Friday, February 22, 2008

Isn't This Called Secession?

State Senator Fillingane authored this bill. Here is his bio:
Who put him up to this?

Read the comments. GREAT ones and in-depth. Guys are doing me proud.


gorjus said...

No, it doesn't set up a separate world with its own currency or change the laws or anything . . . uh . . .

However, I do have my doubts as to what point there is in making this Magic Zone.

Anonymous said...

They are setting up MHP and MBI to have general police powers inside the zone which is inside the city limits of Jackson. Here are the highlights.

o The District Attorney of Hinds County shall establish a task force to be known as the Capital City Security and Economic Development Zone Task Force in order to implement a coordinated multidisciplinary team approach to develop a plan of coordination, collaboration and organization to sharply reduce crime within the Capital City Security and Economic Development Zone.

o Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation shall have general police powers within the Capital City Security and Economic Development Zone established under Section 1 of Senate Bill No. 2991, 2008 Regular Session, to investigate, prevent, apprehend and arrest law violators in the Capital City Security and Economic Development Zone.

The rest of the city be damned. DJP is going to use state money to have state resources protect their investments.

No public hearings, no public discussion just an imposition of two new law enforcement agencies upon the city and people of Jackson for the benefit of the wealthy.

Anonymous said...

That language is from the committee substitute bill. But in the original bill DJP attempted to get this language passed:

o (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.

Get that? DJP was trying to set up a police state inside a defined zone within Jackson where committed crimes would serve 1.5 times the maximum penalty and sentences could not be reduced, suspended nor would sentenced criminals be eligible for parole or probation.

Are you getting all that? Does anyone think we should be asking some damn hard questions about who specifically inside of DJP is asking for this level of quasi-martial law?

Get off your ass Ladd and get to work. Or have you been completely co-opted by Ben Allen?

Anonymous said...

WOW. Appears the only thing they don't want is the ability to summarily shoot suspects. Fillingane only filed this bill. Without a doubt he's doing someone else's bidding.

Anonymous said...

Ladd had the tax liens. Ladd was critical sometimes of Ben Allen and other downtown power brokers.

Ladd announced Boom Jackson.

Tax liens paid. Ladd announced that the size of the JFP's office would be doubling.

Now Ladd is promoting DJP interests, and ignoring the civil rights impact of pro-DJP bills.

Co-opted sounds like a good word for it.

Kingfish said...

Lay off Ladd for a moment.

This is getting no play in the media.

I'm all for protecting investment but has anyone bothered to read this bill? What does the MHP think about having to cover more territory? Then there is the fact it allows the select part of Jackson to get additional police protection while the rest of us who live in say, NE Jackson and West Jackson are relegated to second tier status.

and who put the boy wonder from Lamar County up to it.

Also, who is the lobbyist for DJP?

Tom Head said...

The lobbyists for DJP are Chip Reno and Quentin Whitwell.

Tom Head said...

And this is not a Donna Ladd issue (there are too many pieces of bad legislation for any paper, much less a small weekly paper, to address). This is a Joey Fillingane issue. That guy sponsors some of the craziest legislation you'll ever see anywhere.

Tom Head said...

What I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't blame Reno or Whitwell for the "police state" version of the legislation--Fillingane being Fillingane, he could have easily thought it up himself.

Kingfish said...

Read the bill. I want to know who wrote the bill for him. That is WAY too specific for him to write up all by himself.

Tom Head said...

I'd take a wild guess and say that it's probably patterned after similar "metro government" legislation adopted as part of another city's gentrification effort. Fillingane is very involved in national politics, and his legislation is often inspired by what some right-winger has proposed in Oklahoma or what have you. This has happened in so many cities that I'm not sure where I'd even start in terms of trying to find similar language.

The 50% thing is, in any case, blatantly unconstitutional--it says that downtown folks have more value than folks in west Jackson, which flies in the face of the equal protection clause.

Kingfish said...

READ THE DAMN BILL and THEN tell me he wrote it.

Tom Head said...

'Fish, I've read the damn bill and I'm not saying he wrote it. I'm saying that he could have adapted it from another gentrification bill. Look at his list of sponsored legislation. ALL of his abortion-related bills, for example, seem to be inspired by identical or nearly identical legislation proposed in other states.

