Article Comment 

Scott Colom: The supervisor's race for District 5

 

Scott Colom

 

Opinions about Supervisor Leroy Brooks are often variations of two views. Many complain that Supervisor Brooks is a polarizing figure who rallies voters in his district with demagoguery. While others praise Supervisor Brooks as a fighter, willing to stand up to the establishment and the injustices of the status quo. (Interestingly, these views are not exclusive of each other).  

 

After interviewing the two challengers and Supervisor Brooks, it''s clear this election will be a referendum on these views. Brooks, supervisor for close to 28 years, faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from Reverend Kenneth McFarland and a possible challenge in the general election from Roger Larsen, the founder and former publisher of "The Packet." Both Larsen and McFarland argue that District 5 needs less divisive leadership.    

 

Larsen claims Supervisor Brooks is a "cynical opportunist," whom plays on racial division and resentment to win campaigns. He predicts Supervisor Brooks will try to "brand McFarland an uncle Tom" and "imply (Larsen is) a Ku Klux Klan member or sympathizer."  

 

Larsen says, as supervisor, he won''t "play people against each other" and that he wants to "take the racial tension out of the district" or at least "stop throwing gasoline on it." Larsen believes Reverend McFarland would also work to improve race relations and said that "McFarland would be a great supervisor."  

 

Similarly, McFarland is running on a platform of "unity" and "vision." He envisions more cooperation between the municipalities and county and more public/private partnerships. He says the current board of supervisors is "estranged" and needs a "new face, and a new approach." McFarland says he has the skills to work with people and that Supervisor Brooks, on the other hand, "does division well" but "unity is a problem [for him]." 

 

Supervisor Brooks sees the election differently, to say the least. He thinks he''s the most qualified supervisor currently on the board or seeking the position. As supervisor, he says he has made "sound budgeting decisions," helped develop "parks and recreations" in the district and supported "programs for the youth and senior citizens." He also says he has been an "advocate for justice and equality for all citizens."  

 

In response to Larsen''s campaign, Supervisor Brooks said "the only thing Roger has done for the community is cause chaos" and "made a lot of money doing it." Supervisor Brooks asserted that he has white and black support in his district, and that he "represents the views of [his] constituents" and "gets the job done," and that his "reelections validate his performance."  

 

When told McFarland was running on a platform of unity and vision, Supervisor Brooks questioned who McFarland was trying to unify and said that McFarland had "compromised" himself because of his support from Board of Supervisor President Harry Sanders and that this means "he won''t be able to represent the people [in his district]." Supervisor Brooks also stated that "McFarland had strayed away from the highest calling as a preacher" and therefore "doesn''t think he''ll be committed to the calling of the people."  

 

In response to these comments, McFarland said "that District 5 continues to lose out on needed support and therefore he would work with the other supervisors to get stuff done." McFarland also said that "Martin Luther King, Jr. was a pastor and he worked for the betterment of people and he plans to follow in those footsteps."   

 

Both McFarland and Larsen are running campaigns that either implicitly or explicitly attack the ability of Supervisor Brooks to work with the other supervisors; as a result, the outcome of the election will reflect how the voters of District 5 feel about whether Supervisor Brooks is too divisive. If Supervisor Brooks wins, it''s reasonable to conclude that a majority of the voters disagree that Supervisor Brooks is uncooperative, or that it isn''t a big enough concern for them to vote to replace him, or, maybe, they think they need Brooks to fight for them. But, should Supervisor Brooks'' reign end, the view and argument that he is too divisive will have caused his downfall.  

 

Scott Colom is a local attorney. His e-mail address is colomsw@gmail.com.

 

Scott Colom is a local attorney.

 

printer friendly version | back to top

 

Reader Comments

Article Comment disgustedwithbarber commented at 4/13/2011 1:58:00 PM:

Or maybe if Supervisor Brooks' reign ends he will get a long overdue message - Your kind of attitude and politics is not longer appreciated and won't be tolerated in this day and age. Columbus wants to work together for opportunities, jobs, and events that benifit all of it's citizens not just a chosen few someone decides is entitled. Constant bickering, bullying, and race card throwing is an embarresment to people of all races and has no place anywhere, especially not a decision making body of elected officials.
Voters of District 5 - please send Leroy Brooks the message that his kind of politics was never in style and is not what we want or need in Columbus!

