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1 0 N O . 14
contents JERRICK SMITH
6 Mired in Quagmire The JRA has reworked a deal for a proposed hotel development, but faces a Dec. 31 deadline. WILLIAM PATRICK BUTLER
Cover photograph Courtesy Heather McTeer
THIS ISSUE: Esperanza
The annual Esperanza Plantation Holiday Showcase at the Pix Capri features top musical talent. FILE PHOTO
gene moore The site also provides inspirational stories of how people have overcome or learned to live with their health problems. Moore does most of the work for yourhealthnote.com, but various physicians and health professionals donate their time. He has a few corporate sponsors, but mostly it is Moore’s passion and vision to provide a service to his fellow Mississippians that keeps the operation alive. “I am totally committed, regardless if I am the only one,” he says. After graduating from Summer Hill High School in Clinton, Moore, now 53, attended Jackson State University and graduated with a degree in mass communications in 1980. Moore and his wife, Toni, met at JSU. They’re married 27 years now, and spent 1980-1996 away from the Jackson area working in Illinois, North Carolina and Memphis, Tenn., before returning to Jackson. “Jackson is home,” he says of his decision to take the position with WJTV-12. “Jackson has great potential; Memphis struggled and has become a great city, and Jackson reminds me of Memphis in those days.” Moore has two children, Kiana and Kandis, 25 and 20 respectively. The girls attended Callaway High School followed by Tougaloo College, where the youngest still is. Kiana is now a teacher in Crystal Springs. “They are the joy of my life,” Moore says. —Richard Coupe
37 Cookin’ Up Christmas This year, let someone else cook the spread while you relax and enjoy friends and family.
41 Hooked Our Girl About Town makes plans to “hook up” and bakes some fancy cupcakes to boot.
Gene Moore is a chaser of dreams and determined to do what he can to leave the world a better place. In 2003, he left his position as the news director for WJTV-12 to start his own business, T-KAM Video Production. “No weddings,” he says with a wry smile. “We provide legal video services for corporations and law firms.” In the back of his mind, Moore always had a desire to use his skills to improve the lives of his fellow Mississippians. After many years of observing the serious health problems of those around him, he developed an idea to use the knowledge and experience he had gained after a career in TV news and video production. In January 2011, while maintaining his production company, he began a project to provide a resource to improve the quality of life. Service is a way of life for the Moores. His wife, Toni, works for Hudspeth Regional Center, an inpatient facility for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Moore used his own finances and long experience in communications to create yourhealthnote.com early this year. The website features webcasts on a variety of topics related to health, such as recipes for eating right with step-by-step instructions, exercise tips and access to medical professionals to answer questions.
4 ............. Editor’s Note 6 .......................... Talks 7 .. The Week in Jacktown 12 ................... Editorial 12 .................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 26 ............... Diversions 28 ....................... Books 29 ..................... 8 Days 30 .............. JFP Events 31 ........................ Music 32 .......... Music Listing 34 ...................... Sports 36 ................. Astrology 37 ........................ Food 39 ....... Girl About Town 41 ................. Body/Soul 42 ................. Gift Guide
Robbie Ward Journalist Robbie S. Ward has a master’s in public policy and administration from Mississippi State University and created the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival in Starkville. He blogs at starkvillecityjail.com. He wrote the cover story.
Richard Coupe Richard Coupe, avid fan of the beautiful game, husband, brother and father of four, is still wondering what he wants to be when he grows up. He wrote the Jacksonian.
Greg Pigott Greg Pigott is truly an avid fan of every kind of music. He’s also the guy who takes karaoke seriously. He wrote a music piece.
R.L. Nave Reporter R.L. Nave grew up in St. Louis, graduated from Mizzou (the University of Missouri), and lived a bunch of other places before coming to Jackson. He wrote Talks for this issue.
Casey Purvis Casey Purvis is a Fondrenite who loves planting flowers and watching birds in her backyard. She is owned by Phoebe, a 9year-old Lhasa apso. She works as a nurse in one of the local hospitals in her spare time. She wrote a book review.
Tam Curley Editorial intern Tam Curley loves telling about her move from liberal California to begin a new life with her hubby and daughter in conservative Mississippi. She is an Arkansas native and enjoys time with her two lab puppies. She co-wrote the food piece.
Tony Parkinson Tony Parkinson is a hardcore foodie, dining critic and wine aficionado. He has authored several books on cooking and health. He is originally from Staten Island, N.Y., but now calls Mississippi home. He wrote the Body/Soul feature.
December 14 - 20, 2011
Events editor Latasha Willis is a native Jacksonian, a graduate of Tougaloo College and the mother of one cat. Her JFP blog is “The Bricks That Others Throw,” and she sells design pieces at zazzle. com/reasontolive.
