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Showing posts from December, 2015

2015: The Year of the Coons

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We’re on the cusp of a new year and hopefully 2016 will bring the change others felt that we needed in Lumberton and when I speak of change, I mean a white mayor. There are so many that were saying Lumberton need change but the change they were looking for was not based on actual change but complexion. Lumberton ended with an uncertain election that was tainted by the corrupt city clerk that lies as effortless as she breathes. Voter turnout was low but I thank all those that exercised their right to vote, regardless of who they voted for. Sadly, there’s still a fight for answers. When we went to city hall to get view the opening of the affidavit ballots, the candidates were not allowed in the room. The city clerk, the election commissioner, two poll workers and Cora Rogers went into the executive session room. At the time, I thought they were there to call the circuit clerk’s office to verify if the people that voted via affidavit ballot were registered vot…

Déjà vu: Merlene Up to Her Old Tricks...Again!

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Today was the day they counted the affidavit ballots. When I arrived, the wife of the other candidate and Hugh Jay McGraw were in the office with the city clerk. Three women from the election commission came in followed by Cora Rogers. They all went in the back and I was told that I had to wait in the board room while they reviewed the ballots. The others eventually made their way to the board room. There were 12 affidavit ballots and they rejected 7 of those ballots because Cora Rogers, not the circuit clerk in Purvis, MS, allegedly informed the election commission that the people did not live within the city limits of Lumberton. How did Cora become a part of the election commission? Here’s another problem, 6 of the 7 ballots that were rejected are neighbors. So, if their vote did not count then how was I able to qualify to run for Mayor? When I was asking for a copy of the names of rejected affidavit ballots, Merlene Wall, city clerk, was telling me that “I wou…

Vote Jonathan F. Griffith: Mayor of Lumberton

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In case you didn’t know, today is Election Day in the City of Lumberton. According to Kent Crider and his 6 years of experience, we’re not supposed to have a run-off, but based on the law I presented to the Secretary of State’s office, we’re having a run-off because neither candidate had 50% plus one vote. Since the city clerk was not willing to call a meeting to set a date for the special call election, many voters were not able to vote via absentee ballot but we’re going to Move Forward. The polls are opened from 7 am – 7 pm. Please do not leave the polls without voting. This is a very important election. Today, the citizens of Lumberton will decide if they want this city to Move Forward or if they want to stay chained to the past. A lot of things have been said and done to try and sway this election. I’m thankful that the people of Lumberton are smart enough to see through the smoke screens and make an Informed decision about the direction of this city. If I didn’t get the op…

No More Secrets: Time to Move Lumberton Forward

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Here we are on the eve of the run-off election and there’s still so many people that are not willing to accept the issues that’s plaguing the City of Lumberton. The picture attached to this post is a clear example of what’s wrong with Lumberton. There are too many self-serving agendas. Over the past 6 years, Kent Crider voted to hire Merlene Wall, cut the police department, get rid of Lumberton’s garbage crew, hire three clerks for one office, cut the hours of the court clerk that collect fines and hire Richard Rose at a meeting that was never recorded in the minutes or posted for public attendance. In the Hattiesburg American, Crider said he was the only candidate experienced with city finances and day-to-day operations but listed above, his experience has not benefited the citizens of Lumberton. Also, the week after the special election, Crider was attempting to claim victory using an opinion while I presented the law that stated a run-off election was required. …
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Today is Christmas Eve and as we prepare to spend time with our families, I would like to take a break from the debacle of the Special Call Election and wish each and every one of you a Merry Christmas! Hopefully you have all your shopping completed and didn’t forget to purchase batteries. After you’ve opened your Christmas gifts, make sure you’re keeping them safe. Do not leave boxes for new electronics or big ticket items by the curb. Break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags and place them inside a trash can. Consider keeping broken down boxes inside until the morning of garbage pick-up (Monday, December 28, 2015). Just a reminder, residents of Lumberton can cast absentee ballots at City Hall on Saturday, December 26, 2015 from 8:00 am until Noon. According to state law, the absentee ballots are supposed to be ready at least 7 days prior to the run-off election. Unfortunately, Crider and Wall were attempting to thwart a run-off election by trying …

