Lumberton Politics: Always Personal Never Business

I’m still thinking about the fact that I was hauled into court to defend my freedom of speech. When Joe Montgomery helped me draft my response as a favor to one of his friends, he advised me that the matter would probably be dismissed and I would never go to court. Well, we all know that wasn’t how the story ended. I actually had to go to court, deal with an gag order and waited almost a month to get a judgement on this matter. I never thought I would lose but I think the case was drawn out because they thought they would at least drain me financially. Little did they know, my attorney did not charge me so their attempt to leave me drowning in legal fees failed just as miserably as their case. Now that I have a moment to reflect on what happened, I realized that Merlene Wall, a person that moved to South Mississippi to retire had the support and stamp of approval from a group of individuals I’ve known my whole life: Ben Winston, Bobby Gibson, Tommy Dukes and Cora Rogers. Wowzers!

Just this week, there were people lauding Governor Phil Bryant for refusing to allow Syrian refugees into the State of Mississippi. But here in Lumberton, outsiders are welcomed with open arms. We knew nothing of Merlene Wall other than the fact that she worked at a tire factory but she was given one of the best jobs in Lumberton over people that were more than qualified. Why? Because people that were on the board, Bobby Gibson, Timothy Johnson, Kent Crider, would not support hiring a local person because of personal agendas. Merlene Wall did state in court that the reason why I was so critical of her was because I didn’t get the job as city clerk. I wonder which one of those Coons gave her that information? For the record, I didn’t apply for the city clerk position because I knew that Crider, Johnson and Gibson would not vote to hire me despite my qualifications. Merlene went into court with a lot of information from the street committee and actually tried to enter it as actual evidence. She went to court with rumors while failing to realize that my attorney was there to destroy her case with the truth.

While Merlene was listening to the Coons, she should have really researched my blog and she would have known that Ben Winston tried, unsuccessfully, to stop my blog. He had his side kick, Bobby Gibson, go to the Lumberton Library and threaten their funding if they allowed me to blog on their computers. At the time, Ben Winston was the District 2 Supervisor and if his threat to cut library funding was a lie then it was told by Rebecca Hale because she was trying to build a case against Bobby Gibson for some of his underhanded dealings but somehow they drew her over to the dark side and she discontinued her investigation. It amazes me that Winston, C. Rogers and Dukes fed Merlene a lot of hearsay information but I’m the messy one because I post the truth. Let me set the record straight, Ben Winston has lied since taking office but he wanted the blog shut down because he didn’t want me shining the spotlight on his lies. Did I kick an elderly woman out of church? Did I enter a contract with Army Corp of Engineers without board approval? Did I violate laws of the Open Meetings Act? No. But that’s the nature of Lumberton. People like it when you’re real until you say something they don’t agree with.

While Cora Rogers was teaming up with Merlene, Bobby Gibson, Ben Winston and Tommy Dukes in an effort to shut down my blog, I guess she forgot that Winston and Gibson were determined to keep her from winning the post of Alderwoman at Large. I don’t know what happened, but at one point, Winston and Gibson didn’t want Jay McGraw to get re-elected. They had a group of supporters in Ward 1 to write in a candidate’s name in an attempt to get rid of McGraw. Unfortunately, their plan backfired because those same people voted for Gibson as Alderman at Large. Since the write in ballots were not valid, Gibson lost a lot of votes and lost his re-election bid.

As I said, politics in Lumberton is always personal and never business. At this moment, the court clerk cannot properly perform her job because Tommy Dukes is upset that she filed a lawsuit against the City of Lumberton. During one board meeting, he leaned over and said “ain’t she suing us, why would we give her more hours?” If she’s suing you, that would be the reason for the lawsuit. When Betty Speights hours were cut, it was claimed that it was due to budgetary restraints. Since then, they have paid for training, security systems and hired another clerk. Apparently, the budgetary restraints are arbitrary. Again, personal agendas outweigh business decisions. For some reason, the voters of Lumberton vote for those they feel have a good name, that’s a good business person, someone that lives in the right place. How’s that working for the City of Lumberton?

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