by Todd Stauffer, Publisher
Don’t Marginalize Women, Empower Them
’m not sure what Gov. Haley Barbour is “running” for now—vice president? chief of staff?—but I was dismayed to read about his recent speech in which he focused on how churches and church leaders need to help stave off “illegitimacy” in Mississippi. Well, dismayed and bemused. After all, it was reported last week that the fundamental reason that Barbour decided not to run for president was that his “opposition intelligence” was so embarrassing that the staffers assigned to do it didn’t want to confront him over it, according to Politico.com. So to see him fire up a quick “family values tour” has at least a whiff of irony. “I spoke about this yesterday in Tupelo and set a goal to reduce illegitimate births by half within five years,” Barbour said, according to the text of the speech. “The high illegitimacy rate isn’t the only negative facing Mississippi’s K-12 schools. Yet it does point us in the right direction for improving school results.” Not only did the governor reach into the dark recesses of the 1950s to find the term “illegitimacy” and apply it haphazardly to vast swathes of children in his state, but the governor balanced the rest of his vintage argument on another tottering old political sawhorse— the unwed, teen-aged mother. According to the governor, 55 percent of the births that take place in Mississippi are “out-of-wedlock, often to teenage girls. This isn’t a new problem, but it is a worsening problem. This is everybody’s problem,” he said. Which is true and interesting. I agree that there are things to be done on this front. But what surprises me most about this speech is what the governor didn’t say. In fact, there are two words that are completely missing from the text of the speech—I have the press release and did a word search. Those words are: “men” and “boys.” It seems to me that if you’re going to face the scourge of teenage births, and you decide to leave the male of the species out of the discussion entirely, you’re missing a fundamental part of the equation. You need a culture of accountability for males, who are at least half the problem when it comes to the issue of women getting pregnant when they shouldn’t. I think the bully pulpit provided to the governor would be a great place to make this point, but even the simple arithmetic of the phrase “it takes two to tango” seems to elude the Guv. First thing worth mentioning: Not all children born of teen-aged mothers necessarily had teen-aged fathers. You might get that mental image of “Jack and Diane” when politicians talk about teen-aged mothers; but it’s worth remembering that some young mothers are talked (or worse) into their circumstances by older boys and men. (The legal age of consent in our state, after all, is 16.) So, if you want fewer teenage or outof-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi, then
you’ll need informed and empowered young women who know their rights, know the biology and are encouraged to speak up by their culture. You also need young men who are held just as accountable as “teen mothers” for unwanted pregnancies. It begins with education. You’re going to need to have an intelligent plan for sex education in public schools, and abstinence-only doesn’t cut it. “Abstinence Plus” is a silly dance by legislators who apparently pretend to have no recollection of their own teenage years. But it’s all we have to work with so far. Barbour could start right now with an endorsement of Abstinence Plus; unfortunately, his response, as quoted in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, was to joke about it: “‘I don’t think that the problem with these kids is lack of sex education,’ outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour said Thursday. ‘I think they’ve got it down pat.’” Hill-arious, Haley. Pass the Dewar’s. Second, Personhood was an egregious over-reach on women’s rights, one that Barbour, in the end, publicly supported. If you’re going to back a constitutional amendment that forces any girl or woman to have a child regardless of rape, incest or health of the mother then you are—by definition—going to have more one-parent (and no-parent) children to contend with. Fortunately, stronger thinkers than the governor proved to be on this issue defeated the initiative. Third, Mississippi needs both a culture and a legal landscape that gives women the tools they need to get out of abusive relationships. Women in this state need to be able to leave and divorce men who abuse them, and
deadbeat dads on any level need to be held accountable—both by the law and by their communities and leaders. Not only did Barbour fail to prove a champion of such measures, but he’s also the governor who rather notoriously and inexplicably pardoned a series of men who had maimed or killed their wives or girlfriends in domestic disputes—a revelation Ronni Mott and Sophie McNeil first exposed here in the Jackson Free Press. Enough, in fact, that it was starting to look like a pattern there for a little while. (Maybe that was some of the opposition research that embarrassed his team?) So what, exactly, Barbour expects when he lays all this on the church’s doorstep isn’t clear. If he had at least said that churches should be turning out upstanding and respectful young men who learn to act with responsibility and dignity toward the women in their lives—that would, at least, be a start. But, remember, I did a word search. The only appearance of the word “men” in the speech had “wo-” in front of it. With Barbour headed out of office (and, probably, back to D.C.), maybe it isn’t worth it to try to prod him in a direction that might offer more progress for women in his home state. There’s a nice mix of laws, education and emphasis that the governor failed to address at all during his eight years in office. But if Barbour wants to make amends on his way out the door, he could do a lot better than call on clergy to solve the problem—he could step up to the microphone himself and put the emphasis on empowering women, not scapegoating them. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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news, culture & irreverence
JRA Faces More Hotel Hurdles
Thursday, Dec. 8 A man shoots a campus police officer at Virginia Tech before killing himself. â€Ś Gov. Haley Barbour sings the praises of skills-training programs at his Keep Mississippi Moving conference.
December 14 - 20,. 2011
Tuesday, Dec. 13 The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have died in Syriaâ€™s crackdown on a nine-month uprising in the country. â€Ś The National Center of Family Homelessness ranks Mississippi 49th in confronting the problem of child homelessness, and shows that the number of homeless children in the state is up 38 percent since 2007. Get daily news updates at jfpdaily.com.
did not return calls before this issue went to press. The terms of the deal outline that the JRA will issue $89 million in bonds to the developer and the developerâ€™s parent company would guarantee payments. If payments arenâ€™t made, the city will sue the company. In a worst-case scenario, the city could force the developer into bankruptcy and sell the hotel to someone else. The Jackson City Council and the city attorneyâ€™s office now have thick stacks of documents to review detailing the deal the JRA worked out to build the hotel. If the City Council approves the terms, the city will back the requested $89 million in bonds to build the hotel. The cityâ€™s credit rating will lower the interest rate enough to make the hotel deal feasible, the terms say. â€œThis is a deal that involves some risks,â€? Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. told 16 WAPT News. He explained that proceeds from the hotel would pay the debt, but if the proceeds were not enough to cover the debt, then the company would pay. If the company couldnâ€™t pay, the city would sue. The city has been between a rock and a hard place regarding the hotel project. The Jackson Convention Center needs the hotel, its advisers say, to attract more conventions and to make a profit. TCI, the Dallas, TexasHOTEL, see page 8
Wait, Wait: I Missed That
ampaigns in the United States have historically been a mix of facts and, um, â€œcreativeâ€? story-telling to win the hearts and minds of American voters. With presidential elections coming up in less than a year, itâ€™s time to start boning up on your campaign trivia so you can impress your friends. Start here. The answers are at the bottom.
