The 2009 JFP Interview With Robert Johnson | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The 2009 JFP Interview With Robert Johnson

photo

Robert Johnson says the first thing he'll do in office is evaluate the city's finances.

*See the JFP Election Blog for full coverage of 2009 city elections.*

Democratic mayoral candidate Robert Johnson is not a camera person. He doesn't smile for the lens. He doesn't sing. He doesn't dance. He also doesn't act very much like a politician, which could work against him in a Democratic primary crowded with seasoned politicians.

This is not to say that the former Jackson police chief withers under scrutiny. Johnson is quite proud of his record. He developed a reputation as a guy who could clean up a system when he was police chief of Jackson, Mich. The International Association of Chiefs of Police handed him a Webber-Seavey Award for Innovations in Police Work, and also recommended him to Jackson, Miss., Mayor Kane Ditto, who was looking for someone with a knack for turning things around.

Former Mayor Harvey Johnson released Johnson when he came on, complaining of problems with Johnson's willingness to work with his new administration.

It's clear that Johnson has a lot of smarts, but he exudes a demeanor that makes lazy people uneasy—even those that don't work for him. There may be a reason for that.

Your campaign seems kind of quiet—maybe my ear isn't on the sidewalk like it should be these days, but how many press conferences do you average a week?
Actually, I haven't had any, the reason being they get very little attention, if any at all. Every candidate out there is issuing a press release. I usually hear about them through an e-mail blast or something like that, but when I pick up any of the news sources or news media I don't see anything of them in there.

How are you promoting yourself then? How are you putting yourself out there?
One of the things I hit very heavily is the churches. I did four churches last Sunday, and neighborhood meetings and little coffee houses. I meet people face to face. We have the obvious billboard advertisements and push-cards, but there's still nothing like the press of the flesh and meeting people in person.

How many voters do you think will still think of you as a chief?
The older voters primarily remember. A lot of people honestly forget that I had a high-profile tenure as a corrections commissioner as well, and I think people sort of merge those two memories together simply because I was high-profile in those positions. One way or another, they generally connect me to police chief.

Are you OK with getting … typecast in such a manner?
I don't mind it at all. That gives me some recognition. I think people who know me well and give me an opportunity to talk about myself will realize that I have as broad an experience in doing differing things as just about anybody you can name in government or education or private business.

What's the story behind your stint as chief? How did you get the job?
In the police-chiefing business, there are a number of search firms, and they develop a profile of chiefs. Generally, they'll contact you and ask for a resume or something of that nature, and see your track record and categorize you. Cities retain these search firms, and they pull out a certain number of candidates that fit the profile. Search firms talk with city officials; they ask them, ‘what are you looking for in a police chief? What's the thing that's most important?' Then the search firms will seek out candidates who most fit that criteria and invite them to apply for the position.

Where were you working at the time?
I was in Jackson, Michigan, as a police chief there. They contacted me and said, ‘Jackson, Mississippi is looking for a police chief. Submit a resume.' And because my wife was born and raised here, went to Jim Hill High School and Jackson State University, it was obviously of interest to us. My background fit their needs, and they hired me.

What aspect of your background turned them on to you?
I suppose it was my track record of being an agent of change with a tough stance on crime. I was reducing crime in Michigan. I had implemented a number of programs that were of interest to Ditto and to the panel. … One of the programs I had, which I also implemented here, was the resident officer program, where the city took one of the houses that it owned through either forfeiture or some other means, in a distressed neighborhood, and gave the officer the house. In one case, the young officer moved his wife and family into the house in this distressed neighborhood and actually worked out of the house. Whether he was in or out, people would be permitted to come to the house, and you'd be surprised at the success of the program.

That sounds reasonably effective. Did the program stop under your administration?
I think it stopped under the administration of the guy after me. We used the program in Midtown, and if you go down there to that area today, they'll tell you that it was a godsend to them. That was probably one of the most distressed neighborhoods in the city at the time.

