March 17, 2011 9:01:00 AM
Presently, there is a contentious debate going on among the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors regarding the issue of redistricting. Of course, such action is not unusual. Many counties are going through the same process. If one really wanted to see a contentious battle, follow the actions of the Mississippi Legislature. After reading some of the blogs printed in your newspaper. I recognized that the blogosphere allows you to hide your identity, but not your narrow-mindedness. Therefore, for all the enlightened citizens interested in understanding what''s going on, here are the facts.
So far, the conversation has been about what Leroy Brooks wants for his district. No, the real issue is the drawing of a fair plan for Lowndes County and its citizens. I understand the politics of Lowndes County and recognize there is a group of people in this county that thrives on the idea of "destroying Leroy Brooks." Sadly, enough they haven''t figured it out; I''m not deterred by the hatemongers and their rhetoric. After 28 years of listening to the same foolishness, I''ve become immune to the preponderance of ignorance by a few.
There are two factors that must be considered in any redistricting plan. First, is the idea of one man, one vote. This idea lends itself to insuring there are an equal number of citizens in each supervisor''s district. Based on the 2010 census data, the population in Lowndes County is 58,406. Ideally, each district should have a population of 11,681. These numbers do not include the population at Columbus Air Force. The base is not a part of the census, but the persons living on the base are allowed to vote in District 2. Seemingly, meeting that requirement is a simple one. Not so, because the other major factor in redistricting is the preservation of the minority voting districts. There are two majority African-Americans voting district in Lowndes. Not only must these districts remain intact, there cannot be a dilution of the voting strength. Since it is sometimes difficult to reach ideal numbers in the district and not dilute minority voting strength, the law allows for a deviation of not more than 10 percent in the total plan. This allows for districts to be over or under the ideal number and yet meet the litmus test for maintaining the two African-American districts, with the appropriate voting numbers.
Here is the problem with the proposed plan by Harry Sanders and his supporters. The existing voting age population for African- Americans in District 5 is 63.5%. The proposed plan would reduce it to 61.3%. For any reasonable man or woman motivated by logic and understanding, that is dilution. The question in my mind is why are they so apt to reduce the voting population in District 5 when the majority voting age population in their districts is beyond approach. The voting age population in the three majority white districts is as follows: Harry Sanders (71%) Frank Ferguson (70%, excluding Columbus Air Force Base, if you add those voters, his voting age population becomes approximately (75%) and John Holliman''s district is (83%). District four is the other majority African-American district with a voting age population of 79%. In redistricting terms it''s called "packing." The strategy behind packing is to lump as many African-American voters in one area to limit their influence elsewhere.
I had a plan drawn to reflect a more equitable voting age population throughout the county. I was completely within my right to take such action. For those of you keeping up with redistricting in Mississippi, you are aware that gubernatorial candidate Phil Bryant had a plan drafted for the Mississippi Senate that differed from the one proposed by the senate redistricting committee. Under the proposed plan I offered to the board, the white majority districts would reflect the following voting age populations: Harry Sanders ( 74% ), Frank Ferguson ( 70%, again, with the Columbus Air Force Base voting population it would probably remain at ( 75%) and John Holliman''s district would be ( 82%). In other words, the plan I proposed would not impact their white voters at all. District four voting age population would be reduced to (74%) and district five would be (70%). This plan reflects the premises of redistricting and all of its mandates, which are minorities, have the ability to elect a representative of its choice.
Whether we agree with the laws of the land is a personal issue. However, it is what it is. After witnessing the unwillingness of my colleagues to do the right things, I see why there is still the need for Justice Department oversight. Many things changed without a struggle, but the sharing of power and resources is not one of those.
Finally, Mr. Editor, you characterized the dialogue between Harry Sanders and me as bickering. I beg your difference. For whatever reasons, people in this community give Harry a free ride to do whatever he pleases, without any regard for the law. Unfortunately, that''s not the case with me. I have watched him destroy the livelihood of county employees, manipulate other elected officials and cost the county thousands of dollars to support his whims.