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Monday, Dec. 12 President Obama marks the end of the war in Iraq, which lasted almost nine years. The American embassy in Baghdad is its largest, with more than 15,000 people stationed there. â€Ś The Center for Violence Prevention gives the Clinton Municipal Court its 2011 Angel Award for its efforts to protect victims of domestic violence and encourage intervention for abusers.
Balch and Associates, told the Jackson Free Press Tuesday. He did not explain why. The JRA board voted Friday, Dec. 9, to issue the bonds as long as a lawyer approved the deal. The Jackson City Council would also have to approve the terms. â€œIt has complexities,â€? John Reeves, vice chairman of the JRA board, told the JFP Tuesday. Reeves said the first lawyer had backed away from the project and that the second lawyer (from Basch and Associates) didnâ€™t want to get involved. He did not say if another lawyer was working on the deal. Jason Brookins, JRA executive director,
1. Who used the slogan â€œKeep Hope Aliveâ€? for his campaign? a. John Kennedy b. Franklin Roosevelt c. Barack Obama d. Jesse Jackson COWBOY FROM BROOKLYN TRAILER
Sunday, Dec. 11 The Denver Broncos, led by quarterback Tim Tebow, beat the Chicago Bears 13-10 in overtime. Bloggers rush to weigh in on evangelized Tebowâ€™s on-field religious displays. â€Ś The National Weather Service will recognize Raleigh, Miss., in Smith County, for its proactive approach to preparing for storms. Smith County is the most tornado-prone county in the nation, a Mississippi State study reports.
ith a Dec. 31 deadline looming for acquiring federal GO Zone bonds, the Jackson Redevelopment Authority faces another hurdle in issuing bonds for a proposed convention center hotel. After one lawyer questioned the legality of finding a developer for the project within 15 days as opposed to waiting the usual 30 days, JRA sought legal advice from Balch and Associates in issuing GO Zone bonds for the hotel. But now Balch and Associates wonâ€™t represent JRA, either. â€œWe were asked to represent, and we declined,â€? Chris Waddell, an attorney with
Saturday, Dec. 10 Republican presidential contenders make their pitches in a televised debate. Yes, another one. â€Ś The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet presents â€œThe Nutcracker.â€?
The Jackson Redevelopment Authority reworked a deal so that the developer of the proposed convention center hotel must cover all payments and shortfalls. JRA is expected to choose a developer at a meeting Friday, Dec. 16.
Friday, Dec. 9 Donald Trump says he might cancel plans to host a Republican presidential debate after only two candidatesâ€”Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorumâ€”agree to attend. â€Ś Police use pepper spray to control fights at a Greenville high school.
by Valerie Wells and Elizabeth Waibel
2. â€œReturn to Normalcyâ€? was which candidateâ€™s slogan? a. Ronald Reagan b. George W. Bush c. Warren Harding d. James Polk
3. How about â€œLet the People Ruleâ€?? a. Andrew Jackson b. William Henry Harrison c. Thomas Jefferson d. Richard Nixon 4. Who are the only two presidents buried at Arlington Cemetery? 5. What president served two nonconsecutive terms? 6. Whatâ€™s the average length of a candidateâ€™s TV sound bite these days? ANSWERS: 1, d; 2, c; 3, a; 4, John Kennedy and William Taft; 5, Grover Cleveland; 6, 7.2 seconds.
Wednesday, Dec. 7 Americans mark the 70th anniversary of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that launched the United States into World War II. â€Ś Snow flurries and slick roads may be to blame for a three-vehicle crash in Pearl that injures eight students on a school bus.
Of the six African Americans who have served in the U.S. Senate, two were from Mississippi, both elected during the Reconstruction era: Blanche K. Bruce (1875 to 1881) and Hiram Revels (1870 to 1871). Revels was the first black man ever elected to the U.S. Congress.
Gov. Haley Barbour praises community colleges and then warns about more cuts. p 10
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course. The course included a $95 emergency response manual and, upon completion, a NECI certificate. NECI Executive Director Charles Carter instigated the investigation when he sent a complaint to Pickering’s office in October 2007, accusing Graham of failing to obtain permission from the Mississippi Board of Emergency Telecommunications Standards and Training to conduct the training and of using copyrighted NECI materials without paying NECI. Carter said that aside from defrauding the state of Mississippi, Graham also defrauded the city of Jackson by conducting private contract work while on the city’s payroll, a practice commonly called double dipping. Graham, who did not respond to questions Monday, in June questioned why Pickering, who is a Republican, released the results of his investigation during an election year, considering Pickering’s office had been working on the case for four years. “The timing seems suspect,” said Graham whose Republican opponent for the District 1 supervisor’s spot, Roger Davis, dropped out of the race weeks before the Nov. 8 election. Graham defeated John Dennery, who took Davis’ spot on the ballot. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
HOTEL, from page 6
deal … and therefore will give full recourse and will give you the best deal,” Swerdling said. If the city did find another developer, however, Swerdling said he thinks TCI would sell the land to the city. The JFP reported in 2009 that TCI provided a timeline to the Mississippi Development Authority to secure its GO Zone funding eligibility. GO Zone funds will not be available after Dec. 31. The Jackson City Council will have to vote on the deal before issuing the bonds. See www.jfp.ms/hotel for full coverage of the convention-center hotel saga. Comment at ww.jfp.ms.