What did you learn as chief? What aspects of the Mississippi job surprised you?
One surprise to me was the push-back I experienced in trying to move the department into a different direction, in terms of training and bringing new technology to the department. The city, at the time, didn't have a comprehensive records-management system in place. The other was that we didn't have mobile data terminals in the police cars that would permit officers to do criminal checks and record checks and those kinds of things. That was technology that was already in its third generation. This was not cutting-edge stuff. It was basic stuff. It was the unwillingness to embrace those changes that surprised me.

Where did the unwillingness come from?
Some of the command staff, and the rank and file as well.

So it wasn't about paying for the new technology? It wasn't about money.
It's never about money, Adam.

Hell, I thought it was almost always about money.
It's never about money, not ultimately. That's one of the most aggravating excuses to me of all time. I don't care where you go or what you do, people will always say they're limited by resources, and I always say "hogwash." When I was first chief in 1986, in Michigan, I faced a crisis in terms of the budget deficit that the city was experiencing. The city was suffering a decline in its revenue, and I was handed, by the city manager, an order that directed me to cut 10 percent out of my budget. I may have been a bit naïve and new at the job, but I saw it as my responsibility, and we did that without sacrificing anything—

You didn't grumble at all?
Well, of course I did, but we did it without sacrificing any sort of service cuts or anything of that nature. In fact, we increased the number of police officers that were on the street.

Sounds like magic.
It's not magic. If you have, as I do, a fundamental belief that you have to manage the public's money responsibly, then you'll get about doing that, and I don't care what organization it is, or how lean and mean they say they are, you can always find things to cut or to do more efficiently with less money. Whether you're using technology or you're using some other method to get the job done. I firmly believe that.

There are so many people who would love to know the secret of what you're talking about.
It's not a secret. It's simply not recognizing certain sacred cows. Every organization has its sacred cows. Every organization has its pet project that will get funding in spite of the financial circumstances. You've got to find out what those are and if you can do it cheaper and better at the same time. That's the key. If you look at the budgets under my tenure as the commissioner of corrections, you will see a decrease in the corrections budget.

Those decreases weren't imposed upon you by circumstances or some other authority?
No, it wasn't. Not during even one of the years that I was there. That's a rare occurrence, but you identify where the fat is, and oftentimes the fat turns out to be some kind of sacred territory or a pet project. And you slim it because it's the right thing to do. Now I didn't do it without a lot of heartburn that I got from the Legislature, because I was poking around in one of their areas that they had an interest.

Would it be fair to point to a potential sacred cow in the city of Jackson right now? I know you're on the outside at this time, of course—
That's exactly right. My No. 1 issue going into office is to have a top-to-bottom review of the city's finances, to find out how much revenue is being generated from every source, including taxes and grants, and to determine where the money is being spent and how it's being spent, to look at each department individually, line item by line item, and then determine from there where we can make some cuts and increase some efficiencies. That's the first step.

I don't think anybody in the city, not even the finance director for the city of Jackson, has any idea how much revenue is coming into the city. That's obvious when we turn around and read that the city has lost a grant because they haven't accounted for it, or they suddenly find some additional money. That tells me right there that nobody really knows.

It tells me that they've lost their grant department, perhaps. When you were chief, did the police department have its own grants-management team?
Of course. Of course.

As mayor would you consolidate grants into its own division or would each division have its own grant management team?
Obviously because of the specialization involved in each department, you have to have somebody who's familiar with police work and the grant process involving law-enforcement grants. Similarly you need somebody with an understanding of public works or involved in grants to public works or funding public works to manage those types of grants. Now you may need an umbrella manager for that entire grant process, but you also need specialization that's required of each department.

So you envision one person working outside all the divisions with a number of people inside the divisions reporting to this one person?
That depends on the availability of grants out there. You obviously don't want to employ somebody who's just twiddling their thumbs, but if there's money out there available, we ought to be aggressive about seeking it out. Then when we get it, we have to make sure it's managed effectively and properly.

