THANKS FOR THE BIGGEST JFP CHICK BALL EVER!
The Jackson Free Press and the Center for Violence Prevention thank all sponsors, auction donors, food vendors, performers, local media, volunteers and other friends who helped the 10th Annual JFP Chick Ball raise more than $20,000 to fight interpersonal violence – and more than $8,500 on the silent auction alone! ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨ ¨
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JACKSONIAN AMANDA MCMILLAN
ne late Saturday evening in 2013, Amanda McMillan took a break from her job as a server at Table 100 in Flowood. She waits tables at night while attending school at Hinds Community College’s Rankin campus during the day, pursuing a degree in sociology. She had received an email: “The First Lady of the United States would like to invite you to the State of the Union address.” By Tuesday, McMillan was in Washington, D.C., shaking hands with the president and first lady. The White House became interested in McMillan because she had become an equalpay crusader in recent years. A Jackson native, McMillan moved to Cleveland, Miss., when she got married in 1995. There, she found herself in a company flagrantly guilty of job and pay disparities based on gender and race. McMillan tried many times to apply for higherpaid positions in sales, only to be rejected. The company wouldn’t even allow her to fill out the form because of her gender. “When I asked about being paid equally to the men in my office, I was told, ‘They have families to take care of, and they need to be paid more,’” she says. This past April, the White House wanted her to address economic and political experts at the Center for American Progress, she says, “because I’ve lived it, not because I’ve studied it. It was the experience of my life.” Because she worked as a bookkeeper,
McMillan had access to much of the business’ accounting practices. “I documented everything—the time, the date, any thoughts that pertained to any incident,” she says. “I had concrete evidence of the pay discrepancy.” While in Washington, D.C., this year, McMillan, 44, also participated on a roundtable panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” and Cosmopolitan magazine featured her in June 2013. She hopes to write a book, and has connected with many amazing women advocates, including Lilly Ledbetter, namesake of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. She wants to share her story with anyone who will listen. “I’m no scholar. I’m no professor. I don’t have all the answers,” she says. “I just believe in the power of women.” McMillan’s two daughters, ages 7, 17 and her son, 25, motivate her to continue pushing for gender equality. “I don’t want them to have to deal with this issue in 10, 15 years,” she says. “My 7-yearold doesn’t understand—‘Why is mommy going to see the president?’ Now that she is in second grade, As, Bs, (and) Cs mean a lot to her. She wants to get that A. And I said, ‘If Eli—the little boy in your class—gets all the answers right and gets an A, and you take the same test and get all the answers right and get a C, is that fair?’ She adamantly knew the answer was no. “And I said, ‘That’s what mommy is fighting for,’” McMillan says. —Kathleen M. Mitchell
Cover photo of Evan Alvarez by Trip Burns
11 Farewell to Whitwell
The outspoken lone Republican on the Jackson City Council is calling it quits.
24 Master Pasta
Whit Ramsey shows us how to make pasta at La Finestra.
32 Whimsical Pottery
“You could go to Walmart and buy a soulless piece of plastic for a lot less, but an artist puts so much time and energy into every piece. The customer inherits the labor.” —Sam Clark, “Personal Potter”
4 ............................. EDITOR’S NOTE 6 ................................................ YOU 8 ............................................ TALKS 14 ................................ EDITORIAL 15 .................................... OPINION 17 ............................ COVER STORY 24 ......................................... FOOD 26 ................................. WELLNESS 28 .............................. DIVERSIONS 30 ....................................... 8 DAYS 31 ...................................... EVENTS 32 .......................................... ARTS 33 .......................................... FILM 34 ....................... MUSIC LISTINGS 35 ..................................... SPORTS 35 .................................... PUZZLES 37 ....................................... ASTRO
COURTESY SAME CLARK; TRIP BURNS; TRIP BURNS
AUGUST 13 - 19, 2014 | VOL. 12 NO. 49
by R.L. Nave, News Editor
If They Gunned Me Down
o the best of my knowledge, I never met Michael Brown, but I know him well. On Aug. 9, Brown was shot multiple times by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., a working-class majority-black suburb of St. Louis. The circumstances of his death are as clear as they are important. What is clear is that Brown went to visit his grandmother in Ferguson and was confronted by police in the Canfield Green Apartments after visiting a nearby QuikTrip gas station and convenience store. He was unarmed and shot from about 35 feet away from a police car. Disputed is what interaction Brown, who was unarmed, had with police. Eyewitness reports appearing in local and national media indicate that Brown was trying to surrender, arms raised. Police have said there was a struggle that involved Brown attempting to wrestle an officer’s service weapon away. In one of the first photos to circulate following the shooting, Brown’s body lay uncovered on the steamy sidewalk for hours before it was taken away. Again, what happened doesn’t really matter. No media have reported that Brown harmed anyone that day, so whatever his actual or accused transgression, the people of Ferguson believe—and people around the world agree—that deadly force was unnecessary. The day after his death, supporters marched peacefully to call for justice. Later that evening was less peaceful. After the rally, people vandalized and looted stores along West Florissant Avenue, a major artery that starts in north St. Louis city and stretches northward into the county. The QuikTrip store, where everything started, burned to the ground. Despite social-media hysteria and
misreporting, no one was badly injured. At the end of both nights of protest—they reignited on Monday night—the only person who was killed was Brown, at the hands of police. I know Michael Brown because we
I know Michael Brown because we occupied the same world. occupied the same world. Back in the day, when I got haircuts regularly, my barbershop was right across the street. A few doors up from QuikTrip is Northland Chop Suey, one of the best Chinese food joints in the city. Growing up, my mother worked for the police chief of one of the tiny municipalities that dot St. Louis County. Sometimes during summers I went to work with my mom, and the guys would order Northland for lunch. I got to ride with them in a squad car to go pick up the food. It was always funny to see people stealthily fasten their seat belts when a police car pulled up next to them at a red light. Just north of the gas station is where my grandmother lives, in a qui-
et, all-black neighborhood. When I visit, I always make a point to fill up at the QuikTrip because the gas is usually a few pennies cheaper than at the gas stations right off the interstate, and their fountain drinks are cheap in the summer. At 18 when he died, Michael Brown is the same age as my brother. Also, like my brother, Brown was scheduled to start college this month; the Monday after his death would have been his first day in trade school. Brown graduated from Normandy High School, my high school’s longtime rival where I once interviewed for a job and is in the district where my great aunt taught for many years. I also had my share of casual run-ins with police in that area. During summers in high school and college, my friends and I used to hang out at a park at the other end of West Florissant. It’s a popular spot, and trouble sometimes breaks out. In order to gain entry to the park, we submitted to police pat-downs and vehicle searches. Police summoned us at their whim. Once, a police officer called me over to the patrol where he was sitting with his partner, maybe 100 yards away, to inspect the can of Arizona tea—the same brand Trayvon Martin had gone to the store to buy before he was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer—presumably to make sure I, a minor at the time, wasn’t sipping on a tallboy of Bud Light. At the time, I thought if the cop was curious about the contents of my beverage, he should have approached me instead of making me walk halfway up the street so he didn’t have to get up off his ass. But we were happy to forgo a few of our civil liberties to listen to music and look at girls. Another time, after a fight broke out
at a party I attended, a police officer summoned me to his squad car because the color of my shirt matched the color of the shirt of the alleged instigator of the fight. I wasn’t scared at the time, but in light of recent events, it occurs to me that one wrong, sudden move could have been the end of me. The night of the Ferguson protests, after I called to check on my grandmother, a friend who is white and was also following the news, sent a message on Facebook that said she worried about me because I am a black man in Mississippi and reporter covering things that powerful people would rather I did not write about. I don’t worry about these things. I can’t. And it’s not because I am fearless, but because, like most black men in this country, I resigned myself long ago to the fact that hate could kill me at any moment. That hate could come in the form of any number of policemen I’ve encountered in my life. Or it could come in the form of any white-supremacy-minded person who simply objects to my right to exist. It may, like it does for so many black men, come in the form of another black man who also challenges my right my right to life and for the same reasons white supremacy might. I have the personal cell phone numbers of Jackson’s mayor, chief of police and the local sheriff, and I do not operate under the assumption that any of that means a cop or anyone else can’t take my life whenever they feel like it. That sounds fatalistic, but it’s actually pretty liberating. After all, if a quick trip to the store could mean the end of one’s life, what more is there left to fear? Comment at www.jfp.ms.