Anonymous said...

After having read the original and the sub I have a hard time believing that Filligane, who represents people 90 miles to our south, wrote that bill because he is a whacky dude. Somebody asked for that legislation and bill language Tom. And lobbyists march to orders. I want to know who pulled the strings. I too think this has all the markings of a DJP request.

Tom Head said...

That said, maybe DJP did write it. We could ask Ben Allen; he isn't a hard guy to reach.

Tom Head said...

Rico, you may be right. I just find it hard to believe that the folks involved in DJP would have been stupid enough to propose the penalty clauses.

On the other hand, the SafeCity Initiative also has three lobbyists... And two of them are Reno and Whitwell. The third is named Worth Thomas.

Kingfish said...

I'm sure Fillingane wrote those boundaries all by himself.

Tom Head said...

Oh, I agree that somebody else fed him the boundaries. I'm talking about the policy elements of the bill.

Good point, though. Could someone have provided him with the former without at least reviewing the latter?

Kingfish said...

I've been involved in writing legislation before. I'll tell you what probably happened.

Either the lobbyists, members of DJP, or a DJP lawyer drafted that bill and fed it to the boy wonder from lamar county to authorize in exchange for teaching him how to shave.

Tom Head said...

That, my friend, is disturbingly plausible.

southernbreeze said...

Fish for over three weeks now 've been asking people to take note of several house bills and a couple of Senate bill which give unusual control to "public improvement districts" and "economic development districts". If any of these bills are passed these districts and their leadership would be granted rights as "governing bodies" and allowed to enter into interlocal agreements with municipal and county authorities. There are several masquerading under the guise of helping historical districts maintain their integrity but actually have far reaching consequences. Until now, no one seemed to be paying attention. It took the stringent criminal portion of this bill to get some attention but I invite everyone to look at the following bills. If any of them are passed this sets the groundwork for just the sort of thing in this bill to come later.

HB's 954,0245,1432,1472,994,0177,1196,
SB's 2625 (interlocal agreements

Some of them are weaker some stronger but all in my personal opinion dangerous.

I agree with you, Ladd set herself up at the champion of fair laws, practices ect and suddenly is in love with Ben Allen and now the Boom magazine. That's just too obvious and I for one am not taking the high road in my assumptions of what it means.

Tom Head said...


You obviously know your stuff. Your post impresses the hell out of me, and has put a lot of legislation on my radar that was not on my radar.

But I think it's important to remember that the JFP is a small Fondren paper that focuses mainly on weekend entertainment events. Think Northside Sun, not Washington Post. Donna and Adam have done some fine coverage of some high-profile events, such as the Killen trial, and sometimes the coverage gets so good that we expect more from them than we really ought to--but there isn't a "there" there in terms of expecting Donna or the JFP to be huge institutional conscience-of-the-community type figures. There's no budget for that; this is a very small operation. You could start up a personal blog and within two weeks exceed the JFP's readership.

(And I recommend it. Not nearly enough independent blogs by Jacksonians.)

I used to get angry at Donna for the way she treated some folks, but you know, all I really have a right to ask for from the JFP is accurate entertainment event listings. Anything beyond that is gravy, since the event listings are the real heart of the paper. Expecting Donna Ladd to be some kind of Pope of Jackson is unfair. Pick up the JFP and you can find out who's playing the local clubs Thursday night for free on your way out of the grocery store. Maybe do the crossword. Maybe check out a restaurant review. That's good enough. She could stop covering the other stuff entirely and it probably wouldn't affect her circulation numbers much.

So regardless of whether or not she's been co-opted by the DJP or the Fondren Renaissance Foundation or the Union of Toilet Paper Quilters or whatever, at the end of the day it doesn't matter a whole lot. If you're not getting any help from her, you need to talk to the Clarion-Ledger or the Jackson Advocate about this stuff. It's more up their alley anyway. Especially the Advocate, which has been talking about gentrification issues for longer than I've been alive.

