Monday, April 23, 2018

Zoo Board votes to open meetings to public.

The Board of Directors for the Jackson Zoological Society voted on April11 to allow the public to attend board meetings.*   Public comments will not be allowed.   The Board can vote to go into executive session on a motion of a Board member for any subject.    The Board is comprised of an equal mix of members appointed by the non-profit Jackson Zoological Society and the Jackson City Council.

 Meanwhile, Jackson Ward 3 City Councilman Kenneth Stokes placed the following item on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting of the City Council:

The contract with the Jackson Zoological Society expires in September. 

Kingfish note: Yours truly has been fighting since last summer to get the meetings opened up to the public and it's finally done.   This new policy will hopefully kill some of the misinformation that is spread about the Zoo.

The Jackson Zoo, however, continues to face financial problems.  Posted below are the most recent quarterly financial statements.

The Zoo only generated $123,496 in admission revenue for the first six months of the fiscal year that began on October 1.  However, that covers the slowest part of the year for the zoo.   Private contributions were only $68,222 and thus on pace to fall below $140,000 in six months.   The Zoo also lost the Jackson State University sponsorship of the tiger exhibit.   JSU contributed $40,000 a year for three years.  It hurts to be on the receiving end of the decision but one can certainly understand JSU making this move. 

The attendance YTD is 26,596 while it was 32,785 a year ago.  However, the 2017-2018 winter was much more severe than it was a year earlier.  

The expenses will show a huge utility bill.  The Zoo was hit with a billing error that will be corrected in the next statement.

*Here is the motion.

I MOVE that the meetings of the Jackson Zoological Society’s Board of Directors be opened to include such members of the public as may wish to attend, and that notice of the dates and times of such meetings be published on the Zoo’s website to promote such attendance. In recognition of the Jackson Zoological Society’s status as a private, not-for-profit 401(c)3 organization which is not subject to any state or federal “sunshine” or “freedom of information” provision,

I FURTHER MOVE that any meeting or portion thereof may be closed to the public at any time, and the proceedings (or the continuation of the proceedings) held, if appropriate, in a separate or private location that is not available to the public and outside of the public’s purview (i.e, that the meeting will be held, in its entirety or from the time upon which the motion is made, in executive session) by and among only the members of the Board of Directors for the Jackson Zoological Society and such other invited individuals (e.g., Zoo personnel, advisors, consultants, and the like), and that members of the public shall be excluded, upon motion made by any Board member supported by a majority vote, or upon the recommendation of Zoo personnel supported by motion and a majority vote, for any reason that forms the basis for the motion (e.g., the protect against the disclosure of sensitive or confidential information relating to personnel, financial, operational, or personal matters, or the like). Notice shall be provided to the public upon the Zoo’s website of whether particular meetings are “open to the public” or “closed to the public” as soon as practicable.

This motion, if passed, shall be deemed to have no effect on the rules of order and procedures followed by the Board of Directors for the Jackson Zoological Society in relation to its meetings, and such rules of order and procedures shall remain invoked and applicable at all times.


Anonymous said...

Kingfish, I probably missed the info, but exactly how much does the City of Jackson give annually to the Zoo?

Anonymous said...

Where did the $250,000.00 Improvement fund money come from? $693,000.00 "water sewer" bill? Please explain. NOBODY or entity would make an unsecured loan to this organization. They might make a "gift", but a loan?

Anonymous said...

May I suggest the following motion for the City of Jackson Council meeting:

38. Order of the City Council of Jackson, Mississippi, authorizing the City of Jackson to terminate Kenneth I. Stokes as Ward 3 City Councilman effective immediately.

Kingfish said...

Try reading the statement I posted. The city provides it in one lump sum.

Anonymous said...

Jackson has no business spending $980,000 in a zoo while the city infrastructure falls apart. The majority of zoo users don’t even live in jackson. Jackson is funding a zoo that is mainly used by non-Jacksonians. Madness. Jackson should call their bluff and end the madness. If the state wants a zoo, let the state pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Finally, open meetings? Since I came to Mississippi a few years ago, I have been utterly astounded by the determination of people to do everything too late. It seems that the only thing people here trust is the past. The sad thing is that the past was pitiful. What the hell? This zoo business like everything in Jackson should have been addressed years ago. The whole damn state is in a time warp.

Anonymous said...