August 13 - 19, 2014
Zack Orsborn, a senior at Mississippi State University, hails from the tiny town of Amory, Miss. A budding journalist and designer, he likes to explore topics such as LGBT rights, race relations and politics. He wrote the cover story.
Investigative Reporter Anna Wolfe studied at Mississippi State. In her spare time, she complains about not having enough spare time. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She wrote news stories.
Staff Photographer Trip Burns is a graduate of the University of Mississippi, where he studied English and sociology. He enjoys the films of Stanley Kubrick. He took the cover photo and many photos for the issue.
Feature Writer and Tishomingo County native Carmen Cristo studied journalism at Mississippi State University and wrote for the Starkville Free Press. She likes Food Network, ’90s music and her husband. She wrote a food story.
Mike McDonald attended the University of Montana. He enjoys listening to rap music, writing short stories and reading books about American history. He wrote an arts story.
Greg Pigott teaches government and economics classes at Raymond High School. He’s an avid fan of all types of music and the guy who takes karaoke seriously. He wrote a music story.
Editorial intern Mary Spooner is a Jackson native who studies English at the University of Southern Mississippi. She enjoys creative writing, cinema and vegetarian cooking. She factchecked for this issue.
Melanie Collins is the bookkeeper and collections guru for the Jackson Free Press. In what little spare time she has, she enjoys cooking and playing piano.
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August 13 - 19, 2014
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A non-partisan invite certainly did peak your intrigue A route to eliminate a thorn and have your guy succeed Did see the problem and knew it was politically wrong But a thumb in the eye of the Tea Party was really strong And now being one of those people it is better to not crow As you voted both partiesâ€™ primaries which they now know You did vote for a Democrat in the June 3rd Primary election And voted Republican on that June 24th non-partisan defection Those ads declared Chris was clad in a KKK robe you believed But a Democrat wonk admitted that dirty deed meant to deceive May have a Childers for Senate planted in the front yard But donâ€™t want to take it down and then simply discard Went to his rally and listened to what you wanted to hear Now going to Cochranâ€™s is supposed to bring you cheer Know this may bring discomfort but getting into this mess Violated Stateâ€™s voting law doesnâ€™t matter it was a request Do not vote in the general or risk upping the fraud intent No matter for which side you cast a vote up the intent is sent Invitation has robbed you of your preference and more And now please be aware itâ€™s opened the prosecution door True you may not have meant to break our Stateâ€™s voting law Intent canâ€™t cancel intent but invite made you a vote-fraud star Frank G. Ross Sr., Lumberton
Favorite quotation: â€œGod got you.â€? Secret to Life: â€œNever give up.â€?
On high-school counselors
o to any large superstore, and the back-to-school displays, Since the Columbine school shooting in the late 1990s, schools filled with paper, pencils and highlighters to equip stu- have relied heavily on zero-tolerance policies to address behavior, forcdents with everything they need for the next school year, ing many students into the school-to-prison pipeline. Zero-tolerance greet you at the front door. But there is one very impor- policies have taken the place of preventive programs and evidencetant school resource that you canâ€™t buy at your local supermarkets: based interventions. School administrators have used zero-tolerance school counselors, who are qualified and prepared to deal with the policies to remove students with unsatisfactory behavior. Unforsocial and emotional needs of high school students. tunately, many students in the school-to-prison High-school counselors have the power to lower pipeline enter youth detention centers for minor suspension and discipline rates, reduce the number of non-violent infractions. The Mississippi State fights and create a culture of safety and well-being for Conference of the NAACPâ€™s report Handcuffâ€™s on an entire high school. Providing schools with enough Success from 2013 stated: â€œIn the last few years in counselors will decrease behavior issues and lead to Meridian, a male student estimated that he went higher academic achievement. back and forth between school and the juvenile When social and emotional needs go unmet, it justice system 30 times. In eighth grade, he was put may result in behavior problems and poor academic on probation by a youth court judge for getting achievement. The Center for the Study of Social Polinto a fight. Since then, reportedly any infraction, icy says that â€œthere is not a specific identifiable cause Shawna Davie even some as minor as being a few minutes late to of mental health disorders â€Ś there are, however, some class or wearing the wrong color socks in violation factors that have been shown to have particular impact of the dress code, was counted as a violation of his (on) childrenâ€™s social, emotional and mental heath. They include pov- probation and resulted in immediate suspension and incarceration in erty, trauma and inadequate treatment.â€? the local juvenile detention center.â€? Students work to help their families put food on their tables, As the old saying goes â€œan ounce of prevention is worth a pound raise children and manage incarcerated parents, the deaths of loved of cure.â€? Investing in preventative measures such as school counselors ones and violent neighborhoods. These issues cause stress for adults, to help more of our students cope with life will help schools avoid let alone teenagers who havenâ€™t developed necessary coping skills. sending students to youth detention centers. Schools in impoverished neighborhoods with few jobs, little acAccording to the National Center for Mental Health Promotion cess to resources and high crime open their doors to more students and Youth Violence Preventionâ€™s National Center Brief from 2011 coping with stressful situations related to poverty and trauma than the â€œstudents who suffer from personal or emotional problems are less average suburban school. As adults, we know how important it is to likely to succeed academically, stay in school and develop a love of seek help from loved ones, counselors or our faith when dealing with learning. These children and youth may act out in class, be truant or stress. Teens often do not seek out the care they need and sometimes drop out, or not achieve academic successâ€”which affects the entire let their emotions build up until those emotions lead to behavior school.â€? Students who have academic, social, and emotional support problems. We must provide adequate support to teenagers, so that are less likely to have behavior problems and are more likely to gradutheir social and emotional needs donâ€™t turn into behavior issues. ate high school and succeed in college and at work. The American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250 students to one counselor. During the 2010-2011 school Jackson State graduate Shawna Davie is now a fellow at Baruch year, Mississippiâ€™s ratio was 448 students to every one counselor. College in New York City.
Response to â€œMcDaniel Campaign: Over 15,000 Votes Should Not Have Been Cast in GOP Runoffâ€? by Anna Wolfe > edinman This â€œchallengeâ€? is getting extremely silly. Even if all 3,500 crossover votes and 2,275 absentee votes were eliminated Cochran would still have won. So what are the 9,500 so called â€œirregularâ€? votes? I assume these are simply â€œsuspectedâ€? Democrats who they think voted for Cochran after voting in neither partyâ€™s first primary. The trouble for Chris is that there is no law against it. If there was, you might as well argue Democrats should have declared Lumumba mayor of Jackson because of â€œirregularâ€? votes by Republicans for Yarber. Comment at jfp.ms.
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Friday, August 8 General Motors issues six more recalls totaling more than 312,000 vehicles. With it, recalls in North America push GMâ€™s total for the year to 66 recalls, covering just over 29 million cars and trucks. Saturday, August 9 Alexander Zakharchenko, the new leader of the pro-Russian separatist movement in Ukraine, announces that Ukraineâ€™s rebels are surrounded in their stronghold of Donetsk and ready to agree to a cease-fire to prevent a â€œhumanitarian catastrophe.â€? â€Ś Nascar driver Tony Stewart accidentally strikes and kills driver Kevin Ward Jr. after Ward exits his vehicle and walks onto the track at a race in N.Y., attempting to confront Stewart, who had just caused Ward to crash. Sunday, August 10 Israel and the Hamas militant group accept a new Egyptian cease-fire proposal in an attempt to clear the way for the resumption of talks on a long-term truce.
August 13 - 19, 2014
Monday, August 11 The Obama administration begins directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces, who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq. â€Ś Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams is found dead in his California home in an apparent suicide. He was 63.