Chiefs who have come after you have complained that the press almost seemed to be working to make the city out to be worse than it was, that they were almost bushwhacking them. Was that your perception, too?
I don't think so, to be honest. I've always enjoyed an amenable relationship with the press. I've always been open and apparent in my dealings, in every job that I've ever had. Whether it's good or bad or indifferent in terms of me or the department, I've been willing to be blunt and straightforward about it. Here are the facts, here are the issues.

What's your attitude on information requests? What should the average response time be for info requests?
Most of it should be right then. The thing that is aggravating to me is I often pull information for my business from the city, particularly from the police department on crime data and those kinds of things as part of my liability work, and it sometimes takes the entire 14 days to get it back to me when I know all it would take ordinarily is to walk in to police headquarters, handing over a request for information and the records clerk could run the information right then, and hand it directly to me right there. Why we have a convoluted system where you have to go to the city clerk's office to fill out this form and wait forever to get basic information, I can't understand that. It is absolutely frustrating to me.

So you don't see any value in the extra precaution of funneling all the information requests through the city attorney?
Absolutely not. That's unnecessary. The people who create the record in the department should have somebody who can look at the request and gauge whether or not that information can be given. You can set the guidelines. It doesn't need to go to the attorney.

Some information requests can be cumbersome. It can take considerable resources to compile them sometimes.
Then you charge for that, but the department itself knows what is required to get the information, and the law permits you to charge the cost for compiling the data. It's not hugely complicated to me.

The state government loves the idea of punitive charges—charging $200 for three pages worth of data or something like that. You wouldn't do that kind of thing to us, would you, Mr. Johnson?
Here's the thing. When I went to the Department of Corrections I made sure that we made as much information public as we could. I was responsible for putting inmate data up on a Web site where you can go now and pull up any inmate who is incarcerated in Mississippi. I pushed that because it didn't make any sense for a department that had all that information (not to) make that information available to the public.

Having held the job, I imagine you have some clear understanding of what you should look for in a police chief? First of all, do we need to move beyond a part-time chief?
Of course we do. The chief's job in Jackson is big enough to encompass anybody's full-time attention and energy, and I don't see any police chief being able to work less than 10 hours a day.

What kind of personality would you shoot for?
I would shoot for the same kind of leader of the police department that I would shoot for any city department, whether it's Public Works, economic development, or the Department of Finance or Human and Cultural Services. You're looking for people who want to do the job for the right reasons and are able to bring informed, enlightened leadership to the department, and people who are familiar with the latest technology, the latest innovation in that particular area. You need people who have a vision, like I do, that this can be a first-class city and are able to bring first-class ideas and first-class leadership to those positions. That's what I'd be looking for.

Noting the push-back you received in Jackson, is it a good idea to hire from inside the department using an individual who could be fossilized into the same old system for such a long time, or to reach out for an unfamiliar face?
As it relates to every department, you want to look and see who you have onboard. There's nothing like a young energetic current employee who is moving forward to accomplish the goal of making this a first-class city. If you find that person, they're ideal for it. If not, you have to look elsewhere.

You have a pretty good job now, right?
Yeah, I run my own business.

Then why would you want to bring stress injury into your life by being mayor?
Because this is my city. I've been here and back a couple of times for jobs, but the first time I came here my wife and I decided that this was our home and we intend to make this our home, and we have since 1994. Although, I've worked in other places, I have complete confidence in Jackson's ability to be a first-class city. We can be world-class eventually, because we have the spirit and the resources and the talent to do it. But as I look at what's going on currently I get so aggravated that I don't know what to do. We're squandering our resources, we don't have any leadership to speak of, and we have elected officials who seem to be only running for the next election or a bigger job or a better paycheck, without any real interest in accomplishing much of anything. I can sit on the sidelines and complain about it, or I can get in and help try to do something about it.

