February 1 - 7, 2012
February 1 - 7, 2012
1 0 N O . 21
contents M.V. JANTZEN
6 Arena Dreams City Council gives the OK to a D.C. firm to study the economic impact of a sports areana. MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Cover design by Kristin Brenemen
An odd tale of a pardoned trusty with an Aryan Brotherhood tattoo who traveled to Wyoming. COURTESY NEW STAGE THEATRE
andrea lynn phillips had complications that could be taken care of if they had early medical care,” she says. Phillips credits her success and the success of her three siblings to her parents, who instilled the love of reading and service in their children. Her late father, Clarence, was a high school principal before becoming a guidance counselor, and her mother, Bernice, is a retired home-economics teacher of 35 years. In 2001, her parents received their golden diplomas, which are given at 50-year class reunions, from Jackson State. “That meant a lot. They were great examples,” Phillips says. Her siblings are business owners and a teacher. Phillips tries to instill the love of reading in her two children, Alicia, who is in her mid-30s, and Justin, 20. She is a member of Central Medical Society but recently removed her membership from the Mississippi State Medical Association because it took a stand against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “There are things in it I don’t agree with … but it’s for the greater good. These people aren’t lying around. They are working people,” Phillips says of her patients. Along with her practice, Phillips’ focus is clinical research. She has worked in more than 60 trials as an investigator to ensure minorities are represented well. “Women, black people, elderly … are underrepresented in drug development,” she says. —LaShanda Phillips
26 Scrimmage New Stage Theatre presents “Lombardi,” a play about a coach who did the right thing.
36 Popeye These spinach-pie appetizers will give you strength when you need it. And they taste great.
Dr. Andrea Lynn Phillips does a lot with a little at her practice, Phillips Medical Services. She and her staff of seven provide medical care to mostly uninsured patients at a discounted price at the Westland Plaza Clinic (909 Ellis Ave., 601-948-8501). Several people have asked her why she chooses to work in west Jackson, an area that’s declining. Phillips stuck with her location after she spent one unfulfilling year, in 1995, at a well-known practice in Flowood. “Serving the underserved … I have a particular calling to serve those. They deserve as good of care as anyone. My mission is to provide quality care with dignity,” Phillips says. The Mendenhall native has lived in Jackson for 30 years. She received her bachelor’s in chemistry in 1979 from Jackson State University and her medical degree in 1987 from the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After spending half her career working for other people, she opened Phillips Medical Services 11 years ago. “I decided it was time to do it the way I always envisioned it,” she says. Phillips decided to become a doctor after volunteering at a Mendenhall clinic while she was in high school in 1974. Some of the tasks she helped with were changing the dressings on diabetics with ulcers on their legs and feet and taking vital signs. The less-than-quality treatment that some of the poor patients received sparked a flame in her to help. “They
4 ..............Editor’s Note 4 ................... Slowpoke 6 .......................... Talks 10 ................... Business 12 ................... Editorial 12 ................. Mike Day 12 ..................... Stiggers 13 .................. Opinion 26 ............... Diversions 28 ......................... Film 29 ..................... 8 Days 30 .............. JFP Events 31 .......... Music Listing 34 ...................... Sports 39 ................. Astrology 39 ..................... Puzzles 41 ................. Body/Soul
Return for Oz
Dafna Linzer Dafna Linzer is a reporter at ProPublica. Her coverage of Guantanamo and federal detention won the 2010 Overseas Press Club award for General Excellence and was honored by the American Bar Association. She co-wrote the cover story.
Jennifer LaFleur Jennifer LaFleur was the computer-assisted reporting editor for The Dallas Morning News, and on the investigative team. She has won awards for disability, legal and opengovernment issues coverage. She co-wrote the cover story.
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. Contact him at 601-362-6121 ext. 12 with story tips. He contributed to the cover package.
Clay A. McCollum Clay A. McCollum recently graduated from the University of Mississippi with degrees in voice and French. He plans to begin a master’s program in music history and criticism. He wrote a play review.
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 for this issue.
Alonzo Lewis II Alonzo Lewis II is a native of Coila, Miss. He started cooking at age 5. He is a writer for The Examiner and owns Coila’s Crossroads Bistro. His motto is “Food so good that it will make your tongue slap your brains out.” He wrote a food piece.