Tuesday, August 12 The New York-based Human Rights Watch calls for an international commission of inquiry into mass killings by Egyptian security forces last summer, saying they likely amount to crimes against humanity.
by Anna Wolfe
harles â€œControversyâ€? Johnson, as Tea Party member Tricia Raymond calls him, buddied up to radical conservatives last night at Life Church Jackson in Flowood at one of three of his speaking events here in Mississippi this week. Preaching to their cause and throwing in a little God talk, Johnson spoke to Tea Party members about his role in the recent U.S. Senate election in Mississippi. Johnson made a splash in Mississippi this election cycle by exposing the allegedly corrupt election practices of the Cochran-McDaniel U.S. Senate race. Only, he didnâ€™t just cover the controversy, he became it. By paying a Meridian preacher for text messages possibly implicating Sen. Thad Cochranâ€™s campaign staffers in a vote-buying scheme, Johnson made the public and other media question his journalistic integrity. The Tea Party members ate up Johnsonâ€™s wordsâ€”oohing and aahing during his speech. They were less interested in the special guestâ€™s unconventional reporting or the investigation for which he was subpoenaed days ago than they were in Cochranâ€™s sex life. Most wanted to know about a specific element of the Senate saga: that Cochran lives in the Washington, D.C., home of his executive assistant, Kay Webber. â€œIt has a separate entrance? Is there a different address for the basement? So that makes it one residence then, donâ€™t it?â€? the audience asked, outraged. The crowd wasnâ€™t as disgusted when the topic switched to the nursing home break-in, a plan conspired by McDaniel supporters to get a picture of Cochranâ€™s bedridden wife. They all reveled in the fact that, accord-
California journalist-blogger Charles C. Johnson spoke at a Tea Party meeting Monday about the Mississippi U.S. Senate election and the stateâ€™s corruption.
ing to Johnson, what they did wasnâ€™t illegal. â€œIt may have been distasteful. It may have been the wrong thing to do, but it was not criminal,â€? Johnson said. The crowd nodded. Johnson also explained his interview with Rev. Stevie Fielder of Meridian, whom Johnson said many people referred him to. Attorney General Jim Hoodâ€™s spokeswoman Jan Schaefer said last week that Fielder said McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch paid him to lie about the vote-buying. Today, Mississippi Public Broadcasting reported that Fielder is now saying that Fritsch paid him to explain a hypothetical vote-buying situation. Fritsch has not returned calls. At one point, an older man at the back of the room asked exactly what many people want to know. He acknowledged the fact that Fielder has changed his story, then said: â€œWhich one of yâ€™all are lying?â€? But the crowd erupted in laughter, allowing Johnson to avoid the question. â€œI think that they got to Fielder,â€? he said to explain why Fielder told Attorney General Jim Hood he was paid to lie. Johnson didnâ€™t,
however, explain why Fielder told Hood that McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch paid him for his story. In the Fielder interview, Fritsch is mentioned. When asked why, Johnson said, â€œWe mentioned Noel to send the text messages, to send them through Noel, so that they could be published, so we could ascertain that those were there.â€? When asked why the messages had to go through Fritsch, Johnson said, â€œWe wanted to have the images sent to somebody in Mississippi who could then send them on to us.â€? The state issued Johnson a subpoena Sunday regarding his interview with Fielder and any of his interactions with Fritsch. He said he does not know who is being investigated and assures that he was never in cahoots with the McDaniel campaign. â€œIâ€™m in a house of God. I canâ€™t lie,â€? Johnson said at the Tea Party meeting shortly after Raymond professed, â€œGod gave us Charles Johnson.â€? Comment at jfp.ms. Email Anna Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Binders Full oâ€™ Optimism CLIPART
Thursday, August 7 Russia bans most food imports from the West in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine. â€Ś A U.N.-backed tribunal convicts two of the former leaders of the Khmer Rougeâ€”the fanatical communist movement responsible for 2 million deaths in Cambodia in the 1970sâ€”of crimes against humanity.
â€˜God Gave Us Charles Johnsonâ€™ ANNA WOLFE
Wednesday, August 6 Three judges of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati hear arguments in six gay marriage fights from four statesâ€”Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.
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FAMILY: Wife: Dr. Preselfannie McDaniels Children: John Franklin, 14; Jaylen Fitzgerald, 12 EDUCATION: Port Gibson High School B.A., Political Science, Jackson State University International Law & Politics Institute, Louisiana State University
McDaniel challenges votes, interprets election law
Juris Doctorate, Southern University Law Center
by Anna Wolfe
Attorney: Law Offices of Johnnie McDaniels, PLLC: Jackson & Port Gibson, MS
he two-inch-thick â€œElection Integrity Challengeâ€? binder, compiled and released by the U.S. Senate campaign of state Sen. Chris McDaniel, documents everything from alleged vote-buying schemes to illegal crossover voters to race-baiting tactics allegedly used by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochranâ€™s campaign. Only thing, the presented evidence does not appear to add up to a pattern of election irregularities substantial enough to force a new election the McDaniel campaign hoped for. Not even the Mississippi Republican Party thinks the McDaniel campâ€™s claims warrant a hurried meeting of the state executive committee to review all the documents. On the night of Aug. 6, the state GOP punted and told McDaniel to take his issues to a state court instead. They TRIP BURNS
State Sen. Chris McDaniel has vowed to fight for the GOP nomination until the bitter end.
have until Aug. 14 to seek judicial review. McDanielâ€™s campaign distributed its 250 pages of evidence to members of the news media as well as the Republican Party officials. However, the evidence the McDaniel campaign offers poses just as many questions as it purports to answer. For example, Exhibit A of the complaint is a CD of, among other things, an interview a man named Patrick Frey conducted with a woman with knowledge of a vote-buying plan. Frey is a colleague of California blogger Charles C. Johnson, who has been covering the Senate race for conservative online news organizations (see previous page).
In the complaint to the state GOP, McDaniel lawyers say the recording is Julie Patrick, a Republican poll worker in a predominantly Democratic precinct of Marshall County. â€œShe describes her observations of voters leaving her precinct discussing how to use the vouchers they were given to get paid for voting,â€? the complaint states. However, the recording is actually of a woman relaying what her mother told her about her experience at the Marshall County polls. The woman in the recording indicates that her mother watched the bailiff leave the precinct several times to make phone calls and then heard the bailiff instructing voters how to cash in vouchers that she handed out. â€œShe was very upset and felt like they were buying votes,â€? the woman said. Frey did not return calls for this story. Another inconsistency arises out of the story of a Meridian minister who previous alleged that he was integral in a plan to buy African American votes on behalf of the Cochran campaign. The McDaniel CD includes Johnsonâ€™s interview with Rev. Steve Fielder, who said he agreed to solicit black votes for Cochran in a vote-buying scheme in Lauderdale County, The Clarion-Ledger reported last week that Attorney General Jim Hood said Fielder admitted later he was paid by Charles Johnson to lie. Now, the AGâ€™s office says Fielder implicated Noel Fritsch, McDaniel spokesman. On Thursday, Aug. 7, Hood spokeswoman Jan Schaefer told the Jackson Free Press that the AGâ€™s office is still investigating the allegations but that â€œour investigatorsâ€™ report shows that Mr. Fielder told them that Mr. Noel Fritsch paid him $2,000 for his recorded statement. We make no representation as to Mr. Fielderâ€™s veracity.â€? Initially, Johnson claimed he paid Fielder for text messages that implicated Cochran campaign managers of vote-buying. Now, Johnson said Hood has spouted off and the Attorney Generalâ€™s office is protecting him. â€œI think what theyâ€™re trying to do is their trying to cover up for their boss. Because their boss has been put into an awkward position by Hall on camera â€Ś I called them myself and said, â€˜Hey youâ€™re boss has said that Iâ€™m being investigated. Am I being investigated?â€™ PRUH+2&86VHHSDJH
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Community/Senior Deputy City Prosecutor: City of Jackson, MS
Deputy City Attorney: City of Jackson, MS Legislative Assistant: U.S. House of Representatives (Capitol Hill), Washington, DC ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERSHIPS AND AFILIATIONS: New Hope Baptist Church New Zion Lodge, #161 Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Inc. Mississippi Prosecutorsâ€™ Association American, Magnolia & Mississippi Bar Associations
Williamson Family Farms owner/operator Mike Williamson, located at 536 CR 95, Yalobusha County, Water Valley, Mississippi is seeking twenty temporary farm workers and laborers for potato crops; two days of training will be provided. Hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at $9.87 an hour, beginning May 10, 2014 and ending June 10, 2014. Employer will provided housing, cooking facilities and transportation to stores to purchase groceries for workers located in areas where it will not be feasible to return to at the end of the working day. After workers have completed 50% of the work contract period, employer will reimburse worker for the cost of transportation and subsistence from which the worker came to work for the employer to the place of employment. The type of work contemplated will be performed in all weather conditions including extreme heat, will include labor performed by hand, extensive walking, bending, stooping, and lifting crates of potato slips, use of hand tools such as shovels and hoes will be required. Required tools will be provided by employer at no cost to worker. Interested workers may contact Mike Williamson at 662-473-6088 or by mail at: Williamson Family Farms, 536 CR 95, Water Valley, MS 38965, in order to schedule an interview, or your nearest State Workforce Agency. The Oxford WIN Job Center, 204 Colonnade Cove, Suite 1 Oxford, MS 38655. The job order number for this job is MS102416. If selected, you will be guaranteed three fourths of the work hours between the start date and the end date of the job as listed above.