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Hood, said the agency’s policy prohibits her from confirming or denying an investigation. The trouble for Graham started in May 2011 when Pickering’s office issued a demand for wages Graham received from the city between 2004 and 2007 when he worked as a spokesman for Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham (left) hasn’t paid money the Jackson Police Dethe state auditor alleges he owes. partment. Citing time sheets, Pickering alleged ore than five months since receiv- Graham also conducted dispatcher certificaing a demand from Mississippi tion classes while on the city’s payroll. State Auditor Stacey Pickering, In June, Graham characterized PickHinds County District 1 Supervi- ering’s investigation as political. “I believe sor Robert Graham has not paid the $45,736 they’re going after me,” Graham told the the auditor said Graham owes the state. Jackson Free Press at the time. “I’m not findLisa Shoemaker, a spokeswoman for the ing anything coming out of the state auditor’s auditor, said that Graham has not paid the office on any relevant issue against Republimoney he received in salary as a city of Jack- cans, but I see that they’re investigating me.” son employee while, according to Pickering, Graham worked for the National Emeralso operating a private business. gency Communications Institute as a conShoemaker said the matter has been tract instructor. Emergency-response agenhanded over to an investigator from the cies such as fire departments and American state attorney general’s office. Jan Schaefer, Response Ambulance service paid Graham a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jim $495 each for their employees to take his
based developer tied to the project for years, however, owns the land. While earlier deals called for the city and developer to split responsibility for profits and losses on the hotel, city adviser Porter Bingham of Malachi Financial Group told the council Monday that state law does not allow that kind of partnership. JRA reworked the deal so that the developer must cover all payments and shortfalls. If the developer does not pay, the city can force them into bankruptcy. The developer for the project would likely be TCI, which bought the land where
the city wants to build the hotel during Mayor Frank Melton’s administration with his blessing. JRA has sent out a request for proposals to other developers. The deadline to submit proposals was Dec. 13. JRA is expected to vote on a developer Dec. 16. WAPT reported Dec. 13 that another developer did submit a proposal by the deadline, but that officials had not released the name. Bob Swerdling, managing director of Denver-based Swerdling and Associates, is advising the city on the hotel deal. He said he has not found any other developer other than TCI willing to take full recourse for the project. “In my opinion, TCI is captive in the
by Ronni Mott
Angel of the Court RACHEL BUSH
tic abuse in the Jackson suburb. The court has even set aside one day a month on its busy calendar to deal specifically with DV cases. That allows representatives from the center to be on hand to talk with victims, offenders, and prosecutors immediately and provide their recommendations. “They pulled together all the necessary elements to have a coordinated response,” Middleton said. “It’s just working so beautifully. … Everybody’s plugged in and trained.” While it’s too early to gauge whether the response is lowering the incidence of domesticviolence cases in the community, Middleton said that batterers in Sandy Middleton, executive director of The Center Clinton who have gone through for Violence Prevention in Pearl, presented the the center’s intervention program center’s annual Angel Award to the Clinton Municipal have had zero recurrence. Court this week. “The judges and I are just thrilled over the recidivism rate,” Middleton said. hen it comes to domestic violence, Judge Steven Price Nixon agreed with the best defense is an orchestrated, Middleton. “We sincerely appreciate the integrated justice system. That’s Center’s efforts in helping to prevent recidithe kind of system that earned the vism in domestic-violence cases and in seekClinton Municipal Court this year’s Angel ing to deal with the root issues that lead to Award from The Center for Violence Pre- domestic violence,” he said in a statement. vention on Tuesday. The CVP is a Pearl non“We have had notable success with their profit that provides shelter and advocacy for program, as reflected by the low rates of redomestic-violence victims and an offender- cidivism we see in our court, and we look intervention program. forward to continuing to work with them in CVP Executive Director Sandy Middle- the future.” ton said that the Clinton court has worked The CVP’s 24-week batterer’s intervenwith the group to provide a seamless response tion program, or BIP, is based on the Duto domestic-violence cases. luth Model, first implemented in Minnesota The court recognizes the need to pro- in 1981. The model provides a blueprint vide safety to victims, while putting the bat- for community response and inter-agency terer’s intervention program into its sentenc- coordination to stem the tide of domestic ing toolkit for offenders. violence. It recognizes that social and justice Every aspect of the Clinton justice systems work best together to protect victims system, from police and prosecutors, court from ongoing abuse, which is the overarchclerks to judges, has received training on the ing goal of every action within the model. causes and cures for domestic violence. EvFor example, police, prosecutors, and eryone works hand-in-hand to curb domes- judges need guidelines and training to re-
spond to domestic-abuse situations appropriately. Offenders need to be put behind bars when necessary, or be put into programs designed to give abusers the opportunity to change. All the while, social agencies provide victim safety and advocacy. It is this model that Clinton has taken to heart. Clinton municipal judges order abusers to take part in the intervention program, intended to confront abusers with their behavior and allow them to take responsibility and break the cycle of violence. The classes delve into abusers’ beliefs and show them how they use intimidation and emotional and economic abuse to control their victims. “It just works. If you can change the behavior and change the beliefs, the deep-seated beliefs of these offenders that they have a right to treat other people like that, then it’s magical,” Middleton said. “They don’t do it any more. They just stop. … It’s powerful.” She added that when victims see that they have the justice system behind them keeping them safe, they respond. “There’s a spirit of really wanting to empower the victims, which makes all the difference in the world,” Middleton said. Contact The Center for Violence Prevention at 601-932-4198 or visit mscvp.org. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
)T´S .OT 9OUR &AULT If you are the victim of abuse: • You did not cause the abuse. • No one has the right to abuse you. • Know that most children raised with abuse learn to use violence as one way to control others by using power and force. • Know that relationships based on fear, power and control are abusive. • Know that others understand why you would want to stay and that leaving a relationship is not easy. SOURCE: THE CENTER FOR VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Thurs. Dec. 15 9:15 pm at Hal and Mal’s
My Office Is Cooler Than Yours!
