2nd Debate Exposes Generational Differences

The candidates gathered for a mayoral forum to discuss issues for the special election.

The candidates gathered for a mayoral forum to discuss issues for the special election. Photo by Trip Burns.

— In the second forum for the Jackson mayoral race, political rivalry was still holding strong — and may be getting stronger.

Candidates fielded several rounds of questions during the NAACP-sponsored forum that focused on their plans for their first 100 days, crime reduction, abandoned property, and the metro transit system.

The older candidates emphasized their experience, while the younger candidates talked about the need for change and bringing about better leadership.

Former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber, attorney Chokwe Lumumba, and Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon pointed to infrastructure as a top priority during the first 100 days of their administrations.

Lumumba said he wants to look for ways to turn the city’s infrastructure problems into development opportunities. Yarber appealed to a need for transparency, saying he has a plan for tracking the city’s progress on big development projects online.

It seemed almost everyone had a different idea about what should be done to help the Jackson Police Department and how crime can be reduced.

Johnson and Regina Quinn, an attorney and past mayoral contender, said the solution to lowering crime lies in predictive policing technologies and strategies and better equipment for JPD.

Ward 2 Councilman Melvin Priester believes there is a need to build more jail cells and he added that jobs and after-school programs are key to decreasing crime. Some officials have said that Jackson needs a jail of its own.

Democratic State Sen. John Horhn felt that his more recent experience with crime —Horhn was attacked and had his home burglarized — in his own neighborhood has encouraged him to look into more preventative crime-stopping measures.

Albert Wilson, a local business and former city council candidate, said his experience as “a true child of the struggle” prepared him to deal with crime.

The Rev. Francis P. Smith said he would even consider bringing the military to Jackson streets if it meant keeping people safe.

Some of the more colorful responses were given when candidates were asked about what should be done about abandoned property in Jackson. Gwendolyn Ward Osborne Chapman, another former hopeful for Jackson's top job, said that if it were up to her, all abandoned homes would be torn down. Quinn said that she is willing to go as far as putting people in jail for not taking care of property.

A bit of drama unfolded when Yarber addressed Lumumba saying, “Your dad was one of my heroes,” to which Lumumba responded with appreciation and told Yarber that if he liked his platform so much, he’d appreciate his vote.

Some of the candidates felt differently about what should be top priority when it comes to the city’s metro transit system, JATRAN. Barrett-Simon would like to see JATRAN vehicles run on alternative fuels. Priester felt the city needed better bus service for kids so that students were getting home safely and at a reasonable time.

An audience member asked the candidates to explain the meaning of the slogan late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba adopted "One city. One aim. One destiny."

Most candidates said it meant unifying the people of the city. Barrett-Simon said that an understanding that everyone has something to “bring to the table” is vital in unifying the people of Jackson, while Smith felt that diversity needs to become more acceptable within Jackson.

There will be a mayoral candidate debate tonight at 7 p.m. at Rose E. McCoy Auditorium at Jackson State University.

CORRECTION APPENDED ABOVE: Barrett-Simon called Jackson Free Press to state that she did not say Jackson needs more jail space but instead said, “What we do not need is more jails.” The reporter apologizes for the mistake.

Comments

justjess 4 months ago

Gwendolyn Chapman, Rev. Frances Smith and Albert Wilson were not allowed to participate in the WAPT (16) debate. This, in my opinion, was wrong. On what basics was Margaret Barrett- Simone chosen to participate? Ms. Chapman was escorted by police out of the event. Rec. Frances made his way to the stage but was not seated.

The NAACP debate turned into a circus with a lot of background noise while candidates were speaking: Loud claps and inappropriate comments at the end of some of the candidates speech. There were several instances wherein the moderator was either down right unfair or biases were glaring.

The group was suppose to answer 5 questions; however, only two prepared questions were asked. The gentleman who was introduced as a "Civil Rights" Advocate askd the contestants, "What does the slogan "One City, One Aim, One Destiny" mean." This was Mayor Lumumba's visionary slogan and at which he only had 7 months to deliver. I could understand this as a question for his son who says that he will carry out his father's legacy, but, not to others. They all have their vision. Former Mayor Johnson's motto/slogan was "The Best of the New South". For me, this question is like religion: There is "One City": however there are many (aims) religions and the one destiny is heaven or some great resting place to include "Happy Hunting Grounds".

The WAPT /Chamber debate was more organized and with strict rules. The audience was cooperative. The problem I have with that debate is the "UNSCIENTIFIC POLL" yeilding results that favor some and hurt others. For starters, you could only vote on a cell phone with internet. For seniors like me, this was a handicap. Many people said that they didn't pay any attention to the cut line at the bottom of the screen with instructions for voting.

It is time for the games to stop and the citizens of this city should be given every possible chance to know the truth.

Another point: Horn was asked about his DUI: Quinn her Bankruptcies: Johnson was asked aboutt what he thought was his biggest mistake during his administrations. Yet, Yarber was not asked about his youtube tapes where he downs women and especially black women. Instrestingly enough, there tapes have been removed.

1

justjess 4 months ago

For some reason, this blog was posted twice.

0

justjess 4 months ago

Gwendolyn Chapman, Rev. Frances Smith and Albert Wilson were not allowed to participate in the WAPT (16) debate. This, in my opinion, was wrong. On what basics was Margaret Barrett- Simone chosen to participate? Ms. Chapman was escorted by police out of the event. Rec. Frances made his way to the stage but was not seated.

