Will mayor-elect favor more prominent?

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The 35 percent of the citizens in Franklin who voted in the mayoral race favored Councilwoman Raystine Johnson over Mayor Jim Councill and Councilman Gregory McLemore.

The question I ask is “Would the election results have been different if more voters had voted?” I believe that answer is “yes.”

Many African-Americans have waited a long time to see Mayor Councill defeated and someone of their ethnicity be elected because they believe he did not have their best interests at heart.

The African-Americans who did not vote for McLemore did so because of his poor people skills and use of words during council meetings. Many believe he is capable and does an outstanding job as a councilman; he has good ideas and has the city at heart. I received several calls from citizens repeating the ideology.

My mindset is that if he does not “put a cap” on his people skills, many who support him will not support him for his 2014 re-election to the council.

I feel it was unfair for some of the elite class of African-Americans to use McLemore’s work history and his current job against him. He’s earning an honest paycheck, which is to be commended.

I am earning an advanced college degree to become an educational specialist and have worked in a few professional positions. I will never disregard people because of their social and economic status, nor will I be manipulated as to whom I converse with.

We are all somebody.

I was once told it was a bad idea to talk to McLemore because of the people he hangs around with. On another occasion, I was conversing with him at City Hall, and was told by a respected, prominent black citizen that she had heard that I was seen conversing with him.

I said to myself, “WOW.” Must a person be abandoned because his character does not meet the expectations of the socially respected? You could be the person who could cause a person to gain or regain focus and positive direction.

There is no one who walks this earth who is better than anyone else. People who think that they are better than others are gift wrapped in stupidity.

What disturbs me with my own race is how some have the audacity to believe that because of their status and position, they have the right to belittle people who they believe are less than them. That was very evident when I visited Wards 4 and 5.

It was stated in The Tidewater News that Councilwoman Raystine Johnson had support from prominent white business owners and professional leaders. That was evident when I visited the three predominantly white precincts.

I would like to ask the prominent African-Americans a question. Do you believe the same prominent white business owners will support Johnson for re-election in 2014, when a challenger is already being groomed?

I have known Johnson for a long time and respect her. However, when I asked some of her supporters why we should vote for her, they said nothing. I guess that is because they were thinking that I was voting for McLemore, or because I have a weird personality and live on a certain street.

I really believe Johnson has the capabilities of doing an outstanding job as the other two candidates could have. However, will Johnson stand on her own two feet, or will she do what certain people tell her to do for their support?

I believe she will gain unanimous support when concerns of the citizens are addressed and the confidence is gained from the majority and that she has the heart to do what is right versus being manipulated by prominent people.

What this city needs on the council is unity and addressing all the concerns of people. The citizens should be the focal point. We did not elect people to sit on the council to collect a check and do nothing; we elected people to represent us.

Many are tired of the utility bills being raised as a quick fix to offset financial delinquencies. What is the council going to do about the growing problems that affect the majority?

These problems consist of jobs, utility bills, taxes, education and services.

JAMAAL WHITEHURST is a Franklin resident and pastor of Souls for Christ Temple in Portsmouth. He can be reached at jb.whitehurst77@gmail.com.