Tuesday, August 28, 2007

VOTE in the Primary Run-off TODAY

I know it is a small ballot but it is races like these that literally every vote may make a difference.

James Ford Seale, a conviction long in coming

Story I wanted to pass along

Seale, reputed Klansman was found guilty and sentenced to 3 life terms this past Friday of conspiracy and 2 counts of kidnapping in the disappearence and death of Henry Hezekiah Dee and Charles Eddie Moore in 1964. I am proud to be part of the "New South" a South that not only frowns upon prejudice but continues to prosecute crimes of the past. When hearing a story like this I always think that I just wish this would go away, if it wasn't brought up then people would think differently of Mississippi. But the past is what it is, it cannot be changed now and all that can be done is the law followed. If people were murdered then the criminal can sought until his own death and I am proud that the law is being enforced even if it helps pick at old memories that many want to forget.

Links to other stories:

the Strange Pete Collins Story

I was talking to one of the co-editors of this blog and he hadn't heard this story so I thought I would put it up for others to read.

Pete Collins, a former Mississippi Highway Patrol trooper from Tupelo was once a highly decorated officer. More recently however, Collins was convicted of fondling a then 13 year old girl and was sentenced to 15 years with 10 suspended last Friday, the 25th. After he was transported to a Rankin County MDOC facility to begin his sentence he was found Sunday, the 27th dead in his cell from hanging. No note was left by Collins. Our prayers and sympathy goes out to both the young girl and her family and the Collins family.

CL article on this odd story
Daily Journal article on the odd story

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


All of my previous posts on this blog came from its old home, Mississippi Law, but it looks like we editors are having a bit of difference of opinion and I didn't want my posts to disappear in a moment of madness. For now I'll keep posting there but I think the end may be near and this will be the new home for MS Law.

SB 2117 - Extension of License for those on Active Duty

Interesting bill that is due back from the governor this week, 2117, concerns extending licenses for those on active duty with the National Guard or U.S. Armed Forces. These licenses include attorney's, architects, auctioneers, chiropractors, barbers, etc. I think this is a very good bill and look forward to it becoming law.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Jackson's Crime Problem

I am slightly reluctant to talk about Jackson because it is a single city in the state but it is the state's largest city and its capital so on some level the crime in Jackson matters to the state as a whole. Today Jackson's major newspaper, and the widest circulated paper in the state, had an editorial entitled "Development: Jackson 'flight' not unexpected" which I feel has some major flaws that I want to address.

The editorial states: "The biggest challenges were perceptions that crime made Jackson an unsafe place to raise a family, that Jacksonians were helplessly watching urban decline pick up, as population bled torrents into the suburbs. Many of those perceptions remain, as do the fears that such new Census figures are sure to spur. But some don't, or shouldn't."

The editorial goes on to talk about the passage of a large school bond issue, how "Despite the figures, downtown redevelopment is going full-speed ahead" and how affordable housing is being created. The Ledger goes on to speculate that "residential development downtown that would reverse the city's declining tax base".

The editorial then closes with: "Once more investment is made in crime fighting, including more jail space and a larger police force, and public confidence follows, that flight will be reversed."

My first beef with this editorial is the phrase "
perceptions that crime made Jackson an unsafe place to raise a family", perhaps the more appropriate statement would have been the reality that crime has made Jackson an unsafe place to raise a family. Crime is not a perception. Crime has been bad in the past and it continues to be bad in the City of Jackson. And for those who say it is getting better look at the statistics. The latest stats show increases in auto burglaries, grand larceny's, house burglaries, armed robberies, car jackings and stable if not increasing numbers for Rape and Homicide as compared across past weeks/months and last year. For all of the talk about how Jackson is better the numbers show it is not any better off than in recent history. This from a city that from 2003 stats had triple the national rate of murders and over double the national rate of rape, burglary, car theft and robbery. The people of Jackson and the editorial board of the Clarion Ledger need to face it, Crime is not a perception in Jackson.

My second beef is the proposal that downtown residential projects will reverse the declining tax base. People do need affordable housing to live in but many of the projects that are coming to downtown Jackson are not going to be what is affordable. The Ledger muddles the fact all of this increased square footage is not affordable to a vast majority of the Jackson citizenry. Additionally, the editorial ignores the fact that affordable housing is needed in all areas of the city not just downtown. It is needed out towards Highway 80, it is needed in North Jackson, affordable housing is needed all over the place, not just downtown where the location of being downtown automatically drives many projections right out of being affordable.

My final beef is the closing statement of: "
Once more investment is made in crime fighting, including more jail space and a larger police force, and public confidence follows, that flight will be reversed." This is a nice thought but it is really Pollyannish. Jackson has for years been massively understaffed on the police force and has never filled its positions. Jail space has been needed for years and never has the City Council voted for it. A change in leadership happened 2 years ago with "Do Nothing" Harvey Johnson voted out of office in favor of Frank Melton who himself has done nothing to improve the ranks of the PD and to curb the crime problem. At some point you have to be positive and and other points you have to be realistic. This is a time to be realistic not give pat answers of "Oh, it will get better" when the things it takes to make it better don't ever happen. Some times the truth hurts and the Clarion Ledger and this editorial need to quit giving the sugar coating to the city's problems.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Interesting note from the primaries

I found it very interesting that Mississippi, long considered a "Red State" as it has voted for the Republican candidate every year since the 1980. However, in the primary this past Tuesday around 442,000 voters voted in the Democratic primary elections while only around 187,000 voted in the Republican primary. This 442k in a primary is almost as many folks that voted for the Democrat candidate, John Kerry, in the last Presidential election.

Is it because of local elections, is it because there were better races on the Democrat ballot, is it because the Republicans were content with their options and didn't see the need to participate, is it a trend that may carry on to the statewide general and/or 2008 Presidential election? You tell me.

My thoughts are that are that it was a combo of the above issues, I think local elections are the biggest reason, I think the Republicans were fairly content and there was a big push on the Democrat side in the Dale/Anderson race. I don't think this is a trend in Mississippi though especially with the Democrat presidential candidate is probably either going to be Hillary, Obama or Edwards, none of which will carry Mississippi.