Bryan Flynn Sports writer Bryan Flynn is a lifelong Mississippi native who just moved to north Jackson. When not writing for the JFP, he writes a national blog, playtowinthegame.com. He lives with his wife and their four cats. Follow him @jfpsports.
February 1 - 7, 2012
At the “Hindsonian” at Hinds Community College, Mike Day won top cartoonist awards from the Mississippi Press Association and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association in New York. He was also a cartoonist for the Hattiesburg American.
by Donna Ladd, Editor-in-Chief
Choosing The Light
n my line of work, people like to talk trash about you. And there’s really something about a woman speaking her mind that just hacks off a lot of men, and some women. And Lord help me if I dare tell them they can’t do the nasty all over the Jackson Free Press website (inevitably using a cowardly fake name). They go off and start websites, and blogs, and Facebook pages to mete out their revenge. We’re used to it by now. Let’s see: years ago, the Jackson Freak Press website was ostensibly a “parody,” including a drawing of me “whipping” Todd and a link of the actual name of a friend’s child to a picture of genital warts. As I recall, our main crime was criticizing the Iraq War and George W. Bush before others did. And, of course, being too “liberal.” Hilarious, huh? Then there was the guy who got kicked off our site twice—he begged back on once— for getting crazy out of control any time immigration came up, even threatening to kick a Hispanic reporter’s ass for challenging him. We didn’t believe he would do it, but this isn’t the kind of person you want around, so we expelled him on the second strike. Since then, he’s concocted some humdingers about me and the JFP—from stating as fact that I had posted something on The Clarion-Ledger site (about the POTUS; I didn’t), to saying I was defending Robbie Bell for not reporting Heather Spencer’s death sooner (I didn’t; he twisted a comment from me criticizing her; I sarcastically added that the only excuse for not calling the police sooner was that she was zonked out from sleeping pills; this genius turned it into me only saying she was zonked out from sleeping pills as if I was defending her), to calling me a journalistic “slut” for giving Sheriff McMillin a forum to dispute some character assassination that blog had inflicted on him without asking him to respond. And you wouldn’t believe the whoppers and the exaggerations and the half-truths and outright lies I’ve seen about our company and our staff in cyberspace. It’s par for the course. But I learned several years back to not “feed the troll.” They crave attention, and if I give it to them by responding, then they pile on saying I’m “playing the victim” or acting like I caused the whole thing in the first place rather than showing up to set their false claims straight. If I challenge one of their lies, they suddenly claim it was “opinion” (clearly not having learned libel law) and their “constitutional” right. (One doesn’t have a constitutional right to lie about others.) So for the most part, I’ve chosen to ignore them. These guys are playing at what they do, and we are not. Most are scared to attach their names or, heaven forbid, say the same thing to people’s faces. I attach my name to everything I write, and I will say anything I write to their faces, as a couple of them have discovered. I am not afraid of the phone, and I can look someone in the face and be direct.
But some of it is becoming hard to ignore: These blogs (and their commenters) are bashing women and being cheered on for it. Usually the worst they call a man is a communist or a wimp or some other sophomoric phrase. When talking about women they disagree with, though, the language gets more disturbing, and is often steeped in the language of sexual violence: whore, slut, skank, even the c-word. They often tuck it into something they think looks acceptable. (As in “journalistic slut.”) They are more likely to talk about a woman’s body parts than they are her legal argument. Last week I learned that a local man had posted a vicious diatribe on a Facebook page clearly created for complaints about not winning Best of Jackson awards. Remarkably, he chose to create a long, false story about me, call me the “c*nt in chief” of the Jackson Free Press and attach his real name to it. He wrote that I was banned from a domestic-abuse fundraiser last fall (while I was on vacation) because I was such a horror to people there that the mother of Heather Spencer herself threw me out, and banned me and other JFP people from future events. I guess this dude thought we antidomestic-abuse women don’t talk to each other. But I immediately called Heather’s mother on her cell, who called the organizer of the event, Mary Ann Kirby, who kindly sent me a statement disavowing knowledge of the lie without me asking for one. I then looked up the guy’s home number and dialed it; his elderly parents told me they’d never heard of him. I blogged about it, outing him by name and posting the statement.