Re the bills you mention, HB 245, 954, 994, 1432 and SB 3006 are all dead but HB 177, 1196, and 1472, along with SB 2625, are still alive and warrant closer attention from someone who knows more than I do about state law. You can read up on them here:

There's also some good legislation--HB 591's eminent domain protections, in particular, are encouraging. And HC 24 would write eminent domain protections into the state constitution.

southernbreeze said...

Glad to see some of those died. Fewer things to focus on (smle). Now about JFP and the Advocate. As far as the JFP is concerned I noticed a while ago the reporting seemed to have changed some and I am disappointed. I don't expect them to cover everything because they are a weekly much was talked about in the blogs with Donna leading the way that I grew to expect hard hitting from them online. My observation is the forums have been buried online for the most part and don't get lots of play when someone does post something really juicy. I did check though and didn't find any coverage of this issue.

The Jackson Advocate has not held up the standard since the death of Mr. Tisdale. Their lack of an online presence hurts them and I've said as much to them hoping they would find a way to do better. I hear though that Eric Stringfellow is going to head up the paper and that should prove interesting and extremely controversial since he is so often at odds with what the average AA seems to think. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

I agree with a good deal of your 2:13 AM post Tom regarding what the JFP is, what it isn't, what it can do and what we shouldn't expected it to do consistently well. That being said, having read these bills (original + sub) a couple times each and after having thought about this legislation overnight I think there are some key issues to consider. A few of which do not exclude the JFP from criticism.

Over the past few months we've been repeatedly told that the area within the boundaries of this zone are some of the safest, and in the case of downtown maybe the safest, in all of Jackson. For years the JFP, in their unwavering push of redeveloping downtown has emphasized this point. So why the need for this near-zero tolerance crime zone and how in the world has this bill flown completely underneath the JFP radar despite their having a reporter stationed under the dome covering the House and the Senate?

From the outset of the JFP, Ladd and Stauffer have provided sermon after sermon after sermon about their full-throated embrace of a creative class philosophy in all its facets and nirvanic grandeur that, supposedly, will return residents, businesses and prosperity to downtown -- even in the face of dubious and discredited data regarding public funding of convention centers -- which in turn will produce an economic wonderland that will lift all boats. If that is true, and if downtown is already safe, and if these billions in investment dollars will only bring across-the-board improvements for all involved, then why would anyone remotely reach a conclusion that the siege mentality of this legislation was required for Jackson's present and future?

This is an offensive and discriminatory piece of legislation Tom and I'm somewhat surprised you've missed, or chosen not to acknowledge, its glaring racist overtones. Who does this legislation benefit and who are the targets of this criminal crackdown? It is so obvious.

I mean, read some of the comments above in this thread? Mandatory sentences 50% higher than current maximum penalties? No sentence reductions or suspensions? No probation or parole?

Damn Tom, where the HELL is the ACLU? Isn't Ladd the VP of the Mississippi chapter? While Lambright is busy trying to restore the right-to-vote for felons this bill is still alive and kicking in the Senate? Don't you see anything seriously wrong with this picture?

This legislation is an outrage. The people and/or group who requested this bill must be exposed. Isn't it ironic, and isn't the timing curious, that this effort has come to light without a peep from the Jackson Free Press and Donna Ladd.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it ironic, and isn't the timing curious, that this effort has come to light without a peep from the Jackson Free Press and Donna Ladd.

Two words. --> boom JACKSON.

Kingfish said...

Like I said, I'd like to know why my Grandmother in NE Jackson doesn't deserve the same police protection.

Especially since NE jackson pays more in taxes than any other part of the city.

Not to mention the poor guys in West Jackson who are constantly vicctimized by criminals and have to put burglar bars around their air conditioning units.

southernbreeze said...

There is something even worse happening to me personally as a result of this type of junk. As a resident of South Jackson I see my area being used as a dumping ground for everything. Clarence Chapman is being allowed to build 400 new housing units in an area which didn't really need additional housing. South Jackson is mainly residential with no shopping to speak of, or restaurants or anything else for that matter. It is and was mainly residential. Everytime an apartment complex is deemed unsafe or whatever by Melton and his cronies and every time they have a sweep along the Hwy 80 corridor, the people dont just magically disappear.....they relocate to South Jackson which by the way has lots of nice empty homes. Many of these homes are 3br2b homes that are perfectly lovely and empty so where was the need to build additional housing? We don't need additional housing unless we're going to have lots more residents and we are.

