else. God bless America.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

Well, it still leaves pretty much all of my questions unanswered, but at least it's something more than jabs at my screen name and links to stories that prove my point. Any comment at all on why Johnson isn't held to the same standard in running the city as Lee is on running his business?

Because Johnson has been refusing to talk on the record about the overtime lawsuit for more than a year.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

and by "disqualified", I assumed that there was, in fact, at least some sort of elimination process in choosing a candidate. A lack of such a process would, for obvious reasons, be irresponsible for both an editorial board and a voter.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

"Another is that he told us he had never owned the business, although he had previously represented himself as a business owner. Still another, is that he couldn't get the timeline straight on when he left the company, and he seemed to be putting all of the trouble off on his mother.

This despite the fact that a search of the online records showed that he hadn't done anything with the Secretary of State to step down as president (which he'd claimed) and a search of our own interviews with him in the past showed that he had claimed to be a business owner, which, last week, he said he has never been."

All of this, I agree, is legitimate reasoning for not endorsing a candidate. And if it had been included in the endorsement story, I may not have even felt the need to comment. However, you didn't include any of that in your endorsement story. You wrote Lee off with one sentence, which didn't even include his name, and gave more detailed reasoning as to why you didn't endorse Lumumba, Bluntson and Quinn. And let's face it, none of those three is going to win this election, plain and simple.

Then, it took me all night to get an even halfway proper response to my comment.

I just think whoever wrote the story did a poor, and downright irresponsible job. And I still stand behind my statement that if held to the same light you are holding Lee, you'd see Johnson is not worthy of your endorsement, either.

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Knowledge06 4 years, 5 months ago

The information below is from the CL article that the person above referenced: Please explain how this rises to the level of Jonathan Lee's default judgements?

"The project is on hold at least partly because the contractor did not follow federal regulations tied to grant money allocated to build the terminal, said City Communications Director Chris Mims and Department of Public Works Director Dan Gaillet."

"That's federal funding that has a stipulation that all the materials have to made by American suppliers," Mims said Monday following a Jackson City Council meeting. "We've discovered that at least a couple of components are not American made. We're communicating with the Federal Transit Administration and found that problem. We're trying to work out a solution with both them and the contractor. It was the contractor who installed that equipment."

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Tom_Head 4 years, 5 months ago

Jonathan Lee supporters: the votes haven't been counted, but I think Harvey Johnson should write you a thank-you note for guaranteeing him another term.

Lee's basic platform is that he's the "unity" candidate. I would like his supporters to look at the anonymous comments above—which are typical of what I've heard from the Lee camp—and ask me if that's the kind of "unity" we would see out of his administration. Putting aside the referendum on Johnson (because this isn't a two-way race yet), the only argument I've heard in favor of voting for Lee over Lumumba or Quinn is that all of the "important"—i.e., white and/or wealthy—anti-Johnson people are doing it. That's not an unmitigated asset; it can also be a liability.

The fact that I'm a white male should not obligate me to vote for the guy who has received the bulk of the Republican donations, but this has been the primary message I've been hearing for 16 years—in 1997 with Reeves, in 2005 with Melton, in 2009 with Crisler, and now with Lee. The JFP has never endorsed the Republicans' candidate of choice in any of these races, and that's good—it would have been foolish to do so.

If you want to beat Harvey Johnson in an 80% black, 85% Democratic city, you're going to have to stop running Chamber of Commerce candidates who attract suburban Republican money under a vague "unity" ticket, who are then tainted by the influence that comes with that money, and instead support more specific and "divisive" left-wing candidates who offer a more specific set of policy alternatives to those of the Johnson administration.

Chokwe Lumumba could beat Harvey Johnson in a runoff. So, possibly, could Regina Quinn. I believe Jonathan Lee can't—but Republican donations have given him the opportunity to monopolize the anti-Johnson movement to such a degree that he will probably end up in a runoff against Johnson and, just as probably, lose. Anti-Johnson progressives can't sell a winning candidate, and anti-Johnson conservatives can't buy one. And until you realize that, you will never beat Harvey Johnson.