Nominate local offices for BOOM’s Coolest Office Contest by sending photos and an e-mail explaining why it’s a cool place to work to email@example.com by December 31, 2011. BOOM will choose finalists and send a team of judges in January to pick a winner. Winner will be featured in March 2012 BOOM and win a catered staff lunch.
d trified Wood an Handcrafted Pe s ck pi r Agate guita
Gorgeous Pakistani Onyx vases and bowls
Just In Time For Christmas Come by & see our gift shop.
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by Elizabeth Waibel
Barbour Touts Skills Training
Gov. Barbour said skills training can help keep teens in school and strengthen the economy.
at community colleges and universities. Fans and alumni should pay for intercollegiate athletic programs, not taxpayers, he said. Colleen Hartfield, vice president for community relations at Hinds Community College, said she is pleased the governor recognized the contributions that community colleges make. â€œWe very much view what we to at the community college as job creation, because people come to the community college
How to Win (or Lose) an Election
Phil Bryant, right, dramatically outspent Johnny DuPree in the race for governor.
December 14 - 20, 2011
ohnny DuPree faced an uphill battle in his race for governor this year. As a Democrat running in a state trending more Republican, an African American where people often vote along racial lines and a mayor without the state-level political experience of his opponent, his chances were slim. Having one-seventh of the funds that his 10 opponent had didnâ€™t help, either.
by R.L. Nave
ov. Haley Barbour is singing the praises of skills training programs at community colleges and high schools while warning of future budget cuts to education. Barbour spoke during his conference on work-force development Dec. 8. The conference was the second in a series of â€œKeep Mississippi Movingâ€? speeches that Barbour is giving during his last full month as governor. â€œIn the process of improving work force development, we have begun to de-stigmatize skills training, which was long overdue,â€? Barbour said. He added that expecting every student to go to college sets many students up for failure. â€œUniversity is not for everybody. But importantly, tens of thousands of our young people can and do and will continue to have great careers with high earnings and wonderful lives because of the skills that theyâ€™ve learned in work-force training.â€? Barbour said the economy needs more workers with skills in industrial jobs, construction, software and similar fields than people with college degrees. He called for introducing skills training in middle schools, when some students are thinking about dropping out. Community colleges are especially important to training Mississippiâ€™s work force, Barbour said, through trade programs as well as remedial classes to help high school graduates who are not ready for college classes. But community colleges can expect state appropriations to be reduced next year, he said. Barbour suggested that community colleges consolidate some of their administrative services. He said the state should reduce or eliminate funding for athletic programs
Smokinâ€™ the Polls
Lt. Gov. (now Gov.-elect) Phil Bryant, on the other hand, was already in a state-level position. He was practically the default successor to the popular Gov. Haley Barbour, who himself was a national Republican Party insider. The national party and the friends Bryant made through his years in Mississippiâ€™s political scene helped him build his campaign war chest. Through Oct. 29, when candidates turned in their pre-election campaign finance reports, Bryant had spent more than $5.5 million on his campaign, while DuPree had spent less than $750,000. The two candidates also had dramatically different pools of resources at the beginning of the year. At the end of 2010, Bryant had a little more than $2 million waiting to be spent. Through October, he raised almost $4.3 million to add to that. His biggest contributor was the state branch of the Republican Governors Association, RGA Mississippi PAC, which contributed $575,000. To compare, DuPree had just under $66,000 at the beginning of the year, and he
to train for a career,â€? she said. Still, Hartfield said community colleges have already taken a hit from repeated cuts in state funding. Since 2000, Hartfield said state funding for community colleges has declined by 24 percent, even as enrollment has increased by 50 percent. That means tuition and student fees have to make up a larger percentage of the schoolsâ€™ budgets. â€œA concern that we have is with further cuts in state funding, the community collegesâ€™ affordable tuition will become less affordable,â€? she said. Community college classes are typically much less expensive than those at a universityâ€”one of the reasons Barbour gave for increasing enrollment at community colleges. â€œOur concern is if the community college access is limited by rising tuition costs, thereâ€™s no way that the state is going to reach its goal of a more educated work force,â€? Hartfield said. Some of Barbourâ€™s money-saving suggestions recalled his proposals in years past for colleges to consolidate some of their services, and K-12 districts to draw from their cash reserves to cover some of their costs. A 2008 examination by the state auditor found, however, that most school districts said they cannot afford to set aside revenue for a rainy-day fund. Barbour called for investment in workforce development to attract factories for companies such as Nissan and Toyota. â€œWorkforce development and student aid is the area of education where we spend the least of our huge education budget, but it is the education sector which pays off the fastest,â€? he said. Currently, the budget for K-12 education is about $250 million less than state law
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requires. Although the law requires the Legislature to â€œadequatelyâ€? fund education according to a specific formula, it rarely does. Barbour also said â€œillegitimateâ€? births to teen mothers contribute to low education levels. â€œThe vast majority of failing students are first being failed at home,â€? he said. The governor said churches and others in the community should get involved in reducing the dropout rate. Currently, Jackson Public Schoolsâ€™ graduation rate is 63.6 percent. Barbour said churches should commit to educating students both inside and outside of their congregations by helping them study and encouraging them to stay in school. He also said churches should support and mentor mothers as they try to help their children succeed in school. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Elizabeth Waibel raised less than $1.2 million through October. He got $142,000 from the Democratic Governors Association, $42,000 of that for a polling memo. Most of what he received from his second biggest contributor came in the form of donated office space. DuPree himself was his third-largest contributor, donating more than $54,000 to his campaign.