As Jackson State takes over the surrounding areas, those people will need somewhere to go. Now unfortunately a great many of the people in the area around Silas Brown ect are drug addicted and/or selling drugs. It's an unfortunate fact. So push them into South Jackson! Then make your Capital City target area with a nice little buffer zone and the people will naturally relocate to areas where they dont' feel harrased or oppressed. Where? South Jackson! What about me as a resident of South Jackson? Don't I deserve the same protection for my tax dollars as everyone else?

Anonymous said...

Many people don't want to go out in downtown Jackson (which includes Farish) because they fear crime, even as downtown is one of the safest areas.
Donna Ladd, Nov 28, 07 @ 5:30 pm

Anonymous said...

"That new development I'm talking about is under way despite the fact that the perception of crime in downtown Jackson is far, far worse than the reality of it," said Allen. "The numbers just don't bear out that this is a lawless city."
Ben Allen, Dec 16, 07, C-L

Anonymous said...

But beyond crime, Allen said downtown Jackson needs a more modern, focused marketing effort to woo developers and to "educate Jackson residents and metro Jackson residents about what this city really has to offer."
Ben Allen, Dec 16, 07, C-L

Now it is clear. SB2991 is a marketing campaign.

Anonymous said...

"Downtown Jackson right now has become about the safest place in the community."
John Lawrence, Jan 06, 03, MBJ

Anonymous said...

As for crime, Downtown is our safest area.
Donna Ladd, Aug 13, 07 @ 9:38 pm

Anonymous said...

I can tell you for a fact that DJP had nothing to do with this bill.

You are barking up the wrong tree.

Tom Head said...

Good posts, all of you. I'll answer this point by point.

Rico, I have no doubt that the Mississippi ACLU has been on top of this legislation. You need to realize that the ACLU has a lobbyist and its own channels of influence. The fact that the crime penalty language was killed can probably be credited to the NAACP, ACLU, and other organizations working behind the scenes to convince legislators that it needed to be dropped.

There was no need to change the culture in order to get the additional penalty language dropped because the culture already condemns it. Felony voting rights is more of a culture-change issue, so Nsombi is taking a more public approach to it. Can't fault her for that. I've spent considerable time working with Nsombi Lambright, and I have total confidence in her as an activist. She has a huge mandate--there's no way one person can go after every offensive bill in the legislature--but looking at what she does both publicly and less publicly during the legislative session, I can't fault her for anything. Nobody in Jackson works harder or in a more comprehensive way than Nsombi to address these issues, and she does so little self-promotion that most people have no idea how much she's doing.

As far as Donna Ladd goes: Donna certainly wouldn't have anything kind to say about me if the shoe were on the other foot, so I'm not gonna break a sweat trying to defend her. All I'm saying is that the JFP is a Fondren entertainment weekly at heart, not a full-time vehicle for social justice. Nobody goes after Wyatt Emmerich for not covering these issues in the Northside Sun because he hasn't marketed the Northside Sun as the voice of truth and justice and so forth, so to the extent that we criticize Donna Ladd, we're basically criticizing her for not living up to her PR. Maybe deep down she doesn't care about anything but making Jackson hip and trendy, but even if that's true, so what? How does that excuse OUR failure to deal with these issues? Why does Donna Ladd's agenda matter one way or the other?

A better question might be why the NAACP isn't on top of this (assuming it isn't; again, we don't know what happens behind the scenes because real activists don't focus on self-promotion). A better answer might be "because we're not attending NAACP meetings and talking to Gus and Derrick and getting this on the agenda," because the NAACP is a membership-driven organization.

The fault, dear Rico, lies not in the stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. Looking to Donna Ladd or anyone else to champion causes that we feel passionate about is the wrong approach. We need to get involved and make our own feelings known.