But seriously, don't you feel a little intimidated? Revenue in the city is still in a shrinking mode, according to budgets. The suburbs are ferocious competitors at this point.
They're ferocious competitors because we have permitted them to be. The conditions that exist in this city—the streets, the rundown dilapidated housing in some of our distressed neighborhoods—didn't happen overnight. The (neglected) streets that you rode in here on didn't just happen over the last five or eight years. It's neglect, and that's shameful. There's not one person that would permit those kinds of conditions to exist in their house, except shiftless, lazy people who don't pay any attention to that kind of thing. That has to stop.

But maybe that is actually a money issue. I know you claim that money isn't the issue that I apparently think it is, but that's pure cash out there on a new or repaved road. They may as well line a new road with $50 bills.
It would have to be pure cash now because it's gotten into such a condition that it will take more money to return it from its devastated state. Routine maintenance would have prevented a lot of those things from happening.
Past administrations have been pulling money from routine maintenance budgets for years because they say there's just not enough to meet the city's needs.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Now we need millions of millions of dollars to repair the roadways. It's no different than you neglecting the roof of your house. At some point in time you'll have to repair the foundation and replace the tile because you let the roof keep leaking. It will cost more than if you had taken care of your leaking roof when it first needed it.

So you know the house needs a new roof. Think you can find the funding for it?
We're going to have to. If nothing else, we need to start with those things that send an impression of Jackson. There are no worse streets than the ones down around the Capitol. West Street and High Street, and the other streets surrounding that. If you give the appearance of being dog-ragged, then that's the impression that people will go away with.

You'd spoken, I believe, on emphasizing job satisfaction over pay raises, regarding police. I believe you'd told me that money isn't everything with these guys. Do you still stick by that?
Of course I do. That's not to minimize the importance of being paid commiserate with what you're responsibilities are. Our police are not paid as well as they should be, but to always blame the lack of performance or effectiveness or retention of officers solely on money misses the point. It's a convenient excuse for people. I have the experience to know that if you create an organization or a department where people like working, they're proud of the leadership that they're getting and they know they have an opportunity to advance, they know they're going to be treated fairly and equitably, and they're going to stay there. They're going to be proud of their job, they're going to look at their opportunities there for the future. They'll want to be a part of that organization.

It can't be the cushy hours, what with all the staff shortages they need to fill.
I've been there. Everybody understands that you have to do your rotation in terms of the lousy hours. I've worked many midnight shifts, afternoon shifts and weekends, and didn't have the time to spend with family. You know that going into the profession. It's nothing new. Every police officer knows that, and is willing to accept the long hours and short pay. What they won't put up with is crummy leadership in an organization that doesn't care about them.

I haven't given you a chance to speak freely on how you'd handle crime. What are some of your other ideas?
The biggest city in this country was able to reduce crime, but we can't seem to do it when we're in the bottom tier of cities in terms of population and sophistication of the crime in this city. Why we can't do it is an indictment of the leadership that we have in place. There are proven programs and methods for addressing crime. There is a lot of lip service given by the city and JPD on community policing. This department is nowhere near community policing and the operational philosophy involved in implementing community policing. I say that because I teach community policing and have taught it for more than a dozen years to police departments that have successfully implemented it. If you've got leadership that knows how it works we can see a reduction in crime.

The basic philosophy is that you'll have people in the community working together with police, and taking their fair share of the responsibility for what happens. What excuse you will get from police leadership is that the community has to step up. We need more fathers taking care of their kids. Well, that is a condition that exists across the country. That's nothing new. It's always existed. If you use that as an excuse for not getting things done you're going to aggravate me. It's nothing new, and you have to work around that because it's not going to change. You'll always have fatherless homes and people who are reluctant to get involved with the police in helping their neighborhood. Don't tell me that. Tell me how you're going to work around that. Community policing, fully implemented, will help you work around these things. … We haven't done enough in terms of prevention behavior. If your method of policing is simply to react, that's all you will be doing. That's all you've conditioned the citizens to do—to call you after something happens. For instance, in Lansing, we have what's called team policing. Every beat officer has a cell phone. … Instead of calling the dispatch center for routine calls, people are able to call the police officer on his cell phone. Most people don't need an immediate response. If you tell them you'll be there in two hours, most will accept that, so long as you're there within two hours. If you pick up that phone and a dispatcher tells you they'll have an officer there right away, you'll expect that officer there right away, and after five minutes you're going to get PO'd big time because you were told they were going to be there immediately. Most people understand if they've been broken into or their bike has been stolen out of their garage, that the perpetrator is long gone and there's no reason to immediately get there. If they tell you they'll be there in an hour they'll be satisfied about that. But we're caught in this thing where we've got to zip, zip, zip, zip, and that's what people expect.