As matter of fact, if we had chosen the Golden Triangle Planning Development District to complete a redistricting plan, we would have saved a considerable amount of money and the plan would be completed. But his inability to control the executive director eliminated that option. After his effort to destroy the Columbus Convention and Visitor''s Bureau failed, I guess redistricting will be his next move. I''m not sure what will happen in the end. However, I plan to commit myself to a fair and equitable redistricting plan for Lowndes County. It has nothing to do with winning an election; it has to do with principle. It has been said, "If a man doesn''t stand for something, he will fall for anything."
itwilldo4me commented at 3/17/2011 12:43:00 PM:
Poor Poor Leroy please don't hinder him or he might sue. Please let him have his way so he will quit thinking everyone is beating him down.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 4:49:00 PM:
"Since it is sometimes difficult to reach ideal numbers in the district and not dilute minority voting strength, the law allows for a deviation of not more than 10 percent in the total plan. This allows for districts to be over or under the ideal number and yet meet the litmus test for maintaining the two African-American districts, with the appropriate voting numbers.
Here is the problem with the proposed plan by Harry Sanders and his supporters. The existing voting age population for African- Americans in District 5 is 63.5%. The proposed plan would reduce it to 61.3%. For any reasonable man or woman motivated by logic and understanding, that is dilution."
Did you graduate high schoool? How could you make such a STUPID statement? See, you cannot keep ALL districts ALL the same when the population DROPS (as it has in Lowndes County). So they HAVE to drop the numbers. Of course, your OLD percentage was 63.5%. Now, the "change" permitted is TEN PERCENT, so yours could DROP or INCREASE by 6.35% before it was regulated by the Justice Department. Lets see, the new number is 61.3%. That is a decrease of 2.2%. So, just in case you DIDN'T go to school, 2.2% is LESS than 10%.
So SHUT UP, do your JOB, and stop WHINING.
nativecolumbian commented at 3/17/2011 4:56:00 PM:
Help! I need help to understand why black Americans need to be addressed as African Americans! I guess I have a God given talent, that they don't know I have; because I only have to look at a black American, and I can tell that that person very likely has roots in Africa.
Ya know, it kinda insults me in a way though..
How many other ethnic groups feel the need to be addressed by a moniker that establishes their roots? America is the melting pot of the world folks. I wonder how many black Americans know anybody in Africa, or can identify their family geneology.
kj commented at 3/17/2011 5:32:00 PM:
I believe the 10% variance is in regards to the total number of voters per district, not the percentage of minority voters in a district.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 6:44:00 PM:
kj, why would the Justice Department have a regualtion about TOTAL number of voters when addressing the dilution of MINORITY voters? But okay, suppose it IS the total number of voters. If the MAJORITY of his district, which is black, dropped by 2.2%, how could the TOTAL number drop by more than ten percent? The math just doesn't add up.
raider commented at 3/17/2011 6:45:00 PM:
"Not only must these districts remain intact, there cannot be a dilution of the voting strength. Since it is sometimes difficult to reach ideal numbers in the district and not dilute minority voting strength, the law allows for a deviation of not more than 10 percent in the total plan. This allows for districts to be over or under the ideal number and yet meet the litmus test for maintaining the two African-American districts, with the appropriate voting numbers."
My understanding is that one district could have 12000 voters and another 11000 voters. It is a deviation from the one-person one-vote rule but it is allowed when it is done to maintain minority voting strengths.
On this one, Leroy appears to make a compelling argument that may prove to be the correct argument in the end.
raider commented at 3/17/2011 6:56:00 PM:
@nativecolumbian: I remember when I was growing up, there was plenty of hyphenated americans such as italian-americans, irish-americans, german-americans, polish-americans and others. There wasn't a problem until blacks decided to take pride in thier heritage. Since then, many whites have found it problematic to refer to blacks as african-american. If you don't want to use african-american...then don't.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 6:58:00 PM:
Raider, so what are the ACTUAL numbers by district on total population? It seems to be a EASY answer, not rocket science or anything.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 7:13:00 PM:
Tell me Raider, ARE you an "African-American"? I mean I grew up in a place that had large section of ethnic groups. And the "Italian Americans" or the "Polish Americans" called themselves that out of PRIDE, and because they actually CAME from those places, or their PARENTS did. As times progressed, they dropped the ethnicity, and just became "Americans".