Board FINALLY Sets Run-Off Election Date

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This board cannot get it right. Pictured below is a copy of the notice that was posted for the Special Call Meeting that was held December 22, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. but the notice clearly states that the meeting is scheduled for December 29, 2015. Attention to detail is one of the many admirable traits I offer as a mayoral candidate. Despite the fact that there was no quorum, Mayor Pro Tempore called the meeting to order and waited for another alderman to show up for the special call meeting. Those in attendance were Jay McGraw, Kent Crider, Cora Rogers, Quincy Rogers, Merlene Wall and Lindsey Carter. The board set the date for the special call election on December 29, 2015 from 7 am- 7 pm. Merlene Wall, city clerk, stated that the absentee voting will start on Saturday, December 26, 2015 from 8am – 12 noon. In accordance to the law, the absentee ballots are supposed to be available 7 days prior to the election. I asked for an explanation during the meeting and Merlene Wall stated t…

Mid-Day Edition: Cooking the Books for a Crook

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In the last report, the votes were listed as follows: Crider 146, Griffith 126, Walter 30 and 10 affidavit votes that have not been added to the total. The last time I spoke with Merlene Wall, I was told the votes would be certified on Wednesday, December 23, 2015. I spoke with the election attorney, Kim Turner, at the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office and she informed me that unless a candidate received a majority vote there would be a runoff election. Here’s another piece of information that’s questionable. It was reported that 314 people voted in the election. In order for Kent Crider to win a majority (50% + 1) he needed 158 votes. Let’s say that all 10 of the uncounted affidavit votes were for Kent Crider, that would give him 156 votes, Griffith 126 and Walters 30. Those 2 affidavit votes that were found torn in the trash would have given him the exact number of votes needed. I guess someone miscalculated. Interesting. I guess we will have to do like Miss Celie in …

Thieves in the Temple??? : The Tainting Continues

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One week ago, a little over 300 residents of Lumberton went to the polls to participate in the special election to select the next mayor. Sadly, since the election, there are more questions than answers. Every time I go to city hall to get answers, I get a different clerk and different answers. Yesterday, I talked to the head clerk, Merlene Wall, and she told me that the election would not be certified until Wednesday, December 23, 2015. Meanwhile, Kent Crider is going around, defying the guidelines from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office and carrying on the Winston Agenda. From what I was told, he attended the Monday meeting with the department heads and was acting like he was the mayor. For those of you that don’t know, the Monday meetings was something started by Winston and as I stated before, Crider is following the Winston Blueprint letter for letter. it’s clear that the December 15, 2015 election was tainted but we don’t know to what extent. First there was the matter…

Reports of My Defeat Have Been Greatly Exaggerated: Run-Off December 29, 2015

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If you read Sunday’s edition of the Hattiesburg American, you will notice there was another interview with Kent Crider. Within this article, Crider was saying there was no need for a run-off election because we all ran as independent candidates. When I started blogging, people started accusing me of saying things I didn’t say and that was because there’s a difference between reading and comprehension. Crider has served for 6 years as an elected official but he has no comprehension of the information he should have obtained as a 6 year elected official. When I went to city hall on Friday to get a copy of the voter signature sheet, I was given a copy of an Attorney General’s Opinion. After I got home, I realized that this was the opinion Crider and Merlene Wall was going to use in an attempt to declare Crider as the winner of the election. Unlike the elected and appointed officials that are currently serving during this administration, I have the ability to com…

Burks at Benard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic

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Time to take a break from politics to remind everyone that on Saturday, December 19, 2015, Lumberton's own, Daylon Burks, will be playing in the 67th Annual Benard Blackwell All-Star Football Classiic at Miner Stadium in Gulfport, Mississippi. The kickoff is scheduled for noon. The game will be broadcast live on fnutl.com.

