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Ledge's Ronnie Agnew Lays Down the ‘Bottom Line'

Clarion-Ledger Executive Editor Ronnie Agnew's column today is bizarre in so many respects that we're not sure where to begin. He is certainly laying down the law for the newspaper's favorite mayor, closing with:

I remain hopeful that this mayor can save his fledgling administration. But he'd better develop a sense of urgency. People who were in his corner are now publicly wondering if they've made a mistake. After six months in office, it is clear that this mayor is more interested in playing dress-up as a law enforcement officer than leading the city. But the saddest truth of all is that this man who once made a living excoriating city politicians — with braggadocio that he could do the job better — is drifting into irrelevance.

We still ask, though: What did The Clarion-Ledger expect?

This paper went so easy on Melton-the-candidate, simply not covering so many vital issues involving him, or questioning his sound bites in any significant way. What else would Melton have expected but a free pass to do or say anything he wanted into his reign as mayor? Had they practiced good civic journalism during the campaign, we dare say that Mr. Agnew wouldn't asking these rather irrelevant questions now. They made their bed with Mr. Melton. It's rather precious now to hear them whining about him attacking them because they didn't continue doing exactly what they did during the campaign.

OK, here's another entry in the bizarro exhibit from Agnew:

But perhaps the mayor's most egregious mistake, one I take to heart, is his decision to slam the newspaper's efforts in the community, choosing to insult hard-working employees who have given hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, toward community causes.

That's the height of journalistic irresponsibility.

OK, I get Mr. Agnew defending his staff against personal attacks by Mr. Melton. I do that, too. And just because they are practicing hideous journalism over there doesn't mean that no one there ever does anything good in the community. That's the type of dishonest and ugly attack we have grown used to over here at the JFP being that we have refused to follow Mr. Melton's script for the media from the beginning and report the facts whether he liked it or not. But the part that got me is that last sentence: That's the height of journalistic irresponsibility.

Uhmm, Mr. Agnew, Mr. Melton is not a journalist. He is a public servant. His concern should be civic responsibility and his duties, moral and legal, as a public servant. It is your problem to get the journalistic responsibility part right. And Mr. Melton long twisted the truth and the facts in his Bottom Lines and attacked various folks personally if you don't remember. Was that OK because it wasn't your people?

Ahem. This mess is getting messier by the day—no thanks to the media that did not step up to the plate during the campaign. Mr. Agnew, you are reaping what y'all sowed. And it's a bit hard to send you sympathy in return.

Previous Comments

ID
120915
Comment

"Mr. Agnew, you are reaping what y'all sowed. And it's a bit hard to send you sympathy in return." So true. This is slowing evolving into a lovers quarrel between the mayor and the C L. At first the they painted a picture that Melton could do no wrong. Now they are attacking him with the tenacity that Melton used when he was "The Bottom Line Man". The C L has let us down. As I said in on of my earlier comments, the only time that I will read the C L is after they are made reference to by the JFP. This states leading newspaper is making a fortune off of the citizens of this state for mediocre stories. They take the soft and easy headlines that we already know about. The JFP has not only given us the facts about this serio-comedy of our mayor, but there are many, many other interesting articles that the JFP prints. Some are easy going and some will make you wipe your brow. Keep up the good work JFP. Mayby the C L will learn to take a few notes and if they are lucky, they can follow your lead.

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-22T23:56:40-06:00
ID
120916
Comment

This is a pretty telling statement by Mr. Agnew as well: One day he's our pal. The next, he's using the power of a TV station he once owned to challenge the quality of our journalism, particularly on the editorial page. I think the problem is apparent here: How did such a controversial figure running for mayor become The Clarion-Ledger's "pal." The Clarion-Ledger is just coming across as incredibly naive here. As Malcolm X might have said, them chickens are waiting outside the building, eager to roost.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-22T23:56:42-06:00
ID
120917
Comment

Thanks, Lance. I am definitely getting the feeling that we're witnessing a pathetic lover's quarrel here between Mr. Melton and this newspaper. I think I'd rather watch Jerry Springer or something. Although I'd hate to miss the moment when Mr. Agnew flings open the window and throws all of Mr. Melton's clothes on the sidewalk -- or maybe that's what this column was. And note the intriguing timing that Mr. Agnew suddenly takes the gloves off on Mr. Melton days after they are dropped from the MBN lawsuit -- and finally admit they were sued in the paper. Ledger, learn a damn lesson here. Stop being romanced by sound bites. Do real reporting and let the chips fall where they may. Don't be so worried about some car dealer or real estate agent getting mad at you for reporting the truth about their candidate of choice. You have played a no-win game here. And now we Mississippians get to watch a Virginia newspaper chain and a Texas TV man throw frying pans at each other out on our time. It's just plain gross.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T00:01:03-06:00
ID
120918
Comment

I think that I will start calling Frank the Magician, because he fooled almost everyone just long enough to win an election. On the other hand, had the voters gotten up and voted instead of just sitting by, who knows what might have happened. I would just love to see Frank in a recall vote. I wonder what promises he would make this time. I also wonder if he would have the blessings of the C L and many others who solidly supported him.

