In the wake of some high profile political races in Mississippi, the question of what happens next is looming throughout places that have been hit hard by crime, unemployment, and hardships of different kinds. I’m of the opinion that something happens to elected officials once they have reached their stations. It seems that a sudden shift takes place, transforming that official from an “us” into a “them.” Sort of like poor people who become instant millionaires, politicians seem to embrace the stereotypes of the position as opposed to remaining true to the hustle and tenacity that they display along the campaign trail. This post is not about them though, although I do believe that Mayor Yarber has retained his fervor and enthusiasm for change. Instead, the focus is on the question above: “What happens next?”
Since Mayor Yarber’s election and swearing-in have taken place only recently, it is hard for me to determine if his presence in the office has made an impact on the city of Jackson. With that being said, there are some things that I hope he’s considering and implementing already as they relate to Jackson’s violent water treatment, road repair, and other campaign tag lines starting with crime. Recession and crime; unemployment and crime; and poverty and crime are each synonymous and each of these sets are directly proportional (as one goes up, the other goes up). So, if Mayor Yarber can hedge and deter crime, then we can experience more money flowing in the city, more job opportunities, and a better quality of life.
Nancy La Vigne and Shebani Rao have compiled Five Ways to Reduce Crime which I believe are doable in Jackson: use and expand drug courts, make use of DNA evidence, help ex-offenders find secure living-wage employment, monitor public surveillance cameras, and connect returning prisoners to stable housing. Implementing those measures is doable, but it would be costly. We don’t really want to be taxed additionally, but if it’s for the good our the Jackson community, then lets do it. If the city’s residents are unwilling to fund the change, then who will? However, there is money flowing through the city’s government according to Jackson’s Transparency reports on the official website. We’ll have faith and keep an eye open to see that those funds yield good fruit.
Honestly, I write this particular to post to draw awareness to the fact that electing Mayor Yarber is not the be-all and end-all for Jackson’s solutions. There will not come a time when Jackson’s residents will be afforded the opportunity to sleep on the job of building a beacon city. I implore you to visit JacksonMS.gov, fish around, and voice your opinion. Email and mailing addressees are plentiful throughout the website, so mail your thoughts, feelings, and concerns to city officials. “Why,” you ask? Because if you don’t, who will?