So It Begins....

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In case you didn’t know, there was a special election here in Lumberton on Tuesday, December 15, 2015. I don’t know what I was thinking. I thought for once that there would be an honest campaign and I could rely on the integrity of the poll workers. Well, I was wrong on both accounts. Now, let me preface this by saying that all the women can ‘t be considered guilty by association but the it’s clear that something in the buttermilk wasn’t clean. When I entered the precinct to vote, I had to look around and step back for a minute. Wait. Why is this team of poll workers not more diverse and why is the city clerk sitting behind them mean mugging everyone that came in the building. At that time, I should have known to call a few friends and ask them to serve as poll watchers but I shrugged it off because I trusted Ms. Linda. Anywho, as the day progresses, I was receiving calls/texts saying how the poll workers were saying they couldn’t read their identifi…

Stealing Elections: Lumberton Style

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Last night when I went to the Ben Barrett Voting Center to watch the counting of the vote, I entered the building about 10 minutes before the polls closed and the picture above is what I saw. Throughout the day, many people expressed their concerns that the poll workers didn't match the demographics of the City of Lumberton. I shrugged it off after someone texted me, assuring me that the election was going to be fair. Well, that was not the case. Later in the day, a voter came to me with evidence that the votes had been compromised. They gave me two torn affidavit ballots that were torn up and thrown in the trash in the women's restroom at the voting center. Interesting. There was another person that came to me about the conversation they overheard between Cora Rogers and her mother, Voncile Richardson. It seems that Ms. Voncile wanted to cast a vote for me but her daughter, Cora Rogers, instructed her to mark the ballot for Kent Crider. Interesting.Last ni…

Cautiously Optimistic: Jonathan F. Griffith for Mayor of Lumberton

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Today is Election Day in the City of Lumberton. As we head to the polls, we are making a decision to either move the City of Lumberton forward or keep it chained to the past. What is needed is fresh leadership and new perspectives. Our city has had enough of people that are running for office because someone told them it was their turn. Well, it’s OUR TIME and we can reposition Lumberton for advancement. I know what this city is, I know what this city has been and I know what it can become with the guidance, leadership, accountability and transparency. There wasn’t much time to campaign because of the process of setting the date for the Special Election was delayed. However, I made an effort to speak with potential voters face to face but it was impossible for me to speak with everyone. It is my hope that the voters were not offended by my use of social media to explain my platform and outline my blueprint to help Move Lumberton Forward. Our city deserves more and it’s time that we …

'Twas The Night Before The Election

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Twas the night before the election and all through the land.The voters were wondering,”Of these three guys running—which one can I stand?”The people were divided about who was the best.The guy who help put Lumberton in this condition, the former fire chief or the blogger who’s not afraid to rattle the nest.I was lounging in my pajamas with a steaming cup of cocoa in my lap.Getting ready to log out of Facebook so I could take a little nap.When all of a sudden, there arose such a noise.I peeked out of my window and it was Crider and his boys.Kent Crider, Paul Ockmond and Ben Winston were parading the streets like they were on a float.Pulling out their old bag of tricks trying to get Crider some votes.They knew if they could get Crider elected they can snatch up the hospital, opportunities and more land with a wink.Then jumped on the bandwagon of chief sinners before I could blink.Crider then rallied his henchmen who were pulling his cart.I could tell t…

Moving Lumberton Forward with Jonathan F. Griffith

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Well, tomorrow the residents of Lumberton will head to the polls to elect their next mayor. This election will prove if the residents of Lumberton are ready to move forward by electing Jonathan F. Griffith or if they’re willing to stay chained to the past. Over the weekend, the Hattiesburg American ran the story about the candidates and I was taken aback by Crider’s boast that “he’s the only candidate who has experience with the city finances.” I knew Crider was obtuse but to see written proof is mind blowing. One of the main problems here in the City of Lumberton is the finances of the city and Crider cast votes over the past 6 years that has placed the City of Lumberton on the fiscal cliff. Crider also made claims that he has been in constant contact with representatives and officials in Jackson and that his presence is needed to help secure the $2.5 million dollar grant. To be fair, there's been less than positive things said about every candidate.Well, I too have been in c…