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-23T00:02:31-06:00
ID
120919
Comment

He didn't fool everyone, Lance. Thanks for saying "almost" there. There are people in Jackson who aren't taken in by sound bites and cowboy antics. And now maybe there will be more.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T00:06:10-06:00
ID
120920
Comment

When I was in the workforce, I made it a point to earn respect daily. At least I could go home and sleep at night. The mayor and the C L seemed to have an unholy alliance to "watch each others back so no one will go down". Well they both lost. Two birds of the same feather have fallen on different ground. The C L is trying to salvage their reputation while Frank is trying to force his convictions down our throats. All of this literal rhetoric is going nowhere. We have been listening to both of them for too long. I wish that they BOTH would go to far, far away.

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-23T00:08:34-06:00
ID
120921
Comment

One more and I'm out. Mr. Agnew wrote: In our view, it's one thing to close dilapidated apartments. It's quite another to displace people without first articulating options available to them, financial alternatives and timetables for relocation. This really ticks me off. Throughout the campaign, we kept asking, or trying to ask, Mr. Melton for details, for a plan, on how he was going to take care of more dilapidated housing than the previous mayor. All we got was B.S. sound bites in return: "we'll get federal grants," or, "the unions will train young men from West Jackson to rebuild them" (not verbatim, btw). We reported the sound bites and questioned them constantly on this and other issues. What did The Clarion-Ledger? Give us bullsh!t horse-race reporting and glowed on the editorial page about how crime is the "No. 1 issue" and Melton was going to fix all that because he doesn't move so slow, yada, yada. I don't remember them analyzing a single issue in a way that was helpful to voters. It was the worst campaign reporting I have ever seen because they were so enamored by Mr. Melton ... and that's saying a lot in this country.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T00:11:48-06:00
ID
120922
Comment

Thanks to the JFP that we still have "truthseekers" in journalism. The JFP was never fooled. I applaude your reporters for their relentless pursuit of the honest and sometimes dirty truth. I am only one person but I will not rest until I see a positive change. This city was once the talk of the nation as far as a place to raise a family. I had relatives that would visit here and not want to leave. I refuse to believe that we cannot restore the pride and glory that we shared as a community. I will continue to support the JFP and anyone that makes a real and truthful approach to our future.

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-23T00:14:02-06:00
ID
120923
Comment

Yeah, this is a rather classic tragedy when you think about it. The Clarion-Ledger's reputation is dead on this one. They screwed the pooch royally. I blame them more than any of the other media outlets. Print is supposed to be better to than television. Had they led, at least some others would have followed. The Ledge isn't holding a candle to WAPT these days, not to mention the Thrifty Nickel. It's a pitiful newspaper and seems to have no leadership worth a damn over there.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T00:14:17-06:00
ID
120924
Comment

G'night, Lance. I hear hot cookies are about to come out of the oven. Gotta bolt. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T00:14:43-06:00
ID
120925
Comment

G'night Ladd. I'll blog again with you all later.

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-23T00:18:09-06:00
ID
120926
Comment

It's too bad no one took Rick Whitlow more seriously. Johnson and Melton wern't good choices.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-23T01:58:55-06:00
ID
120927
Comment

