"Money Talks/Where are Yarber and Barrett-Simon's Economic Impact Statements?" by Politics Blog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Politics Blog

Money Talks/Where are Yarber and Barrett-Simon's Economic Impact Statements?

In an election this short, money can make all the difference.

Unfortunately, we won't know who the big money players in the Jackson mayor's race are for at least another week, however.

Information from the Jackson city clerk's office shows that pre-election reports are due April 1, 2014 — one week before the election. Candidates are required to itemize each contribution over $200; donations under $200 can be lumped together.

Runoff candidates would need to file another report by April 15. All candidates are supposed to file statements of economic interest (SEI) with the Mississippi Ethics Commission as are current office holders and some other appointed officials.

Since so many of the candidates are current or former officeholders, I decided to pull their SEIs.

Here's what I dug up:

First, there are two glaring omissions. A search of the ethics-commission website returned no results for Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber, pastor of Relevant Empowerment Church and consultant with Bailey Kirkland Education Group, LLC. Yarber has been on the council since 2009 and told the Jackson Free Press this week that he draws now salary from his church and earns a living doing educational consulting and through the generosity of others, which he called "Holy Ghost handshakes."

Only one result, from 2009, came back for Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon. On her form, Barrett-Simon listed no business interests aside from her position on the city council; she listed her husband, Dr. Al Simon, as an employee of Jackson State University.

Former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr.'s most recent report, filed in 2012, also shows that he held no economic interests outside of his office; he is seeking re-election to his former seat.

Democratic State Sen. John Horhn lists his wife, Gail, as an employee of Jackson Public Schools on his 2012 report. Horhn, a 2009 Jackson mayor candidate, also lists himself as an officer in three businesses: Branch Consulting Group LLC, Horhn & Associates and Landfair Solutions LLC that year.

Finally, in January 2013, Melvin Priester Jr., listed his law practice — Priester Law Firm — as a business interest and indicates that he has represented the Capital City Convention Center Commission. At the time, Priester was a candidate for Ward 2 city councilman; currently, he is seeking the mayor's office.

Comments

Slick 3 years, 8 months ago

"Holy Ghost handshakes"!!! Yarber is either a complete jokester or stupid. Many people will take Holy Ghost handshakes to be bribes or influence peddling payments. I had to read this article twice as I could not believe Yarber would be dumb enough to say this. His opponents for mayor will have a field day with this.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Every full-time parish minister who isn't independently wealthy lives on some variation of "Holy Ghost handshakes." That's what the offering plate is for. I think Tony's remark was just a clever way of acknowledging that reality.

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donnaladd 3 years, 8 months ago

It does seem unlikely that he would say that to us if he meant anything other than the offering plate. But we'll see what else we can find out.

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

Did Priester give up his representation of the Capital City Convention Center Commission to become a City Councilman and if not, does his firm continue representation of that group?

Also, "Acting" Mayor Charles Tillman was at Blacks Chapel on yesterday. I found his remarks to be totally out of place. He was acting more like the campaign manager for what he attempted to explain as the need to have an attorney "legal mind"for the position of mayor because there are "lots of legal issues coming up". My advice to Mr. Tillman is to go back to sleep as he has so frequently done during televised City Council Meetings. Hopefully, it will not be long before he can turn in his Mayor's Badge.

I'm not surprised about the "Holy Ghost Hand Shake". I'heard one minister say that he has to do a "double milking" on 1st Sunday. Some of these folks are rough when it comes to collecting the almighty religious dollar.

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donnaladd 3 years, 8 months ago

Are you saying Tillman was campaigning for Priester?

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Slick 3 years, 8 months ago

If Yarber was talking about money he received from his congregation why didn't he say generous parishioners instead of generous supporters? I hear what many of you are saying but I have to go by exactly what the man said.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Slick, a lot of ministries receive financial support from non-parishioners and a lot of clergy refer to donors as supporters. I get what you're saying, but as somebody who comes from a long line of pastors I don't see anything at all suspicious about that statement.

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

No, he never mentioned any attorney's name; therefore, I won't accuse him of campaigning for Priester. What I will say is that he made the case for the election of a lawyer. Since there are more than one lawyer running for office of Mayor, i can't use any deductive reasoning that would yield that conclusion.

There wasn't any rhyme or reason for Tillman to have a voice during the service. If he were going to say anything, it should have been in the spirit of allaying the anxiety and fear of the electorate that Jackson is not OK.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Jess, do you think it's possible he was making a self-deprecating remark about why he has no interest in serving as mayor himself on more than an interim basis? (Mr. Tillman is an educator/administrator by trade and does not have a law degree.)

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

No, he never mentioned any attorney's name; therefore, I won't accuse him of campaigning for Priester. What I will say is that he made the case for the election of a lawyer. Since there are more than one lawyer running for office of Mayor, i can't use any deductive reasoning that would yield that conclusion.

There wasn't any rhyme or reason for Tillman to have a voice during the service. If he were going to say anything, it should have been in the spirit of allaying the anxiety and fear of the electorate that Jackson is not OK.

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donnaladd 3 years, 8 months ago

I was in the room, Tom and Slick, and I didn't think much of the statement other than that it was a funny phrase. But, as always, if anyone has something other than innuendo to add about it, I'm all ears.