Jonathan F. Griffith on Constituent Services, Connectivity and Listening to the Citizens

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Committed to responding to you within 24 hours. When you need us, we will be there.This isn’t a new concept, but it should be an expectation. Anyone that has attended a Lumberton board meeting knows that citizen input is not valued and the citizens rarely get an answer to their question. If you have a question or file a complaint, they should be addressed in a timely fashion. I cannot promise that we will be able to sole the issue immediately; but I can promise that we will find an answer and set a plan of action in place.Far too often our citizens have reported dangerous potholes, sidewalks in disrepair, abandoned homes, unsafe activity, or harassment by city personnel and received delayed or unsatisfactory responses or no response at all. Local government should be expected to respond to these concerns and you can count on the Griffith Administration to provide a prompt response.Additionally, I will work toward establishing a communication tool that is easily accessible to every ci…

Christmas in the Park

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On Sunday, December 13, 2015 from 4:30 pm until 6:00 pm, the Lumberton Methodist Church will host a "Christmas in the Park" event at Wood-Hinton Park in Lumberton, MS. The event is sponsored by the Lumberton Methodist Church and everyone is invited to come fellowship and enjoy refreshments, music and other fun activities as we celebrate Jesus as the "Reason for the Season." The event will go on despite threats of rain, sleet or snow. If there's inclement weather, the event will be held at the Lumberton Methodist Church. Again, Everyone is invited. Come on out and fellowhip with us!

Jonathan F. Griffith on Economic Development and Fiscal Responsibility

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Committed to creating a strategic approach to cultivate existing businesses and foster and environment that encourages quality economic growth. It’s time for the Mayor of Lumberton to develop a consistent and direct line of communication with local and potential businesses. I will schedule monthly meetings to listen to local business owners, community organizations and potential business owners. I will also talk with businesses that decided NOT to move into Lumberton to find out their reasons for looking elsewhere. These efforts will provide effective two-way communication with the stakeholders to encourage growth and employment opportunities.Elected officials must learn to listen to those who can provide the most effective response, and be willing to work in concert with leaders to accomplish real and immediate progress for positive economic impact in our community. That’s one reason why cities have planning and zoning committees.The power of economic development is to improve al…

Jonathan F. Griffith on Public Safety

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Committed to ensuring the safety of our citizens and the preparedness of those who serve.We cannot continue to say we want businesses to come to Lumberton and that we value the residents of Lumberton if we do not provide essential services like an adequate police department and fire protection. One cannot be valued without validation. It’s time to stop saying what’s not in the budget and use the budget effectively to provide the best use of taxpayer money.We must prioritize the use of existing revenues and optimize the collection of uncollected fines to help support the police department. Those who keep us safe, who we expect to risk their lives every day, deserve the respect of their employer. It’s unacceptable that we have one officer per shift. That’s not respect. Everyone on the board is too eager to cut the meeting short and silence the citizens but it’s time to roll up our sleeves, listen to the citizens and develop a plan that will allow the City of Lumberton to upgrade police…

Under Promise and Over Deliver: The Griffith Agenda

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One week from today, the residents of Lumberton will go to the polls to elect another mayor. As a lifelong resident of Lumberton, I have had the opportunity to see our city at its best and, unfortunately, at its worst. From the countless board meetings I have attended and the last few years dedicated to keeping citizens informed through my blog, The Lumberton Informer, I’ve seen first-hand the power of our community and the potential of our city. There’s an amazing success story waiting to unfold in the City of Lumberton.On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, it is my hope that the citizens of Lumberton will step up to the plate and allow me to use my vision to help usher in a new perspective a new era of accountability and transparency. The City of Lumberton is stagnating because of unimaginative and lethargic leaders who serve because it’s their turn. On December 15, 2015, it’s time to take a stand and let the status quo know that it’s not our turn but it’s our time. Help elect Jonath…