Now, I would guess that most "African Americans" are about as close to AFRICA as I am. So guess what, if your great great great great great grandfather came from African...your NOT an African American.
Oh, and since you want to enforce the whole "African American" thing, could you advise me as to wha5t I should if I meet a black person from Jamaica? How about for any OTHER nation that has black people living in it that immigrated here?
nativecolumbian commented at 3/17/2011 7:58:00 PM:
Raider: before you take ME on; you need to LEARN how to spell and conjugate verbs..
raider commented at 3/17/2011 8:40:00 PM:
@zen: "Based on the 2010 census data, the population in Lowndes County is 58,406. Ideally, each district should have a population of 11,681."
That's the numbers according to Leroy.
raider commented at 3/17/2011 8:58:00 PM:
Zen, whether I am AA or not is not revelant to the discussion. A question was asked and I answwered the question. But I guest you feel like you will be the arbiter of whether it is ok for someone to be proud of there heritage. Based on your "master" mentality, I guess you have decided that your grandparents heritage is the cut-off. I guess you haven't noticed yet but people are not required to get thier master's permission before they decide on things anymore. As to what you should call a Jamaican...I guess you would call him Jamaican.
Yes I am AA since you needed to know.
raider commented at 3/17/2011 9:05:00 PM:
nativecolumbian, evidently I spell and conjugate verbs good enough to get under your skin. You obviously understood my answer and now you are upset. I was just trying to give you my perspective based on your question. AA are proud of our ancestors too.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 9:34:00 PM:
Wow Raider, you really are bitter. Bottom line, I have NO problem with you being proud of your heritage. But when you try to stop OTHER people from being proud of THEIR heritage (just because they are white), you cross the line.
"Based on your "master" mentality, I guess you have decided that your grandparents heritage is the cut-off."
Nope, I have decided that I am an AMERICAN, end of story. Of course, you want to find a way to differentiate yourself, go ahead, but having BEEN to African, and out on the Savannah, your victim mentality would allow you to last about 15 minutes. That lion doesn't CARE that your ancestors were slaves (IF they were).
"As to what you should call a Jamaican...I guess you would call him Jamaican."
And how would I KNOW that? But I digress, I will agree to do that, as soon as YOU begin referring to EVERY white person you meet or reference as THEIR ancestrial moniker, ie Irish American, Italian American, etc. Of course DETERMINING that at first glance is IMPOSSIBLE, but its the same with BLACK people, so if you expect ME to know and address them that way, I expect the same out of YOU.
Equality is NOT a difficult concept.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 9:35:00 PM:
"evidently I spell and conjugate verbs good enough to get under your skin"
It "WELL enough", you uneducated hick.
kj commented at 3/17/2011 10:05:00 PM:
"If the MAJORITY of his district, which is black, dropped by 2.2%, how could the TOTAL number drop by more than ten percent?"
Well, it could happen that a district of 10,000 voters with 6,350 minority voters in one census ended up with 8,500 voters (more than 10% drop in total voters) with 4,904 minority voters (a decrease in the portion of minority voters of 2.2%.
One percentage is about the deviation of the total number of voters per district and one percentage is about the proportion of minority voters in one district.
raider commented at 3/17/2011 10:07:00 PM:
zen, i first typed well but I decided to use good since i knew that would get under nativecolumbian's skin. The comment was meant for him but I guess I got under your skin also. Whether I am uneducated and/or a hick, I must know enough to rattle you. But enough of this conjugating verbs mess. I will address your other comment.
"Equality is NOT a difficult concept."
You are correct. That is why I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. If a Jew introduced himself as a Jewish-American, then I would referred to him as a Jewish American. Same with anyone else. If a guy introduces himself as Monica...out of respect, I will refer to him as Monica. And, since you have decided that you are an American, I would call you an America. That's what I do to show respect for other people. You will have to find what makes you comfortable. But, you really show a "master" mentality when you make statements like "if your great great great great great grandfather came from African...your NOT an African American." We don't need your approval and we don't care where you went on vacation.
zenreaper commented at 3/17/2011 10:19:00 PM:
"Whether I am uneducated and/or a hick, I must know enough to rattle you."