 

Article Comment gogetum commented at 4/13/2011 4:28:00 PM:

Just to remind everybody again that the KKK was started by democrats to regain power after the civil war. All blacks were Republicans then and there were more black republicans elected than white republicans so the dems dressed up in sheets and hoods and started wacking black and white republicans. It worked and the dems regained power then proceeded to repel all the civil rights laws that the repubs had made. The dems don't need the kkk anymore , they have the lame stream media and the union leaders to do their dirty work. Plus big promises to give everybody a tax break in the campaigns and then become tax hikes when elected. Sorta like what Obama is doing, in fact , exactly like he is doing.

 

Article Comment grace commented at 4/15/2011 11:28:00 AM:

I think it would be nice if the district had a supervisor that was more of a go getter than a pot stirrer. I think that Mr. Brooks has lost sight of what his job is... to get things done for the community. He's gotten by far long enough by starting arguments and not being a team player.

 

Article Comment walter commented at 4/15/2011 3:54:00 PM:

Supervisor Brooks has been and is now, exactly what District 5 needs in the position that he has filled so honorably over the years. roger, undoubtedly, is quite familiar with residents in the county; the Reverend, I have every reason to be, is everything that a progressive congregation needs, as a spiritual-leader. Neither of the latter two, in my humble opinion, has the tenacity that is required to represent District 5! Mr. Brooks does have it and he has the experience that it will require to make sure that the district is never treated like a stpe-child again, the way it was before Mr. Brook won the right to represent the district. The conditions facing the county, state and the nation are more critical than ever. This is not the time to be exchanging an experienced representative for a novice or a neophyte, when other districts are represented by individuals whose past records demonstrate that they will go to any length to "return the bacon" for their constituents. That is what Mr. Brooks has done year in and year out for the 5th.

If Mr. Brooks is still willing and still able, I hope the people will send him back as the distinguished Supervisor for District 5. In another era, at another time, when office-holders were/are more civil and courteous, a nice guy like Roger or a man of the clothe like Rev. Mcfarland, might be ideal. But, that is not the political climate that prevails, today. We need a bare-knuckle brawler, someone battle-tested and wise. That person is Mr. Brooks and I pray that the people will recognize that political reality and not change horses in the middle of a turbulent stream.

Return Mr. Brooks is the best thing the people could do for Lowndes County's best and brightest future. A future of progress in race-relation where a man of color can stand tall, not bow, llok down at the gound or scratch a head, when there is no itch. We cannot turmn back and the future is for men and women who will stand and deliver confidently and proudly; not fearing any man; and, represent the public with dignity and determination. Mr. Brooks fits the bill and I'm betting, that unless the elctionis stolen, the people of the 5th will re-elect him, despite a tactic designed to split the votes.

 

Article Comment ckirby commented at 4/16/2011 12:45:00 PM:

Walter, since you never answered the question on why you claim in one message to be African-American, then claim to NOT be African-American in another, your credibility is still nil, however, I'd like to see you explain how any tactic can split the vote in district 5 when the two African-Americans will face each other (not Mr. Larsen) in the primary and only then will the winner face the third candidate in the general election.
The way you continually seem to purposely try to serve as an embarrassment to the African-American community, are you sure your name on another web site isn't "Leroy's Boy"? Messages from the two of you seem to read a lot alike.
Leroy, Mr. Brooks, you use the word "chaos" when it's you, is it not, who has a proven and documented history of not only threatening physical violence on people in the meeting rooms and hallways of the county court house, but have you not actually physically assaulted people in the court house, including your opponent Mr. Larsen? Was it not you who threatened to slap a county employee at a public meeting and was it not you who picked up a chair and threatened another county supervisor with it? Chaos? Really Mr. Brooks? You and Walter exemplify every negative stereotype of African-Americans which makes one wonder what master you really serve.

 

Article Comment walter commented at 4/16/2011 3:31:00 PM:

I'm sorry Massa Kirby! Iza deen't meant ta spoke miza un mind, sir. Forgives me, pleaze sir. Iza forgit da kunstatushan didn't meen fer me ta has da right ta spake miza un mind, sir.