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TALK | politics
and they said no.” Fritsch reiterated to the JFP in a statement on Aug. 6 that Johnson paid for texts from Cochran staffers that suggested the Cochran campaign paid Democrats $15 to vote for him in the June 24 runoff. He said the texts are consistent with the interview in
pressed fear for his safety after he told Johnson his story. “So first Fielder’s a fraud, and now Fielder must be telling the truth even though he’s changed his story a few times now. And what’s changed in the time from which he told this story? Oh, he got a lot of pressure and a lot of calls from various people intimidating him, as he said to me,” Johnson said. Ultimately, the McDaniel camp wants to show one thing: Cochran won because of TRIP BURNS
Sen. Chris McDaniel’s campaign lawyer, Mitch Tyner, holds up a binder containing evidence used to challenge the U.S. Senate election results on Aug. 4.
which Fielder told Johnson about the votebuying scheme. “(W)e wonder whether Attorney General Hood will subpoena the emails and text messages,” Fritsch said. Johnson said many people questioned Fielder in the beginning and that Fielder ex-
Democratic—or black—votes that shouldn’t have been cast. On the fifth page of the complaint, McDaniel lawyers cite an analysis showing that votes for Cochran increased from the June 3 primary to the June 24 runoff in each county in correlation with the percentage of blacks who live in that county.
“(T)he percentage of blacks and nonblacks who make up each county’s population shows that, without the predominantly Democrat (sic) voter participation in the Republican runoff, Cochran would have lost the runoff election by about 25,000,” the official complaint states. In other words, the McDaniel camp is not happy with the way presumably Democratic black voters voted by crossing over into the Republican runoff—therefore, their votes should not be counted. But the laws that allow a challenge to Democratic votes in a Republican runoff are foggy and loosely applied, as long as the voter didn’t vote in the Democratic primary. Since the McDaniel investigation only turned up an alleged 3,500 crossover votes, it would seem their numbers don’t support their claim. One Hinds County voter listed as a crossover voter in Precinct 34, Tripp Segars, is a proud Democrat, but he didn’t vote in the Republican runoff on June 24. “I voted in the Democratic primary only. I didn’t participate in any runoff,” Segars said. “After speaking with Mr. McDaniel’s lawyer, Mitch Tyner, I understand there was a check mark by my name for June 24. Now what does that checkmark mean? I guess there’s no way to tell at this point.” The mix-up could call into question the validity of the 3,500 crossover votes the McDaniel campaign claims to have found, as well as the effectiveness of voter ID laws. Mississippi’s primary election statute not only prohibits crossover voting but also states that “no person shall be eligible to participate in any primary election unless he intends to support the nominations made in the primary in which he participates.” In the 2008, a federal court found that
a challenge could only be made, in this case, against Democratic votes cast in a Republican primary if the voter “openly declares that he or she does not intend to support the nominees of the party,” once the challenge has been properly initiated. Otherwise, intent cannot be inferred. This is presumably why the election challenge binder is filled with Facebook posts documenting Cochran voters’ plans to vote for Childers in the general election. A woman named Cathy Clark writes, “Nothing I did today was corrupt…my vote was legal…no money…no bribe…just strategy!!!! I’m not pro Cochran…just anti Chris!!! #it’s politics #Childress (sic) in November!” Only six Facebook posts are included in the challenge binder that suggest voters for Cochran intend to vote Democratic in November. Further, it is unclear what about the 9,500 “irregular votes” cited in the challenge makes them illegal, challengeable votes. Nick Mason, whose Facebook comment appeared in Exhibit E of the complaint, told the Jackson Free Press Thursday he was “just being a smartass.” “As a democrat, I voted for Thad 6 times so far today!” Mason wrote on June 24. Mason, from Ocean Springs, Miss., said he thought it was hilarious that McDaniel lawyers included his comment along with the complaint, and said he did indeed vote for Cochran in both the Republican primary and runoff. He does, however, plan to vote Democratic in November and knows that voting in one primary with the intent to cross party lines for the general election is prohibited in Mississippi election law, but said, “That’s Mississippi law and it won’t hold up in court.” “It’s just hocus pocus,” Mason said. TRIP BURNS
Whistleblower Faces Eviction by R.L. Nave
August 13 - 19, 2014
nnie L. Figures, who shined a light on ongoing problems at her apartment complex to the Jackson City Council and the Jackson Free Press, says she is facing eviction. In addition to the threat of having to leave the Golden Key Apartments, which the Jackson Housing Authority operates and where Figures has lived for 12 years, she says many of the maintenance and management problems she complained about remain. For a story published May 14, Figures told the JFP that the Golden Key’s common area and several apartment units were experiencing leaks that produced mold and mildew behind the walls and around the heating and cooling vents. Since then, Figures says, maintenance crews have replaced some moldy portions of drywall. Sheila Jackson, executive director of the housing authority, which owns and manages
properties for the low-income residents, told the JFP that she could not speak at length about Figures’ claims because of ongoing litigation but says Figures’ claims about the poor conditions of the building are invalid. “It’s an old property but it’s well-maintained,” Jackson said this week, adding that the authority is awaiting approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make $6 million in repairs at the Golden Key. Figures has twice received eviction notices since April; both stated that she violated the housing complex’s rental agreement. Figures appealed the evictions to Hinds County Court, where a hearing took place on June 10. Figures represented herself; Jackson-based firm Baker Donelson represented JHA. “All the big folks were at court,” Figures said of JHA officials, including Executive Director Sheila Jackson, who said that JHA
Annie Figures complained publicly about ongoing problems at the Jackson Housing Authority-run Golden Key Apartments. Now, she is facing eviction.