Then something different happened. The culprit messaged me on Facebook and apologized. Numerous times. He told me his lie was costing him friends he’d had since middle and high school. He said he has a problem with hurting people and promised to get help. He wanted to make it right. A cynic might say that he was afraid of getting sued. But I chose to believe him because you have to be broken to do what he did to me, and to himself—and to lie about someone you don’t know. He wanted to make it right; I told him to come completely clean under my blog post and while he was at it, to apologize to all women for using the c-word. He did all that, and even posted it back on the anti-JFP Facebook page later that day. I like to think good will come out of this incident. I chose to confront it publicly because it was so egregious and involved other good people. But when he showed up with an apology, I realized it was the first time I’d seen any of the hate-slingers I’ve dodged over the years actually be man enough to apologize. And I was thrilled to see how many other people were speaking out against his scam publicly and to me (and apparently him) privately. That’s the way to change it, folks. I believe there are two types of people in the world: builders and destroyers. You either spend time trying to build a better future for all, or you tear other people down. Destroyers can change, even when it’s pitch black all around. They just have to reach for the light. That evening, I wished my new, uh, friend well and told him: “It’s never too late to become a better, more respected person. … I’m rooting for you.” And I meant it.
All the way from Nepal, just for your sweetheart!
Silk scarf in handmade paper box.
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news, culture & irreverence
Thursday, Jan. 26 The U.S. Department of Defense proposes limiting troop pay raises, increasing health insurance fees for retirees and closing some U.S. bases. â€Ś City of Jackson code enforcement officers add 27 properties to its list of â€œgrass-and-weedsâ€? or â€œboard-upâ€? cases to resolve. The process allows residents 15 days to correct the problems. Friday, Jan. 27 The U.S. Commerce Department reports that the nationâ€™s economic output grew at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter. Economists say this means another recession is unlikely. â€Ś Skylar Laine Harden, 17, of Brandon is one of 40 candidates on the new season of Foxâ€™s â€œAmerican Idol.â€? Saturday, Jan. 28 Riot police attack Occupy Oakland protestors with tear gas and arrest 300 people, including at least five journalists covering the conflict. â€Ś BP emails show the company tried to hide the Deepwater Horizon oil-spill rate. Sunday, Jan. 29 A Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction audit shows that the U.S. Defense Department cannot account for about $2 billion in Iraq-related expenses. â€Ś More than 1,000 partygoers celebrate the Best of Jackson 2012 with the Jackson Free Press at the King Edward Hotel.
February 1 - 7, 2012
Monday, Jan. 30 President Barack Obama hosts a Google+ Hangout from the West Wing of the White House. â€Ś Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announces that authorities found pardoned trusty Joseph Ozment in Laramie, Wyo.
Tuesday, Jan. 31 The winner of the Florida Republican primary gets 50 delegates at the GOPâ€™s national convention this summer. â€Ś Blacks in Mississippi have less access to affordable, reliable broadband service, a report says. Daily news updates at jfpdaily.com.
Arena Back on the Table
ity leaders fear that one day, the USA International Ballet Competition could leave Jackson because Thalia Mara Hall needs about $9 million in repairs. â€œWe stand the risk of losing it to other cities,â€? Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. told the Jackson City Council during its Jan. 24 meeting. He said other municipalities would jump at the chance to host the IBC. The council voted Jan. 24 to pay an outof-state firm to study the economic impact and need for an entertainment and sports venue in Jackson. Brailsford and Dunlavey of Washington, D.C., will evaluate the feasibility of a sports arena and suggest the best size, cost and location of a new facility. Theyâ€™ll also schedule the first three months of events. After the city issued a formal request for proposals and received responses, an internal committee selected Brailsford and Dunlavey. Mayor Johnson said that a private group had raised $70,000 in pledges for an arena study in 2010. â€œThey hit a snag,â€? the mayor said. â€œI decided to take it over. We werenâ€™t able to get $70,000 in pledges.â€? The city is still seeking private funds to help offset the costs. The city is tying the possible sports arena to the future of Thalia Mara Hall. Brailsford and Dulaveyâ€™s sports arena study will cost $109,000; an additional Thalia Mara Hall study will cost no more than $15,000. The firm will study the hall for the economic im-