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In the end, Bryant won the election with 61 percent of the vote; still, DuPree won 39 percent of the vote with considerably less money. Candidates must file their final campaign-finance reports Jan. 10. Those will cover contributions and expenditures from Oct. 30 through Dec. 31. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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by R.L. Nave
Another Landfill? R.L. NAVE
ll day long, hulking trucks rumble along North County Line Road to dump loads of rubbish at one of the areaâ€™s two waste dumps. At the north end of the road sits Republic Services Inc.-operated Little Dixie Landfill; at the far south end is a rubbish landfill, which Madison South Rubbish Landfill Inc. owns. Between those facilities lies a 160 acre-parcel of land where Hinds County wants to block a new landfill on North County landowner Mike Bilberry wants Line Road, arguing that more trucks like this one on the deteriorating roadway would be a taxpayer hardship. to put a third landfill. To say that the proposed landfill has met with resistance would be an needed an additional facility and that the adunderstatement. ditional costs would be burdensome for Hinds â€œThis is not the appropriate location for County taxpayers. Hinds County also raised another sanitary landfill,â€? said James Baker, concerns about environmental justice due to director of planning and administration the fact that eight black families live near the for Hinds County, at a recent board of super- proposed landfill. The Supreme Court upheld visors meeting. the environmental commissionâ€™s decision. Baker and other opponents note that Jim McNaughton, a Bilberry consultant Bilberryâ€™s landfill would become the fourth who worked for BFI (the former owners of garbage dump in Madison County. the Little Dixie landfill) for 18 years, said the The issue, which has dragged on for Bilberry family bought the land in the 1950s. more than 13 years, may soon reach a reso- Then, landfills sprang up all around them. lution. The Mississippi Department of Envi- McNaughton criticized MDEQ for makronmental Quality, which must grant a permit ing requests of Bilberry that it hasnâ€™t made of before construction of new landfills can move other landfills. forward, will hold a public hearing this week. MDEQ wants the Bilberry landfill, which At a previous would be shielded by trees hearing, held in June along North County Line 4RASH IN THE 53 2010 at Potterâ€™s House Road, to have a 500-foot MILLIONWRQVRIJDUEDJHSHU\HDU Fellowship Worship setback; the neighboring POUNDS RIWUDVKSHUSHUVRQHDFKGD\ MILLIONWRQVFRPSRVWHG Center in Jackson, resiLittle Dixie landfill has MILLIONWRQVUHF\FOHG dents complained that only a 50-foot setback and MILLIONWRQVXVHGIRUHQHUJ\ a new landfill could no screen. cause health problems Although he under4RASH IN -ISSISSIPPI for neighbors. stands the emotional re MILLIONWRQVRIJDUEDJHSHU\HDU PXQLFLSDOVROLGZDVWHODQGÂżOOV Hinds County, sponse to installing a landUXEELVKGLVSRVDOIDFLOLWLHVHJWUHH which has long opfill, McNaughton called OLPEVFRQFUHWH
posed the landfill, the facilities â€œnecessary WRQVRIVROLGZDVWHIURPRXWRIVWDWH argues that the area infrastructureâ€? from which already has too many everyone benefits. places to dump trash and that more trucks As evidence he cites the amount of refuse traveling along the deteriorating roadway, that individuals generate. Each year, Ameriwhich Hinds maintains, will unfairly burden cans generate about 250 million tons of trash, the countyâ€™s taxpayers. or about 1.5 tons per person, according to the â€œThis seems to be a Madison County is- Environmental Protection Agency. sue but is using a Hinds County road,â€? DisMississippi accounts for 6.5 million tons trict 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher said at last weekâ€™s of the nationâ€™s total. Republic Services reportmeeting. He added that if MDEQ grants the ed 17 more years of capacity at Little Dixie, permit and the project moves forward, â€œMadi- according to information from MDEQ. The son should pay for (maintenance of) the road City of Canton reported 150 years of life at the or find another route to get there.â€? city-owned landfill. The kerfuffle between the counties dates People who oppose the landfills often ask back to December 2003 when Madison McNaughton if something can be done with County amended its waste management plan trash besides putting it into the ground. to include a third landfill, a step the state reTo that he has a simple answer: â€œIf you quires before building a landfill. After state en- stop putting your garage out at the curb, then vironmental regulators approved the Madison there are no more landfills.â€? County plan, Hinds County objected, appealAn MDEQ public hearing regarding ing MDEQâ€™s decision to Chancery Court and the proposed Bilberry landfill takes place on ultimately to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at Tougaloo Collegeâ€™s Hinds County argued that MDEQ Holmes Hall. failed in its duty to determine whether the area Comment at www.jfp.ms.