I agree with @10:31, but likely for different reasons. I'm a resident of Jackson, but rarely go to the zoo. There comes a time in everyone's life where your choices are influenced by your wallet. I do not favor subsidies for (1) doctors in the form of tort reform, (2) corporations in the form of limiting the ability of the AG to sue them, or (3) city services that cannot otherwise exist.

Hard to stomach (pun intended) that I agree with Kenify to cut the fat (ditto) and let the zoo go. Unless a giraffe can fix a pothole.

Kingfish said...

10:49: It's astounding.

Anonymous said...

Zoo is , I guess is a non profit that is not a government subject to public meeting and record laws. But when you need public support why not operate in the sun shine.

Anonymous said...

Open meetings. What a concept? Will they toss out folks who try to record the meeting? Will anybody even care to attend? If not for this blog site, who the hell would even know Jackson still HAS a zoo?

Anonymous said...

9:49, I think the zoo is using money that is supposed to be for making capital improvements to the zoo facilities to pay for operating expenses so the zoo can stay open.

If Stokes supposedly wants the zoo to stay in west Jackson so badly, why terminate the contract? If the zoo loses the almost $1 million from the city, how can it keep the doors open? Guess it's a tactic to get the zoo board to rescind its decision to move to Lefluer's Bluff.

Anonymous said...

Start over with the zoo. Move it,get adjacent counties to contribute and let them have board representation. The zoo should be regional in its support, not all put on Jackson since so many outside Jackson vist or would visit.

Anonymous said...

The 'board' might have made a decision to move, but that's similar to my decision to take a balloon trip across the country, or around the world. A great dream, but without the money is nothing more. Some are saying that the legislature is going to pony up (or elephant up) the money for the move and give up the land - but I truly hope our conservative leaders don't fall for this pig in a poke. If we can't agree on how to fund roads, bridges, and other basic infrastructure across the state, I trust they have enough sense to realize this is down the priority ladder.

Anonymous said...

I don’t like traveling to the zoo. What makes you think people will feel safe going to a meeting about the zoo? Move the zoo!

Anonymous said...

Some are saying that the legislature is going to pony up (or elephant up) the money for the move and give up the land ...

Beyond blogosphere conjecture show any public reporting where the Legislature has communicated and/or indicated support to fund a move of the Jackson zoo. With all the financial challenges facing the State I seriously doubt any such legislation can even make it to a floor vote in either chamber.

Anonymous said...

1:27....thank you for your voluntary $980,000 per year to operate it after it moves.

I'm sick of people posting what "they" should do with the zoo. "They" should move it. "They" should do this and that. Ignorance!

Anonymous said...

OH don't misread, 1:57. I didn't say that; just reporting the rumors from the Zoo Society and the folks that have been silently working with them on this grand move - or better stated, this grand expenditure. I don't believe that the legislature will buy this scheme, and certainly hope that they find a better way to spend borrowed money. My point of posting the rumor was to hopefully stir up folks to tell their legislators to kill any such idea in Jeff Smith's Committee (after all, Jeff will let any borrowed money idea float through his committee and to the floor if he can get away with it.)

Anonymous said...

Attn 3:16 The legislature will "buy this scheme" when they are paid (cash or political contributions) to buy this scheme.

Anonymous said...

This is a lot like the Courthouse situation that should be heating back up soon with some decisions being made by UMC.

Its unfortunate, but there just isn't money to keep the zoo open. If the zoo has admission revenue of $300k and gifts of $150k, it means that the city of Jackson, while falling apart, is basically contributing 2/3 of the operating budget.

Just like UMC keeps losing their ass on the Courthouse deal and there are people that are okay with taxpayer money being wasted because "their kids benefit from the swim team."

I have no problem with the zoo, or the swim team. But the city and state can't keep subsidizing them at insane levels.

Anonymous said...

1:18 . That is how many services and facilities work in lots of Metro areas. Local government come together and create a regional system. Many good models and getting Federal aid is much easier. Local governments continue to exist to provide good local representation but regional boards are established for most all costly services. Jackson that was once a strong regional leader would be propped up by the other cities and counties of the area. Jackson would not support any thing regional even though it needed it the most.Fear of losing control of the New World Order.There is a good bit this going on now in our Metro area with Federal Programs for the Feds are now unable to deal with many independent local governments and will only work with a regional system.

Anonymous said...

Is that termination with 90 days from city council meeting or 90 days from end of contract in Sept?