Also, if you're a sock puppet for a candidate, please move on. This isn't the place for you. If you're supporting a candidate, just say it. Local elections would be SO much more interesting if people would go around talking more about why they think candidates are great than slinging mud.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

If you search Google Books for "Holy Ghost handshake," you'll get exactly one match—Crea Copeland's Christianity Outside the Box, where the author talks about her family going through a tough time financially and somebody slipping her money in a handshake to help her make ends meet. That's the only kind of context I've ever heard the phrase used in. I can't imagine someone using it to describe a bribe, especially not an evangelical pastor in a public interview. In this context I feel comfortable interpreting it as a statement of humility, i.e. a recognition that a pastor's income comes from charity and is not financial compensation in the usual sense.

Slick, for whatever it's worth, I'm an Antar supporter who thinks Tony Yarber is a great Ward 6 councilman.

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

@Tomhead1978

"Slick, for whatever it's worth, I'm an Antar supporter who thinks Tony Yarber is a great Ward 6 Councilman."

Well Tom, I'm sure you know from my many years of blogging with the JFP that I am a Johnson supporter. I don't just blog during an election cycle. LOL, but, serious. My heart bleeds for Antar. He has not had one second to grieve the death of his father. His strong message is that of carrying out his father's legacy which was the "People's Movement" of Malcolm X. Lumumba the Mayor had made the public transition from what was presented to the public, more specifically, whites, and what he said behind certain doors. Lumumba was able to stay away until the Pledge of Allegiance was said. He was able to have a Muslim relationship with Farrakhan as Farrakhan embraced him through testimony about their 40 yr relationship. There is nothing wrong with Muslim relationships; however, one must be concerned when the leaders in the Mayor's funeral would chant "Free The Land, Free The Land". One must also be concerned about one who said that he was "Christian"; but, he did not believe in the tenants of the "Christian Church", i.e., the resurrection. What I am saying here is at best a message that was different for some and acts of hiding certain agendas. If Malcolm had lived, or if the RNA had continued their mission for Jackson, many things would have to change in the message. So, the question is, "Is Lumumba's son experienced enough to know that or will he be led by some who could not have his best interest at heart?"

In many of Mayor Lumumba's speeches, he made it know that he was not a "Barac Obama Democrat" and that he was a Fanny Lou Hammer democrat. No one asked what this meant. Now since we are left with a candidate attempting to carry out his father's legacy, I ask, "What does it mean and what will he do?"

Many of the seeds that were planted by former Mayor Harvey Johnson are now budding and many have come to fruition. Let's be sure that we render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Jess:
- We should all try to free the land.
- We should all have Muslim friends.
- Doubting the Resurrection is OK. We're electing a mayor, not a Pope.
- Even if we were electing a Pope, a certain amount of doubt is healthy.
- Antar didn't say he doubted the Resurrection. His father did.
- My father is a Southern Baptist. I'm not.
- I have, at times, doubted the Resurrection.
- Harvey Johnson was a fine mayor.
- Harvey might also have doubts about the Resurrection. Have you asked him?

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom: -We should all make sure that America honors its promise to be the "land of the free" but not "By Any Means Necessary" with is the final line of the chant "Free the Land". You see, you are dealing with an ideology. This is just abstract rhetoric with many interpretations. The potential is for some to think that by throwing the word "Oats" out to a horse , then expecting him to have a full stomach.

Although blacks make up 80% of Jackson's population,we do not have the economic where-with-all to wage a successful war. We don't have the guns, the skills, or the wealth. We do not have the means to engage in the kind of war that has been suggested by some.

-We should all have friends; whether they are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hebrew, Buddhist, etc....The operative word is "Friend" and the behavior is caring kindness.

-You are correct in saying that "Doubting the Resurrection is OK. After all, doubting is the other side of faith; however, one should not masquerade under aegis of belief in order to achieve political goals. There should also be a separation of church and state.

You stated "My father is a Southern Baptist. I'm not" . You have given substance to my argument that electing young Lumumba as Mayor of the City of Jackson because his father was the Mayor of the City of Jackson is not a necessary condition.

Thanks Tom for saying that "Harvey Johnson was a fine mayor." For that, there isn't a disagreement.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Jess, I respect your decision to support Harvey Johnson, but Harvey's not such a bad guy that folks need to speak so negatively about the Lumumbas in order to justify supporting him. Fact of the matter is that if Harvey makes the runoff against someone other than Antar, he'll need support from people like me—and if Antar makes the runoff against someone other than Harvey, he'll need support from people like you.

Obviously Antar isn't the same person as his father. None of us are. Equally obviously, he's the only candidate who's part of the same ideological movement as his father and the only candidate who's likely to keep the same staff. So I think you can understand why some/many/most of us who supported Chokwe last year would support his son this year. It's not because we believe in hereditary monarchy, and I've read your posts here long enough to know you're capable of grasping that distinction. I'd feel the same way if Safiya Omari or June Hardwick were running in Antar's place.

Harvey Johnson was a fine mayor. I think 12 years was enough, but if you really want to give him 15 or 19 I can't fault you for that; the Melton years gave me an appreciation for Harvey's steady hand, and I'm sure the city has elected worse mayors to longer terms.

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justjess 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom, I'm not speaking negatively about the Lumumbas. I am speaking truthfully. I supported Lumumba in the last phase of the election and when his opponent was Jonathan Lee.

I respect your decision to support Antar. Just remember that Johnson did not go in to office firing people. His motto was: If you are doing your job, you keep your job. If elected again, I don't think that he would be different as it relates to firing people.

Johnson's 12 years were interrupted when Melton won. This City was in bad shape. All of the money was gone and bad deals were made to include the selling of the land to build the Convention Center Hotel.

There are some MS politicians whose longevity causes problems: Johnson's has been continued progress.

Good night - Sleep tight. I've enjoyed this exchange.

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