Kenneth Stokes | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Kenneth Stokes

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Councilman Kenneth Stokes (pictured) is fighting to rename the Northside Library for the controversial newspaper publisher Charles Tisdale.

The Jackson City Council voted earlier this month to appoint individuals that historically sided with former Mayor Frank Melton to lead them under the new administration. Ward 4 Councilman Frank Bluntson and Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman received unanimous votes for council president and vice president, respectively. Bluntson immediately set about making Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes, the third councilman in the Melton "faction," head of the council's planning committee, so that Stokes could immediately go about bringing up all the agenda items that the more level-headed council leaders of the past kept bottled up in committee.

Stokes can now busily set about trying to name Pascagoula Street after the mayor who helped deliver the city into the "dire" financial straits that the current mayor now says the city is in.

And while the city boils away in "dire" fiscal straits, the council can also debate over renaming a section of Martin Luther King Drive after Bill and Helen Payne, and the naming of city swimming pools after guys like Richard Richardson and Henry Minion Jr.

Also among the items sure to find new life under Stokes' committee chairmanship are legally contentious issues, such as Stokes' own demand to authorize a one-year moratorium on the issuance of privilege licenses for pawn shops in the city of Jackson and an ordinance "authorizing the emergency abatement of drug houses" in Jackson—basically orders of arbitrary demolition similar to the actions that landed Melton and his bodyguards in court. (The city council voted only recently to pay a percentage of Melton's attorney fees.)

Anybody who watched the loyal triumvirate of Stokes, Bluntson and Tillman champion Melton's most thoughtless edicts—such as Melton's 2007 decision to pass unfunded blanket employee pay-raises—must be shivering in their boots at Melton's ghost agenda items in committee, such as his order "amending the city of Jackson's pay plan to provide additional salary increases for all city employees."

We'll find out this year if Melton's past influence still holds phantom strings leading to his loyal three.

Other committee assignments include the appointment of Ward 2 Councilman Chokwe Lumumba as chairman of the Budget Committee, Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber over the transportation committee, Ward 5 Councilman Charles Tillman, over the water and sewer committee, and Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill over the rules committee. Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon is back in familiar territory this year, serving as chairwoman over the legislative committee.

Previous Comments

ID
149880
Comment

I now see that being named "JFP Person of the Day" is not always a good thing. Great write-up. In Bryant's picture, Stokes looks like one of Gumby's nemeses.

Author
jbreland
Date
2009-07-21T12:49:16-06:00
ID
149882
Comment

Is Stokes really trying to rename Pascagoula after Melton? Why not Ridgeway?

Author
Brian C Johnson
Date
2009-07-21T12:56:44-06:00
ID
149883
Comment

It's like Time's "Person of the Year" or our own "Most Intriguing" every January. It is definitely not always a positive thing. It's more about a person who is a newsmaker, one way or the other.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-07-21T13:01:25-06:00
ID
149888
Comment

Is Stokes really trying to rename Pascagoula after Melton? Why not Ridgeway? +1 Good one...

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2009-07-21T13:38:40-06:00
ID
149894
Comment

I most certainly do hope that Kenneth Stokes will reconsider the notion to name anything after Frank Melton. God rest his soul, however, Frank dealt the City of Jackson a real blow. He offered change, and boy did we ever get it! My appeal to Mr. Stokes is clearly and absolutely NOT! I agree. If Stokes wants to name a street after Frank, let it be Ridgeway. After all, it is what Frank will be remembered for most. There are far too many other mayors who deserve the honor, our present one included. Therefore, a mockery should not be made in what should be an honor. Quite simply, I just think the idea is not the best one and should not happen. I also hope that the members of the City Council doesn't feel obliged to have to vote for this issue. We've been a city under siege for far too long. Let the man rest in peace and let us not have to be reminded of his reign of terror by driving down a MAJOR street named in his honor (our horror).

Author
GratefulJTE
Date
2009-07-21T14:38:29-06:00
ID
149903
Comment

In fairness to Melton our city like thousands of others is in dire straights in part because of the economic crisis. Additionally Jackson went from White flight to anybody who can get financing in Madison, Gluckstadt, Byram, and the like. We have a problem with our tax base dwindling. If you want to attack Frank because he violated someone's constitutional rights then that is fair; however, Jackson has had economic issues for a long long time, even under Johnson whom I voted for.

Author
Powerman
Date
2009-07-21T19:16:03-06:00
ID
149910
Comment

I grew up in Georgetown - who are Bill & Helen Payne? never heard of them....

Author
lanier77
Date
2009-07-22T07:54:12-06:00
ID
149954
Comment

Stoke's a good man. His good works demonstrates that undeniably. Something should be named after Frank. How about the re-builded home of the owner, after the eventual settlement, being called, "The House that Frank Built?

Author
Walt
Date
2009-07-22T16:49:27-06:00
ID
149969
Comment

This new leadership team might just get more people involved in politics and asking questions. I have formulated one. How do sections of Jackson get annexed into one of the burbs or form their own incorporated area? I am sure many more questions will come to mind as we watch this train wreck unfold.

Author
Slider
Date
2009-07-23T12:09:09-06:00
ID
150005
Comment

I hate seeing a mockery being made of the job of councilperson. This is an important job and should be taken seriously. That being said, Kenneth Stokes has brought this on himself. Has the triumpherate of Stokes, Bluntson and Tillman actually been given enough rope to hang themselves? Time will tell. Any new councilpersons wishing to follow in these footsteps should remember that Melton was not re-elected! Congratulations to Bryant Hawkins who actually captured a photograph of Mr. Stokes with his mouth closed! Rare photo indeed!

Author
Bob Lowery
Date
2009-07-23T22:20:50-06:00

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