At the Jan. 23 work session, representatives from Brailsford and Dunlavey told the council how they would conduct the study. Jason Thompson, a senior associate with the firm, said that the initial step is a market study. Next would come a feasibility study, then an impact study. The final step is implementation, and City leaders are tying the future of Thalia Mara Hall to a Thompson said his firm sports-arena economic-impact study. would plan the first two or three months of events pact its improvements might have on Jacksonâ€™s and operations. They will even develop a budcentral business district. get for a sports arena. â€œThis is not a cookieThalia Mara Hall has had improvements cutter study,â€? he said. in recent years, including a new roof, new Brailsford and Dunlavey specializes in seats, a new orchestral shell and a new floor. program management and facility planning It still needs $9 million of work. â€œIBC is one for schools, universities, sports organizations of our biggest tourist venues,â€? Councilman and municipalities. Quentin Whitwell said at the Jan. 24 City The firm would consult with Dale PartCouncil meeting. â€œSupport of our arts is criti- ners Architects, a Jackson firm, and SOL cal. We could spend a little to make a lot.â€? Engineering, also based in Jackson. In addiCouncil members had a chance question tion, Brailsford and Dunlavey will work with the proposed study before voting. Chicago-based CLK Consulting, a firm that â€œWhat is this group going to tell us that specializes in operations and programming of we canâ€™t figure out for ourselves?â€? Ward 2 sports events. Councilman Chokwe Lumumba asked. ARENA, see page 7
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by Valerie Wells
Wednesday, Jan. 25 The Federal Reserve says will continue to hold down interest rates for 18 months to spur growth. It plans to keep short-term interest rates near zero until late 2014. â€Ś The Mississippi Development Authority promotes drilling for natural gas in the Gulf of Mexico to help the stateâ€™s economy.
Franklin D. Roosevelt issued the largest number of presidential pardons of any U.S. president, at 3,687.
Harrison Michael II is one of 11 people vying for the Ward 3 council seat. p8
You know it had to happen. Theyâ€™re too cowardly to put their real names to their angry posts. If you watch closely enough, you realize they must be using the Anonymous Blogger playbook. Here are top entries: â€˘ â€œOnly ignorant s@#$s and c$%^&s disagree with me.â€? â€˘ â€œIt is my opinion that _____________ is a liar, embezzler and a murder.â€? â€˘ â€œEveryone I hate is a Marxist!â€? â€˘ â€œDonâ€™t you dare call me a fascist!â€? â€˘ â€œBahahahahahahahaha.â€? â€˘ Anything and everything starting with â€œHmmmmmmmmâ€Śâ€? â€˘ â€œWhatâ€™s up with that attorneyâ€™s breast size?! Bahahahaha.â€? â€˘ â€œHey, baby, you donâ€™t know me, but I love those pink shorts you wore yesterday.â€? â€˘ â€œI was banned from that site because I disagreed, not because Iâ€™m a jerk.â€? â€˘ â€œIt is my constitutional right to tell any lie about anyone at any time and place of my choosing.â€?
â€˘ â€œItâ€™s Jim Hoodâ€™s fault.â€? â€˘ â€œDonâ€™t you dare talk back to me; thatâ€™s violating my free SPEACH RITES!â€? â€˘ â€œYouâ€™ll have to pry my cold, dead hands off this keyboard before Iâ€™ll step outside this attic.â€? â€˘ â€œTalk to people? You mean, in person? For real? Hmmm. No.â€? â€˘ â€œPeople who challenge me are playing the victim. And they suck eggs.â€? â€˘ â€œIâ€™m so misunderstood.â€? â€˘ â€œDern it, I slept on my tin-foil hat again.â€? â€˘ â€œLetâ€™s not sugarcoat it: Black people commit crimes.â€? â€˘ (Then) â€œWhy does everyone make everything racial? All thatâ€™s behind us.â€? â€˘ â€œI use a fake name on my blog so people wonâ€™t know I also do most of the comments. Shhh.â€?
news, culture & irreverence
ARENA, from page 6
Some councilmen were skeptical that an arena would draw people. “We are not a major market,” Ward 6 Councilman Tony Yarber said. “We don’t have a major sports team.” “A sports team is definitely not necessary for a project like this,” Thompson answered. “A sports team takes up the best dates.” The firm would look at the demand in the Jackson market and make suggestions based on it, Thompson said. First, the firm would look at the possibility of having a sports tenant, possibly with a small semi-pro league. Then, the firm would look at touring shows, such as Disney on Ice, and determine if enough people in central Mississippi would pay to see them. Next, the firm would evaluate the feasibility of high-school and college events. “Some arenas have a college team tied to it,” Thompson said. Yarber wanted to know if Thompson meant that the first thing to do is to bring in a sports tenant.