In defense of folks who did get hoodwinked (and I think I more or less should include myself in that category, even though I voted for Johnson and was very clear that I thought Melton lacked a platform)... There's a lot more going for the Melton Myth than what he did during the last 18 months. This is a guy who was willing to make himself vulnerable and go out there and really mentor at-risk, "dangerous" youth that most folks in his income bracket will, at most, throw money at. I always admired that. Always admired the hours he put in at the Farish Street YMCA. Always admired his take-no-prisoners attitude at a time when the media was unbearably milquetoast. Always admired his passion. Always felt, until recently, that his heart was always in the right place even when his brain wasn't. There's a lot to like about Frank Melton the private citizen, and I think the trouble is that a lot of Jacksonians elected Frank Melton the private citizen when they should have been giving more thought to the prospect of Frank Melton the mayor, because that's a whole other ball of wax. He never really ran a campaign; he basically just announced "I, Frank Melton, am running for mayor." I still believe he could have run on a platform of clown parades and all-nude City Council meetings and probably won But this doesn't excuse the C-L. Going out there and not reporting liabilities to a candidate because one happens to like the candidate is irresponsible journalism, period. And not even reporting an obvious conflict of interest, such as the MBN lawsuit... You know, Ronnie Agnew really should have resigned over that. It's disgraceful, scandalous behavior that crosses the line between bad journalism and bad ethics. I'm glad he's willing to point out more facts now, but all that translates to is more anti-Jackson foolishness--he was willing to criticize Johnson too, after all, even when the grounds weren't very solid. It means nothing if his paper is unwilling to do this during the election cycle, because that's when we need that information. All we can do with it now is stew and count the days until the next election. Same story with The New York Times and Bush. I'm tired of the dailies going yellow during election cycles so they don't offend any demographics by looking "biased," and then suddenly discovering all these things they've known for ages once the election is over. I'm a darned good writer, I like to think. A pretty good blogger. A useful volunteer in a lot of contexts. But I'd be a terrible physician, a mediocre attorney, an irritating salesman, a worthless soldier, a completely useless engineer. I'm a competent but not stellar researcher (I lack the attention span), and while I can produce copy, I don't think I'd necessarily make an awe-inspiring journalist. Don't know how well I'd do as mayor--maybe better than Melton, but that's a low bar to set. So it's easy for me to see how sane, intelligent, and world-weary people might like Melton and want him to be mayor even though he has absolutely no business in office. What I don't understand is why the local mainstream media deliberately sat on the facts. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-23T03:10:09-06:00
ID
120928
Comment

Not only are you a darned good writer but you also have the ability to put into words what some of are thinking but do not know exactly how to say it. I retired last year and I feel that I was one of the best at my game. However I knew my limitations. I have never felt the need to try and impress people because they are willing to listen. I believe that it take ceertain people for each and every profession. The hard thing to do is to realize where we fit into this equation. I admired Frank's open, honest, and sometimes in-your-face conversation. But I, along with a lot of others, were caught up with all of the hype. I normally am not so easily drawn in but we live and we learn. I for one will never have the confidence in the C L as I did before. I just always gave them the benefit of the doubt. Now all of the untold truths and hidden agendas are creeping out. Johnson made mistakes but he would listen if you had something to say. This mayor has absolutely no ears. The C L let us down to protect their own necks. Journalism is a tough job. There are consequences just as there are with any job of this type. Ronnie has a greater responsibility because he is the Executive Editor. This means you have to go down when the ships begins to sink. Instead, he went to the backside of the ship and lowered a blow-up raft.

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-23T03:45:53-06:00
ID
120929
Comment

As Malcolm X might have said, them chickens are waiting outside the building, eager to roost. I believe that Malcolm X would also say that we have been hoodwinked and bamboozled. As a kid, I thought Melton was so cool because He mentored at-risk youth. Right now, he is showing the professionalism of a court jester. Well the C-L decided to endorse him without giving all the facts to its readers. Now Melton's biting the hand that fed him. Hopefully they've learned an important lesson from this: Don't let your mouth write a check that your behind can't cash.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-01-23T09:59:53-06:00
ID
120930
Comment

Something else dawned on me in the shower this a.m. Agnew is ticked off at WLBT for doing exactly what The Clarion-Ledger did to the Jackson Free Press i.e. allow Mr. Melton to use their venue to lie about another media outlet without checking it out. After I published my profile of Mr. Melton just before the primary, the Ledge printed Melton's "factual" statement that the only reason I (or other "media" because they're too cowardly to say who they're talking about) wrote about his old "problems" of the 1990s was because the Johnson campaign dredged the old controversy up at the last minute. This made me so angry. I called David Hampton and essentially yelled at him for printing an excuse like that (and an inherent accusation that we were in Johnson's pocket, which the Melton folks were trying to say to discredit our reporting) without checking it out with me. Because, the fact was that Mr. Melton himself is the first person who ever uttered Jimmy Wilson's name to me, and told me that I should print where the rumors came from. I did exactly that, as well as print Mr. Melton's comments about why they weren't true (that he's been through all sorts of background checks, etc.). But the Ledger just printed his statement. They wouldn't run a correction or clarification (because they're never wrong, you know), but did a run a letter to the editor from me correcting this factual distortion. Now, though, Mr. Agnew is complaining that Mr. Melton used WLBT to spread lies about them. Meantime, many things uttered on the Bottom Line over the years have not been true, or were not legally feasible, or were designed to disparage people. Why hasn't The Clarion-Ledger been focused on vetting Mr. Melton all these years instead of being his "pal." If they had been, perhaps it never would have gotten to the point where they would simply be endorsing a man who kicked and screamed on television a lot without reporting on his record, past and the specifics of his plan. And, this problem clearly began before Mr. Agnew took the helm. There seems to be an institutional silence over at the Ledger (and at other local media) about Mr. Melton, not to mention Mr. Bluntson. However, that does not excuse the Ledge's recent bad reporting about these men as candidates. And that buck should stop squarely at Mr. Agnew's desk. They have let Jackson down on his watch.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T11:58:17-06:00
ID
120931
Comment

BTW, the link to my Melton profile. And if anyone doesn't know already, here's the archive of our Melton campaign/mayoral coverage to date on our Melton blog.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T12:05:50-06:00
ID
120932
Comment

David Hampton and Sid Salter now have blogs. FYI.