contracts with the firm for legal services. In court, where Judge Melvin Priester Sr. presided, JHA’s attorney Marlena Pickering questioned Vance about an argument that took place last winter when Figures, according to a court transcript, told Vance and another
man that if Figures had her gun, she would blow their brains out. Figures denies making the statement. In court, Vance later testified that she did not believe the threat to be credible nor did she fear for her safety. Vance also said she declined to
TALK | politics
Whitwellâ€™s Exit Continues Leader Shakeup by R.L. Nave
y the time this year is over, itâ€™s pos- tersâ€? on several economic-development proj- ment. Longtime Assistant Chief Lee Vance sible that Jackson will have had two ects he declined to name. was tapped as interim chief and has expressed mayors, two police chiefs and, deWhitwell also declined to talk specifics interest in leading the department. spite the fact that it is not an regu- about who might replace him as northeast Vance has helped helm JPD as it relar election, three new members of the city Jacksonâ€™s representative on the city council, cently adopted a program developed in Loucouncil. but said his replacement should have pa- isianaâ€™s capital city called Baton Rouge Area Last week, Ward 1 Councilman Quen- tience, know how to build coalitions and Violence Elimination. Police first deployed tin Whitwell made the surprise the BRAVE program in a section announcement that he would of west Jackson from West Capistep down from his seat before tol Street to Interstate 20. finishing out his second term. Jacksonâ€™s approach Whitwell said he submitted a to BRAVE is different than formal letter of resignation, efhow it was conceived. Both are fective Oct. 31, to the Jackson long-term strategies, but Baton city clerkâ€™s office. Rougeâ€™s program calls for more A statehouse lobbyist community-based policing, who joined the city council in based on the Ceasefire model 2009, Whitwell would be the used in some 50 cities around the third successive Ward 1 councountry of building relationships cilman to resign in the middle with residents and, sometimes, of a term. Previous Councilgang leaders. man Jeff Weill left early to What Jackson is doing is run for a county judgeâ€™s seat more shock-and-awe. â€œIt gives and, before that, Ben Allen re- Ward 1 Councilman Quentin Whitwell shocked the Jackson political people a choice â€” straighten signed suddenly, citing health world by announcing his resignation last week. out, or we well incarcerate issues for the decision before you,â€? Vance told the Jackson taking the presidentâ€™s position at Down- choose his or her battles carefully. Free Press. town Jackson Partners. â€œA lot of times, offline conversations to Jacksonâ€™s BRAVE program, which JPD Whitwell told the Jackson Free Press put things on the right track are better than calls a long-term commitment, includes this week that when he first ran for the seat, public disputes,â€? he said. â€œquality of lifeâ€? issues that residents often it was a good time, but that in recent months After Whitwell steps down, the city complain about, including dilapidated and other personal and professional pursuits had would have to hold a special election to fill abandoned homes, Vance said. The Yarber to take priority. Among those is the oppor- his northeast Jackson seat. Ward 3 Council- administration recently reorganized some tunity for his son to be trained under tennis woman LaRita Cooper-Stokes is also run- city departments and moved building code coaches at the University of Mississippi. ning for Hinds County judge in the Novem- enforcement to the police department to give â€œThe job of city councilman is very ber general election. the city more power to punish homeowners time consuming but youâ€™ll never hear me Jackson has already held one special who do not maintain their properties. complain about that,â€? Whitwell said. election this year to fill the Ward 6 council As of press time, the police-chief job In the coming months, Whitwell and seat that Tony Yarber vacated when he won posting was no longer on the cityâ€™s website. the other members of the city council will election to Jackson mayor. Tyrone Hendrix, Shelia Byrd, city hall communications direcbusy themselves preparing Jacksonâ€™s half-bil- who manages political campaigns for a liv- tor, said Mayor Yarber was in the process of lion-dollar budget. Whitwell said he would ing, took Yarberâ€™s Ward 6 seat. reviewing several applications the city has like to continue making improvements to After the retirement of Chief Lindsey received. Parham Bridges Park, located in his ward, Horton in mid-July, city officials announced Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email R.L. and help sort out â€œa few tedious legal mat- a national search for a permanent replace- Nave at email@example.com. TRIP BURNS
call the police or alert the property manager, Theo Davis. Months later, Vance testified, Davis Vance that her life was in danger as a result of the altercation with Figures. Figures believes Davis is using the incident as a pretense for retaliation. Figures recently furnished photos of what she says is mold growing on walls and HVAC vents that have gone unaddressed. In the back of the building, sewage appears to be backing up and flooding. Residents are also frustrated because JHA managers keep residents in the dark about the progress of repairs and other issues. Conversations with several residents indicate that although they realize the apartment has rules, managers keep information close to the vest. Annie Figures said her constant questioning of management is what has made her a persona non grata. â€œThey treat us like little kids,â€? said Pruid Dickson, Figuresâ€™ friend, who also lives in the apartments and has also complained about the conditions in the building. Lucas Williams echoes those sentiments. Williams, a disabled veteran, was told that he violated the lease by having a friend, who also helps take care of him, stay over a few nights a week. After management let themselves into his apartment, which the lease permits, Williams said he left the complex due to â€œharassment,â€? but continues paying rent there each month. â€œThey should have come to talk to me like a human being,â€? Williams told the Jackson Free Press. Figures has again appealed her eviction, but said no hearing has been scheduled. In recent weeks, she has also appeared on two local radio stations to discuss her case. Figures does not want to leave the Golden Key because she believes the tenants deserve a watchdog. Besides, she said: â€œI donâ€™t have money to just up and move because they said move. Iâ€™m not moving based on what Iâ€™ve been accused of.â€? Comment at www.jfp.ms. Email R.L. Nave at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TALK | education
Building a School From the Ground Up by Mary Kate McGowan
hen most Hinds County the children the school’s curriculum inLanier said most students are from understand in later grades when they atSchool District employees cluding a regularly scheduled enrichment the Broadmoor area around the church, tend other schools. stopped working for the program including music, art, dance and but some are coming from different areas “When I went to find math and sciday, DeSean Dyson was drama. of Jackson. ence curriculum, I went and found math only halfway done with his. “I wanted to distinguish ourselves “It gives parents a choice for the kind and science curriculum. Now, if we see Appointed the Head of School at early on that we’re the real deal,” he said. of school they want their children to go that’s rapid with inconsistencies, that’s The Redeemer’s School in January, Dyson Located at 640 East Northside Drive, to. It provides the opportunity for excel- something we deal with in a process,” he was planning the opensaid. “When our students go ing and creation for The to any school in the world, Redeemer’s School, which they’re going to be prepared to will welcome its first class engage that content.” of children Aug. 18. Dyson said the calendar Dyson, 30, became and school day is designed to involved in the creation of accommodate parents who the school before accepthave younger children at the ing the position. He was Redeemer’s School and older one of 10 on the search children who attend public committee with other schools. There will also be afeducators and Redeemer ter-school care one day a week, Church, PCA members. which is planned to grow to “We needed to find everyday over the years. the right person,” he said. “We’re constantly tryBut he really hoped he was ing to figure out how we can the right person. be effective and efficient in Dyson, who has also spreading and living the gostaught at Clinton High pel. Schools are a very natural School, said an urban, context,” Dyson said. Christian school was ReThe master plan for The deemer Church’s goal for Redeemer’s School includes a its ministry at its concepgrowing facility and student tion, but they thought body until the school contains the process was going to K-8 by adding a grade every DeSean Dyson, head of the Redeemer’s School, which opens its doors next week, describes building the institution as a community effort. be further down the road school year. until a benefactor who was “What I believe we’re looking for places to invest going to do here will impact in came along. Dyson said the school’s tuition-scale lent academic education and also within students individually, and I even believe Steve Lanier, Redeemer Church’s as- scholarship system based on household the context of the Christian environ- generationally,” Dyson said. sistant to the pastor, said the benefactor income, which is part of being an urban, ment,” Lanier said. “We have opportunity and blessing wanted to invest in education in Mis- Christian school. The Mississippi Association of Inde- to raise a generation of students who are sissippi but did not know anyone in the “One of the things that we want to pendent Schools would accredit The Re- instructed on how to be successful and state. He was then connected with Lani- be really intentional about is providing deemer’s School including its curriculum positive and engaging in not only this er’s wife, Sherry, who is the facilitator for an opportunity for students and families and facilities, including appropriate sink community and context but also that disaster response in the PCA Presbyterian that if they have access to this quality of and desk heights. eternal sense that, to me, is so much more denomination. education, they will get it,” Dyson said. Shane Blanton, Mississippi Asso- powerful.” After visiting Jackson and talking “School’s expensive when you find folks ciation of Independent Schools executive Comment www.jfp.ms. with the Laniers and Rev. Mike Camp- who do a great job and do it well. A lot director, said he thinks The Redeemer’s bell, he decided to invest in the school of the private and independent schools are School is very close to that process and two years ago. really expensive.” will be accredited this school year. “They put us in the position to say, He said the vast majority of the stu“I know they’re working hard to get ‘Let’s start this school now,’” Dyson said. dents are on the lower end of the tuition there, so I see no reason why they won’t Now, The Redeemer’s School is about bracket, and most are paying $25 a month be accredited in the near future,” Blanto open with 38 spots out of 45 filled. for tuition. The school will be strongly ton said. “I’ve looked at different schools and donation driven. different models that do this. On average “We’ll have students who come God’s Eternal Kingdom Head of School: for schools that start like this, they open from households and backgrounds that Housed in the former Trinity PresbyDeSean Dyson the doors with 17 kids,” he said. may be different, but when it comes to terian Church building, in the Redeemer education, I believe that students will building complex, The Redeemer’s School Start date: ‘School’s Expensive’ thrive. Every student is different, so you will be intentional when it comes to spiriAug. 18, 2014 Dyson graduated with a master’s in have to teach them differently individu- tual and biblical instruction. Dyson said educational leadership from Mississippi ally,” Dyson said. “We’re having to be re- this instruction will be throughout the Enrollment: 45 students College in 2011. The governing body ally creative, and we’re having to think of day and a designated class time. Tuition: $25 per child consists of seven school board members. ways to be able to give them the private The school will expose children to Three full-time teachers and three teacher school experience without the cost that is various viewpoints and perspectives, inassistants, all college graduates, will teach such a barrier.” cluding evolution, which they’ll need to
August 13 - 19, 2014
4HE 2EDEEMER´S 3CHOOL AT A 'LANCE
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By Damian Wexler, Freelance Health Reporter ecently, alternative medicine expert Bryce Wylde, a frequent guest on the Dr. Oz show, revealed a simple secret that amazed millions who suffer with digestion nightmares. And people haven’t stopped talking about it since.
