The Haves and Have Nots: Lumberton's Truth Decay

Despite the rain, I managed to get up early so I could stock up on the Smithfield's bacon that's on sale at Ramey's. Afterwards, I stopped by the library to look for some books. It's been a while since I've darkened tne doorway of the Lumberton Public Library; operative word here is public. As I stood in tbe foyer, I was taken back to the time when there were people that wanted me banned from the library because they felt I shouldn't use the library's computers to blog. Keep in mind that I own a laptop, tablet and smartphone but there was this narrow minded sector that thought tney were somehow better than me because I used the computer at the library. Not that it's anyone's business, but I used the library's computers because I didn't and still don't have a printer. With the cost of printer ink and paper, it was more cost effective for me to use tne library. Despite the comments, anonymous of course, saying I was lazy and shouldn't be allowed to use a public library because they felt some kind of way about the things said in my blog, most people didn't know that I was working to complete my online courses for my M.Ed. But that's Lumberton. We all grew up in this community and attended the same school but there's this need to think that one group is better than the other. At one time, I was an avid volunteer, participated in most of the Friends of the Lumberton Library events and would give up a Saturday to give tours at the Lumberton Museum but all people were concerned about was the need to shut down a blog that was allegedly spreading rumors and lies but somehow had a lot of people bothered. Here I am, still blogging despite the loss of people I considered friends. I reveived a few texts/ calls about Ben Winston's offer to advertise on my blog. Some encouraged me to "get that money." Well, it is my belief that not all money is good money. If he wants to do a paid advertisement, I have no problem with writing a post for him. However, unlike the ministers and fledgling business owners that blindly support Winston for donations and loans, my integrity is not for sale.

Just yesterday, we heard that the Cuevas Fish House burned to the ground. There's no word if they will rebuild but after the report was given about the fire departments that responded to the call, there were many wondering where was the Lumberton Fire Department? Good question. Since Jerry Walters and his crew were disbanded, it's a coin toss when it comes to getting a response from the LVFD. They're hardly ever represented at the board meetings but for some reason, the board continues to fund this department, pay their expenses and give them a FuelMan card. Why the need for a gas card when they're not responding to calls and they're turning down applications from qualified volunteers. I would like to see the paperwork because someone is lying and the City of Lumberton's fire rating is going to be circling the drain, resulting in higher insurance premiums for evey homeowner.

A major problem here is the lack of access to public records. Most jobs give employees a 90 training period. Mississippi is an at will state, meaning an employer does not need a good cause to fire you. Merlene Wall has been working here for over two years and at almost every meeting, she's reporting about something else she's not capable of doing. One of the tactics used by Merlene is her weapon of mass distraction. To keep the board from realizing she's incapable of performing tne duties of a city clerk, she distracts them from her poor job performance with a web of smoke and mirrors, allegedly speaking of course. The board can't focus on the fact that she can't operate the BBI software program when they're distracted by birthday cakes, mints at their desk, etc. Let's not focus on tne fact that the minutes are not completed in a timely fashion, water bills are mailed late, the drive thru window is closed during lunch or customers are treated rudely. Instead, let me print you a copy of a post from the Lumberton Informer. Let's not focus on the fact that citizens have no access to the records room because the board is convinced that the executive session room has been bugged. In the meantime, Merlene can continue to cry wolf, hire lawyers to write grammatically flawed cease and desist letters and convince the mayor and board that she's so overwhelmed by the work she's purposely not doing that she needs another clerk in the office.

Another matter I was thinking about is Danny Davis and his desire to pass the reigns of the Public Works Department to another white person. One would think that his primary focus would be to get the most experienced person to fill that position but after he requested to have the long term employees terminated and demanded the board keep the boy that wad hire to cut grass but never actually cut grass showed Danny's true agenda. For the record, I don't have a problem that the unexperienced choice is white. I have a problem that people with over a decade of work experience were discarded like excessive cargo on the Amistad. It's my hope that Michael will do his job fairly and if he's really trying, I will be supportive just like I was supportive of the young lafy that was being groomed for the position before giving in to her weak-willed nature. I don't know why she gives me the side eye every time I see her but I guess it's hard to remain neutral when you listen to Merlene's lies day in and day out.

Another issue I have with Danny is his unwillingness to acknowledge his biased supervisory skills. Everytime I listen to him giving his report at the board meetings, I think of Big Daddy from Django and Millie from The Color Purple. Danny is a master of feigning humility. When he give his monthly reports, he reminds me of that scene in Django when they were having problems with their hoods. He's always using that "Look, nobody's saying they don't appreciate what Jenny did" voice. All the while, it's my belief that he's more like Millie from the Color Purple, "I've always been good to you people. I've always gone out of my way for coloreds." But there's nothing I can do to change his way of thinking. If the number of erroneous bills that show up in the black community was in the white community, something would have been done to affress the issue. There's a problem with a black police chief having a take home vehicle but no one bats an eye that two white guys in the Public Works Department have take home trucks. Well, I can't blame Danny for that; Kent Crider, Jay McGraw and Tommy Dukes passed that order. Danny has pockets of concerns but he's not concerned about evey citizen that pays a water bill, otherwise, he wouldn't have Merlene screening his calls. Last month, I tried to get his number and Merlene refused to give me his mumber but said she will give him my name and number and have him call me back. I guess it's no surprise thzt I have yet to receive that call. A week later, I had a white friend call for me and guess what, she was given Danny's number. Interesting. I know people like to think racism is dead but as long as racist minded people like Merlene and Danny exist, racism lives. I'm sure their issues with me goes deeper than the color of my skin but explain why Danny's number was given to a white caller while she had me on the other end but I was refused the same information. Again, I can't put all this on Danny but I'm sure he's aware that this is going on because he also refused to give citizens the number to his city paid cellphone at the last board meeting.

One of the reasons I attended the last meeting was to see how the City of Lumberton was going to pay the $625,000 needed to get the Army Corp of Engineers grant. The matter was never discussed but Danny Davis said he had a list of the areas he wanted repaired. I know $2.5 million seems like a lot of money but not when it comes to street repairs and sewer lines. We all know that Love's Addition need the most work but I would love to see the areas Danny wants addressed first. I just wanted to share a few thoughts with you since it's raining and I'm mourning the loss of Cuevas Fish House. I just realized it's Friday the 13th. I hope the kids get a sunny day before the end of Spring Break. Enjoy your weekend, check on your neighbor and govern yourselves accordingly.


  1. I really wish Merl would do us all a favor and leave. I do like the fact that now when you Google her name you get posts from the Lumberton Informer. Just shows you that a tire clerk does not make a good city clerk.

  2. Where did the City of Lumberton get your City Clerk from?

    1. She was hired by the previous board. I guess they were impressed by her years of experience as a office manager at a tire shop. This is when I decided to run for alderman. I was running to put her on the agenda to be fired at every board meeting. Unfortunately, my anger subsided way before the election and it was too late to have my name removed from the ballot. I was hoping that Rachel Jeffetson got the position. She was familiar with city government and majoring in history. The board felt she lacked enough experience but as you see, experience is not a guarantee of excellence.

  3. The City Clerk is the problem.

  4. Lumberton should have been one of the first trucks on scene. I have submitted 3 applications to the fire department, but they are content with the crew that they have. When insurance rates start going up, i'm sure that the citizens will start voicing their displeasure. I'm sorry for the loss of Cuevas. It was my favorite place to eat fish and i am hoping they will rebuild.

  5. Mr. Informer, to show Merlene that you harbor no ill feelings, you should treat her to a pint of Blue Bell ice cream. One spoon.


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