Author
kaust
Date
2006-01-23T16:52:21-06:00
ID
120933
Comment

Knol, it is downright FREAKY that we are this mentally connected. I just read both of them, all four entries in both. :)

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-01-23T17:09:20-06:00
ID
120934
Comment

Yeah, I saw them yesterday. Good to see them enter the 21st century nearly four years after we introduced blogging to Jackson media. ;-) However, it does feel a bit like watching the principal try to dance at the prom. I know, that's mean ... but true. Am I the only one that thinks it's odd that they're using Blogger for media blogs???

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T17:46:56-06:00
ID
120935
Comment

Oh, and I guess the online forums didn't work out so well for them, eh? That was their answer to us last year. While on the topic of desperate media copying other media, anyone seen the new Vapid (VIP) Jackson clone ... produced by none other than the venerable Northside Sun. Except: VIP beats them hands-down on diversity. There is one ... I repeat one ... photo of a black person in the Sun's multiplicity of party pics: Mike Espy (who is running against the congressman NoJa loves to hate: Bennie Thompson). There are about five photos of black folks in ads ... but I assume WyattCo didn't have anything to do with making those decisions. One photo, people. I just don't get it.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T17:51:57-06:00
ID
120936
Comment

Bad things grow in their forum. I was just on there as well seeing if it was fairing any better. NOT. They have GOT to get it moderated well, and consistently. As per the "blogger" blogs...I thought that was strange as well. But, they don't have to be formatted. They are easy to link to your site. Basically, just easy. Me thinks they have no IT guy over there. Or, at least not someone full time to handle their web, forum, blogging stuff. They definitely need to focus on their internet support. Its killing them. I cringe each time I get on the forum and suppose what people in other parts of the country think of us simply from some of the posting. Horrible.

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-01-23T18:10:03-06:00
ID
120937
Comment

I hear you, Ali. The worst of the worst appear over there, and the folks who try to talk intelligently get yelled down immediately. Certainly shows why we moderate in these parts. Also, their site simply sucks since they redesigned it. Half the time the front page links don't seem to work. It was ugly as sin before with that beige color, but at least it was user-friendly, and didn't seem like it was set up just to sell ads. And I can't look at that distracting Santa Fe design hoohaa they have running through the center. It makes about as much sense as that Weekend section "redesign" they put on the streets every week. I don't know why they bother with such half-assed work to try to compete with all us upstarts. Why don't they simply focus on being a good daily newspaper? They should check that one off before trying a bunch of bells and whistles that they have no idea how to operate. You're right. It is embarassing.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T19:06:58-06:00
ID
120938
Comment

Well, being the big flaming geek that I am, I noticed they haven't updated their code on ALL the pages. So, some are still formatted in the old style and some are in the new. Depends upon which links you hit I'm with you...I get excited when I see the old pages because I UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE THEM. ;) I simply wish they would have a moderated forum where people posted topics and there wasn't some assbag on their screaming "KKK" in every single post.I'm registered there and never post for that very reason. This is the newspaper for the STATE. It should be a forum where people from all over the state can discuss issues. Not a forum where people rant about disgusting bullshite hate. I'm sorry I'm going off about this, but it pisses me off. The truth is that this crap wouldn't fly in ANY other state. And, the fact that it is deemed acceptable by their managment is deplorable. What pisses me off MORE is their inability to act like they are actual reporters instead of sycophants and ethical slobs. (I think I mentioned in another thread I was having a "I hate everybody" day today. :)

Author
Lori G
Date
2006-01-23T19:40:31-06:00
ID
120939
Comment

Go ahead; let it all out, girlfriend. And "sychophant" is definitely the word o' the day.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-23T19:45:19-06:00
ID
120940
Comment