Not sure why you think you have me rattled. Is it because I RESPONDED to you, because you responded to ME as well, LOL, does that make YOU "rattled"?
"But, you really show a "master" mentality when you make statements like "if your great great great great great grandfather came from African...your NOT an African American." We don't need your approval and we don't care where you went on vacation."
Let me tell you something, if you hang out in Artesia or Crawford, you have probably seen me at a number of events as the ONLY white person there. Color means NOTHING to me. Race means nothing to me, ethnic origin means nothing to me. My great grandfather came from Germany right before the Nazi's took over, so we didn't EVER have ANYTHING to do with slavery. But I do not go around insisting that people refer to me as a "German American". And I sure as hell don't expect it from STRANGERS.
So how is someone suppose to KNOW, before speaking to you, to refer to you as an "African American"? Until you say to me, "I want to be called an African American.", I will call you black. If that makes me a racist, well, you referring to ME as "white", makes YOU a racist as well.
nativecolumbian commented at 3/17/2011 10:20:00 PM:
Raider: See, this is the problem with racism.. You distinguish yourself as a black person and white people don't feel the need to do that.. slavery was wrong..But that was 150 yrs. ago..The black community can't seem to get over that without having things given to them... In Mississippi I think the disparity is something like 60% white and 40% black..Do you not beleive in the concept of the majority being in control of EVERYBODY'S destiny? Thats the bedrock of democracy..I think you and I could have a good dialog and just maybe, begin to understand, why there is racism...thanks...I've enjoyed the chat.. I wish I could send you my e-mail address, but neither of us can do that on a public forum.. THERE NEEDS TO BE OPEN DIALOG TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER.. Its not me against you or you against me..ITS ABOUT AMERICA...
raider commented at 3/17/2011 11:36:00 PM:
@zen & Native: I didn't call anyone racist. This dialog began with nativecolumbian statement "Help! I need help to understand why black Americans need to be addressed as African Americans!" It's a question that is posted on many chat boards. More times that not, it's followed by a number of racist statements. However, I did not accuse anyone of being racist. If fact, I didn't feel that statement was nearly as out of line as zen's statement informing blacks of the required qualifications to be referred to as african-american. Referring to a African American man as black is not racist. Telling a black man what he has to do to qualify to be AA is racist.
"So how is someone suppose to KNOW, before speaking to you, to refer to you as an "African American"?
You can refer to me as a black man until you obtain some information about me. Just because someone is black doesn't automatically mean they want to be referred to as AA. They may not even be american! If you later find that they were born and raised in MS, then refer to them as AA. When I meet a white person, I don't automatically assume he's american or canadian. Once I find out that he's Russian-American or Cuban-American or American and that's what they prefer, I then refer to them in that manner.
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/18/2011 7:10:00 AM:
They don't want to get past it. It is the only remaining excuse they have to explain whatever shortcoming they have individually. If they lost that, they'd have to face themselves and they really don't want to do it.
And they will never see it either.
walter commented at 3/20/2011 1:01:00 AM:
Native, a long time ago, Gosset y Ortega, two brilliant thinkers/philosphers, wrote a book, entitled the RIGHTS OF THE MINORITY. In it they spelled out that even in a Democracy, the minority has rights that the majority are obligated to respect. I need not recite all of them here, but, among them are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and protection of the law, as dilineated by the constitution and statutes of the land.
So, no, the majority does not control everything. It does not control how a minority will react, when that minority has gotten completed fed up with being mistreated. Race and color doesn't matter as much as proper use of power. It doesn't aleways require as much to stop some things from running as it does to run and keep them running. Dr. King proved that with marches. Workers proved it by striking. Blacks are treated they way they are because far too many whites fail to recognize that blacks have more than enough power to halt things. And, blacks have failed to fully appreciate the reasons for the vicious attacks upon civil rights workers and Freedom Riders in ther 60's. One day they will, despite all efforts to mis-educate them, alas texas School Board decison to have history texts slant history.
