District 39 State Representative Jeff Smith revealed plans by the Mississippi House and Senate to possibly finalize redistricting for the legislative bodies by the weekend. Smith, who intends to qualify soon for re-election to his House seat as an independent, said that the two bodies will view the new maps today (Thursday) and possibly vote on the plans by Friday. Smith said he’s eager to start his bid for re-election and also his bid to become the next Speaker of the House. The buzz has been going around for a while that former Columbus City Councilman Gene Coleman was considering a run against Smith as a Republican. Coleman was defeated after one term as Ward 3 Councilman by Charlie Box. Coleman had filed personal bankruptcy 3 days after filing to run for re-election in January of 09′ and it surely helped defeat him from the council position. Smith, in talking about the redistricting plan, said the plan helps District 38 Representative Gary Chism the most by giving him more of his strongpoint territory, like New Hope & Rural Hill. Smith will pick up 3500 possible constituents in Monroe County, under the new plan, as well as CAFB area and more of Caledonia. He said that District 17 State Senator Terry Brown’s district will change very little as will Representative Esther Harrison’s.
Lowndes Board of Supervisors Appoint Bob Taylor To 911 BoardCreates Possible Conflict of Interest:
During their end of the month meeting on Monday, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors had to make some appointments for the E911 board. Among the appointments was Bob Taylor, who owns a towing service and body shop. This creates an obvious conflict of interest and certainly is unfair to the other many towing services and body shops throughout Columbus and Lowndes County. I’ve known Bob Taylor for many years. If he didn’t own a towing service, i’d be the first to give thumbs-up to his appointment, but this appointment should not have been made.
It’s Official: Roger Larsen is Running!
Roger Larsen made it official. He signed up as an independent to run for the District 5 Supervisor seat held by longtime incumbent Leroy Brooks. Larsen signed up as an independent giving him the opportunity to wait till after the August 2nd Democrat Primary, where Brooks will face a challenge from fellow Democrat Kenneth McFarland, before his race would heat up against Brooks, provided Brooks survives McFarland. Brooks was in election-mode during Monday’s supervisor meeting. Brooks was fired up about what he called a “state-mandate for county redistricting” and was discussing the matter near the end of the meeting. He wanted to know, from the board, where the county was in terms of redistricting (though this was the first time I can remember him bringing the matter up..it had become suddenly urgent to Brooks). Brooks stated to the board: ‘One of the things that we’ve gotten the data back that shows us the demographics and where there needs to be a shift..my understanding is today (February 28th) is the date mandated we’ve got to have a redistricting plan redrawn by today under the state, we have not had any discussion..Chris (Watson of Bridge & Watson Consultants) has not come, other county’s have gone to their planning & development and got their plans done, they’re doing..Hinds County is having their public hearing tonight..Noxubee has already gotten theirs done..and we have not had any discussion..I mean, where are we?..I mean, when is Chris coming so we can give him some direction of what’s happened because..were just..we’ve missed the state mandate for redistricting, so at what point are we gonna..” Harry Sanders interrupts: “There’s not a state mandate for redistricting today”..Brooks: “Harry don’t get..I betcha..I betcha.. County Administrator Ralph Billingsley explained that he had been in discussion with Tim Youngblood of Bridge & Watson and Youngblood needed to work with Circuit Clerk Haley Salazar on some maps. While Billingsley was explaining, Brooks interrupted “Haley told me she sent him some maps..part of this process is, they need to be coming to get some input from the board of supervisors..and part of this process is that we have input..we’re on the front end..I don’t want him to spend all of this time working on a map up there without some prior input..and so someone needs to come to this board so we can give them some marching orders..and the marching orders is more than just shifting the numbers, we’ve got to have some input on on..where these lines are, where these people are, I mean it’s just..there’s a variation in these numbers so they can’t be doing a map without having come and talk to us..cause we’re the one paying them, we’re the one affected and they need to come to the board and get their marching orders from the board of supervisors”. Billingsley asked Sanders: “Would you like for me to put him (Chris Watson) on the agenda for next week?” Brooks was offended: “Ralph, you can look over here and ask me..i’m talking..yeah, I want him on there..i’ve asked to have him on here..i’ve asked..I was the first somebody to say we need to get Chris Watson here..it’s not a matter of what Harry wants somebody on there..it’s a matter that we need him on here, because they can’t be doing maps and doing districts without the board giving them some direction, so, we need them here..if we’re gonna be paying them, they need to be here..if Chris doesn’t have time to do it, we need to get somebody else, we can go right on to Rudy (Johnson)..and I know some of you will have to hold your nose to do it, but we need to get a map because the thing is, at the very best, it’ll take a month or so to get everything down, a public hearing and then if we send it up to the Justice Department takes normally a minimum of 60 days and if there’s something wrong, they kick it back and then..let’s assume everything went well..if they return it in the 60 days, Mahala got to have the time to shift everybody around, so, we’re really pushing it..and if that’s by deliberation I want to know why..we just..it’s just kind of cavalier with us, this is a very important thing”. Sanders: “I think that this particular election coming up in August and November, we can go ahead and hold that under the old lines and..” Brooks: “No.no, no, no..Harry..if that’s your supposition, you’re wrong..is, is, i’m letting ya’ll know, I know you’re new on this, we don’t need to” Sanders: “I’m not new on this, i’ve been through one of these” Brooks:”yeah..you helped manipulate the process last time..but i’m tellin’ ya’ll, if you sit up here and listen to that foolishness, we’re gonna be running two elections..is..that we’ve already got the numbers, the numbers is one man, one vote..Harry’s district is over, John’s..everybody’s district..my district low, Jeff’s district is over, I think Frank is over ” Sanders: “Harry’s district is within the guidelines’..Brooks: “I’m tellin you guys, we need to get a plan..you can listen to this foolishness..running under the old lines is gonna cause you some grief”. After some more discussion, Sanders told Brooks not to worry because Chris Watson would be at the next meeting and on the agenda. Sanders then asked if there was anything else. Brooks went after Billingsley for explanation of why he directed his words to Sanders earlier instead of Brooks. Billingsley stated:”He’s president of the board and I can’t make a motion, Leroy..so I asked him” Brooks: “But you don’t have to ask the president whether stuff be on the agenda..i put stuff on the agenda..and I know it may have just been a slip, but I thought it was very disrespectful..i’m talking and you’re asking Harry, hell..all of us has got the same right..as a matter of fact i’ve got about 16 years more right than him..so don’t disrespect me like that!” Sanders: “Seniority don’t have anything to do with.” Brooks cut him off:” Don’t disrespect me!!” he snapped..”and I felt disrespected”.
More Candidates File for Office: Several more candidates signed up for local office including Packet co-owner Justin Shelton. Shelton will run for Circuit Clerk as a Republican. He’ll face longtime incumbent Haley Salazar.