Ok I just didn't know where to post this but since we are beating down the CL; what the hell is up with Stringfellow? I read his articles and feel like I am a genius. He writes horrible and terribly slanted articles that make no sense to me except that he's surely a racist and launches responsibility onto others instead of looking inward. Does this guy get paid a full time salary for the sorry efforts? Is there not some handbook that the writers union may be able to give him that says that it is important to have a clear line of thought and is followed up by more than just a sentence? And of course does it even make sense? I feel like he's just taking clips from other people and pasting them in. The latest example of marlarchy I see is that he is trying to blame the failure of the "system" on the death of a young woman His entire article goes from agency to agency pointing out their shortcomings and never once questions or comments on her families roll except for bringing her to the fair. In my experience and observations a strong family produces strong offspring. I've never seen a government entity produce high quality people. The job of these entities is to be used as a tool and tools no matter how good they are can only effect the final product. Reading poor work like this makes think I have a chance in mainstream journalism and I'm a simple engineer. Why doesn't this guy write a series of articles detailing all the failures and how they could of done better? This would include all the state agencies, local agencies, and her family. An indepth investigation might actually help solve the social problems present instead of pointing the finger again. And yes the above is poor writing. Yet I consider it a piece of mastery as opposed to Stringfellow's effort. http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060126/COL0601/601260377/1189/NEWS

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-01-26T14:06:32-06:00
ID
120941
Comment

Alright, guy, you can criticize Mr. Stringfellow's columns on their merits, and their contents, but just calling him "a racist" out of the blue makes no sense. That's ad hominem. If you're trying to say something he writes is "racist" to you, make that argument, and others can discuss. But you haven't done that here. And calling him names like "a racist" is a violation of the User Agreement. I thought he did mention the shortcomings of the family in that column. But, the truth is, this case is clearly bigger than just the family. There is room for all sorts of people to take responsibility in such a tragedy. Seldom does something like this happen, and the "system" or the community can claim no role. We're all smart enough to entertain several thoughts at once here. Don't try to make us pick one or two things to blame. Makes little sense and won't solve anything.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-26T14:13:31-06:00
ID
120942
Comment

My mistake on not qualyfing the racist comment. I must be related to Stringfellow is some small way (joke). I was making a refrence to his article when he was talking about the city awarding contracts to non black people;how he questioned what was wrong with them (the black people in charge) for not doing so (for not being racist) and how it didn't matter that the people winning the contract had the best price/qualifications for what was being asked (as required by law). That piece really struck a chord. To me it was just another way of spreading his rhetoric about how the "system" doesn't work and it's keeping black people down. If the C-L was worth a flip I could of found that article to point you to it. You are right he did mention the family he spent a mere 33 words out of a mere 500. We are smart enough to entertain more than one thought. Heck I mentioned 3 which is 2 more than the broad "system" that he talks about. He speaks of police officers and doesn't qualify if they were acting as police officers or not (clearly their wrong if they did and she was a minor but is only valid if so). The issue is he's not interested in a half intelligent discourse on the subject. He is more intreested in some sensationalist writing which blames some entity with (in my opinion) has socialist and racist overtones. That's poor journalism and I can't believe the CL would allow it and he gets paid a salary for it.

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-01-26T16:42:14-06:00
ID
120943
Comment

I see some of your points, guy, and I appreciate the qualification. I, too, get frustrated about the journalism over there, which everyone knows. However, to Mr. Stringfellow's credit, I was in a meeting with him and other journalists yesterday at the Children's Defense Fund when he talked at length about the need to strengthen the black family and get families to take more credit for their kids. In fact, I challenged him a bit -- not because I didn't agree with him, but because I think we have to be careful about not getting caught up so much in blaming/charging the family BEFORE dealing with other issues that the community is responsible for. (That is, what you're saying and he was saying are similar, I believe). I believe it takes an integrated approach -- much as you don't say, "You cure crime before you develop an area." You develop and focus on crime at the same time. Here, it takes a combination of family, economic focus/jobs, mentoring, community efforts, good legislation/policy, and so on. Now, do I agree with you that Mr. Stringfellow could spend more time thinking about these ideas and how to express them? Absolutely. And don't forget he's a columnist—he writes his opinion and that's fine. The bigger problem at the Ledge is the lack of solid, contextual reporting on such issues that he should then be expounding upon in his column.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-26T17:36:18-06:00
ID
120944
Comment

Donna. Your last reply is why should wear your "writers/journalism badge" proudly. He represents himself and his views poorly to his audience. What a shame when he has such a prominent podium to be heard from.

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-01-26T18:11:31-06:00
ID
120945
Comment

Thank you, guy. I take that as a serious compliment coming from someone who likes to tweak me a bit. ;-) I do wear the badge with honor; to me, it's a very honorable profession if your motives are good. I truly don't understand why anyone would choose this profession and then compromise the values of the profession on a regular basis. Truth. It's about truth, stupid. (Not calling you stupid, guy. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-26T18:43:06-06:00
ID
120946
Comment

Well thanks for not calling me stupid:) I don't like to tweak you per se; but definitely will call a spade a spade. Our ideology may be different much of the time but basic core values of being fair and equitable are present.

