This post was originally published on April 19. Actually it was thought to be published because it was still in the system as a draft. It is now published for your review.
Chokwe Lumumba, Jr. promoted Farish Street development at the March 20 debate at Johnnie Champion Community Center:
Farish Street. A sore subject for many as JJ has documented here and here. However, there is one little fact Mr. Lumumba doesn't mention. Take a look at these records from the Hinds County website.
Don't recognize the addresses? Allow the Kingfish to help you out:
Mr. Freelon owns Freelons, a popular night club on N. Mill Street. Needless to say, an entertainment district in the Farish Street area as discussed by the candidate will benefit his properties. Nothing wrong with that, as we are all about being capitalist pigs on this website. However, Mr. Freelon was the law partner of Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Jr.. The Jackson Free Press reported on April 2:
Antar, as friends call him to differentiate between his father and himself, grew up in northwest Jackson, attending St. Joseph's for middle school, Murrah and, ultimately, graduated from Callaway High School. He attended Tuskegee University in Alabama and Thurgood Marshall Law School in Houston before joining Freelon & Associates as the firm's managing partner, responsible for day-to-day operations.* He and his wife, Ebony, gave birth to a daughter, Alake Maryama Lumumba, on March 18, 2014. He lives in northeast Jackson. Article.
The campaign Facebook page also stated on April 4:
Chokwe Antar Lumumba is a graduate of Tuskegee University in Alabama and Thurgood Marshall School of Law in Houston, Texas. On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, Attorney and Managing Partner for Lumumba, Freelon & Associates, Chokwe Antar announced his intent to seek the mayor's office for the city of Jackson, Mississippi.
JJ is not impugning Mr. Freelon in any way. Mr. Freelon purchased most properties three to five years ago, although he bought three before 2000. It is Mr. Freelon's right to purchase these properties, develop them as he sees fit, and earn a maximum return on his investment. (I even highlighted that sentence so Mr. Freelon would not think he is being attacked.)
However, Mr. Freelon is not the one running for office. His law partner is the candidate and Mr. Lumumba has not exactly said what he will do in regards to decisions affecting his partner's properties. Mr. Lumumba took ethics in law school and is familiar with such concepts as appearances and conflicts.
Creating entertainment districts where your partner has properties is not exactly a Malcolm X Grassroots Movement idea. However, it is a Mississippi good ole boy idea that has been perfected over the years. General Farmer, anyone?
Kingfish, what would you do? Simple. Give the damn thing to the developers and let them figure it out. Get the legislature to revoke the option to lease on Commerce Street currently held by Full Spectrum. Clean up Commerce Street. Some of the same lights and bricks that are present on Farish Street. Give Commerce Street 24-hour resort status. Lobby the legislature to sell the state-owned properties. The ingredients are already there: Martins, The South, Hal & Mals, Jaco's Tacos, and now One Block East. The warehouse with the broken out windows would make a nice place for a flea market after some renovations. No grants, no special loans, no tax credits. The government should just clean it up and provide the conditions for development to take place. The free market will do more with the area much more quickly than all the pie in the sky crap that is a devil's pit for Jackson.
*December 29, 2014: The Mississippi Bar directory now reports the two attorneys have separate offices. It states Harvey Freelon works for Lumumba Freelon & Associates on Mill Street while Octavian works for Lumumba & Associates on Ridgewood Road.