The germane question is: What do YOU define as a "negative stereotype" ckirby? Neither Leroy nor I are African Americans who wish to be and will not be a boy(s), when we have become full grown MEN. Does that offend you? As to what I am, I'll answer you thusly: I am a man. It is not the race, that matters, but rather, the ideas, ideas, principles and values that infirm the being who has any particular Christian, Muslim, or Jewis name...

I'll respond later to your other concerns.

 

Article Comment walter commented at 4/16/2011 6:04:00 PM:

That Roger will enter the contest as a Republican, Tea Partier or some other thrid party candidate did not occur to me! As smart as he is and as informed as he is, too, I simply believed that he was fully aware of the demographics of the district, as well as the party affiliation of the vast majority of the citizens within the district. I've heard that he has become a rather well-to-do residents, since his arrival to Lowndes County. Still, he doesn't seem like a person who would simply waste money, even for a longshot opportunity to serve the fine citizens of the 5th, who, traditionally and wisely, have remained loyal to the party that enacted civil rights legislation, instead of to the party that betrayed recently freed "slaves", during the Era of Reconstruction, by removing federal troops who had prevented the ole guard from abusing them.

I wasn't present to witness any of the alleged incidents you mentioned above. I don't know if you personally witnessed the alleged incidents either. What I do know and can testify based upon first-hand knowledge is this: If Mr. Brooks actually did any of the things alleged, I'm willing to bet he had darn good reasons for doing so.

It would not be very helpful, if Mr. Brooks is forced to face a challenger in a primary, while Mr. Larsen or some other, merely have to compete in the general. A split-vote, runoff vote or a forced superflous run before the general election, has the same impact, either would cause a very honorable and experienced supervisor to have to expend resources and energy unnecessarily, in my humble opinion.

When he has more reasonable, civil and progressive colleagues serving on the Board with him and elected-officials who are willing to share more equitably the resources of the county with the 5th, I believe Mr. Brooks has the capacity to be as amicable, polite, sof-spoken and courteous as a Sunday School teacher or a reverend. I do not believe a reverend, in a contest against alley cats, is a fair one, for the reverend. Again, in my humble opinion.

Bottom-line: what has Mr. Larsen produced for the county and what has the reverend produced, in light of the fact that our system of government mandates a separation between church and state? In either case, the citizens of the county, irregardless of anything you or I say, shall make the determination for themselves who they want representing them.

ckirby, does it really matter which race/nationality I'm classified as being a member? If it is something you really must know, I'm Native-African-American...but, I've had a helluva lot of white cultural experiences, if it is alright with you.

 

Article Comment ckirby commented at 4/16/2011 8:10:00 PM:

Interesting Walter, that you would characterize doing something negative as being manly, not being a boy as you call it. So being dishonest is being manly? In whose culture or Bible or Torah or Qur'an or holy book? Let's hear it.
Nope, I doubt it is found anywhere. I believe being a man means being able to admit that you were caught being dishonest and admitting it. It's called confession and it's supposed to be good for the soul Walter. Try it some time. Unfortunately, reading your diatribes and false accusations against whole races of people, I doubt you'd know the word truth if it was tattooed on your forehead.
I couldn't care less if you are African-American, Czech, Croatian, French, Eskimo or whatever. YOU brought up the matter, the question of your race when you made two contradictory claims ABOUT IT and I challenged you on which one is true. If you don't want people to point out when you contradict yourself, then I suggest you stop doing it.
As for the massa speak, it only goes to prove my point that you and Leroy Brooks, with his similar, and likewise monotonous plantation talk, are disappointing and embarrassing examples of the kind of stereotype that does a disservice to all African-Americans. That's why it begs the question; why do you do it? Why do you consistently display negative, and yes I believe being dishonest is negative, traits in public venues?
Dredging through the verbosity and grandiose wording, your messages read as though English is a second language for you, or you are either very elderly or very young. Your logic makes no sense and whatever point you're trying to make is hampered every time you make a false claim or say something that isn't true. You've posted a lot of messages but you don't seem to be putting any more effort, today, into winning hearts and minds with truthful honest facts than when you first started. Why is that?
If you're not writing messages here to bring people over to whatever your belief is on something, then why put any messages here at all? Why write only messages that are inaccurate, misleading or just plain untrue? Why write messages that reek of racism and bigotry? Why work so hard to lend credence to the negative stereotype of the short tempered, hot-headed, racist, intolerant African-American male who blames everyone else for their problems and difficulties? Why do that? What's the purpose behind that? Who are you really trying to make look bad, besides yourself?