Author
guywithanidea
Date
2006-01-26T22:56:04-06:00
ID
120947
Comment

Agreed, friend. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-26T23:08:36-06:00
ID
120948
Comment

There's an interesting (for lack of a better word) op/ed piece in this week's Northside Sun about the mayor in which the editor compares Melton to Don Quixote. Of particular interest to me: "He then vigorously defended his cowboy tactics and blamed the Clarion-Ledger for distorting his administration." Say what?? They all but got Melton elected!

Author
millhouse
Date
2006-01-27T09:37:10-06:00
ID
120949
Comment

Yeah, that thing was typical bizarro Wyatt. Remember that Wyatt pushed for the the "loose cannon," as he called him, to be elected, so now he's got to try to justify that decision. But, note, that he's now doing what the Ledge started doing a couple months ago—backing off slightly on whether it's all a good idea. Of course, he compares him to Don Quixote at the same time. The whole thing is schizophrenic. It's amazing how eager all those media were to attack Johnson, based on facts or not, and not they're terrified to even directly question one of Mr. Melton's actions. It's interesting to watch his most strident defenders talk in generalities while refusing to address a single one of the issues raised by his administration head on. On the other hand, there are plenty of intelligent people who supported him who are now willing to question his specific actions and consider whether it was a good idea. Those are independent thinkers, and I salute them. I believe that good citizens must be willing to change their minds about candidates they support when they get new information (much as I had to face when I decided to support Clinton's impeachment). They aren't easy decisions, but thinking people will always be open to new information. Zealots will not. They could never admit being wrong in the first place (even when it was merely putting faith in someone who talked big, which can happen to any of us, especially with such pitiful media coverage). But, notice how those kinds of people inevitably end up looking—like fools. And it is funny how stridently Melton is now turning on his former lover, The Clarion-Ledger. And they on him. It seems the media in this city is crisis-based. They couldn't actually have done their job well during the campaign and early administration and reported the facts without emotion. Not it has to be all this handwringing and whining about how their "pal" did them wrong. It's gross.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-27T10:32:25-06:00
ID
120950
Comment

ladd--Of course, he compares him to Don Quixote at the same time. The whole thing is schizophrenic. But then... Cervantes had DQ less than rooted in reality anyway...

Author
Rex
Date
2006-01-27T10:43:50-06:00
ID
120951
Comment

ladd--Of course, he compares him to Don Quixote at the same time. The whole thing is schizophrenic. But then... Cervantes had DQ less than rooted in reality anyway...

Author
Rex
Date
2006-01-27T10:43:57-06:00
ID
120952
Comment

;-D

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-27T10:47:39-06:00
ID
120953
Comment

;-D Maybe Wyatt's column is more layered than it appears at first glance. Then again, maybe not.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-27T10:48:30-06:00
ID
120954
Comment

Anyone see the C-L's article on Melton today? Money quote: "I'm somewhat frustrated. I don't want to understand government because government doesn't work," Melton said. "I want to serve the people. But the bureaucratic government, the political part of it, makes me sick to my stomach." I actually empathize with Melton on this... But, this was my biggest concern with Melton. As a mayor, you must want to understand government and you must make it work.

Author
kaust
Date
2006-01-29T08:27:04-06:00
ID
120955
Comment

I actually empathize with Melton on this... But, this was my biggest concern with Melton. As a mayor, you must want to understand government and you must make it work. Yeah, I know dealing with rules and regulations is not as exciting to the mayor as midnight roundups, but those laws are there for a reason. I'm sure he had some idea that there were procedures for everything that is done in municipal government. He's not an idiot. However, if he thought he could "skirt the law" just because he was the mayor, I'm sure the last six months has been a rude awakening for him. I hope his performance improves during his term. I also agree about addressing the basics first. It's the little things that get you - potholes, littering, all those %[email protected]# one-way streets downtown - stuff like that. :-)

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-01-29T11:11:58-06:00
ID
120956
Comment

Businesses leaving Jackson faster than before...

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-29T13:34:01-06:00
ID
120957
Comment

I don't mean to keep landing on Melton, but isn't it a little disingenuous of him to complain about how much he hates politics when he has spent so much time collecting photo ops? Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-29T14:41:24-06:00
ID
120958
Comment

I do not sympathize with the mayor on his inability to get things done. Before he was elected, he seemed to know Jackson like the back of his hand. Everytime that the former mayor attempted to do something (even though it took forever) Frank had something negative to say about it and how he could make things right or do a better job. I thought that after being in office for a while that Frank would begin to understand how municipal government works. I believe that instead of trying to learn the system, he has tried to steamroll right over it. Every mayor that we have had in the past (including Danks) had to obey the rules. Danks is in Franks camp. Why dosen't he tell him that what he is trying to do will not work. This mayor has no respect or compassion for the city employees or the citizens. He keeps on talking about what HE wants to do. Well, what about what the citizens that elected him want? He promised to have the crime problem solved within the first 90 days in office. He promised to tear down the abandoned houses in the Farish street area. He promised to bring in more businesses and revive the economy. Instead, crime seems to be worse, the houses are still standing, businesses are leaving even faster than before and the list goes on. Are we going to just wake up one morning and everything will be just as promised?