Anonymous said...

Meetings are just now open to the public, but no public forum?


This really makes me want to whip out my checkbook and make a donation.

Anonymous said...

State Law (except in Pelahatchie): No ball caps to be worn by appointed or elected officials and no cell phones going off during meetings.

Kingfish said...

There are quite a few government bodies that don't allow public comments. Hinds County Board of Supervisors. 1% Sales Tax Commission are some examples. There is nothing stopping citizens from contacting the board members who represent their ward.

Unknown said...

Why terminate the contract of the current zoo operator?

Thank you Councilman Stokes!

I agree that the Zoo suffers from POOR MANAGEMENT!

I humbly offer an anti-parallel case in point.

The Mississippi Museum of Art was previously housed in the Jackson Arts Center Building.

The museum was suffering from lower and lower attendance. Deteriorating facility and general programmatic malaise.

A well experienced director, from out of state and region, was recruited. His name was Andy something , something. Andy was more than qualified, imaginative, energetic and visionary. However it appears that, among other things, his inability to motivate the existing MS arts sponsorship culture resulted in frustration and lack of success. He left.

Betsy Bradly, a local, trained by the amazing Jane Hiatt at the MS Arts Commission, was recruited as the new MS Museum of Art Executive Director.

Since Ms. Bradley's tenure started

a) The Museum was relocated to a new home.

b) A facility also owned by the city.

c) The building was the originally constructed to serve as a Temporary Courthouse.

d) Same building was later renovated to house the, "semi successful", "Palaces of Versailles, et. al. International Arts Exhibits.

e) The MS Museum of Art is still located in the City of Jackson Arts/Planetarium Complex. and still in the Arts Planetarium Complex. Not in NE Jackson, Madison, Brandon, Hattiesburg or Meridian.

f) Ms Bradley got the, now well used, Art Garden and Amphitheater constructed by using space previously devoted to a parking lot. That took imagination!

g) She gets sponsors for world class exhibits of European Classical Art as well as Mississippi Folk Art.

That takes people skills, respect of our Mississippi culture and focused energy.

In other words that took and takes effective management!

Ladies and gentlemen, in my opinion,, the above described turn around at the MS Museum of Art, was and i,s the result of MANAGEMENT talent, MANAGEMENT energy, MANAGEMENT vision, MANAGEMENT imagination and MANAGEMENT effectiveness.

The current Executive Director and Zoo Board has obviously run out of effective ideas and seeks to play the "blame" game".

1. "Boo hoo - Oh the neighborhood is deteriorating around us" Hey, I'm from New York City. Yankee Stadium, Broadway, Times Square, etc. are all in very, very close proximity to dangerous neighborhoods and scary looking side streets.

2. "OMG! We need painting and landscaping." Now exactly how did Ms. Bradley get a newly renovated building?

3. "Sad;y, we are losing our animals". Now exactly how does Ms. Bradley get funding for here constant flow of new and exciting exhibits?

4. Pppsstt whisper - Nobody comes because they are afraid. Again: Yankee Stadium, Broadway, Times Square , Central Park- Build it, manage it, promote it, clean it up and they will come!

Unknown said...


My Dad, and I'm sure your Dad did too, always stopped me dead in my tracks when ever I exhibited any "pity party" tendencies when things weren't going my way, "

He would put his hands on my shoulder, look me in the eye and say: "Son, a poor craftsman blames his tools"

1. The imprecise musician blames his $25 instrument. Not his lack of seriously running up and down those boring musical scales.

2. The unimaginative painter blames his brushes, paint, canvasses, easels. Not his lack of daring to paint and paint again, and paint again to learn his craft.

3.The .188 batting average batter blames his bat, (in my case, his broom stick) and unavailability of a batting cage for low results. Not his lack of creating at least a semblance of a batting cage experience by securing a ball and string to a tree limb or post to get more hand /hand practice swings in. I'm sure you MS rural baseball boys did the same thing!

4. The "writer's blocked" author blames his PC or printer, or non eventful personal life and not his reluctance to continuously write and edit and write and edit and meditate and write something new and edit.

I admit that I'm really not qualified to define what makes good management. But like EVERYONE else, I know it when I see it.

I spend my money at well managed eatery's. I buy tickets to clean movie theaters. I look forward to and attend our Central MS Festivals and Marathon;s because they are well run and exhibit a paucity of "drama"

HINT: Jackson Zoo Board - You just might need a new Executive Director!?!?

