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Most Mississippians Crave Transparent Government

Whoa, what a month of journalism in Mississippi.

The majority-white Mississippi Legislature edged closer to a dramatic takeover of the majority-Black capital city—some, including Jackson’s Black mayor, are calling it “apartheid”—with legislation to create a shadow judicial system of unelected judges; with efforts to take prosecutorial power away from the elected Hinds County district attorney; and only marginal efforts to temper the move by a North Mississippi senator to take over Jackson’s water system and, probably, to control federal dollars flowing in and who gets those contracts.

The outcries (and threats of inevitable lawsuits) only draw paternalistic yawns and innuendo about incompetence of (Black) leadership: We’re just doing this to protect Jackson from itself, essentially. Meantime, actual systemic crime prevention has never been a priority outside Jackson or, frankly, inside city government where more cops are seen as the panacea. Local, state and national political machines are aligned against evidence-based approaches—and the Legislature ignores anti-violence studies of the capital city that it paid to happen in favor of beefing up police forces and building more jails to warehouse accused people—usually Black people—calling it crime “prevention” because they’re off the streets.

Greed at Our Gates 

Meantime, if you live and run an organization inside the city limits as I do, it really can feel Romanesque, and I don’t mean architecturally. So many live and work so hard here inside the capital city just to watch a steady drumbeat of our resources and jobs either flee to the suburbs, or watch efforts to just take our economic generators like the Evers International Airport. Or, to insist that the only possible way we’re allowed flood protection is to agree to a questionable lake scheme that would create valuable waterfront property for the wealthy, whether or not the anti-flooding part pans out. (And many of both parties downstream in Mississippi and Louisiana are fully against “One Lake” for regularly dismissed and valid reasons. Conservative legislators are trying to stop it this session.)

Greed and desire for power, that is, are perpetually pushing on Jackson’s gates. But the Romans, if you will, don’t want to

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