Author
lance
Date
2006-01-29T17:07:59-06:00
ID
120959
Comment

The businesses-are-leaving thing--and I've heard it from several different people here--bothers me a little, because I haven't seen a whole lot of evidence that businesses really are leaving in substantially greater numbers than they were a year ago, and if they were, I'd still have a hard time connecting that to Melton's policies, idiotic though they are. I think we need to be very careful not to let our gloomy outlook vis-a-vis Melton become marbled with a gloomy outlook vis-a-vis the short-term future of the city, because the latter plays right into the Suburban Theogony, which is probably a large part of what got Melton elected in the first place. I believe caution is in order. I think this city is improving in many ways, and will continue to improve regardless of who happens to be mayor at the time. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-29T18:12:28-06:00
ID
120960
Comment

I don't mean to keep landing on Melton, but isn't it a little disingenuous of him to complain about how much he hates politics when he has spent so much time collecting photo ops? Not just disingenuous, but not very smart. Well, maybe he doesn't plan on running again. ;-) Are we going to just wake up one morning and everything will be just as promised? Nope. I knew that "90 day" stuff had no merit when I heard him say it during the inauguration. Don't make promises you can't keep. I'm sure a lot of supporters are disappointed, but some have still said, "He's still learning. Just give him time." I'll be waiting. I believe caution is in order. I think this city is improving in many ways, and will continue to improve regardless of who happens to be mayor at the time. The bottom line is (excuse the pun) it will take the CITIZENS to improve this city. I called the Action Line last week to report an illegal dumping site. It's not much, but if everyone took the time to do something like that, we could really get things rolling. Join a coalition. Report crime regardless of how you feel about the JPD right now - they're not all bad. Support local busineses. Don't litter. See the glass as half-full, and do your best to fill it up.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-01-29T20:09:26-06:00
ID
120961
Comment

Ok, just a question. If you read the Sunday Clarion-Ledger synopsis of the first 8 months you saw these descriptions: …jumping from issue to issue, grandstanding, failing to communicate to staff and council members… For the most part, problems stemmed from lack of communication, Crisler said. "As you know, I am hyperactive and a super Type-A personality. My weaknesses include a lack of patience. I am not where I want to be," Melton said in July. He still jumps from subject to subject "because there are some things I'm very passionate about…," Melton said. Then look at this: attention deficit disorder n. (Abbr. ADD) A syndrome, usually diagnosed in childhood, characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness, a short attention span, and often hyperactivity, and interfering especially with academic, occupational, and social performance. And this: There are two major types of ADD at this time (this aspect of ADD keeps evolving): ADD with hyperactivity (the traditional type of ADD) and ADD without hyperactivity ("inattentive" type). Here are the DSM IV diagnostic criteria in a condensed form: Inattention (must meet six of the following to a degree that is "maladaptive"): · Often fails to give close attention to details or makes mistakes in schoolwork; · difficulty sustaining attention in tasks; · seems not to listen; · fails to follow instructions or finish work; · unorganized; · difficulties with schoolwork or homework; · loses things like school assignments, books, tools, etc.; · easily distracted; · forgetful about daily activities. ADD with Hyperactivity (must meet six of the following to a degree that is "maladaptive"): · fidgety in a squirmy sense; · doesn't stay seated; · runs or climbs excessively (or feelings of restlessness in older children); · difficulty playing quietly; · often "on the go" or acts if "driven by a motor"; · often talks excessively; · blurts out answers to questions; · difficulty waiting in lines or waiting turns; · often interrupts or intrudes on others. Now, you tell me...