I've been unfairly grinding crime into the dirt in this interview. What other topics would you like to address.
Going back to my background, I served on the board of trustees of Jackson Community College—an elected position. I served 10 years on that board, and served as chairman during the last four years. But one of the things we did was recognize that the college needed to have a working relationship with police and city government. I'm most proud of the fact that we developed a program that provided tuition scholarships to every underprivileged sixth-grader in the Jackson public schools. Every year we would have a tuition grant ceremony, where every sixth grader was handed a certificate that said they are entitled to the tuition-free scholarship, the only condition being that they successfully graduate. We didn't simply give it to them and walk away. We also had a program in place to keep up with these kids over the next six years, in many cases providing mentors through the public school system. It not only increased the graduation rate but provided mentoring to keep them out of trouble.

The first thing you heard howled was "we don't have any money to do that," but you know what? Every one of those kids who chose to use that scholarship was eligible for a Pell Grant because most of them came from disadvantaged homes. The college wasn't out of any money because they could provide for the tuition money for this kid going to school. The cost of it was minimal. The support part of the program, the mentoring aspect, we were able to raise from private donations from significant sponsors.

Let's get back to the budget. What will be your top priority?
Getting a hard copy of the budget doesn't tell the whole story. There has to be a financial review of the city from top to bottom by folks who understand the budget and finances. They have to look at revenue coming in and expenditures going out, and try to make some determinations. They have to drill down to the department level and down to the various sections, and line item by line item review everything. I guarantee you'll find that waste and that fat I talked about. I don't care who it is, or how conscientious they are, you're going to find waste and fat.

Now I read that the mayor plans a 3-percent cut in the budget, and I heard all the howls by department heads, but if you sat down with each one of them and looked at them, eyeball to eyeball, and you understand the ins and outs of a municipal budget—which I do—none of them would be howling, because I'd say ‘you know dog-gone well that ain't true.' They might be able to say it's impossible to trim the budget to the press, or say it to some councilman who doesn't understand, but they couldn't say that to me, because I've been there, and I've done that.

If you're talking about cutting staff or reducing hours the union will likely have an opinion.
Every job that I've held before I came here had a union. … I know about unions, and I know how to negotiate with unions, and I know how to still get things implemented. You can still do this in spite of a union or employee group. It all comes down to what is the right thing to do and what we need to do to get things fixed.

We briefly covered the Legislature's decision to remove cameras from some street intersections? Was that any of their business?
What I've learned about the Mississippi Legislature is that anything they decide to do is their business.

Yeah, but that was $150,000, just since October. I'm sure the city appreciated the money.
And therein lies the rub. Instead of talking about the efficacy of red-light cameras in reducing crime and traffic accidents, most of the focus was put on the revenue part of it, and I object to that. But if the reason we're installing these cameras is to reduce traffic accidents then let's do that, if they were, in fact, effective in doing that.

The city claims they reduced accidents by 67 percent.
I doubt if they could have that much data in that short amount of time to make that statement, but the problem I had with it was it de-emphasizes what I think is an important police function, which is traffic enforcement. Already, there is very little traffic enforcement going on in the city. Any police expert will tell you that aggressive traffic enforcement—traffic stops and those kinds of things—is a huge crime deterrent. You're likely to find people who are wanted for crimes, people with illegal guns. And people remember it when they see flashing blue lights. Going through a dumb traffic light with a flashing camera light does nothing. Then police start to rely on the cameras for traffic enforcement when they ought to be doing aggressive enforcement on their own.