I'm glad Supervisor Brooks has remained vigilant and has not sold-out. If we cannot fight our battles in the political arena, what choice are we left with to ensure that our young will reap the blessing of this land that God bestowed to us all, black and whites and others, and which our foreparents worked to their death as slaves? No. We cannot go back; we shall not retreat for a second and the racists of the world can do as they may. Some of us will never cease coming. We dishonor those who suffered and died, if we allow ourselves to be co-opted, no matter how many black ladies from Mississippi they permit to become rich, no matter how many brothers from Hawaii they permit to become president. Our struggle is not a me struggle. It is and has always been an US struggle and anyone who insists upon doing their own thing (I got mine, you get yours)is a traitor!
zenreaper commented at 3/20/2011 7:57:00 AM:
Walter, African Americans will never TRULY be "equal" until it is accepted that there are those in their ranks that can be JUST as discriminatory and racist as any other race.
walter commented at 3/20/2011 11:01:00 AM:
Racist without power to impact those against whom one feels racial bias toward is not racism at all. To be racist requires ability to affect the other or to at least resemble those who can negative impact the lives of those toward whom one harbors racial bigotry...
mississippian commented at 3/20/2011 3:05:00 PM:
Walter, Brooks not sold out... He sold out the citizens of Lowndes County. Regardless of 63% or 61%, that is a majority and he wants more!. How could it not be more racists that a black man wants less whites in his distrtct? Brooks in power hunry and will do anything he can to make this city racialy divided.
zenreaper commented at 3/20/2011 8:41:00 PM:
Well, Walter, lets TEST your theory, I do not KNOW you, and therefore do not have ANY way of having ANY power over you, right? So if I called you a "nigger", that wouldn't be racist, right?
What do you wanna bet I get called a racist for saying it...
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/21/2011 6:01:00 AM:
Walter, you are starting to sound like an Islamic Nation fool.
The funniest thing about you is you still think anyone gives a flip about your color. And you get all MLK'ish rattling on about power, and whites, and we, and blah blah blah all of which don't mean squat. You and those like you, will always be a slave because that is all you see yourself as being. Now you wear the chains on your neck instead of your ankle, you have the chains around your car tag, and covering your mind.
You are a slave for life. And the funniest thing about that is you are your own master.
So what's next? Are we going to re-write Huck Finn to suit you? Remove all Confederate anythings because it upsets your delicate self? What else can we do to stay this constant urge you have Walter to whine endlessly??
After all Walter, everyone here is just chomping at the bit to serve you oh great Walter, speaker of the speak, whiner of the whine. Are your shorts riding up on you Walter? Ingrown toenail? Need your nose wiped? What? Wet diaper?
walter commented at 3/21/2011 11:57:00 PM:
jUST LOOK AT THE STATISTICS, DOG! IF 25% OF WHITES WERE CLASSIFIED AS CRIMINALS, THERE WOULD BE ALL KINDS OF INVESTIGATION AND POSITIVE EFFORTS TO REMOVE THE STIGMA ATTACHED TO THEM.
IT IS NO SECRET THAT PEOPLE WHOSE HANDS AREN'T IN THE FIRE AND THEY HAVE NO RELATIVES AND ONLY A SPRINKLONG OF FRIENDS WHO ARE, MAKES NO SOUND AT ALL. WHY SHOULD THEY. NEITHER THEY NOR THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE CAUGHT UP IN THE FIRE! AND, OBVIOUSLY, THEY HAVE NO EMPATHY TOWARDS THOSE (BLACKS) WHO DO NOT RESEMBLE THEM OR THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS.
SIT IN YOUR COMFORTABLE FREE-FLYER ZONE. I DO NOT EXPECT YOU TO BE CONCERNED. BUT, IT IS A DAMN SHAME THAT BLACKS REMAIN SILENT AND UNCONCERNED WHEN THEY KNOW THAT WHITES INDULGE IN AS MUCH, IF NOT MORE, DRUG USE THAN BLACKS, AND THEIRS IS OF A HIGHER QUALITY, TOO. YET, IT IS BLACKS WHO ARE DISPROPORTIONATELY FILLING TH JAILS AND PRISONS. THAT IS NO ACCIDENT AND IT ISN'T BECAUSE BLACKS ARE MORE PRONE TO COMMIT CRIMES THAN ARE WHITES. MADOFF, MC VEIGH, MADDOG PRUITT, AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON... BYRON DE LA BECKWITH!