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

AndGoodbye, you inspired me with your comment about not enough context to our statement about Lee in the endorsement to go back and add links to the story as well as the audio of the endorsement interviews of all the candidates. The audio for Lee is the first part, which was about the Mississippi Products lawsuits; our multimedia editor is processing Lee's second part about everything else now, as well as Bluntson's. I'll add those shortly.

We allotted an hour and a half for each endorsement interview and came pretty close to that on all of them. I think Mr. Lee went longer due to the timing of the default judgments revelations and the need to devote a chunk of time to it.

Thanks for the inspiration to provide more information on this thread.

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darryl 4 years, 5 months ago

http://statecasefiles.justia.com/documents/mississippi/supreme-court/CO25156.pdf

I thought that I would offer your readers the actual document describing Mr. Lumumba's suspension/detainment and the reasoning therein. While Lumumba may have rebranded himself somewhat over the very recent past, a brief Google search of him uncovered this as well as several websites my institutional web-filter wouldn't allow me to visit because it was "Racist." What was visible: For the majority of his life, Mr. Taliaferro renounced his "slave" name and became an ardent proponent for carving out a section of the United States to serve as an independent black nation. Yeah, fat chance of that happening. Serves him right having the FBI label him and his group "seditious" and raiding their meetings. Please vote for Mr. Lumumba...please.

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

We didn't endorse Mr. Lumumba, Darryl, and I certainly didn't vote to. Here is a blog post I just put up:

Chokwe Lumumba Talks about the 'Jackson-Kush' Plan on 'Solidarity' Site

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darryl 4 years, 5 months ago

Just providing a little information for your readers and editorial board members who were unaware of Mr. Lumumba's past.

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Tom_Head 4 years, 5 months ago

Darryl, his name isn't Edwin Taliaferro; it's Chokwe Lumumba. We can disagree about a lot of civil rights issues, but the basic right to legally change one's name should not be in dispute.

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darryl 4 years, 5 months ago

I wasn't disputing his, nor any other American citizen, the right to change his name. Just offering the readers a bon mot. In fact, I'll be willing to stipulate that we disagree on practically every conceivable issue, but his past actions are disconcerting at best and un-American at minimum.

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

Was it unamerican to enslave, kill, brutalize, totally try to wipe out the existence of an entire people ? Would you have advocated for an independent state if the government you lived under supported the dehumanization of your race for 600+ years? You have GOT to be kidding. It would be like a Jewish person in Germany advocating for an independent state? You oppose that? What would you call that Jewish person -unjustified? The person who advocated for a separate state for Black people was trying , under a horrific brutal, LEGAL system, to save the people he was fighting for. You want to talk about UnAmerican? really? I

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Tom_Head 4 years, 5 months ago

Whatever, Darryl. It's the radical in the Governor's Mansion who scares me—not the radical running for mayor, who is a very sharp, courageous guy and has long since earned my respect.

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darryl 4 years, 5 months ago

Whatever, Tom. I hope Mr. Lumumba is appreciative. It's you who scare me if you feel that his "courage" thus far is deserving of respect.

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AndGoodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeee 4 years, 5 months ago

Tom, is "anonymous comments above" referring to my comments? Because if you read my comments, you'd have seen that I'm not a Lee supporter. As I posted last night, I prefer Regina Quinn most of all. Lumumba would probably be my second pick of the bunch. Thirdly, I'd probably go with William Bright.

OK, I was kidding on that last one. Just seeing if you're paying attention.