“We are not here to push you,” Thompson said. His firm will look at the market and see what Jackson can support. When Council President Frank Bluntson asked him about size, Thompson said it depends on what the study shows. He said he was hesitant to throw out a number, but that if he had to guess before doing the study, he thought Jackson might support a mid-size arena. The firm is looking at sites in the area bounded by Fortification Street, U.S. Highway 80, Gallatin Street and the Pearl River. “We don’t want to cannibalize what is already happening,” Thompson said. “We will look at what is going on. Don’t do this project at the expense of another. That’s not the purpose.” At the Jan. 24 meeting, Lumumba suggested Lake Hico as a site for a larger sports complex to include ball fields. He thought that might be a better option for the city. He was the only council member to vote against the arena study. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
No Free Passes
by Valerie Wells
we appreciate your support!
services are needed. At that point, the item goes back on the agenda and the board discusses and votes it up or down. If they vote in favor, the applicant gets a contract. “The professional is working for us,”
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on’t pop in on the Jackson Redevelopment Authority asking board members to buy your property or hire you on the spot because you have a passion for a particular downtown project. From now on, expect them to vet you thoroughly first. This did not happen in the past, board members say, and in the aftermath of developer TCI’s failed attempt to build a convention center hotel, the JRA board wants everyone to disclose their connections and any conflicts of interest. The board voted Jan. 25 to pass a new policy that outlines a distinct process. No one gets a free pass. “If a professional—a lawyer, an accountant, a CPA, an architect, an engineer, a financial consultant—if that person wants to do business with us, instead of popping in during a meeting, they will go through a process,” JRA board member John Reeves said. Reeves heads up the board’s long-range planning committee and spent the past month on steps for a new vetting process. To get hired or to present a development proposal, the professional would first contact Executive Director Jason Brookins, who would then talk to the applicant. The next step would have the professional submit a resume, insurance and any other important paperwork that discloses conflicts or relationships. The executive director does an initial vetting of the applicant. Next, the professional would work on a document outlining the scope of his or her services, including charges. Then, the executive director puts the item on the board’s agenda. The chairman refers the item to the finance committee and possibly other committees. Then, the committees do a thorough vetting, both to make sure the professional is qualified and that the
Thank You for Voting Us the Best Studio -Best of Jackson 2012-
#!"#8c`fa 4]RddDTYVUf]V John Reeves wrote a new vetting policy that will keep JRA consultants from “serving two masters.”
Reeves said. “He works under the auspices of the executive director. So don’t bill us for going to a city council meeting. Don’t bill us—go through the executive director first.” Invoices would also be vetted, and the JRA staff will parse out questions such as, “Why did that meeting take three hours?” “Every board member knows what goes on every level,” Reeves said. “This person cannot be paid by anyone else for this work. You don’t want your professional serving two masters.” The board discussed that it’s not unusual for a developer to pay a fee to a JRA consultant, and Reeves said that in many cases that is fine. “It’s OK for a developer to pay our lawyers and financial consultants. The billing comes through us. There’s never a question about who he’s working for,” Reeves said. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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by Valerie Wells
Take a Load Off the Elderly
Why do you want to be on City Council? One of my goals is to provide equal and adequate representation to all 15 voting pre-
cincts in Ward 3. This is my second time running. In 2009, I ran with a new vision. Now, I plan to move forward with short-term and long-term goals. Can you give us an example of a short-term goal? Expand the youth division of the Parks and Recreation Department. What the city has now is good, but there’s an opportunity for more volunteers. Also, we could be working with Youth Corps. I want to start a program for school youth who find themselves in the justice system, a program to transition them back into the community. Other candidates are talking about crime in Ward 3. You can’t eliminate crime. You can reduce it. You do that with quality-of-life officers who work with a community and show them how to set up a neighborhood association or a block watch. The first step is to get residents involved. They need to know how to report crime, but also they can report suspicious activity to each other. I’ve been president of Hanging Moss East for three years. It’s time for strong, energetic members on the council. We should take a load off the elderly.
