Money Raised To Help Send Brooks To Democratic National Convention As Delegate
District 5 Supervisor Leroy Brooks will be a delegate at The Democratic National Convention next month in Charlotte, North Carolina. While that is a big deal, Brooks is riding a rocky road to get there. He went to Columbus/Lowndes Parks and Rec Director Roger Short to secure the Sim Scott Community Center, telling Short that he wanted it for a community meeting. Parks and Rec charges $250 to rent the center, but when an elected official rents the facility for a community meeting, they don’t charge them the fee.
Instead of a community meeting, it apparently turned out to be a fundraiser to help with funds to send Brooks to North Carolina as a delegate for the DNC. [I was told by sources that tickets were $10 each and there was about 40 people who showed up. There was also a photo of Brooks with President Obama. – RW] When I heard this news, I called CLRA Executive Director Roger Short. Roger confirmed that Brooks had secured Sim Scott, and said when he got wind that it was a fundraiser and not a community meeting, he called Brooks. He said that Brooks came to Parks and Rec Wednesday morning and paid the $250. [The fundraiser was held last Saturday. – RW] He added that Brooks wasn’t mad or that he cut up or anything like that. He added, “When these elected officials tell us that they’re having a community meeting, we have to believe them.”
I asked Roger if it wasn’t illegal to hold political fundraisers at the community centers. He said, “The only thing we can tell them is that there doesn’t need to be any drinking there. We can’t tell them they can’t have a political fundraiser.”
To be nice about this, I’ll only say that…Mr. Brooks wasn’t being totally truthful to Roger Short (or whoever he rented the center from at Parks and Rec) when he said he wanted it for a community meeting.
Yet another incident took place during Artesia Days. The new fire department in Artesia was holding a ribbon cutting. Reliable sources who were there said that when it came time for the ribbon to be cut, no one could find any scissors. It was said that Brooks took out his pocket knife and said, “This is Harry Sanders” right before cutting the ribbon with it.
In fairness to Brooks [And especially since he’s accused me of printing ‘hearsay’ without contacting him. – RW] I called Leroy Brooks Wednesday afternoon to ask him about both incidents. He quickly told me he knew that I was calling him about Sim Scott and told me he went down to Parks and Rec and paid the money. I told him that I had already spoken with Roger Short about that. I asked him about the ribbon-cutting incident. When I told him what I had heard, he said, “I took out my pocket knife and cut the ribbon. I did mention Harry’s name, but I didn’t say that.”
And, no…he didn’t tell me what he DID say!
In a related matter: When the Tuesday, July 31st supervisor meeting turned to discussion about possibly consolidating county emergency services under City Fire Chief Ken Moore, Leroy Brooks made some very valid points, one being that County Administrator Ralph Billingsley makes a good chunk of change ($120,000 annually) and there’s no reason why he can’t continue to oversee these agencies. [The argument from Sanders was that Billingsley is too busy with other duties. I’m afraid that argument doesn’t hold water. – RW] In the letter from Bill Donnelly that was included in last week’s Packet, Donnelly stated that Sanders and District 3 Supervisor John Holliman brought the Inter-Local Agreement proposal to a vote, but no such motion took place. It was only brought up for discussion. There was never a motion on the table to try and vote on the proposal.
Larry Clardy (Son of Wreck Victims Dorothy and Walter Clardy) Pleads With Council for Speed Limit Signs Along Highway 45 In Front of Leigh Mall
A tearful Larry Clardy, son of Highway 45 fatal wreck victims Dorothy and Walter Clardy, appeared before the Columbus City Council Tuesday night to appeal to the body to ask the Mississippi Department of Transportation for more speed limit signs in the area near where his mother and father lost their lives a few weeks ago. The couple were killed near the area of Bojangles restaurant. Clardy says there aren’t enough speed limit signs after you leave the bypass proceeding north on 45. [Packet reporter Debbie Milliern confirmed Wednesday afternoon that only one speed limit sign exists between the exit off of the bypass and the Peking Chinese restaurant. And that speed limit sign was down for a short time after another accident took it out. – RW] Clardy, who lives in Los Angeles, told the mayor and council that he desired for no one else to lose their lives in that area and that more speed limit signs might deter such a thing from happening in the future. Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen said that traffic patrol officers were writing a lot of speeding tickets in that area. He promised to beef up traffic patrol even more.
Clardy suggested lowering the speed limit from 35 to 30 in the area.
Gary’s Pawn and Gun Owner Gary Dedeaux Donates $100,000 to Palmer Home
Last Thursday night at the Trotter Convention Center, Gary Dedeaux probably made some children smile. The owner of Gary’s Pawn and Gun in Columbus and West Point presented the Palmer Home for Children with a check for $100,000. Dedeaux had been running ads for a Ruger sale and Ruger also chipped in on the giving, pitching in another $25,000 of their own.
The Christian-based organization has been in existence for more than 100 years. They rely almost entirely upon donations. Many Columbus area citizens grew up in Palmer Home, including Thom Geiger, Billy Speed and Ricky Speed, to name a few.
In addition to the $125,000 from Dedeaux and Ruger, an auctioned customized handgun garnered another $20,000 for the Palmer Home kids.
Proposed Road Renaming Is Sensitive Issue at Columbus Council Meeting
The Jones and Karriem families’ proposal to change the name of Fourth Street South (Catfish Alley) to ‘Sallie Mae Jones Catfish Alley’ seemed innocent enough at first glance, Tuesday, during the city council meeting. It appears that the family, though, has mainly been operating among themselves. Though murmurs of the proposed name change were heard in the past week, I don’t recall any mass media blitz to get the word out.
That’s why many on the council were leery of voting on the change Tuesday night, apparently. Bill Gavin said he hadn’t read anything about it in the newspaper. Though Laura Jones-Chalmers, Connie Jones-Brooks, Kamal Karriem and Helen Karriem made a solid case for anyone to deem Sallie Mae Jones worthy of a street being named after her, very few people had heard about this.
For my part, I thought that Ward 5 City Councilman Kabir Karriem should have recused himself from the discussion, and he should certainly do so when it comes up for a vote.
But I’m betting he won’t.
While Chalmers, Kamal and Helen Karriem and Connie Jones-Brooks were making their case for the street renaming, citizen Dempsey Faulkner got up out of the crowd and asked to speak. Mayor Smith asked any of the council if they were against Mr. Faulkner speaking, and no one objected.
Faulkner opined that the family was opening a “can of worms” by proposing the name change, and told them that he had eaten in that restaurant many, many times in the past. “But,” he told Chalmers, “don’t make this a problem…where nobody eats there anymore!”
I couldn’t believe my ears! The comment created such a stir among those in attendance that Mayor Robert Smith had to grab his gavel and restore order. It was totally improper and uncalled for. Kabir Karriem could be heard exclaiming, “What!”
Whether someone is for or against the proposed name change, no one should be treated like that! Agree to disagree, but that was way out of line!
Brenda Caradine wants in on the street name changing process. She said if we’re gonna change street names, let’s do it with internationally known dignitaries…beginning with Columbus native Tennessee Williams!
Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com1