Author
Rex
Date
2006-01-30T14:15:56-06:00
ID
120962
Comment

The "political part" of it makes Mr. Melton sick? Ahem. Mr. Melton is one of the most "political" animals I've ever observed. He tells different groups of voters exactly what they want to hear, even if it conflicts with what he told another one. He talks in feel-good sound bites with little substance or research or even law to back it up. He tries to befriend media and other potential supporters and then manipulate them with kindness when they do what he wants and then wage personal political attacks when they don't. How much more "political" can one get?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-30T14:21:38-06:00
ID
120963
Comment

Tom, I can name a few business leaving Hwy 80/Hwy 18 area. Maybe "faster" isn't the right word. Maybe "Droves are leaving 80 now" is a better way to put it. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:52:06-06:00
ID
120964
Comment

Tom, I can name a few business leaving Hwy 80/Hwy 18 area. Maybe "faster" isn't the right word. Maybe "Droves are leaving 80 now" is a better way to put it. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:52:15-06:00
ID
120965
Comment

Tom, I can name a few business leaving Hwy 80/Hwy 18 area. Maybe "faster" isn't the right word. Maybe "Droves are leaving 80 now" is a better way to put it. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:52:24-06:00
ID
120966
Comment

Tom, I can name a few business leaving Hwy 80/Hwy 18 area. Maybe "faster" isn't the right word. Maybe "Droves are leaving 80 now" is a better way to put it. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:52:35-06:00
ID
120967
Comment

Tom, I can name a few business leaving Hwy 80/Hwy 18 area. Maybe "faster" isn't the right word. Maybe "Droves are leaving 80 now" is a better way to put it. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:52:42-06:00
ID
120968
Comment

Oog... the mysql barfed. Mods? Ladd? Someone?

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:53:40-06:00
ID
120969
Comment

Oog... the mysql barfed. Mods? Ladd? Someone?

Author
Ironghost
Date
2006-01-30T16:53:49-06:00
ID
120970
Comment

They know, Iron. They're working on it. Even the Web site is hung over. ;-)

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-30T17:39:47-06:00
ID
120971
Comment

I think the stuff on 80 probably would have happened anyway. Johnson was a much better mayor than Melton is, no question, but IMHO the mayor just doesn't have much control over things like that in the short-term. Melton would need at least a full term, and the cooperation of the City Council, to screw up Johnson's policies enough to do that kind of damage. That's what Johnson got that the voters didn't: This stuff takes time. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-30T18:28:48-06:00
ID
120972
Comment

Amen Tom. What bothers me is the closing of business on a whim and not having another business already going so that the tax base want be depleted. How are we going to get service is there is no money to fix potholes, infrastructure or anything that we need to keep the City viable. God help us all. Under Johnson at least no one was laid off, no departments were closed without serious study. This madness must stop or I am afraid there want be a Jackson left.

Author
jada
Date
2006-01-30T20:59:13-06:00
ID
120973
Comment

A cynic would certainly say that it looks like he's trying to bleed our resources dry -- and perhaps even block new money from coming in, if you take a look at Mr. Ward's hiring as lobbyist to relace the very successful lobbyists already in place -- and for not much less money (and arguably more). Add that to the rather vicious attacks on Farish and King Edward developers, and it's hard to understand what Mr. Melton's motivation could possibly be here. We said after his election that we would be pro-Melton if he would be pro-Jackson. But I'm just not seeing it. And are our worst problems really, truly strip joints and sex toys? That sounds mighty, mighty political for someone who is so sickened by politics.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-30T21:11:05-06:00
ID
120974
Comment

...but very consistent with a Giuliani model of the Celestial City. I still remember how you made that comparison back when Melton was running, and how I wondered what on earth had led you to that conclusion. I still do. But it turned out to be prescient. I don't think he's trying to bleed the city dry for its own sake, though. That would make him look bad, and serve no useful purpose. (And if he was really devoted to "starving the beast," why hire strong Democrats like Peyton Prospere to run the city budget?) I think he has an agenda for picking Ward, had an agenda for rejecting the UMC money, etc. that we don't know about. It may be a spectacularly unwise and shortsighted agenda and, since this administration doesn't believe in transparency, it gives up its right to complain when people ask if Melton really does want to sink the city budget. But personally, I think there's stuff we're not seeing here that would explain Melton's otherwise senseless decision to reject free money. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-31T02:35:31-06:00
ID
120975
Comment

Tom, I must admit that I'm getting a bit weary of being prescient. ;-[ I, too, think there is more to Mr. Melton's "plan" than merely trying to bleed the city dry. I'm actually not the particular cynic I refer to. (I try not to be cynical, choosing instead to do a whole lot of research and then to think independently of partisan politics. That's not cynicism. I'm rather an eternal optimist.) Anyway, the bleeding routine may well (likely) be a symptom of something else, a different agenda, that just happens to be resulting in actions that can hamstring the city financially. But now is the time to put aside such speculation. I'm a journalist before I'm a blogger, so I'll leave the guesswork to others.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-01-31T03:19:53-06:00
ID
120976
Comment

A journalist in 2006? Good heavens. I didn't know there were any left. Keep on keepin' on, grrl. Jackson needs you more than ever. Cheers, TH

Author
Tom Head
Date
2006-01-31T04:39:30-06:00

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