I'LL DEBATE ANY OF YOU ANY TIME ANY WHERE YOU CHOOSE. I'M NOT WHINING. I'M BESEECHING YOU M.F. TO CHANGE YOUR WAYS. YOUNGER BLACKS WON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR COLOR OR YOUR TOOLS OF CONTROL; JAILS, PRISONS, DEATH, MONEY AND NOTHING ELSE WILL CAUSE THEM TO FEAR! LIKE PEOPLE SEEKING REAL FREEDOM IN THE REST OF THE WORLD, YOUNG BLACKS RIGHT HERE IN AMERICA KNOW THAT THEY DESERVE BETTER AND THEY WILL HAVE THEIRS, ONE WAY OR THE OTHER...
zenreaper commented at 3/22/2011 5:22:00 PM:
Yeah Walter, its whitey making those poor poor black kids commit crimes, right? Personally, I am in favor of legalization of all drugs, but that is for another day.
Have you EVER seen a white person calling for NOT putting white people in jail for drug offenses? You, Walter, are a RACIST, plain and simple.
roscoe p. coltrain commented at 3/24/2011 6:40:00 AM:
Walter, you start out trying to quote stats and you have none. Saying "if 25% of whites were classified as criminals" is not a statistic. It is a bat flying around in your head.
Comfortable free-flyer zone? What???
Walter, I don't need to change my ways. Your race does. Here you are talking about give me what I want or I'll get it one way or the other. Are you threatening to get rowdy if you don't get everything you think you should get? I have a cure for that if you are.
Walter, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but you have bats in your head. I would really suggest you go see someone about them before they get you in trouble somewhere. And while you are at it, quit listening to all that Islamic Nation BS. None of your ramblings in your last post made any sense at all.
And as far as your brother goes, he made his bed of his own free will. And when you do that, you are required to sleep in it. So why don't you do him a favor and quit making excuses for him and let him grow up?
wpmedic1 commented at 4/2/2011 4:07:00 AM:
Leroy if you would do your job you wouldn't have to worry about stacking your district. In Clay County, for example, Alvin Carter Jr. does a great job as coroner. He is black and receives the vast majority of the "white vote." But the key is....HE DOES HIS JOB!! Spend more time doing your job and less time worrying about how you are going to stay in office when you don't.
wpmedic1 commented at 4/2/2011 4:09:00 AM:
Walter you are a racist nutcase.
wpmedic1 commented at 4/2/2011 4:14:00 AM:
Walter said....."Racist without power to impact those against whom one feels racial bias toward is not racism at all. To be racist requires ability to affect the other or to at least resemble those who can negative impact the lives of those toward whom one harbors racial bigotry..."
Walter this has to be the dumbest thing I have ever read. In your attempt to appear educated you have shown your enormous ignorance. My father use to tell me that it is better to be thought ignorant than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Dad...I now fully understand...Thanks for the wisdom!!
mitch commented at 4/4/2011 5:06:00 PM:
About those comments above. It makes me sad that I suppose these are adult that are making these comment are still stuck in this mode of thinking. What is wrong with all of you? are you paying attention to what is happening in this OUR ONE and only world today? hurricanes, tornados, neuclear waste spilling into our oceans, cancer , and other medical problems that there is no cure for not to mention earthquakes, tsunamis, and this bad economy. have you all visited a hospital or nursing home lately? sickness ,death or any disabilitys knows NO race, creed or color. I have worked at nursing home and hospitals the patients were of all races and I found that all they wanted in their time of need was someone that was kind and nice to them no matter who that person is. When you are sick and hepless and alone you will find that skin color does not matter. please agree to disagree and move on with your personal lives while you can because that great equalizer whos name is death will sooner or later come for us all.
2. Possumhaw: Here today, gone tomorrow LOCAL COLUMNS
4. Editorial cartoon for 3-19-18 NATIONAL COLUMNS