UPDATE: "Disposition: Dead"
Hold on to your hat folks when you read Senate bill #2991, authored by State Senator Fillingane from Sumrall. This little exercise in legislative mischief will create a Green Zone for Jackson called "the Capital City Security and Economic Development Zone." (Section 13) Bill: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2008/pdf/history/SB/SB2991.xml
What exactly is this Mississippi Green Zone you say? It is an area where the creative class can frolic in Fondren, Borat can enjoy more wine tastings at the University Club, and the perfumed princes can live in their high-rise lofts overlooking the rest of the city which they relegated to third-tier status. It is an area covering most of Downtown Jackson, part of the Farish Street area, a large part of NE Jackson, and Jackson State University. The Green Zone will receive additional help from law enforcement, as the bill gives the Mississippi Highway Patrol general police powers within the zone in addition to creating a task force consisting of:
The district attorney's office, the Jackson Police Department, the Hinds County Sheriff's office, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the University Medical Center Campus Police Chief, the Jackson State University Campus Police Chief, the Director of Security for the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center and Director of Security for the St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital. (Section 2)
Got that? Apparently one lesson learned in Iraq lost on our fearful leaders was the creation of the Green Zone in Iraq sowed much discontent among the Iraqis, as they correctly judged a privileged few were more worthy of protection than most Iraqis. This bill creates two classes of Jacksonians: those who live and work in the Green Zone and those who don''t. If you live on the wrong side of the line, you don't get the same level of safety as the perfumed princes do even though you are giving them your tax dollars.
The original bill gives away the true intent of those behind this legislative mischief:
SECTION 2. (1) The penalty for any felony or misdemeanor listed in subsection (2) of this section that is proved to have been committed in the Capital City Security and Economic Development Zone created in Section 1 of Senate Bill [this one], 2008 Regular Session, shall be subject to a fifty percent (50%) enhancement of the maximum penalties otherwise provided by law. Every person so convicted shall be sentenced to the maximum term of imprison prescribed in this section and such sentence shall not be reduced or suspended nor shall such person be eligible for parole or probation. http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/documents/2008/pdf/SB/2900-2999/SB2991IN.pdf
Subsection 2 lists crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, burglary, and other usual crimes that would have received the enhanced penalties.
Such garbage should outrage all fair-minded Jacksonians. The thug who beats and rapes your grandmother in Rollingwood or Presidential Hills would have received less time in jail than one who commits the same crime in the Green Zonehad had this travesty of justice written by the perfumed princes been allowed to stand. Safecity can repeatedly assure us how this is merely an attempt to improve cooperation between agencies. Unfortunately for Safecity and its allies, the original bill gives away the true intent of their efforts, which are to create a part of Jackson that lives and plays by a different set of rules than the rest of us. If this bill is passed, expect future attempts to revive the enhanced penalties provisions. The two versions of the bill ironically validate what liberals have complained about for years: that there are two standards of justice and police protection, two standards based primarily on race and class.
Another clue giving away true intentions of its supporters is the fact that several local lawmakers such as State Senator David Blount said they had no knowledge of the bill until it was introduced. When legislation such as this bill is introduced, usually the local delegation is involved so as to improve its chances of passage. It is very strange that the local delegation was ignored for the most part while a State Senator from Lamar County introduces a bill that is VERY specific and detailed in its language (read the boundaries in the bill).
There are several questions about both bills that need to be asked:
1. Who wrote this bill? There is no question that Fillingane did not draft this legislation.
2. Whose idea was it to insert the enhanced penalties provision in this bill?
3. Why was this bill not discussed in local forums before it was introduced, since it directly and substantially impacts Jackson?
4. Why were local officials and lawmakers not informed about the bill?
5. Who are the lobbyists who approached State Senator Walter Michel about the bill?
6. What are the bill's mandates in regards to JPD?
This bill is an insult to Jacksonians. There is no question Jackson desperately needs investment and reversal in its declining tax base. As an economic conservative, I support the current development in Jackson. However, discarding the rest of Jackson while preserving a Capitol Street Xanadu will merely encourage more Jacksonians to move to the suburbs where they are appreciated by their respective governments and not treated as a cash cow for two different standards of living and justice. True justice demands that our elected representatives kill this bill.
Related coverage in The Clarion-Ledger: http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080225/NEWS010504/802250361/1001/news
Read comments in earlier post. There are some VERY good ones:
Monday, February 25, 2008
UPDATE: "Disposition: Dead"
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Note: Security provided by INS.
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Note: Security provided by INS.