 

Article Comment walter commented at 4/16/2011 9:07:00 PM:

Truth be told, ckirby, you're probably the only person who reads CD online who doesn't know, for a fact, who I am and which racial classification most closesly represents the one to which most peoples would most likely assigened to me. I ask again, why are you so hungup on my race? Would it make a helluva lot of difference to you, if I was Japanese, Mexican, Italian, Irish, British, Chinese, Iranian, Kenyan-American or some other race or nationality. Forget my credibility, if it will help you to arrive at the truth. Forget that it was/is even I who has posted and is posting online now. I dare you to deal with the facts or the positions I've advanced, if you're patient enough to wade through, regrettably, my many typos, mispelled words, grammatical errors and all too frequent, disjunted or incomplete sentences. Persons in trouble with the law or facing some legal dispute, doesn't have to be an attorney, in order to succeed in a court of law; he or she merely need to retain a competent person who is and who is also licensed to practice. Or, perhaps, they can be represented by a lawyer, pro bono, who is competent and still win. after all is said and done and after you've criticize everything you can about me, you're still left with the facts that are established by an abundance of the evidence, both circumstantial and real. In short,ckirby, there are many persons, much younger than I and much more proficient in the English language, both written and spoken, who can easily decipher what I've written and who can and who knows, might wish to re-write it one day for impatient persons, such as yourself.

The late, great, Dr. Margaret Walker, stated to me personally the following, and I paraphrase the point she made: "If a writer or anyone who simply put pen to paper and express him or herself sufficently enough to challenge others to take or even consider another or different perspective from the one that they held all their lives, then such writer has succeeded in utilizing one of the primary purposes for writing being invented in the first place.

My purpose for writing is to challenge you to accept the fact that people of color, just like any people in the rest of the world, are not now and never have been, content to be simply second-class citizens; that we know that when 25% of the males of our race are being routinely hauled off to courts, jails and prisons and summarily labelled felons for doing what other males of other races are doing to basicaly the same extent and not being felonized, then something is wrong and there needs, no, there MUST BE a change.

If it is negative for me to question the most blatant injustice in America during the last 40 years, then negative I will be until the day I die. I've got to go, for now.

You seem to be a very intelligent and fair-minded person. Have you had occasion to read lately, THE LARGE COLORED LAND-OWNERS OF LOWNDES COUNTY? I'm curious as to your take on the book. You know, as the title implies, it is a compliation of the African American familes in Lowndes County who owned large acres of land at mid-20th Century. Were you aware that it went even farther and ranked those families, in order of which ones would put up the greatest resistance to whites taking the land from them? The Temples, The Morgans, The Pooles, The Coxes, The Hargroves, The Anthonyes, etc. But, guess what, ckirby, the book also outlined not only what had been done, it also directed what should and would be done to take the land from those hardworking and law-abiding families! it included jailing them, firing them, deceptive contracting, and even KILLING THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another purpose of my writing was to practice as much as possible so that I could write the above. Thank you, ckirby, for reminding me of the reason I've written so much. Now, it is on the shoulder of those who know me. You know whether or not I'm a liar that ckirby would like to make me out to be, or whether or not I'm a straight-talking man who speaks truth, regardless of the potential danger to myself or the wealth or power of those of whom I speak or to whom I speak. If there are repercussion, let it be. But, let the peon go. Get the ones who sent him/them at me and the ones who provided the logistics/info to enable him/them to succeed.

I'll put my credibility up against yours and any other person within the county or state, anytime you wish, ckirby.

 

back to top

 

 

Most Viewed Opinion Stories

 

1. Voice of the people: Ralph H. Weems III LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)

2. Ask Rufus: The Legacy of Black Prairie Blues LOCAL COLUMNS

3. Roses and thorns: 8/31/14 ROSES & THORNS

4. Voice of the people: Saul Vydas M.D. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)

5. Partial to Home: Baseball, anyone? LOCAL COLUMNS

 

More popular content      Suggest a story

 

 

Follow Us:

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

Follow Us via Instagram

Follow Us via Email