I really haven't tied my wagon to any of these horses. I do, however, understand politics. Here's an explanation of how this election will go down: 1. We all know everyone that wasn't in that debate the other night has no real chance. 2. Bluntson is short, unattractive and not all that charming. In the TV world of today, you can't win an election this big if you're not pleasing on the eyes. 3. Lumumba's radical past will keep him from winning. He'll turn in a good showing, and could even get a spot in a runoff, but it won't be enough to win. Take at look at the city's voters. The largest group heading to the polls is African American women over 40. The city's nearly 80 percent black. As we all know, young people don't vote in large numbers. Due to the ridiculously racist "justice" system in our country, a very large percentage of black men in Jackson are ineligible to vote. That leaves older, black women. And most older, black women don't want racial radicalism, or any type of radical change, anymore than old white people do. There is no way Lumumba gets enough of that group from Johnson to win. 4. Quinn was a virtual no-name coming into the campaign. Her campaign crew did a piss-poor job of getting her name, face and ideas out there. Add in the fact that there seems to be nothing exciting about her, at all, and she's no longer a legit contender. (The above are all facts. Below is what I think will happen in this two-man race.) That leaves two contenders: Johnson and Lee. So here's how I see that battle going down. Lee will get most of the white vote. That won't mean much, though, because they're a minority and many of them won't register as a Democrat in order to vote in the primary. The fact that he has run a lot of well-made TV ads and put a lot of money into his campaign makes him the top challenger. He's young, well-spoken and a decent-looking guy. All of these things are on his side. The question of the day is: will his business dealings come to haunt him? I think they'll hurt him, but I think his chance in this election was small to begin with. Really, if the other candidates have done an even halfway-decent job of painting him as the "white choice" (which they have), he won't win. And let's not forget the weight of national politics. Democrats are in a "four more years" kind of mood, due to last year's election. It's no coincidence Jackson elected for change in 2005 and 2008, when democrats were fired up for a change in the White House. It'll be four more years for Johnson. And Goodbyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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RCaldwell 4 years, 5 months ago

It's good that you didn't ignore Chokwe Lumumba, but I regret that your publication chose not to endorse him based on reported actions of more than twenty years ago. I wish your paper would take the time to investigate what Mr. Lumumba has done for the ordinary people of ALL races in the region over the past decade.

I am a Louisiana resident but wish I could vote for Mr. Lumumba. Before Hurricane Katrina I lived in the St. Claude "upper" Ninth Ward neighborhood, a hard-hit area that was perhaps 90% black. Mr. Lumumba organized trips to the city and brought relief, for ALL people regardless of race or ethnicity. He helped rebuild. He worked hard to help create a broad network of mutual aid and support across the city, led by actual residents and participatory-democratic in nature. Mr. Lumumba fought against both racial and geographic disparities after Katrina and for the rights of ALL residents to return and rebuild.

I'm not black. Mr. Lumumba never dismissed my ideas or did anything to suggest that my experiences were less valid than my black neighbors. A leader in the quest for black political power being suspicious of white/mainstream press 20, 30, or 40 years ago is a whole lot different than the contemporary mainstream press being fearful to give an endorsement based on concern that some white residents of Jackson, fearful of Mr. Lumumba's continuing quest for justice and equality for ALL , would see him as divisive. To suggest anything different belies any understanding of institutional racism and its contemporary legacy. Chokwe IS controversial to the extent that he stands up for his beliefs even when they are not popular. Mr. Lumumba's record is that of a person willing to sacrifice, to go out on a limb, and to take chances to make this world more liveable for ALL of us. . It's unfortunate that your paper was not so daring.

Robert Caldwell

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tstauffer 4 years, 5 months ago

Just a note on the above discussion -- you don't actually have to register as a Democrat to vote in the Democratic primary. You just select the primary you're going to vote in when you arrive at the polling place. Once you've chosen, you can't switch parties for run-off elections, but that's the only limitation; you're not then "registered" as a Democrat, Republican or other.

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Tom_Head 4 years, 5 months ago

I completely agree with Mr. Caldwell's assessment of Chokwe Lumumba, which is why he will get my vote on Tuesday—but I think the fact that he received 40% of the editorial board support, and missed the endorsement by only one vote, speaks to the fact that the JFP did take this decision, and his candidacy, very seriously.