Powerful Like Dynamite
r. Teacher: â€œMs. Superintendent asked me to close this yearâ€™s Cootie Creek County Schools Pre-Back to School Teacher Retreat with a brief motivational address. So, I want to share with my fellow teachers a poem I wrote a while back titled â€˜Tale of Two Teachersâ€™: Once upon a time around 1968, A drum major for justice was assassinated. Angry and disillusioned people In urban cities began to riot After that night of looting and destruction, Things got quiet. Then, the winds of change Swirled like a tornado of transition And prompted federal and state government To re-think their position About black and white people Divided into two nations. The morning after the uprising, Army soldiers escorted children to their schools. As a little child, I noticed how the winds of change affected the way Teachers taught urban students, too. I witnessed a teacherâ€”who called poor kids dummiesâ€”fade away, To be replaced by another teacherâ€”who said we powerful like dynamiteâ€” show us the way. And were it not for the uprisings and those people who fought for what is right, Mr. Teacher wouldnâ€™t be here sharing his story tonight. This upcoming school year, Ms. Superintendent advises all Cootie Creek County School teachers to prepare for the potential new wave of students coming from south of the US border. Also, be forewarned that in todayâ€™s divided nation, the wind of change may come in the form of politicians, wealthy folk and frustrated poor people.â€?
â€˜failureâ€™ August 13 - 19, 2014
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Â°#ONSERVATIVE "LOGGER #HARLES # *OHNSON REITERATED THIS STATEMENT TO A GROUP OF TEA PARTY MEMBERS AT A SPEAKING EVENT ON !UG
Why it Stinks: This is just plain mean. Johnson, who calls himself a journalist, shouldnâ€™t want to open up this can of wormsâ€”because while journalism can certainly have great impact, itâ€™s dangerous to link oneâ€™s journalistâ€™s action or inaction to every event, and itâ€™s just idiotic to make that link in a situation as complex as this. By his logic, wouldnâ€™t he, too, have had a hand?
Cityâ€™s Media Relations Must Be About Policy
n a recent interview with The Clarion-Ledger, Mayor Tony Yarber said: â€œHonestly, Iâ€™ve only received media criticism from one outlet,â€? he said without specifying which one. â€œI guess my response is the same response I give to people who simply want access to my life. And that is: â€˜Show me that I can trust you with this information, and then it positions you to have access.â€™â€? A call to Mayor Yarber this week confirmed he was talking about the Jackson Free Press. City spokeswoman Shelia Byrd has told us that the administrationâ€™s policy is not to allow interviews with public officials, including Mayor Yarber, but to receive questions via email and answer them the same way. She indicated it was a policy being applied evenly to all media, although, based on Yarberâ€™s C-L interview, that does not seem true. Sending all questions about city government through a PR-processing machine isnâ€™t considered ethical in our business, nor is it a journalistic practice that serves the interest of citizens. The results are pat, whitewashed answers that frequently say very little, with no follow-up questions allowed. The public deserves to hear directly from officials, and the media have an obligation to go beyond â€œaccess journalismâ€? to report facts of a story. Likewise, itâ€™s unethical for the JFP to agree not to be critical in order to gain access to public officials. In a conversation with JFP Editor Donna Ladd this week, Yarber made it clear that he is upset with the JFP for reporting his (videotaped) statement during the campaign that he took â€œholyghost handshakesâ€? as a personal income source. We
criticized then the use of the phrase because of the clearly unintended impression it gives off from a mayoral candidate. He also said we accused him of taking bribes, which we did not. â€œSometimes I may be too transparent; I said that people may give me a holy-ghost handshake; that turned into me taking bribes,â€? he said this week. He said he must be able to â€œcontrol my messageâ€? when he talks to media, and â€œnot allow it to be mired by the words I use being used against me.â€? This is not a deal that a responsible media outlet can make. The role of any newspaper must transcend stenography. Scrutiny of government is the primary role of the media, and government has a responsibility to be straightforward, fair, and forthcoming with news outlets and citizens, even if we donâ€™t always agree with what they say. We welcome comment and critique from Mayor Yarber and other city officials on anything we publish, including their own words. If we misreport a fact, then the City is free to request a correction; we run corrections, clarifications whenever necessary, and guest perspectives every week. And if a public servant is quoted using words that can be misinterpreted, the best answer is more follow-up to improve communications and explain those words. The answer is not freezing out the outlet that reported those on-the-record statements. To his credit, Mayor Yarber asked to sit down with the JFP to discuss this further later this week. We hope that meeting leads to a policyâ€”fair, open, reasonable, factualâ€”that will help us all see this city move forward.
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XFORDâ€”I dragged my two young children to Memphis that night back in March 1997 with a promise: â€œSomeday youâ€™ll thank me.â€? We went to see one of jazzâ€™s great bassists, Charlie Haden, and his Quartet West. Rachel and Michael had never heard of him and had no interest in jazz, but they were going. Daddy insisted. French berets, dark glasses, goatees and black outfits were everywhere among the crowd at the University of Memphis concert hall. After high school and university jazz bands warmed things up, Haden and his groupâ€”tenor sax man Ernie Watts, pianist Alan Broadbent, and drummer Larance Marableâ€”walked onto the stage. â€œDad, heâ€™s so normal looking,â€? 14-yearold Rachel said. Thatâ€™s my gal. With just a few words, she went straight to the heart of the matter with Charlie Haden. With his shortcropped hair, thick glasses, clean-shaven, cornfed, Iowa-and-Missouri-bred looks, Haden hardly seemed the revolutionary who helped change jazz forever or the political radical whose â€œSong for ChĂŠâ€? honoring ChĂŠ Guevara and liberation movements in Angola and Mozambique got him tossed in a Portuguese jail. Haden, who died at 76 in July from post-polio syndrome, was what writer David A. Graham described as â€œthe least likely revolutionaryâ€? in sax great Ornette Colemanâ€™s quartet, when they threw a bomb into the bebop establishment with their album â€œThe Shape of Jazz to Comeâ€? in 1959. After all, Haden had started out as little â€œCowboy Charlieâ€? with the country music-crooning Haden Family on radio back in the 1940s. Yet it was Hadenâ€™s bass lines that held Colemanâ€™s wild and soaring â€œfree jazzâ€? together and then guided it into the stratosphere. â€œHis firm grounding in the roots seems to have been what enabled him to be such an effective radical,â€? Graham wrote in his tribute in The Atlantic. Itâ€™s the bass that provides the bottom, the foundation, on which jazz and other roots music stand. A long tradition of great bassists have made jazz what it is. It includes Charles Mingus, who bridged the worlds of big band and bebop, and Vicksburg native Milt Hinton, often called the â€œdean of jazz bass players.â€? With what record producer Jean-Philippe Allard has called his â€œhuge, deep, dark tone, his perfect intonation and his melodic invention,â€? Haden is another giant in that tradition.
