Taking Back Our City

Apparently, I have been going about this the wrong way. I know there are those that don't like my delivery but I don't have time to be coy. The City of Lumberton is circling the drain and if we, the citizens, don't take action, it will be nothing more than a memory. How much more do we have to loose before it becomes a matter of concern. We basically have no police protection, no fire protection and no accountability at city hall. This didn't just happen. It's been happening and as the city slowly fades away, we sit by and let it continue to erode. Everybody in Lumberton knows that the majority of land is owned by three individuals and one of those individuals happens to serve as mayor. Now, the city does not have enough business to generate revenue so the only way to create a workable budget is via millege rate increase. Now, did you seriously think Mayor Winston was going to raise the millege rate when he and two of his friends/business partners own so much land? Neither did I, but the decision was not that of the Mayor Winston. I know I speak disparagingly of Mayor Winston but my reasons are because of his actions. I find it problematic for a person to claim to love this city and stand on a corner every Saturday praying for this city but refuse take the necessary steps to propel the city forward at every board meeting. It kind of reminds me of the passage in Matthew 6:5. Is he praying on the street corner to be seen by others; if so, this would categorize him as a hypocrite. As a matter of fact, this man of the cloth is rather hypocritical. As a minister, he know or should know that the Word (Revelations 13: 1-7) encourages us to obey the laws of the land. At the recent board meeting, Mayor Winston refused to exercise his duties as a mayor in a code charter municipality and break essential tie votes. As a matter of fact, the refusal to exercise his mayoral duties, has led to other areas of fallout. Just last week, the senior citizen feeding center had to close because the City of Lumberton has failed to pay the gas bill. Now senior citizens, who once enjoyed a healthy, balanced meal at a reduced cost are now given the added financial burden of getting their meals elsewhere. Had Mayor Winston voted to break the tie, the bills could have been paid. Another incident that happened this week was the attempted break in at John's Discount Drug Store. No one on the board, other the Alderman Quincy Rogers, seems to think there's a problem with the skeleton police force . Our police department is almost non-existent and they are not given the tools needed to adequately protect the citizens and businesses of Lumberton. How many more break in do you think this drug store can sustain? Every time the store is damaged, his insurance rates increase and if insurance rates increase, the increase is passed on to the customer. But this could have been avoided with a millege rate increase. However, I cannot put all the blame on Winston. The aldermen/women set the agenda and not one alderperson suggested a millege rate increase. They all know the city does not have enough revenue generating businesses and they sat idly by as Ben Winston pushed a budget that cost $1,600 to prepare. The utter ridiculiousness!

I have spent a lot of time focusing on the actions of the city clerk and public works director when the blame should be placed on the Mayor and Board of Alderpersons. With the exception of Alderman Tommy Dukes, Jr. and Alderwoman at Large, Cora Rogers, everyone on the board has previous experience as an elected official. So, why is the city in the shape it's in. In other words, they know better or should I say, they should. Just the other day, Alderman Jay McGraw, Alderman Kent Crider and Alderwoman at Large, Cora Rogers allegedly ganged up on the city clerk about the dereliction of her duties as a city clerk. As a matter of fact, it was reported that Merlene Wall was so upset that she left the office in tears. I have been harsh on Merlene but I feel that it's the duty and responsibility of a city clerk to know their job, duty and responsibilities. The things I said about Merelene was not said because of hate, it was to show the deficiencies in the office and the need to have qualified individuals serving as city clerk and/or deputy city clerk. People think noting of our board hiring individuals that are not familiar with the laws governing a code charter municipality. I know the laws and guidelines because of the years attending meetings and doing research but because I'm not a push over and will not sell my ethics for days off work with pay, I'm not considered a good candidate for a job at city hall. Everybody know that I don't have any personal qualms with Merlene, I just disapprove of her lack of professional knowledge relating to the position she holds. As a matter of fact, had she known the laws regarding a code charter municipality, she would have know that McGraw, Crider and Cora Rogers were in violation regarding the monitoring of her duties as a city clerk and the fact that all three were in her office at the same time was considered an unofficial meeting. She had every right to tell each and every one of them to get the hell out of her office before she report them to the Mississippi Ethics Board. In accordance to Opinion No. 2005-0431, board members do not have the authority to interfere in the day to day operations of any department. Opinion No. 2014-00378 also outlines violations that are also being committed by this governing body. That's why I am always stressing the importance of knowing the laws. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Just this morning, I was reading an article about how a citizen watchgroup in Clark County, Illinois took back their city. It got me to thinking that we should form a group like this in Lumberton. I attend the meetings, post responses to the meetings and take photos when I see things that should not be happening but I am just one person. I generally get a few responses but after researching laws, posting opinions and putting in the leg work, I get a few comments but nothing gets done. I think it's time to get citizens together that want to see this city grow and I would be delusional to think I could do it by myself. So, I'm putting it out there and I want to extend the invitation to those that want to see Lumberton grow and proper. At this rate, if we continue to sit back and say/do nothing, then nothing will ever get done. It's time to take our city back and together we can answer that battle cry. If you're willing to help, let me know. We need to get the ball rolling because at this rate, we don't know how much longer it will be before this city no longer exists. It's that serious. As a matter of fact, I don't think the City of Lumberton will have enough money to continue operations through the end of 2014.

Comments

  1. I am in just post the date and time. Will be there and I pray the City of Lumberton come out and support.

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  2. The City of Lumberton need to attend if not stop talking!!!!!

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  3. I new something could be none. I will be there. We don't have to take this!

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  4. When and where. I will be there!

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  5. I wish Marlene would just go home. She is part of the problem to.

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  6. Marlene is a lier and they know it. Lier, Lier pants on fire.

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  7. Put this on the agenda for 2015.

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  8. We need someone who know the laws and who will work with the City as a whole, not for one race, gender or age but as a whole. I will be there!!!!

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  9. We will have a closed session without the Board of Adermen and City Clerk.

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  10. This is not about Race. We have both serving on the Board. This is about what is right for the City of Lumberton. I will be there!!!!

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  11. just say when and where

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  12. I don't want to post anonymous so I'm putting my name in here. Lizz Hayes!!~!!!! Jay let me know when you're ready to roll and what I can do to help.

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  13. I so Happy!!!! I will be there. Post the date and time.

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  14. I be gonna come to da meeting too if da boss let me off work. I likes lumberton peoples

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  15. Very good idea Jonathan. Moving forward, make sure you formalize your organization. You will get some serious opposition. CONCERNED CITIZENS OF LUMBERTON.

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