Why Buy Jackson? | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Why Buy Jackson?

Once again, an abundance of commentary has surfaced regarding the decline of Jackson, along with the local pundits' sometimes eccentric explanations of the Capitol City's current afflictions.

In light of this, it has become increasingly obvious to me that our Capitol City has been suffering for quite some time from neglect in many areas, none more so than in the area of community involvement, and its lack of investors. What I'm suggesting to you is that the community collectively has turned its back on its beloved city of Jackson.

Let's take our state governing officials, for example. Technically, they all reside here, at least four months out of the year, but they seldom seem to have much interest in allocating funding to Jackson, if for no other reason than to offset the 38 percent of nontaxable property in the city, or to enhance their quarterly get-away. I mean, one would think that our state leaders would make the Capitol City's image a priority! Surely, this would be appropriate, seeing as how Jackson is our out-of-state neighbors' first destination when visiting our illustrious state. One would think we would want to make a good first impression, right?

Unfortunately, it's not just our state leadership's culpability in question. Trust me, there is plenty of blame to go around. Let's take a look around our fair city and see who's really accountable for her impending demise. The media do a fantastic job of painting the most negative image known to mankind with respect to our Capitol City. There are seldom reports televised at 6 p.m. regarding any of the more positive things happening in Jackson, such as: the opening of new businesses versus closures; how crime has steadily decreased over the past five years in every major category; how we have wonderful Level 5 schools such as George Elementary, which happens to be in one of the more economically depressed areas in the entire state; how Metrocenter Mall is one of the safest malls in the Southeast, unlike its competitor to the north, Northpark Mall, where parking lots have become more like car lots for thieves who are eager to relieve patrons of their vehicles and belongings. Just once, I would like for the media to report statistical data regarding incidents that have occurred on the premises of Northpark over the past five years in comparison to those at Metrocenter. I'm sure their findings would astonish many.

Oh yeah, back to the blame game.

As we look around Jackson, it's clear that businesses have decided to leave for higher (income) ground, despite the fact that the No. 1 consumer in America resides right here in Jackson. Oh, for those of you who didn't know, that title belongs exclusively to African Americans.

Unfortunately, we have not managed to adequately control or channel our economic power to where it would be most beneficial to our community, right here in the city of Jackson. In conjunction with businesses leaving, longtime Jackson residents, both black and white, have decided to follow those businesses by moving to the surrounding suburbs, which further diminishes our tax base.

Consequently, the true blame lies in our community: the metro community. I humbly submit to you that we have more than proved our economic might by building communities to our north, like Madison and Ridgeland, and communities to our east like Flowood, Brandon, Pearl and now Richland. This then begs the question: if we have bought and paid for these smaller cities' existence with our hard-earned capital (money), why can't we now turn our dollars inward and Buy Jackson? Answer: We can, and we shall.

In an effort to take the initiative in turning things around in my favorite city, the wonderful citizens of South Jackson and I are proud to announce the Buy Jackson Campaign. This campaign speaks to the issue of keeping our money in our community, in an effort to rebuild and rehabilitate the Capitol City.

We will be spending a great deal of time and resources over the next few months organizing and mobilizing to ensure our message gets out loud and clear. All we need are more volunteers. And guess what, if time is a precious commodity to you, you can still volunteer by simply spending your money in Jackson.

You see, whether you know it or not, we've moved into the next big movement, the Economic Empowerment Movement, which will be as powerful and important as the Civil Rights Movement. The fight has transitioned from equality and survival to prosperity. I assure you, it's attainable. All it takes is investing in your own community versus another that isn't even decent enough to pay for basic services, such as the use of our roads and interstates that they use to take the money they've earned in our city back to their bedroom communities.

As I close, I would submit to you that we cannot afford to depend on others to solve our problems and ills; it appears we must go it alone. But if our neighbors value their Capitol City enough to become investors, too, we gladly welcome them to the table. If not, with 184,000 local investors, I'm not concerned one bit … it'll be a piece of cake. Question is, would you care to purchase a slice of Buy Jackson?