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Slick 4 years, 5 months ago

It is obvious that most of the posters do not spend much time in Jackson's black neighborhoods. If they did they would know that about 75% of the people want Harvey Johnson gone. They would also know that Chokwe Lumumba has tremendous support all over the black wards and will probably lead the ticket in Tuesday's primary. Some people are saying that Lumumba can not get the black middle class vote. But they have not looked at the ward he represents on the city council, probably the most affluent black area in the state. These people have voted for Lumumba before and will have no fear of voting for him again. Also have you asked yourselves why Johnson and Lee are so strongly attacking each other. It is because they both realize Lumumba is the frontrunner for the primary and they are trying to beat each other out for the second spot. Both the Johnson and Lee campaigns have done polls. Have any of you wondered why none of them have been release? I am told it is because their polls show Lumumba in the lead and the two of them fighting for second with Lee in the lead.

The mud slinging done by the Johnson campaign over the past week is hurting Lee but it may be a gift to Regina Quinn. I have heard some of Lee's NE Jackson supporters are going over to Quinn which will make her a threat to both Lee and Johnson for the second spot in the runoff. Quinn has stronger support in the black community than Lee and if she is getting some of his white support do not be surprised if it is a Lumumba/Quinn runoff.

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thabian 4 years, 5 months ago

Has anyone else noticed the nasty little tidbits of crap Jeff Good has been shoveling out during this campaign cycle? Not sure where he stands politically, and he probably likes it that way.
But his utter nastiness and almost feverish zeal reminds me of 2005.

Am I the only one who remembers that Jeff Good is one of the people who was shoving Frank Melton down everyone’s throats? He was on Melton’s campaign.

It is almost a repeat folks. For our city’s sake, I hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

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Tom_Head 4 years, 5 months ago

thabian, I've known Jeff for north of ten years now. He apologized—convincingly—at a crucial time during Melton's first term when the public needed to condemn the mayor's excesses. I haven't forgotten that, and I respect him for it.

That said, he's a committed Lee guy and has made no secret of the fact. Politics is personal and loyalty-driven for him; you're not going to get much thick-text policy analysis from his posts, and he's not worried about details, but he's a good man and I'll still respect him when all of this is over.

And Slick, I hope to God you're right about Chokwe's chances of making it into the runoff with a lead—that would be a beautiful thing. But I don't think the anti-Johnson sentiment is ever as strong as it sounds; remember we were hearing the same thing in 2009 (I was, anyway), and he had very little difficulty beating Crisler. A Johnson-Lumumba or Quinn-Lumumba runoff would be, to me, a best-case scenario; a runoff with Lee in it would disappoint me (though Lee-Lumumba could be a damn interesting race, for many reasons).

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

I like Jeff a lot, too, and respect him on so many levels, even if campaigns aren't his finest moments. ;-)

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

We were surprised to see that The Clarion-Ledger today also endorsed Johnson for very similar reasoning as our endorsement. And they make no bones about none of the other candidates being ready to be mayor. Cheers to them for seeing this, and I don't often get to say that to the Ledger.

They also admitted their role in endorsing Melton, which was huge egg on their faces. They also know first hand what it's like to have a mayor mired in lawsuits dating from before he took office. They were involved in some of the legal proceedings with Melton.

This is the first time in three city elections that the Ledger and the JFP agreed. They endorsed Melton eight years ago, then they didn't endorse four years ago. This year, they stepped up and did the right thing even though they know it'll anger the white business community. That is probably the most courage I've seen the Ledger show since we've been in existence. Credit where it's due for being willing to do the right thing even if the powerful disagree.

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

It's only surprising to YOU. Ask most Black people in the city and WE ARE NOT SURPRISED!!

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donnaladd 4 years, 5 months ago

Sarahmina, it's cool with me if we stipulate that I'm not black. We might also stipulate that not all African Americans think the same way. It would seem insulting to imply that they do.

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Sarahmina7294 4 years, 5 months ago

Cool with me too! Although I would suspect that most people reading my comment would understand that The reference to Black people didn't mean "ALL" black people. I will stipulate that perhaps NOT ALL, but I will stand on, the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY!!!

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marcus 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm glad that the endorsement of the free press and ledger add up to 4 votes. CL editorial board lives in Madison and Ridgeland.

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