COURTESY HARRISON MICHAEL II
his is not the first time Harrison Michael II has run for City Council. The last time he ran in 2009, he only faced two other opponents, Albert Wilson and the incumbent at the time, Kenneth Stokes. Now that Stokes has vacated his City Council seat to become a Hinds County supervisor, Michael is trying again to represent Ward 3. This time, however, he faces 10 others in the Feb. 14 special election. When he ran in 2009, Michael said the city needed new personnel who were optimistic, enthusiastic, open-minded and compromising. He said he would attend all council meetings and be accessible to all constituents. “The people of Ward 3 have not had effective representation,” he said then. “We deserve better than what we’ve been getting. The ward has been in a constant state of regression since 1997, and it is time for a change.” Michael, 35, is a teacher and football coach at Peeples Middle School. For the past three years, he’s been president of the Hanging Moss East Neighborhood Association.
What does Jackson need to do about its infrastructure? Infrastructure goes hand in hand with economic development. We have to look for all types of resources, federal on down to local. We need to make sure the money comes in. We have to fix what’s under the street before we fix what’s over the street. Progress takes time. People need to know that. If they understand that, they won’t complain about the 1-percent tax.
Harrison Michael II, a teacher and a coach, says Ward 3 needs a young and energetic representative on the City Council. He means to be that person.
How would you prioritize the city’s spending? When it comes to money, you have to be fluid. The mayor is going to set that budget, and the council approves it. You have to listen to citizens. I would want opportunities and incentives for business and larger incentives for companies to come into this area. Also, public safety would be near the top of the list. We
Communication is Key
February 1 - 7, 2012
Festival Board, and is a member of 100 Black Men of Jackson. All that and running a campaign is demanding. He is canvassing businesses in Ward 3, looking for support. He said the COURTESY ZACHERY WILLIAMS
achery Williams does not want to discuss his age. He doesn’t understand why people keep asking him something that to him just doesn’t matter. Williams is one of 11 candidates in the Feb. 14 election to replace Kenneth Stokes as Ward 3 councilman. He was busy planning a campaign fundraiser at The Penguin when the JFP called and asked him, among other questions, how old he was. “I’m a Jackson native,” he said instead. “I went to McWillie, Chastain and Murrah. I went to Jackson State University.” He was baptized at Greater Fairview Baptist Church. His flier says he got his master’s degree in 2002 and his bachelor’s degree in 1989. But he still wouldn’t tell his age, even after learning other candidates freely gave the information. A resident of the Broadmoor neighborhood, Williams is a managing partner with Claude-Zach Investments. He is the father of one son, Bradley, and engaged to Sirena Wilson. He is a member of Anderson Methodist Church. Williams was a reserve police officer from 1995 to 2002. He is a businessman who owns Williams Janitorial and Cleaning Supplies. He’s involved with several boards and charities, including the Farish Street
Penguin fundraiser went well, and that 2011 gubernatorial candidate and Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree showed up to lend his support. He said DuPree supports him because he is a businessman.
Is there anything you would like to stress? Jackson is at a critical stage right now. Everything else rises and falls with leadership. There can be good people we know, we love and respect, but they may not be right for the job. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
by Valerie Wells
“When we hear about Ward 3, the only area that most know about is Georgetown,” he said. “Ward 3 is so much bigger than that.” With less than two weeks left before the election, Williams has to make himself stand out from 10 other motivated candidates. He took a few minutes to answer some questions during two short phone calls, but he had to get back to campaigning. Why are you running for the Ward 3 council seat? I would like to make a difference. I can provide better service than we have had in the past. We need someone who can communicate.
Zachery Williams says Ward 3 needs better communication from its future councilman.
have to make sure city workers are being paid on time.
Streets, sewage (and) drainage are all important. Infrastructure is important. We could do better with abandoned houses. When we have abandoned houses, we are losing a tax base, and we are losing residents. We need a councilman who can communicate this. What would be your priorities? Streets need priority. We have a problem with potholes. You’ve noticed? We need to address better representation when it comes to getting those things done, especially when it comes to the elderly. They should feel safe in their homes. We want kids safe walking to school.
What do you want done about crime? The city should identify crime and find out why we have such a high crime rate. We need better patrols in the area, a more visible presence and better lighting. Crime happens in the dark.
Williams later sent a statement to the JFP via email that explained his views a little bit more on crime and other issues. “It’s not just the kids that are committing these crimes, it’s people who have lost their sense of direction and purpose to become a productive citizen,” he wrote. “The citizens of each ward should also play a part of protecting themselves and being pro-active.”
Do you want to talk about the city’s infrastructure?
Comment at www.jfp.ms. See additional candidate coverage at www.jfppolitics.com.