How many cops do we have these days? Four hundred or so? Is that enough to handle traffic enforcement and handle calls for a city this size?
Yes, of course it is. Some of the most famous captures in law enforcement history have occurred as a result of traffic stops. Tim McVeigh was caught as a result of a traffic stop. A couple of mass murderers have been caught because an officer pulled them over—not because they were looking for that particular car, but because they saw something they thought was suspicious. Most police officers will tell you that an aggressive traffic-enforcement posture does a lot to prevent crime.

Yeah, but these guys are also supposed to be driving around the neighborhoods doing their beat—at least that's the impression I've gotten.
They should also be driving around their neighborhood enforcing traffic laws.

They can run to a home for a call and enforce traffic?
Of course. Here's a story that I always tell people. When I first came to Jackson as police chief, there was this lady in Clinton. She said, "When I'm driving around in Clinton I stop at stop signs. I don't roll through those because the Clinton police will give me a ticket, and I don't speed because they're tough on speeders, but I work in Jackson, and when I get on Highway 80, I put my foot down as I come into the city."

I said, "Why would you do that?" and she said, "because the police in Jackson have more important things to do."

Now if you got this kind of attitude from a generally law-abiding citizen you'll likely find it in a person who is willing to rob, rape or steal. They have no apprehension about getting caught at all, because there's no threatening impression they have of city law enforcement. But if you've got officers on Highway 80 who are stopping people speeding down Highway 80, most ne'er-do-wells will think twice about committing a crime, because the police are thought of as aggressive.

How will you keep yourself from micromanaging the police department? You clearly still have a love of the business.
True, but I have a love of other things to. I've managed big organizations. I know how to pick people who can get the job done, and by setting the tone and creating the vision and expecting people to follow that. There are a lot better police chiefs than I am. My goal is to hire one of them.

How do you feel about the bill allowing the city to adopt a 1 percent tax increase to fund police and road repair? As a business-owner, how does that tax increase strike you?
I'm not going to second guess the Legislature, but as a business-owner I've got two problems with it. One is the tax increase. I'm not a person who favors tax increases. We're taxed to death in Hinds County. The second is the creation of this commission that governs where this money is spent and how this money is spent. What I'm aggravated with is that the part of the bill dealing with the creation of this commission was not vetted with the public. If it had, you'd have found a much different reaction to it. For these reasons I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon and say this opportunity is good for Jackson. I'm certainly not ready to say that this commission should have the authority to direct this money.

This is a conversation I'll be having with our legislative delegation. Why weren't these provisions thoroughly vetted? Where was the discussion? It only became public knowledge after it got to the governor.

There are things that I haven't brought up that you'd like to discuss. Here's your chance.
I bring backbone to every job that I've ever tackled. Most of them have been tough jobs. Another thing I bring is leadership. There is nothing that I've ever tackled that I haven't been successful at doing, whether that's managing a $300 million budget for the department of corrections and bringing it in under-budget and on time, or being able to get two of the major prisons nationally accredited—even in the face of the Legislature passing a law that prevented me from getting our prisons accredited.

... Leadership is what I bring to the job, even in the face of obstacles and hindrances that are put in front of me.

Previous Comments

ID
145112
Comment

This interview of former Police Chief Robert Johnson (same name as the blues guitarist) shows clearly why we need him as mayor. The interviewer (Adam Lynch) points out that Chief Johnson " is not a camera person. He doesn’t smile for the lens. He doesn’t sing. He doesn’t dance. He also doesn’t act very much like a politician, which could work against him in a Democratic primary crowded with seasoned politicians." Well, duh! Given the crime, budget issues, and other problems facing Jackson, I would rather have a serious guy who gets things done - even under economic constraints. If I want a song and dance man, I will watch television. Everyone should read this interview who wants a serious man running Jackson. Ironically, the best endorsement of the Chief comes in the intro, where Adam Lynch says, "It's clear that Johnson has a lot of smarts, but he exudes a demeanor that makes lazy people uneasy - even those that don't work for him. There may be a reason for that." My guess is that the reason Robert Johnson will make some people uneasy when he is Mayor is that he works hard, gets results, and does not go along to get along. Looks like he deserves a lot more publicity than he has gotten so far!