Hadenâ€™s devotion to roots is evident in one of his most evocative albums, â€œSteal Away,â€? with another Vicksburg native, jazz pianist Hank Jones. The duet offers a collection of ageless gospel and spiritual tunes that date back to pre-Civil War times and come out of African American as well as both white and black Protestant traditions. Legend has it that the title tune was written by Nat Turner, best known for leading a bloody rebellion against slavery in Virginia. Haden also contributed his own â€œSpiritual,â€? a tribute to Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers and fellow martyrs Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Haden teamed up with another Mississippian, Jackson native jazz and blues singer Cassandra Wilson, later in his career on â€œSophisticated Ladies,â€? a collection of torch songs from the 1940s and 1950s. Haden so badly wanted Wilson to do Johnny Mercerâ€™s â€œMy Love and Iâ€? for the album that he sang the tune to her on the phone to convince her. Haden felt a life-long connection to the poor, the marginalized and their struggles. Polio nearly cost him his voice as a teenager and precipitated his switch from vocals to bass. He saw jazz, like country, as the music of poor people fighting to make their way. His leftist politics were like his music, bold, revolutionary even, but always with an eye on roots, the basics. The rich body of work he left behind ranged from his renditions of Spanish Civil War songs in his â€œLiberation Music Orchestraâ€? album in 1970 to the ultimate film noir soundtrack that is his classic â€œHaunted Heartâ€? in 1992. The latter was part of a trilogy devoted to Hadenâ€™s longtime home city, Los Angeles, and the noir world there that writer Raymond Chandler captured so well in his novels. On that night in 1997, Hadenâ€™s quartet played at least four tunes from â€œHaunted Heart,â€? my favorite of all his records. I remember he would let out a â€œWhoop!â€? after a good solo by a fellow musician. It was the same whoop you hear on â€œLonely Womanâ€? back in 1959 with Ornette Coleman. On the day after I heard the news of his death, my wife, Suzanne, and I flew to Los Angeles to visit Rachel, a social worker there. She took us to Vibrato, one of the cityâ€™s best jazz clubs, a perfect place to drink a silent toast to one cool cat whose cornfed looks belied the revolutionary fire that was behind them. Joe Atkins is a veteran journalist, columnist and professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Haden hardly seemed the revolutionary who helped change jazz forever.
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Rocking the Boat by Zack Orsborn
Oh yeah, I feel different. I feel relaxed. I feel like I can be myself. When I was a Republican—especially when I was the chairman of College Republicans—I
more ALVAREZ, see page 19
Evan Alvarez made a media splash when he ditched his post as president of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans to join his former nemesis, the Democratic Party.
How does it feel to be a Democrat? Do you feel any different?
had to be always on top: What’s my public image? I have to tweet this out, I have to do this. And now, I can just be myself. I had been a Republican my whole life. My family is Republican but not the idiotic tea-party crazies. I always thought the Republicans were good, you know, they stand for morals. But then, I got into the position of leadership in the Republican Party, and I saw everything that happened behind the curtains. They say they are for all these morals, but yet, they’ll stab you in the back the first second they can. I haven’t said this too much, yet. One of the main reasons that pushed me to the brink of changing parties—besides the tea party, besides the immigration aspect—was never in my life, 21 (years), had I had a racial slur uttered to me until I was in a leadership position in the GOP. My father was from Cuba, and he came over in 1959 to get out of the Communist regime that was going on. He was professional, went through college, got a bachelor’s (degree) and master’s at (Louisiana State University). But I was called an un-American spic. I was told if my father would have never gotten in the boat from Cuba, we would have never have to deal with you. These were people that I was saying, “OK, they may be a little crazy, but those are my allies.” When I went home, I was like, “I’ve had enough—of all this. I did nothing to those people.” They don’t know my father, first of all. Second of all, my father passed away when I was 3 years old. I had never been adamant against racism, and I would say, “That’s how people are,” but when it happened to me, it got me to look and see that this is an issue. I told people at the GOP and they said, “Oh, you should just get over it.” I was like, no. It had been a long time coming since
van Alvarez may be young, but he already fits the bill of a southern politico. On a recent visit to the Jackson Free Press offices, Alvarez, 21, wore a tweed blazer, polished loafers, gentlemanly round glasses, his hair swooping to the side. Alvarez’s fastidiousness drew several compliments, but it was his resignation from his position as chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans and switch to the Democratic Party that has Mississippi and the nation buzzing. A 21-year-old senior studying political science at Mississippi State University, Alvarez is a graduate of Ridgeland High School who early on decided to dedicate his life to helping spread the Republican message. After some time at Delta State University, he decided to transfer to MSU. Eventually, he began his campaign for the chairman of MFCR and won. The deeper Alvarez got into the Republican Party, the more he began noticing that it was a different world—especially when a fellow party member threw out racial slurs about him and his Cuban father. He had enough. After he resigned and changed his political affiliation, a media frenzy ensued. The Democrats welcomed him; the Tea Party criticized him. He sat down with us to talk about his life post-resignation, his new career goals, having cancer at a young age and how a second-grade play changed his life.
August 13 - 19, 2014
ALVAREZ, from page 17 Whenever you resigned and switched over, you said that most of your family was Republican—how did they react?
Some of them were like, “Oh no, what happened?” I had to explain to them
stuff, and I would just approve it. My role was pretty much—because of the Senate election—dealing with tea party versus establishment drama. I was an adamant (Thad) Cochran supporter. I saw him as someone who truly cared about MississipCOURTESY | EVAN ALVAREZ
When you resigned, how did the media treat you?
What got you interested in politics?
When I moved here in ’99—moved from Baton Rouge to Jackson—I was in second grade at Ann Smith Elementary in Ridgeland. The second grade does a “God Bless America,” or some American program, and I was chosen to act as U.S. Sen. Trent Lott at the time. I didn’t want to do it, but my mom said it would be a great opportunity. Now, she regrets me getting into it. But I said, “OK, I got to play this act.” So, I did that, and about a month before, I wrote the senator as a second grader probably writing in Crayon and not spelling right, asking him to come. My mom was like, “He’s busy,” but sure enough, the day of the performance, I was in my classroom 30 minutes before we had to go, and I got paged over the intercom, and it said, “There’s a special guest here to see Evan.” Trent Lott, his chief of staff, his whole crew came. He stayed and gave my mom his business card. Ever since then, I had been all in with politics. My mom always thought something was wrong with me when I was 10 years old and wanted to come home and watch C-SPAN. What spurred your interest to be a part of the Republican Party?
I looked around, and everyone was a Republican. I looked at family, and everybody was a Republican. Living in Mississippi, even at that young age, I could see that Democrats were not the cool thing to do. At a young age, I had always called myself a Republican more or less because my mom was, my dad was, everybody around me was, so I think it was more of less me saying: “I better do this. I better have these beliefs because the social norm around here.”
I’m not told what to do by somebody in D.C. The College Republican National Committee really gave me a hard time. They were adamantly behind Chris McDaniel because he was young and yadda yadda yadda. What I do now is I don’t have to be afraid of who is looking behind my back. I can say my opinions and voice them freely. That’s the best thing about the change: I am not controlled by anybody else but myself. I take my mom’s and friends’ opinions into account, but at the end of the day, I don’t have to make a decision just because somebody else had authority over told me to. As of right now, I’m a college student at MSU in political science and just a politico.