Careless Whispers: See Luke 12:3

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This picture epitomizes why Crider is seeking the position as Mayor of Lumberton; he’s basically “in bed” with Merlene Wall. In other words, he’s running in an attempt to continue the cover up that’s been going on in Lumberton over the past few years. The members of the current administration do not want to keep the citizens informed; they don’t want to hold the city clerk accountable. The members that are serving want to keep the citizens of Lumberton in the dark and continue to discuss essential business behind closed doors in executive session. There’s an amazing success story waiting to unfold in Lumberton. On Tuesday, December 15, 2015, voters have the opportunity to empower the person who can help turn a positive vision into a tangible reality by electing Jonathan F. Griffith to serve as the next Mayor of Lumberton. Crider is a placeholder politician and lacks the wherewithal to help Lumberton grow. Let’s be clear, the Griffith Administration will not be focused on Merlene Wal…

Jonathan F. Griffith: Moving Lumberton Forward

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There’s an old saying, a person will govern how he campaigns. Thus far, Kent Crider has attempted to mislead the public by making unsubstantiated claims in the Hattiesburg American and on the WHLT-22 interview. Crider claims there are two grants that are on the table and they need someone familiar to help “nudge “ them through. I don’t know why he’s lying in an effort to garner votes. Let the record show, the projects for the airport has already been selected and already included in the 2016 FAA-AIP Grant Application. Those projects are selected a year in advance so they’re already in place and they definitely are not dependent upon one person being on the board. Crider also stated that we are working on the $2.5 million dollar Army Corp of Engineer grant. As I stated over and over again, the City of Lumberton never had the $625,000 in matching funds needed to secure that grant. The board will meet with Gary Hickman in an effort to secu…

December 2015 Election: Let The Lies Begin

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Well, the Special Election Campaign Season has officially begun here in Lumberton. Yesterday, there was a short story on WHLT-22 outlining the platforms of each candidate. Also, the Hattiesburg American ran a brief story on each candidate. However, when I was reading the quotes submitted by Kent Crider, I didn't know if he knew this wasn't a fictional story but I guess some people can't tell the truth. We have less than 2 weeks to campaign and it was my hopes that all candidates would be truthful. I know one candidate said he was going to stay away from mud slinging but I don't consider telling the truth as mud slinging. Everybody knows that Kent Crider is an avid support of the Gold Coast Skydiver Group and he think renting the entire Lumberton Airport for $350/month is a good deal for the City of Lumberton. I, on the other hand, do not. It was last reported that the Gold Coast Skydivers are making over $500,000 a year but they're paying $4,200/year to rent an ent…

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

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On December 5, 2015, from 9:00 am- 11:00 am, at the Lumberton Public Library, bring your children to enjoy milk and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Bring your camera to take photos or the Friends of the Library can take photos for you for $1.On Tuesday, December 8, 2015, the Lumberton Christmas Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. The Coca-Cola Christmas truck will be there. Come out and enjoy the festivities.

Review of the December 1, 2015 Board Meeting: The It's Time for a Fresh Perspective Edition

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The December board meeting should have been short based on the agenda but it took almost three hours plus there were several meetings after the meeting (I will post the videos later). Noticeable absent from the meeting were Merlene’s bodyguards. During the time of the trial, she wanted to give the appearance that she was frightened of me so her husband sat with folded arms and a permanent frown but now that she’s lost her frivolous case, I’m no longer threatening. Interesting. The first agenda item was to approve the J.W. Puckett Co. Contractors estimate Number 1 in the amount of $100,130.oo for the 2015 FAA-AIP Grant Project. The board also voted to approve O’Neal Bond Engineering Estimate Number 2 in the amount of $2,000.oo for the FAA-AIP Grant Project. The board voted to hold a workshop on January 4, 2016 to discuss the MDA Cap loan application. As I stated for months in the blog, the City of Lumberton does not have the money to pay the matching funds for the Army Corp of Engi…