opining, grousing & pontificating
Can We Learn from the Hotel Morass?
s the city administration and the Jackson Development Authority scramble to close a convention-center hotel deal filled with “complexities” (as JRA member John Reeves put it), the situation should make the rest of us wonder: How can we avoid being in this place again? At the Jackson Free Press, we’ve warned for five years now about the possible pitfalls of relying on companies related to controversial Texas businessman Gene Phillips to get a convention-center hotel in place. Before the convention center was built, we even did our homework and reported on the problems with making a convention center successful—warning explicitly that we would need an expensive convention-center hotel that could really set the taxpayers back. But this isn’t we-told-you-so time. Well, not exactly. We don’t want to rub city residents’ noses (too) much in the fact that voters elected a mayor (Frank Melton) because he told all sorts of people exactly what they wanted to hear. We won’t make (too) much of the fact that many folks voted for him due to empty promises to cure crime in 90 days (actually, it went up on his watch). And we won’t harp (too) much on the fact that many business folks and developers supported a ridiculous choice for mayor because he told them they could do anything they want and that he would get out of the way for them to do business. What we will hammer home as our warnings prove true is the fact that now is the time to start making smarter decisions for the future—and based on much more than who is willing to scream the loudest about crime. We hate to tell you, but scary mailers about crime rankings usually have someone paying for them who are focused on control and profit, not how safe your neighborhood really is. Candidates who care about safety aren’t going to promise you the moon, or even scream warnings out to specific criminals (remember Melton’s inaugural?); they are going to lead efforts to bring evidence-based crime prevention to the city. That is, they are going to take a longer view than we are used to seeing. Likewise, the hotel mess tells to be more questioning about potential development. Flood control was delayed for years because supporters of a doomed project told us it was the only way and had little challenge (until the JFP came along, anyway). Likewise, we hear constantly about various large-scale developments wanting public money and bonds and guarantees, regardless of their pitfalls. We really wish someone in charge was tracking a total of what the taxpayers really have on the line if we go along with every big development idea. Smart development is good, and we support it. But the last thing we need is more mindless cheerleading of a project, or an out-of-state developer, because the PR materials look good. Jackson citizens must demand more accountability, evidence and long-range vision from city officials, JRA and private developers. We can’t afford to blindly hurl every project against the wall, shored up by public dollars, to see what sticks. We’ve done that for too long.
Survive, Thrive, Stay Alive
December 14 - 20, 2011
rother Hustle: “Newt the Ging-Grinch said this about poor people and children: ‘Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of “I do this and you give me cash,” unless it’s illegal.’ “Wow! Mr. Ging-Grinch must not have known folk like my granddaddy Hustle. He was a poor man from a small southern town who migrated up north to work at the steel mills in Pittsburgh, Pa. When he first arrived in the big city, granddaddy bought a bucket, soap, scrub brush, mop and rag with his last two dollars, and cleaned houses for the rich folk on the hill. Eventually, Granddaddy Hustle worked enough odd jobs and put himself through trade school to be a master plumber. “Also, my Grandmamma Hustle cleaned, cooked and babysat in a lot of affluent households. Yes, I grew up in a poor neighborhood and witnessed my grandparents showing up every Monday through Saturday all day and night working for rich folk who think like Mr. Ging-Grinch.” “With all that said, I invite all hardworking poor and middle class who want their own business in 2012 to take my Compensatory Investment Request (Begging 101) Post Christmas Holiday Entrepreneur Workshop, sponsored by the Aunt Tee Tee Hustle School of Business and Technology. Our 12 motto: Hustle to survive, thrive and stay alive.”
