City Hall or Paul's Plantation
Due to inclement weather, I didn't not attend the board meeting last night but I'm sure they didn't accomplish much last night. However, about 40 minutes prior to the board meeting, I received an email from Vanessa Jones, the new attorney for the City of Lumberton. The letter did not have a subject line but I'm guessing it was in response to the request I submitted asking for verification of Paul Ockmond's certification as the building inspector and code enforcer. The letter I received is provided below.
I take issue with the letter because it lacks specificity. One would think that a person that's paid $100/hour could write a better response; instead Jones seemingly struggled to string two sentences together in an effort to remain as vague as possible. Another issue I have with the response is the fact that the elected and appointed officials of Lumberton do not think the citizens of Lumberton have the right to know if those working in essential positions are certified or not. So Paul Ockmond can inspect buildings, plumbing, construction, etc but is not required to show that he's qualified to perform those inspections. When Andrew Beamon was serving as the building inspector and code enforcer, he willingly provided copies of his certification. What is Paul hiding? Or shall I say who's certification is he hiding behind? Now the picture is becoming clearer; no wonder he's willing to pay candidates to get on the ballot for the 2017 municipal election.
Speaking of elections, I wonder why it's so difficult for Merlene Wall, city clerk, to report an accurate list of candidates for the 2017 election. I noticed in the Hattiesburg American and on WDAM, it was reported that Tina Speights is running for Alderman of Ward 4 when she's actually running for Alderwoman at Large against Cora Rogers. A list of other candidates are Maurice Dychess, Kent Crider and Quincy Rogers for Mayor, Johnny Buckley versus Sandra Kee for Ward 1, Susan Crittenden, Mike Brumfield and Jerry Walters for Ward 2, Nigel Burns vs Jonathan Griffith for Ward 3 and Tommy Dukes vs Audrey Davis for Ward 4. There's not a long campaign period but I am sure the citizens of Lumberton are smart enough to see what's at stake with this election. The City of Lumberton will either remained chained to the past and allow people like Paul Ockmond to manipulate the election process or they will embrace change and help Move Lumberton Forward. Those currently in office have shown us who they are and it's up to the citizens of Lumberton to believe them. When the Hattiesburg American featured the incumbents when they released the name of the candidates, Tommy Dukes refused to explain why he's seeking a second term but he gathered signatures to get on the ballot. What are you afraid to state your platform and outline your agenda? What promises did you make to those that signed your petition?
Elections generally bring out the best and worst in people. During my campaign, I will continue to do what I've always done; seek transparency and demand accountability. Unlike other's, I did not have to talk to a current elected official to get an understanding of the duties/responsibilities of an elected official because I already get calls from people from all across the City of Lumberton asking for my help with various situations that involve everything from incorrect water bills, to eviction notices. I always stop to talk to those that have questions and concerns; it's not something that I will start doing because I'm running for office. I will use social media to spread the word of my campaign but I will also go door to door with my supporters #TeamProgress. I hope I get the opportunity to speak to every one in my district and convince them that I am the best candidate because I've been in the trenches, fighting for the City of Lumberton. There are times when I sit and think whether my words (I've been blogging for over 10 years), my actions (I've attended over 300 board meetings), consistency and demands for accountability/transparency are all in vain but I will not stop fighting for the City of Lumberton. I'm not new to this I'm true to this. Just for the record, my name is Jonathan F. Griffith and I'm running for Alderman of Ward 3. I'm the candidate that was made for this election not paid for this election. I humbly ask for your vote and your support because my voice, my vote, my vision is NOT for sale.