Evan Alvarez left the Republican Party because it panders too much to the far right—and because some fellow Republicans disparaged him because his father is of Cuban descent.
the whole situation. My family deserves to know everything. Once I told them everything that happened and what I was learning in college, they said, “We respect your decision, and we will always have your back.” My mom admits that the Republicans have gone too far to the right; they weren’t standoffish. My mom still hits a few jokes every now and then. I didn’t get shunned from the family. What was your role as the chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans?
I was kind of the face of the organization. There were a lot of people under me, and I kind of told them what I would like to happen and what needed to happen. I wasn’t in it for a long time, but most of the time, one person would panel the
pi and served his constituents no matter what race or party ... I did not like McDaniel. His views were way too far to the right. I kind of used my position to influence what people thought who we were supporting. It was a much bigger role and much more serious role than I thought I was getting into at first. I don’t know if that was because of the election or not, but I thought it was going to be quarterly meetings, and I would come in and gavel, bang, this is what we are talking about. But it was very stressful because of the election, and I got a lot of experience. I found out that being in the political spotlight is not what I wanted. How does that differ from what you do now?
Democratic media are very nice— and some overly nice. MSNBC had me on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell.” The Daily Caller basically took why I left and made it look like junk and put the (College National Republican Committee) president’s opinion above mine. That wasn’t cool, but I developed a thick skin because of the job. The tea party, they’re going to rip me to shreds everyday, but I don’t give a sh*t about that. When I get ripped up by the tea party, I know I’m doing something to destroy them. The tea party and the CRNC (College Republican National Committee) said, “Oh, this kid is nothing to worry about, don’t waste your time.” If I’m nothing to worry about, leave me the hell alone. That was the big thing, it kind of rocked their boat a little. I inspired a few others to do it. Do you think you are something to worry about from a Republican’s perspective?
Yeah, I have some ill feelings, but I’m not going to go and attack them. Life is too short to focus on that. As of right now, I’m a senior in college, and I want to enjoy my senior year. My star career has changed from being a politician. Now, I want to take the time, and instead of using my political experience, my policy and research experience for politics, I want to be a lobbyist for either the American Cancer Society or St. Jude in Memphis because I did have cancer when I was 15 months old, and I was treated at St. Jude. I feel like I can could go and do some politics, do some public policy stuff and leave one of those organizations knowing that I did something to help somebody versus to screw somebody like most of the professional D.C. politicians do. I’d love to be CEO of St. Jude someday. That’s my dream job. more ALVAREZ, see page 20
I wanted to make the change because classes at MSU with Whit Waide got me to open my damn mind, as he would say. I had begun to examine a lot of stuff. The platform of the GOP was not the way I thought stuff should be. Not saying I believe everything on the Democratic platform: I believe more on the Democratic platform than the GOP by a long shot. The racial slurs were the final straw. They despise progress in anyway. If you aren’t like them, if you don’t dress like them, if you don’t come from a certain family or certain prestige, they don’t want to have anything to do with you. I used to say the Democrats were bad people, but they are the nicest people in the last month I have ever dealt with. Not in just Mississippi, but around the country. I’m a Democrat, and it feels good. I’m more open to the issues, and I’m not so uptight. I went to a Mississippi Democratic party at Hal & Mal’s last week, and everybody is just so relaxed. I can be a 21year-old college student.
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I told somebody, maybe The Huffington Post, that my views started to change (in) mid-to-late January. Because of the position I was in and because I was running for that positionâ€”and then I wonâ€”I could tweet what I wanted to tweet. They were saying, â€œYou need to hound Obama on Twitter.â€? I was doing it as a part of my job. Did I agree with it? No. The past couple of days have really shown that the president is out for the better interest of America. You have the House of Republicans suing him for using too much executive
power, and then yesterday, asked him to use his executive power to do something about immigration. It doesnâ€™t add up. You could tell that heâ€™s trying to do something good while they are just trying to stomp their feet and cross their arms. My personal opinions, Evan Alvarezâ€™s opinions, have been more so moderate Democrat to left Democrat since probably March. Chairman Alvarezâ€™s opinions were to hound Obama and hound every Democrat. If they have a D by their name, get out. If you were to run for president, what kind of platforms would you run on?
First and foremost, I would run on acmore ALVAREZ, see page 22
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ost people assume a correlation between age and political affiliation. â€œIf youâ€™re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If youâ€™re not a conservative at 40, you have no brain,â€? the old saying goes. Socially liberal and fiscally conservative is what you hear of the millennial generation now. What many people donâ€™t take into account is the growing number of independents among younger generationsâ€”who reject both major parties. In 2014, over half of millennials identified as independents, showing the trend of a generation distancing itself from partisanship. As expected, more of the other 50 percent are Democrats, with the lowest percentage of Republicans in the millennial generation.
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ALVAREZ, from page 20 ceptance of immigrants. It seems like our country has a problem with that right now. I was watching MSNBC last night, and a commercial that Al Sharpton did that said something like, â€œAt one point, the Irish werenâ€™t welcome. At one point, the Chinese werenâ€™t welcome. Civil Rights with African Americans in the â€˜60s.â€? Every race has been told that they arenâ€™t welcome, but we have seen our country move past that point. If somebody wants to come into America and contribute to our country, if they want to take advantage of the freedoms we offer, let them do it. But we cannot have this idiotic racism and close-minded to other groups of people because they donâ€™t look like us or speak the same language as us. I wouldnâ€™t be here if my father didnâ€™t come from Cuba. Something else would be health care. Obama has done a pretty decent job with the health-care system. There are some flaws, but they are working to fix them. Health care is a big thing especially with preexisting coverage conditions. Having a cancer when I was so youngâ€”even though my cancer was not going to come back, it was gone, bye, all I have is a scar to prove that I had itâ€”my mom went to apply for regular insurance,
and nobody would give me insurance. Cancer, red flag. The CEO wrote a letter: â€œThis kid is cancer free.â€? They said they didnâ€™t want it. My mom had to work as an assistant teacher at Madison Avenue just for insurance through the state employeeâ€™s insurance. So, I would definitely do something to get health care for cancer patients and people with preexisting coverage. Definitely equal pay for everybody. Youâ€™re not going to make it on $7.25. My mom, like I said, worked as an assistant school teacher while she worked primarily for the insurance, she got paid a salary, but when did the math, she was getting paid $5 an hour. Thatâ€™s unacceptable. People say, â€œ$7.25 is perfect.â€? When you do the math, itâ€™s not. Whit Waide (MSU instructor) was telling me about that. Pay people what they are worth. Nobody is better or less than somebody else. Encourage growth in the economy. If you raise the minimum wage three bucks, youâ€™re going to have more people come out and apply for the job. The more people that are working could get off government assistance. I want to make life easier for people. Comment www.jfp.ms.
-ILLENNIALS 7ITH !TTITUDE The Institute of Politics at Harvard University studied the political attitudes of approximately 2,100 people ages 18 to 29. Their results, released in Dec. 2013, contained some surprising results. Among them: â€”President Barack Obamaâ€™s job approval is at an all-time low and mirrors Obamaâ€™s national disapproval rate. Among millennials, Obama enjoyed an approval ratings of 37 to 40 percent. â€”Fewer than 25 percent believed our nation was headed in the right direction. â€”Fourteen percent of young Americans in the IOP poll believed the country is headed in the right direction. Another 49 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and 34 percent are unsure. â€”Of the young people who voted for Obama in 2012, 17 percent said at the time they were polled that they would not support him if they could recast their vote. However, only 4 percent of disillusioned Obama supporters said they would vote for Republican Mitt Romney if they could revote. â€”Millennials do not care for the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-six percent of young voters surveyed disapprove of the 2010 federal law, while only 39 percent approve. Those are in line with other national surveys of older voters. â€”Around 50 percent believe that the ACA will drive up the cost of health care; only 10 percent believe medical costs will go down as a result of the law.
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