Southbreeze, as a former south Jackson resident, I'm not being cute when I say I feel your pain. Frankly, south Jackson makes more sense to me as a possible civil rights museum location than downtown. It's being horribly underdeveloped. Parts of Meadowbrook fall into the same category. And, of course, the biggest chunk of west Jackson. We need to diversify our economic development or we'll be like one of those renaissance cities--an aristocracy living in the middle with all of the accommodations, surrounded by peasants living in squalor. And obviously increasing the criminal penalties for folks who misbehave in the aristocracy's part of the city is obscene and racist, but that part of the bill has been amended out, hallelujah and praise God, so let's focus on the stuff that's still on the agenda.

Kingfish said...


Didn't say DJP was involved, just asked.

Now I will say there is no way that our State Senator wrote that bill on his own. SOMEONE gave him t hose boundaries in such detail.


Anonymous said...

No sweat. It was a fair question if they did. And it is a fair question to ask who.

Tom Head said...

I never did think it was the DJP's style. It sounds more like SafeCity to me, though again, my predilection would be to contact SafeCity and ask them.

Consider also the possibility that an influential developer contacted Fillingane one-on-one rather than working through a lobbyist. I'm sure Senator Fillingane's donor list includes plenty of folks who have investments in downtown Jackson.

Kingfish said...

ok fellow trolls, you know where the SOS website is, you have your homework assignment. Hop to it.

Anonymous said...

Does Matt Allen work for, or speak for, DJP? He only comes out when Daddy gets caught.

Tom Head said...

Anonymous, I've done a little asking around and am more confident than I've ever been that DJP isn't behind this legislation. So this is less a matter of "getting caught" than "getting accused," and Matt is doing what any loyal son would do by backing up his father.

Anonymous said...

Tom, are you indicating that you are fine with the bill now that the harsh penalties have been removed?

Kingfish said...

I don't think he is. I think he is just saying he doesnt think Downtown Partners is behind it. I think his comment about Matt is patronizing as Matt is pretty well informed on this stuff and is stating what he knows, not who is daddy is.

Anonymous said...

DJP as an organization may not be behind the bill, per se, but I'm not buying for a second that the people behind DJP are not the players pushing for the bill nor that Ben Allen wasn't aware of the bill before it was even introduced. And does Matt Allen speak for DJP and why is he here defending DJP? Those certainly seems to be a legitimate questions.

When you get out a map and trace the boundaries as detailed in the bill (which I did) the zone protects a great number of the major projects in which many of the people on this list have a direct economic interest. The boundary jog to the east of I55, for instance, to encompass Duckworth's MS School for the Blind project -- a project where they haven't even broken ground -- is only one obvious example of who this bill seeks to protect. And isn't it curious that the boundary conveniently jogs a little loop up and around Peters' Duling project.

Why Tom, or anyone for that matter, seeks to look past the gaming going on with this legislation is baffling.


Tom Head said...

Rico, I'm not saying that I'm fine with the bill at all. What I'm saying is that I don't think DJP, as an organization, is behind it. It looks more like SafeCity's handiwork, or perhaps the product of a private Jackson investor who has Fillingane's ear.

Tom Head said...

Re Matt and DJP, I certainly didn't intend to be patronizing. I'd back up my father if he were criticized on this blog, too.

bob mc alister said...

just to comment on the obvious, the money people always get their way , regardless. My area of south Jackson is flooded with repos...sub primes ...if you wish .
and now, the money guy shows up to build 400 NEW homes, that just happen to qualify for the low cost mortgage money , and are still "rent to own' type of residents.

and the people just sit and watch , while millions are siphoned off by the wealthy to fund another one of their get rich operations, at the expense of the low income and moderate income folks of jackson.

it does get tiring..but the same operations go on at the national level, so why should it be any different? and haley wants to use the Katrina money for what ? not housing....

by the way, want to really get frustrated ? try to find the one person responsible for the management of the Katrina funds...

anyway, the whole thing is a joke. Until it hits the pocket book of the average jacksonian, nothng new will happen. bottom line is that the rich know that the average person is too busy trying to keep his/her head above water , that the rich can act with impunity .

there ..

Renee Shakespeare said...

Joey Fillingane first introduced this bullcrap in 2008. Senate Bill 2991. His first shot across the bow and he hasn't let up since. Eight years later....well he doesn't give up I see.

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