Legislature: Week 4
by R.L. Nave
Bryant: Canâ€™t Do Nothinâ€™ For Ya, Man
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hil Bryant is grounded, and the Legislatureâ€™s allowance is being reduced. This week, Bryant made his first executive budget recommendation to lawmakers at the Capitol. As expected, he took a do-the-same-with-less approach to government spending. Bryantâ€™s recommendations are based on a $5.49 billion state budget for the 2013 fiscal year and include $4.56 billion in projected general fund revenue. He proposed 5.35 percent in cuts to state agencies and, in an attempt to lead by example, a 6.5 percent reduction in funds to the governorâ€™s office. Part of the savings for Bryantâ€™s office would come from selling one of two planes the state owns for about $2 million. â€œIf itâ€™s not urgent, I donâ€™t mind flying Delta or Southwest,â€? Bryant said. Or he would hitch a ride with a businessman who owns a plane, he added. The governorâ€™s budget also plans to use $274.3 million of the stateâ€™s available $280.7 million in cash reserves. He asked lawmakers to consider returning to the practice of setting aside 2 percent of the budget into a rainy day fund. Or, if they prefer, a flat $100 million. Bryantâ€™s spending plan calls for no cuts to several areas and agencies, including court-ordered settlements, debt service, the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Mississippi Law Enforcement Training Academy, the Military Department, the Veteran Affairs Board, district attorneys, the Mississippi Department of Corrections, Student Financial Aid, the Board Certified Teacher Program and the Mississippi Adequate Education Program.
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Other budget proposals include: â€˘ Level funding MAEP using $1.95 billion in state funds and $72.9 million in local reserve funds. â€˘ $6 million to an Emergency Bridge Loan Fund. â€˘ $3.7 million increase above fiscal year 2012 funding to Chickasaw Interest, as required by law. â€˘ $12 million total to Teach for America and the Mississippi Teachers Corps. â€˘ $5.7 million to fully fund highgrowth districts. â€˘ Existing $27 million appropriation for work force development now goes directly to community colleges that administer programs. â€˘ Medicaidâ€™s fiscal 2013 appropriation is level to fiscal year 2012 at $763 million. The Center for Medicaid Services projects 36,000 new eligible enrollees this year. The governor also proposed jettisoning the current line-item budgeting system in favor of a lump-sum method that gives agency heads more flexibility in running their departments. â€œI trust agency directors; I trust elected officials,â€? Bryant said. He added that the state Department of Revenue received $23 million more than it expected. If the trend continues, he said, his budget recommendation could change. The Legislature has until the end of the session in early May to pass a spending plan. Meanwhile, the Mississippi House of Representatives came out of hibernation to being submitting bills. As of Tuesday, the House had filed just 16 bills. Comment at www.jfp.ms.
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As part of his budget recommendation to the Legislature, Gov. Phil Bryant proposes selling a $2-million state-owned plane as just one way save money.
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by Elizabeth Waibel
Recession Hurt Some More Than Others
Ed Sivak, director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center, says many adults in Mississippi will need to go back to school to compete in the 21st-century economy.
January 25 - 31, 2012
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From 2000 to 2010, wages rose by 2.4 percent, while community-college tuition increased by 56 percent and university tuition increased by 40 percent. â€˘ As of last school year, a year of community college costs $2,114 and a year at a university costs $5,067. â€˘ In 2010, the median wage for workers with a highschool diploma was $11.76. The median wage for workers with a bachelorâ€™s degree or higher was $20.61.
Whoâ€™s Making Bank? â€˘ Adjusted for inflation, the median hourly wage for workers in the state rose only marginally from 2000 to 2010, from $13.13 to $13.45. â€˘ The gap between the median wage for men and women is shrinking. In 2000, the median wage for men was $15.41, while women made only $10.96. In 2010, men made $14.29 per hour, while women made $12.75. Wages for both men and women are higher than they were in 1990, when men made $12.64 per hour and women made $9.64. â€˘ The gender gap in wages is smaller in Mississippi than in the nation overall. In the United States as a whole, women make 83 percent of what their male counterparts do, while in Mississippi, womenâ€™s wages are at 89 percent of menâ€™s wages. â€˘ The median wage for African Americans was only 70 percent of what whites made in 2010â€”$11.02 for African Americans compared to $15.66 for whites. â€˘ Since the beginning of the recession in 2007, the median wages for African Americans have dropped by 34 cents, while wages for whites have increased by 26 cents.
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