Marshand Crisler of Ward 6 is the president of the Jackson City Council.

Previous Comments

ID
71935
Comment

“There are seldom reports televised at 6 p.m. regarding any of the more positive things happening in Jackson, such as: the opening of new businesses versus closures; how crime has steadily decreased over the past five years in every major category” The above quote from Crisler is quite interesting considering Crisler stated the following during the “The Man Watching The Mayor” interview…. “The crime rate has not gone down. Talk to Northeast Jackson and ask them if crime’s gone down.” While I wish returning Jackson to the status fitting a capitol city were as simple as Crisler has it seem, fact is the only thing he’s right about is that Jackson’s future will be unfortunately determined by the majority citizenship. The determining factor is that of continuing with an uneducated, unsophisticated, disrespectful, and obnoxious ever growing majority citizenship while a dwindling minority, being intelligent, respectful folk, pray for a miracle. A lucky few can only relish in what has become the last utopian frontier in this city, their homes, because to travel around most of Jackson is like entering the twilight zone!

Author
K RHODES
Date
2006-04-05T13:48:53-06:00
ID
71936
Comment

“There are seldom reports televised at 6 p.m. regarding any of the more positive things happening in Jackson, such as: the opening of new businesses versus closures; how crime has steadily decreased over the past five years in every major category” The above quote from Crisler is quite interesting considering Crisler stated the following during the “The Man Watching The Mayor” interview…. “The crime rate has not gone down. Talk to Northeast Jackson and ask them if crime’s gone down.” Good catch, K. You could possibly explain the difference as being that in the first reference, he is talking about crime over the last several years, and in the second crime since Mr. Melton took office, being that Mr. Melton promised to virtually eliminate crime in 90 days. That doesn't mean it doesn't sound contradictory, though.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-05T14:06:41-06:00
ID
71937
Comment

Gotta agree with Donna here. I think folks who love Jackson but are critical of the current administration have to walk a tightrope between holding public officials accountable and hurting Jackson's PR. Of course, with the crime situation there's also the Katrina factor--I really thought it was insignificant, but if poverty is what causes crime, and we have a major poverty-causing event that sends 5,000 or more new low-income folks to Jackson to boot, it stands to reason that this will cause a bump in crime. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-04-05T16:37:39-06:00
ID
71938
Comment

I am a constituent of Councilman Crisler. I admire him as a public official, as a veteran and as a member of the community. I have lived in Jackson on and off going back to the late 1970's. I have always enjoyed what Jackson has offered my family and me. Until recently I was also pleased by what Jackson did NOT offer: fear. But I can mark a difference in my neighborhood to a near specific calendar date. As of last fall, my neighborhood has been plagued with attacks against homeowners and personal property. Streets have been blocked by groups of youth refusing to move from the paths of on-coming cars. And police calls have gone unheeded. I don't know about the last five years but crime in my neighborhood has gone up in the last 9 months. I admire Councilman Crisler and others for buoying Jackson during this time and I will continue to spend money in the city. But I'm moving out of the city. And Frank can put that in his pipe and smoke it with the Batman.

Author
Rex
Date
2006-04-05T16:50:51-06:00
ID
71939
Comment

*There are seldom reports televised at 6 p.m. regarding any of the more positive things happening in Jackson, such as: the opening of new businesses versus closures; how crime has steadily decreased over the past five years in every major category” The above quote from Crisler is quite interesting considering Crisler stated the following during the “The Man Watching The Mayor” interview…. “The crime rate has not gone down. Talk to Northeast Jackson and ask them if crime’s gone down.”* It may need to be said that Crisler's piece was also submitted at least three weeks before it was published by the Jackson Free Press. Since that time, Crisler says he has been forced to acknowledge from very recent crime statistics that the dropping crime trend has seemingly leveled off.

