Jackson Mayoral Runoff: The Issues | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jackson Mayoral Runoff: The Issues

Tony Yarber (left) and Chokwe Antar Lumumba (right)

Tony Yarber (left) and Chokwe Antar Lumumba (right) Photo by Trip Burns.

Tony Yarber

Crime

In his five years as a councilman in a mostly residential ward, Yarber said he has worked with neighborhood associations to expand community-watch efforts and generate more interest in community-oriented police (COPS) meetings. Because of increased vigilance and cooperation among neighbors, Yarber pointed to a dramatic decrease in the number of house burglaries in the ward. He also links crime to poverty and inadequate education, which he includes as part of his economic agenda.

Infrastructure

Wants to the city to develop a care and maintenance plan for ditches and drainage systems. Believes the city should take advantage of mixed-use opportunities, such as U.S. 80, and green spaces.

Education

Supports strengthening of the "marriage" between the city of Jackson and the Jackson Public Schools. Created an education and youth ad hoc committee while city council president to, in part, help vet school board nominees.

Supports elected school board to increase the level of accountability of board members. Serves as a founding board member of Alignment Jackson, a multi-agency effort designed to support JPS.

LGBT

He would support strengthening the city's equal-opportunity employment statement, but said a pro-LGBT resolution is not the answer to the problem. Although Yarber did not propose a clear alternative, he did say, however, that he would ensure as mayor that the best people, no matter their sexual orientation, were selected for jobs. "Quite frankly, I think it's sad that they would have to have a resolution to get recognized as a group of people in a democratic society. So, I think the resolution is ceremonial, and it's nice, but it ain't the answer."

Jobs

Build capacity and train city workers toward becoming more self sufficient. Develop businesses that offer advancement opportunity for employees. Level the playing field with

Contracts

Wants to give contracts to people who hire Jacksonians and will be great partners with the city, including adding community engagement clauses to contracts.

Chokwe A. Lumumba

Crime

Is interested in a citizen review board to improve the relationship between officers and citizens. Although he says he is for raising wages of all city employees, he doesn't think it is a solution to crime. Says that providing opportunity to people is the solution. "Wherever you have high poverty, you have high crime," he said.

Infrastructure

Wants to build on his father's plan of turning infrastructure issues into economic development and job creation opportunities. He is disappointed with some of the things that Jackson Redevelopment Authority has done. Remains undecided on whether JRA should be eliminated all together, but he does believe there needs to be new appointments with fresh perspectives.

Education

Believes school board members need to be elected to be directly accountable to the citizens of Jackson so that the people have the right to remove those not doing their jobs. Generally against privately run, government funded charter schools. Doesn't want to rob public education. Also, wants a city-wide educational campaign where professionals visit JPS classrooms.

LGBT

Says, "I'm for human rights for human beings... So anything that supports human rights—that's what I'm in favor of." Calls for establishing a city human-rights commission that would review and monitor all city contracts and engagements to ensure that vendors, contractors, and businesses involved in city work do not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, national origin, nationality or class.

Lumumba said that although he has not spoken with any organized groups of the LGBT community, he is a supporter of human rights for all people and would be interested in seeing a proposal for a solution. Supports a city ordinance.

Jobs

Wants to turn infrastructure problems into job opportunities.

Contracts

Wants to spread out the contracts in order to increase tax revenues and number of home owners; sees that as an investment back into the city. Start programs to train potential contractors.

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