The NAACP debate turned into a circus with a lot of background noise while candidates were speaking: Loud claps and inappropriate comments at the end of some of the candidates speech. There were several instances wherein the moderator was either down right unfair or biases were glaring.

The group was suppose to answer 5 questions; however, only two prepared questions were asked. The gentleman who was introduced as a "Civil Rights" Advocate askd the contestants, "What does the slogan "One City, One Aim, One Destiny" mean." This was Mayor Lumumba's visionary slogan and at which he only had 7 months to deliver. I could understand this as a question for his son who says that he will carry out his father's legacy, but, not to others. They all have their vision. Former Mayor Johnson's motto/slogan was "The Best of the New South". For me, this question is like religion: There is "One City": however there are many (aims) religions and the one destiny is heaven or some great resting place to include "Happy Hunting Grounds".

The WAPT /Chamber debate was more organized and with strict rules. The audience was cooperative. The problem I have with that debate is the "UNSCIENTIFIC POLL" yeilding results that favor some and hurt others. For starters, you could only vote on a cell phone with internet. For seniors like me, this was a handicap. Many people said that they didn't pay any attention to the cut line at the bottom of the screen with instructions for voting.

It is time for the games to stop and the citizens of this city should be given every possible chance to know the truth.

Another point: Horn was asked about his DUI: Quinn her Bankruptcies: Johnson was asked aboutt what he thought was his biggest mistake during his administrations. Yet, Yarber was not asked about his youtube tapes where he downs women and especially black women. Instrestingly enough, there tapes have been removed.

0

tomhead1978 4 months ago

WLBT used three criteria to determine whether a candidate was viable, but the gist of it is that a candidate has to either perform well in polls or have previously been elected to office in order to be considered for the debate. These aren't necessarily fair criteria, but they do limit the number of candidates. The larger the debate, the less time you get with each candidate. Personally, I think debates with more than four participants tend to tell us very little about the candidates.

Jess, I would be very surprised—not to mention horrified—if Tony had put misogynistic tapes up on YouTube. If you run across any, please post links.

0

justjess 4 months ago

@tomhead1978 "These aren't necessarily fair criteria, but they do limit the number of candidates".

"I would be very surprised-not to mention horrified-if Tony had put misogynistic tapes up on YouTube. I you run across any, please post links".

I agree that a smaller number would be ideal but the time to set criteria is in qualifying conditions for becoming a candidate.

I was not really surprised about this type of behavior from Yarber: What does suprise me is the fact that again we have a candidate who has not been vetted.

0

justjess 4 months ago

@tomhead1978 "These aren't necessarily fair criteria, but they do limit the number of candidates".

"I would be very surprised-not to mention horrified-if Tony had put misogynistic tapes up on YouTube. I you run across any, please post links.

I agree that a smaller number would be ideal but the time to set criteria is in qualifying conditions for becoming a candidate.

I was not really surprised about this type of behavior from Yarber: What does suprise me is the fact that again we have a candidate who has not been vetted.

0

cacaloony 4 months ago

"A bit of drama unfolded when Yarber addressed Lumumba saying, “Your dad was one of my heroes,” to which Lumumba responded with appreciation and told Yarber that if he liked his platform so much, he’d appreciate his vote."

Correction, the drama unfolded when Yarber said to Lumumba "being campaign manager is not a substitute for experience" to which Lumumba told Yarber not to second guess his experience and service in the community or pretend as if he knew him (to make such a suggestion and after receiving several one-liner jabs from Yarber in the earlier forum as well). THAT's when Yarber told Lumumba "these elections bring out the worst in us.....your dad was one of my heroes".

SO the correct thing to say would probably be "A bit of drama unfolded which eventually led Yarber to say..."

0

multiculturegirl37 4 months ago

Thing is anyone can run there is no vetting process except that people turn in their qualifying paper work on time. That said when a debate is held and criteria is made all that a group hosting the debate having to do is adhere to their criteria. Just like presidential debates don't have to include third party candidates local debates don't have to include anyone they don't feel is not a top candidate.

0

justjess 4 months ago

@multiculturegirl37

Your point is very well taken. When I speak of "vetting", I am talking about the folks that invest money into these candidates - hoping for a win. This was the situation with Sarah Palin. If John McCain and the GOP had vetted Palin, she would not have been given a spot on their ticket as VP. Sarah had skeletons that began to fall out of her closet to include the fact that she did not know how gov. works or that Russia could not be seen from her kitchen window". Speaking more on local politics, Frank Melton's dark history was known by many; however, an appreciable number of whites did not know him. They believed the picture that he presented. When the crap finally hit the fan - Jackson was going broke and many crazy deals had been made. The city was spending $2,000/day for him to ride around in the Command Unit at night. It took time, energy, intelligence, financial competency and a steady hand to get things back on track.

I understand what the sponsors of these debates can do; however, the question is - Does it represent the spirit of a democracy? If there are 12 candidates - let's do 6/6. I also understand that the window was short for scheduling these debates and they should be given credit for their effort.

The candidate I support is in the race and has participated in all of the debates. but, I am always concerned about process being honest, above board and fair.

0

Sign in to comment