Noise from the blogs @jacksonfreepress.com
‘The War Outside’ In his column last issue, Brad “Kamikaze” Franklin wrote about the “war outside” against the poor and called on readers to do everything in their power to help the lessfortunate. It drew several responses. “I’m a firm believer in these two things: “1. We are ALL one paycheck away from being homeless and hungry. “2. You never know whom you’ll be asking for a drink of water.” —Duan C. “Three times I have eaten food provided by the Salvation Army and the Red Cross—after the Easter Flood of ’79, Hurricane Andrew and then Katrina. I will always dump a few dollars their way.” —Rico “Now I know tons of people ... who will take advantage of situations when it presents itself and that bothers me. God love’ em—but you really want to save it for those who really do need it. “Like the year the fella was giving away turkeys on Gallatin Street one year. My wife knew damn well we didn’t need one, but just because someone was giving them away for free, she went and got one! “Now we are not rich by a long shot, however, we both work and we were both able to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving so there was no need to get one of those turkeys.” —Duan C. “Whatever anyone does, just give somewhere and to somebody. We are drowning out here (charities in general). “There is an increase in demand every year for the past three years and a decrease in the amount of
giving and the amount of state dollars that we are given. So, please give what you can give to your church, your local shelter, your local kitchen—whomever you like to give your money. “But this year and next year do not need to be the years of ‘oh, someone else will handle that.’ From all the outlooks we are given from sort of ‘inside’ the situation, it’s still looking bad.” —Lori G “I get sick of hearing about ‘charity’ during November and December. I am the first one to say, do what you can when you can. But it really trips me out that all these ‘saving grace’-minded folk come to the forefront when they want to bring attention to this organization or that one. Where are you all year long? “Poor people are not just poor during Christmas. And, all poor people are not homeless or jobless. The fact that it seems like the people who need the tax write-offs only surface when it ‘looks good’ is a simple statement to the fact that in this country there are more selfish people than self-less ones. “There are people who don’t even show up in the studies and surveys that these charities claim to be helping. They stop at the doorstep of the friend of a friend who can’t buy Christmas gifts. “Charity can’t be seasonal or else it should be called something else—gimme a minute, I’ll come up with a better name for it. “Having said all that, give what you can, just don’t wait for the holiday season to do so. That turkey will be gone in a day, then they’re hungry again.” —Queen601 Join the conversation at www.jfp.com.
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or the past two months, Americans have struggled to figure out what exactly the Occupy Wall Street movement is about. Who are the protesters? What do they stand for? What is their agenda? Many have asked these questions, but no one has seemed to produce a solid answer. The protesters are clearly frustrated with the status quo in America. To borrow from a popular â€™90s-era rock band, there is a rage against the machine. While the Occupy movement has named a long list of villains, one consistent target has been higher education. For most of the past century, American kids have been sold the college dream: If they obtain a college degree, they will be rewarded with a good job and a stable career. This message has been preached for good reason; statistics show that college graduates on average earn more than $1 million more than their less-educated counterparts throughout their lifetime. For a long time, the simple fact that a student had a degree demonstrated to potential employers that a person was capable of learning and therefore, qualified for employment. American magazines and television interviews are filled with rags-to-riches stories where college degrees help spring people up the socio-economic ladder. Americans for the most part bought into the college dream. Higher education has seen growth almost unparalleled by any other industry for the past four decades. U.S. Department of Education statistics show that enrollments at American degreegranting institutions have come close to tripling since 1970. As America shifted from low-skill to high-skill jobs during the latter 20th century, bachelorâ€™s degrees went from being commodities to near necessities for participating in the American economy. After Congress removed income caps from federally backed student loans in 1978, students were basically able to attend any college they qualified for, and the college arms race began. The explosion of for-profit colleges such as the University of Phoenix and Strayer University opened college access to an entirely new population of non-traditional students and jumpstarted the online degree movement. Students can now earn two-year, four-year, and advanced degrees without ever leaving home. While a college education is still essential to thriving in most American industries, a shifting economy, growing student-loan debt, and high unemployment and underemployment among recent graduates require that we reconsider the college dream. Student-loan debt is set to hit a trillion dollars in 2011, and many Americans have no clue how they will pay off their loans. Many analysts considered student loans to be one of the most inflexible debts:
Student loans cannot be discharged during bankruptcy and hover above the heads of indebted graduates like the anvils in old Bugs Bunny cartoons. The great recession has had a catastrophic effect on recent college graduates even for those lucky enough to find jobs. Shifts in the economy have left many questioning the viability of certain degrees. A recent proposal on slate.com by Yale law professors Akhil Reed Amar and Ian Ayres suggests that law schools pay lower-performing students to quit. Despite an arguable decrease in economic value over the past decade and a half, the price of four-year degrees at most American universities has drastically increased. Driven by decreased state financial support, tuition rose again across the country at twice the rate of inflation in 2011. This continues a trend that has been in place since the early â€™90s. To put it simply, we now pay a lot more for college degrees that are arguably worth a lot less than they were 20 years ago. The status quo in higher education is unsustainable. Young people are paying attention. They see their older siblings and friends graduating with outlandish studentloan debt burdens and decreased job prospects, and are asking questions. Some of those who went through the system and feel bamboozled are speaking outâ€”at the occupy protests, on blogs, on social networks and on editorial pages across the country. For many, the college dream is starting to sound like a myth, and a revolution against the system is brewing. If we continue down this same path, America may end up with a higher-education version of the 2008 financial crisis. It is time for a serious look at the way we operate post-secondary institutions from both a federal and state perspective. In a world where independence is valued but resources are limited and diminishing, we need a serious focus on systematized planning and alignment. Most importantly, we must have a goal and a purpose for higher education. The president has consistently said that he wants the U.S. have the worldâ€™s highest degree-attainment rate. While a noble goal, a nation that leads the world in attainment rate at the cost of student-loan debt hindering an entire generation leaves a lot to be desired. Anthony Hales Jr. is a graduate of Jackson State University and recently finished a masterâ€™s degree in public policy at George Mason University. He lives in Washington, D.C., and is co-founder of the Seville Skills Foundation (sevilleskillscamp.org or facebook. com/sevilleskills), a non-profit that teaches life skills to urban youth through sports. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CORRECTION: In â€œHoney, I Shrunk My City!â€? (Vol. 10, Issue 13, Dec. 7-13) We incorrectly published the wrong end date for the exhibit. The exhibit is on display through Jan. 15. The Jackson Free Press apologizes for the error.
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