Author
jacksoncal
Date
2009-03-25T19:55:37-06:00
ID
145122
Comment

I am inclined to agree with you jacksoncal. The interview impressed me and I am gonna have to find out more about Mr. Johnson. Also impressive is the great coverage the JFP is giving the candidates so far. Mucho kudos to Adam Lynch and the staff.

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-03-26T08:23:46-06:00
ID
145128
Comment

This man lead the Melton Transition Team and was fully involved with his campaign. Enough said for me.

Author
Razor
Date
2009-03-26T10:11:42-06:00
ID
145170
Comment

He was Melton's official campaign manager, I believe. I admit that concerns me as well. As a former police chief, it befuddles me that Johnson could have been fooled enough by Melton to sign on in such a visible way. And in a position who would be in charge of high-level hiring and appointments for the city, I would like someone who is not easily fooled.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-03-27T06:55:17-06:00
ID
145181
Comment

Even the best of them can be fooled.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2009-03-27T08:41:28-06:00
ID
145191
Comment

Ladd:"..I would like someone who is not easily fooled." So, the litmus test for being "easily fooled" is having been a supporter of Melton? If so, please include the majority of voters in the last municipal election, inclusing the majority of the candidates in the current mayoral race. Just as an FYI, I left the Melton campaign long before his election and I certainly did not lead his transition team. Call me what you will, easily fooled is not one of them. If you want to know my reasons for leaving, ask. I'm just not into writing mea culpa "love" letters to the newspaper about withdrawing my support for Melton...

Author
Robert Johnson
Date
2009-03-27T10:45:49-06:00
ID
145192
Comment

I liked Johnson as police chief; I thought he was one of the better chiefs we've had. And a lot of smart people believed the hype about Melton early on and supported him so I don't hold that against him.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2009-03-27T10:50:54-06:00
ID
145200
Comment

Robert Johnson, Who can we contact in Jackson, Michigan to verify the statements you have made above about your successes in that community? For you info on where I am going see this. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/the_2009_jfp_interview_with_frank_melton_part_iv_the_kids_032409/#c145199 (This is posted wit a time /time date of Mar 27, 2009/04:05 PM) I don't think you are easily fooled either. Your willingness to leave the Melton campaign speaks volumes about you ability to analze a situation and cut your looses in a timely manner. I only wish Colin Powell had done the same. For you info on where I am going see this.

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-03-27T15:16:52-06:00
ID
145205
Comment

Casual:"Who can we contact in Jackson, Michigan to verify the statements you have made above about your successes in that community?" The newspaper there is the Jackson Citizen Patriot. The Lansing State Journal covers Lansing, MI. I'm sure my career is well chronicled by both.

Author
Robert Johnson
Date
2009-03-27T16:39:57-06:00
ID
145208
Comment

Thanx

Author
FrankMickens
Date
2009-03-27T19:10:18-06:00
ID
145214
Comment

Kudos to Robert Johnson (if it is the real Robert Johnson) for dropping in on this discussion by replying to comments.

Author
jbreland
Date
2009-03-30T09:25:51-06:00
ID
145215
Comment

He's posted before so I would think that he is the real McCoy. Or, rather, the real Johnson.

Author
Jennifer2
Date
2009-03-30T09:46:33-06:00
ID
145406
Comment

Oh how I wish I could vote. But alas, I'm in the donut. Robert Johnson would have my full support. He does invoke accountability and that is what Jackson needs.

Author
Krystal
Date
2009-04-01T13:59:20-06:00

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