Author
Adam Lynch
Date
2006-04-07T13:52:45-06:00
ID
71940
Comment

I don't understand the claim that black people are the No. 1 consumers in America. I'm not disputing it mind you -- I just don't understand it. Any help out there? There seems to be a local hobby of trashing Jackson. Just take a look at the Clarion-Ledger's forums. I just don't get it. It's like there's not a single good thing about Jackson and that's why they ran a big 10 miles away to Ridgeland. There's no question the city has problems but what city doesn't? It's really important not to minimize them, and equally important not to act like Jackson is worse than it really is. I think all this running away that people do is a little silly. As if putting 10 miles between them and what they consider to be the mother of all crime zones can actually protect them from whatever they think they are running from. And I've never understood running away from anything anyway. When something is worth fighting for you stand your ground and fight. Jackson is worth fighting for. The truth is Jackson is is a beautiful old city. It is filled with some of the nicest people in the world -- just leave for a while and come back. (You have to go a little further than Ridgeland by the way.) It has some beautiful old neighborhoods that deserve to thrive. I'll take a friendly, gracious, beautiful old city that's a little rough around the edges over the cold, cutthroat place so many other big cities are. Jackson is head and shoulders above lots of other cities for so many reasons. It isn't fair for people to run away from Jackson but continue to use her roads and municipal services. Jackson isn't the only big city that suffers from the drain on her tax base that represents. Some cities add commuter taxes, or reciprocal taxes, to the incomes of people who benefit from Jackson but don't pay their far share for that privilege. I'm not smart enough to know exactly how that works. But if there was ever a wonderful old city well worth taking strong, proactive measures to strengthen and protect, it's Jackson, Mississippi. The police chief took some terrible flak for saying that Jackson's crime problem is a perception problem. It's always that way -- you hang yourself out there by making a statement you know swims against the tide and you really get hammered. It's like he questioned a dearly-held principle in the "Let's Trash Jackson" religion and he had to pay. Words are powerful. Public opinion, no matter how wrong-headed it is, can make or break a cause, a movement, or a city. People who call it like they see it, like the little boy watching the parade who noticed that the emperor wasn't wearing any clothes, usually get hammered, even if they're right. The fact that people's assessment of crime in their areas can be way off the mark is well-documented. There are any number of studies supporting that. People who watch a lot of television routinely overestimate local crime rates. Don't think for a minute perception isn't important. I believe it's the beginning and the end of why people decide to run away.

Author
Prospero
Date
2006-04-10T17:30:16-06:00
ID
71941
Comment

Nice post, Prospero. We'll get at the source of Mr. Crisler's No. 1 statement. I've heard that before, enough so to feel comfortable with the statement. I suspect it has something to do with the way markets are shaped, or described, in marketing speak. That is, the "black" (or "urban" or "African American") market would likely be very large compared to the way others are broken down -- being that "white" is a catchall for so many categories. I'm just guessing, though. An important point about the alleged "perception" statement, which I sense that you know, but I will reiterate for others. Chief Moore never said that crime is only a perception in Jackson -- he told the media that they were contributing into a serious "perception" problem that would make it more difficult to fight crime, and keep people believing that they could keep lowering crime. He was right to criticize the media coverage, even if they were too doofus, or defensive, or too provincial, to understand what he was saying.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-04-10T17:40:17-06:00
ID
71942
Comment

Well thank you. And I'm glad you fleshed out that quote from Chief Moore. I agree with him more than ever. I think I'll join him (and you apparently) out on that limb and start being brave enough to say it to people myself when the subject comes up. Which it does, constantly, from well-intentioned family living in Jackson, as I finalize my move back. Maybe I'll even buy space on a billboard with "If all you can see about Jackson is the crime, you really do have a perception problem!" in 6' tall letters.

Author
Prospero
Date
2006-04-10T17:53:50-06:00

Like independent media outlets around the world, the Jackson Free Press works hard to produce important content on a limited budget. We'd love your help! Become a JFP VIP member today and/or donate to our journalism fund. Thanks for considering a JFP VIP membership or one-time support.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus