Jackson Precincts

trending towards self-government


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Pastor or priest?

“…you know that those who perform the temple service eat the temple offerings and those who wait upon the altar claim their share of the sacrifice…the LORD gave instructions that those who preach the Gospel should earn their living by the Gospel.”    I Corinthians 9:12-14 New English Bible

Ministers in the New Testament are often referred to as elders, deacons, bishops, or ‘fellow-workers’. Pastors developed into modern professionals. The custom of the Protestant and orthodox churches is to employ a priesthood. However, we have no need for priests since we have a High Priest in a heavenly tabernacle. Professional preachers are installed when they demonstrate a ‘call of God’ and complete a seminary course. The office of priest was transferred from Judaism of the Second Temple. Our preachers have become priests when they really are simply leaders of congregations. The ministry of the president of the congregation has replaced the collective ministry of the church. One guy with an ungodly amount of pressure and responsibility instead of an assembly of distributed godly ministry.

“But you must not be called ‘rabbi’ for you have one Rabbi, and you are all brothers…” Matthew 23:8 New English Bible

Early church practice did not employ priests because leadership was plural. Apostles vetted elders; they were not trained in seminary. Deacons are  expected to be teachers, hospitable, and active. Deacons like elders are expected to be sacred models which is not the same as being a professional. Payment for teachers is encouraged, but caution is given to those seeking to enrich themselves by the ministry of the gospel. The salary of the pastor/teacher is not to establish a priestly guild. Professional leadership permits the gospel to be influenced by political beliefs and wealthy elders. Professional pastors slowly became a priestly guild like the P’rushim or temple class in Jesus’ time. This professional class was the principal adversary of Jesus. The physical church became the shrine of the priest who presided there. The traditions of men replaced the gospel purity. The teaching elder has become the professional priest along with a princely building and salary. The building and the professional salaries are the main budgetary items. In short the means have become the ends. God’s design with Christ as the Head of the church has been replaced by the tradition of men.

Seminaries attempt to do the work of the Master and the Spirit of Truth. Seminaries should not usurp the Master’s plan. Who vets the seminary professors? The rule is that they must be credentialed by another acceptable church authority —-not by Heavenly authority. No mention of seminaries in the Bible. Churches glorify themselves with complicated theology. A functioning church IS the seminary. So who is the Head of our seminaries? Do seminaries acknowledge the Headship of the Master in their organizational charts? Is the Risen Christ listed first in ‘What We Believe’? No, first are beliefs in regards to Holy scripture and next are trinitarian concepts. The core of the gospel is ‘Jesus was raised from the dead by God’. Why diminish the witness of Heaven? Churches have literature, affiliations, programs, budgets etc. that come down from earthly authorities. God glorified the Son. Why don’t we just say so? Christ should be first in all things since that is God’s witness for all earthly and all heavenly powers for all of time. “Jesus is Lord” is the churches’ theology. “Jesus have mercy” is our deliverance and the institution of all Heavenly resources towards the believer. Why can’t we simply state divine facts? All those that follow the Master have the light of life to guide them in a darkening world. (John 8:12)

The vocation of the each believer is mentioned in Eph 4:1-3—- “the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called with all lowliness and meekness…” In verse 12 the pastoral and teaching ministry of the church is given as the means to prepare the general membership for the collective ministry. The Ephesians 4:12 purpose of teaching is given as ‘the perfecting of the the saints for the work of the ministry’ not so that clergy will perfect their ministry. Is not the ‘nonprofessional call’ just as important as the professional calling? It seems the church teachers have taken up the rabbinic role that our Master performed. However, if a large church effectively prepares the general membership for the collective ministry, many teachers are required. The elders must become teachers and ministers like the pastor. Pastors, today, are administrators more than teachers of teachers. Deacons are rulers instead of models of Christ’s love. Deacons expect to be planners or employers not ‘serving tables’. Hear Philippians 2:15–“Do all things without grumbling or disputing that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (NASB). When Jesus is the Head of the church it is a learning and a light-giving church.

The New Testament epistles are addressed to the collective membership rather than to the leaders. However, the Revelation of St. John is addressed “to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass” and the specific prophecies to the Asian churches are addressed to the messenger of each respective assembly. The Risen Master has a special message for the teachers and preachers here and its a powerful warning in each case. Yet His warning and blessing and truth is for every hearer this side of heaven.

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1828 and 2013 revolutionary politics

Neither candidate for Jackson mayor is orthodox or untarnished.  The brother with the African name was born in Detroit in 1947 and the younger candidate was born several decades later in Jackson. The human condition has touched each with compromising situations. This 2013 municipal election is like the 1828 Jackson presidential victory. It was the first time a President had not been a Virginian or Massachusetts yankee. The 1828 election was a revolution of national politics. A more democratic style of governance was born in the political life by this frontiersman, Andrew Jackson, who might have been born at sea instead of the Waxhaws of Carolina. There is a rumor that he was not born on the land. Lumumba, like Andrew Jackson, was criticized for his tendency toward militancy and confrontation. Jackson for his dueling, scorched-earth military policy toward the Indians, and the execution of deserters. Chokwe Lumumba has a past influenced by the Garveyism, labor organizing, and police brutality of post-war Detroit.

Andrew Jackson prevailed over John Q. Adams who got only 43% of the popular vote. Lumumba will probably upset Jonathan Lee, the young moderate. Lee is better mannered perhaps, but not more intellectual or more articulate than his elder. He is a sometime businessman, Chamber of Commerce leader, and Jackson native. His problem is an earlier more suburban style, Republican support, and his recent location back to this side of the river from Rankin County.

In 1828 in Hinds County poll boxes at Jackson proper and at Hezekiah Billingsley’s box heaped the votes for Andrew Jackson like the present St. James Episcopal and Fondren Presbyterian church poll boxes heaped up the Jonathan Lee vote.  In 1828 Josiah Shipp, Fleetwood, and Crossroad poll precincts in this county were kind to John Quincy Adams, but he was bested in these precincts by Jackson. The Baldwin box was only mildly kind to Adams where this western box gave him one out of five votes. The Jackson proper poll box had only two voters to cast for Adams. This precinct would be the first municipal precinct now the Eudora Welty Library box. The Billingsley poll box polled only three Adamites. Billingsley precinct was near the modern-day Ross Barnett Reservoir.

The other Fondren precinct is the Woodland Hills Baptist box which is a combination of the old precincts 15 and 16. We had sixty seven Lumumba votes. Over a thousand folk are on the register for this box in the center of Fondren. Michael Raff, the Mayor’s Cultural department director, was the poll watcher for Harvey at the Woodland Hills box during the Democratic mayoral primary.

The new Freedom Democrat wing of the party might be hatched in Jackson just like the Barbour-Reagan revolution was hatched in the this place over thirty years ago. Bennie Thompson is anointing Chokwe to do in Jackson what Bennie did in Washington. Solidify a progressive and leftist base…in the heart of Mississippi. As of Saturday evening the Fondren area near the Fondren Park had not been canvased for either candidate. Nor had the Midtown streets of Keener, Wesley, Millsaps, and McTyre. West Street behind Millsaps College had seen a few Lumumba campaigners. I heard some Lumumba radio ads being played from the front porches of Midtown and Fondren. Vote for the brother with the African name.


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2013 municipal elections and social development

I was a civil servant in the City of Jackson during the same period as the ascendancy of Margaret Barrett-Simon, the Council member of Ward Seven. Mrs Barrett-Simon has been my ward representative for over twenty five years. Jackson has seen high rates of violence and property crime since the early 1980s and the basic institutions of the city have declined with several high profile cases of public corruption or drug trafficking.

The national government’s anti-communist activities in the hemisphere during the 1980s increased drug trafficking and use in Mississippi as across the South and national border. Jackson is mentioned in the Kerry Report investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal due to its airport activity. The city leaders as well as the state leaders had little oversight or knowledge of illegal activity related to the national security efforts in Latin America, but the influx of drugs affected the health and social life of residents as crime and corruption increased.

In the 1980s I resided in a downtown residential tower and a neighbor was a federal drug enforcement agent. He invited me to visit his apartment and briefly showed me his sophisticated communications gear in his closet. He took a call and spoke in rapid Spanish though he was a Jackson native. Earlier in that decade a prominent Jackson young man who had been an addict was beaten nearly to death in this downtown tower residence. Several prominent families had children who committed suicide or had been treated for various drug addictions as drugs were very easy to obtain in this city. Black neighborhoods suffered greatly without treatment for the addicted. Treatment and rehabilitation were slow to develop.

I was not known to Mrs. Barrett except for a questioning on the illicit drug markets during a municipal election at the Murray Junior High School auditorium in 2000. She had no idea how the proceeds of the illicit drug markets were money laundered in Jackson and had absolutely no knowledge of that type of criminality in her ward. The institutional study of the Police Department by Maples had focused on many institutional failures and was treated with technocratic adjustments and some long range planning by the city leadership. A large local bank, Deposit Guaranty, had been censured for neglecting regulatory safeguards related to money laundering and for mismanagement of some local government accounts. This bank had employed the spouse of the sitting mayor and its bank stock was primarily owned by the Jackson establishment. The bank held large balances for the local and state governments as well as for various political subdivisions of the state.

Since my ward representative’s former spouse was an investment adviser and possibly once very useful in terms of financial networks, I had imagined that contributors to her campaign might be sending her tainted money since the city had so much violence and corruption. I simply asked the candidate and veteran city leader if she might guess how criminal networks laundered money in Jackson given the high crime rates here. She was appalled that I would suspect that she had any knowledge or thoughts on the matter. I thought she might be wise about the crime occurring both high and low in her city, but she was not. Her approach to governing did not include public safety in that manner.

She and the City eventually got Mayor Frank Melton. Mrs. Barrett-Simon, no doubt, later pondered the connection of drugs and corruption in her fair city. We had already experienced the corruption cases of former council members Williams and Armstrong several years previous. Political responsibility for trouble is a learning journey for city leaders and their polity. Mayor Johnson failed to understand the public perceptions of safety and the general civic decline subsequent to his loss to Frank Melton. Ironically, Mayor Melton had served as the Director of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, but had been sacked by Governor Barbour not very far into his state law enforcement career. Mayor Melton preached discipline, strict enforcement, and responsibility to the youth of the city while making many adult errors of judgment himself. Mayor Johnson has some completed civic projects. He has many other ‘half done’ projects both material and social. He has cultivated new political alliances to foster civic goals as partnerships and generally improved his management and political skills.

The natural cycle of drug use has declined somewhat in recent years with marginal improvement in the crime statistics. Social development has been largely dormant as the district’s public schools have involuted and learning has not expanded. The principal institutions and the infrastructure of city are worn and beaten. Many professionals and clergy live outside the city gates with diminishing social attachments, but heavy use of the municipal utilities and infrastructures. Our state and local governments are suffering from low revenues, budget pressures, and lofty expectations. The private schools and the public University have demonstrated some progress. The city’s social progress is slowly emerging with the constraints cited.

Mrs. Barrett generally has good political instincts and is capable. However, she is not much help in social development and public safety. Her sponsorship of civic projects is steady, but her grasp of social reality in the city is wanting.


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Some Harvey Johnson 2009 Mayoral Contributors

Friends of Harvey Johnson Political Committee ‘Report of Receipts and Disbursements

May 26, 2009  Pre-Election Report
This period (April 26-May 23, 2009)

Contributions $157,190 Year-to date $261,164
Disbursements $158,486 Year-to-Date $224,425

Total amount of cash on hand $42,184

signed A. Carolyn Harper  May 26, 2009Image

George Schimmel            1,000         ytd 2,250
Richard Schwartz             1,000             2,000
Janet J. Scott of Flora      1,000             1,000
Statewide General Ins          1,000         1,000
Cynthia Stewart of Madison 1,500          1,500
Thelma Terry of Terry          5,000          5,000
Thomas Crouch Oil                1,000         1,000
Walker Group                         1,000         1,000
Willie Wilson of University Park, IL Omar Inc 10,000  ytd 24,000
Dr. Jerry Young New Hope MBC      1,000                       1,000
Areeb Sadaat Garrett Enterprises      2,000                    4,000
E.B Robinson                                     1,000                     1,000
Claude Reese of New Orleans            1,000                    2,000
Crymes Pittman                                    1,000                 1,000
Kenneth O’Quinn Capitol Drywall         500                  1,000
Northstar Wireless of Port Gibson         1,000               1,000
John Maxey                                          2,500                2,500
Precious T. Martin                               5,000                5,000
Alvin Marley of Chicago                       2,000               3,000
M3A Architecture PLLC                       1,000               1,000
Robert Lundardini                              1,500                2,500
Michael Johnson Developer                5,000               5,000
William Isaacson of Wash DC             5,000               5,000
IMS Engineers                                  1,000                 1,000
Imani Environmental of GA               1,000                1,000
Joel Hudnall of Columbus                2,000                2,000
Rod Hill IMS                                    2,000                 2,000
Hess Engineers of LA                    1,000                 1,000
Health Assurances                        1,000                  2,000
Jackie Garner                                1,000                 1,000
Harvey Freelon of Madison           1,000                 1,000
Rodric Donaldson                        1,000                 1,000
Davis Goss & Williams                   500                   500
Samuel Agnew of Baton Rouge     1,000               1,000
Airwave                                           1,000              1,000
Baker Donaldson MS PAC              1,000              1,000
Pamela Banks                                 1,200              1,200
Carroll Bufkin & Coco PLLC             1,000              1,000
Bernard Charbonnet of New Orleans 4,000            4,000
Thomas Crouch Jr                             1,000             1,000
Belhaven Springs                               1,000             1,500