I'm sure the current director is a nice person, dedicated, motivated, sincere and good looking

Replacing non- effective managers is called "effective board oversight and stewardship."

Thank you again Kenny Stokes for showing that the "Emperor has no clothes:!

Just saying!

Anonymous said...

Changing the Capt of a sinking ship only changes the person at the helm when the ship goes under. Betsy Bradley in no way faced the challenges that plague the zoo.

Unknown said...

April 24, 2018 at 11:09 AM{ Anonymous said...
"Changing the Capt of a sinking ship only changes the person at the helm when the ship goes under. Betsy Bradley in no way faced the challenges that plague the zoo."

In my opinion, more excuses not to take board action.

Effective leadership ALWAYS finds a way.


1. Lee Iaccoca inherited a totally bankrupt Chrysler auto maker in the 80's.

a) Lee swallowed his pride and got a Federal bailout for temporary relief.

b) Lee spearheaded the rapid creation of a series of highly successful low cost, high quality, high mileage "K Cars", in total opposition to the then current Detroit wisdom of leaving such small cars to the Japanese.

c) Iaccoca wanted to revive an ancient auto profit center. He told his designers and engineers what he was thinking. His team came back a month later armed with a plan to do some highly sophisticated, well thought out and researched market studies. They told Lee it would take them a year to compile, analyse and convert the data to a recommendation. According to Lee in his autobiography, he resisted the urge to cuss them out.

Instead he reminded his team that the company was going broke, "stop stalling", pull a car off the line today, and cut the top off of the GD thing. Lee then personally drove the "cut off" car around Detroit. When he saw that almost everybody stopped in their tracks gawked, waved and yelled at the car he committed hundreds of millions of dollars to design, re-tool, market and sell the highly successful and profitable line of "convertibles" Chrysler was saved!

2. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple was fired for not meeting impatient investor and board profit needs. Apple, under the new leadership, began moving rapidly towards bankruptcy as the old products, introduced previously by Jobs before his departure, reached their predictable marketing and sales growth maturity. Jobs was brought back in desperation.

The result in rapid succession were iPods, MAC Books, iPhones, etc. Apple was saved. Effective leadership was again served!

Unknown said...


Yes the examples cited above on the national scene involved extraordinary people who left a legacy that is still being built upon to this day. Mississippi have never been blessed with such leadership except of course for Thalia Mara and the International Ballet Competition.

Yes building something from nothing is hard. Conversely, building something from something should at least be considered.

Okay, okay I hear you. How about a local example of leadership bringing back a situation that has gone beyond the pale of salvation.

Using a local example, the area around Millsaps College between West St. and Mill St. was becoming a rapidly deteriorating mess. Abandoned and or unkempt residences, empty small office buildings, vacant warehouses and under utilized small manufacturing facilities. Banks were not making loans in the area.

Millsaps College, the Business Association of Midtown (BAM), the Jackson Housing Authority all came together, either singularly or collectively to invest in turning the neighborhood around. Tt's getting better and people are talking positively about the area.

In 2013, again in the Millsaps area, consortium of health care institutions came together to begin building Habitat houses in the area.

"This is the first time health care institutions in the area have collaborated to build a Habitat for Humanity/Metro Jackson home. The partnering institutions are Baptist Health Systems, St. Dominic Health Services, Inc., the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and Health Management Associates (River Oaks Hospital, Madison River Oaks, Crossgates River Oaks, CMMC and Woman’s Hospital)."

The area around Millsaps is in the process of being saved.

So Where is the leadership to "save" the Jackson Zoo to come from?

Obviously not from the current cast of characters.

Who is going to go to the Metro Chamber, hat in hand and asking for help and offering better building permit, zoning and development processing services?

Come to the Zoo for more than the animals?

A) Who is going to ask MS bred, but now out of state based celebrity Chefs to consider the possibility of helping design a multi purpose permanent "pop up" restaurant facility to expand the already successful.

B) Why not build a permanent "pop up" retail facility so PetCo or Petsmart, or Bass Pro Shops, or Sutherland Lumber sponsor retail opportunities.

C) Why doesn't the MS Wildlife and Fisheries Department have a presence at the Zoo? They could probably jointly apply with the Zoo to get Federal and private grants promoting wildlife and ecological preservation and education in urban areas.

Where is this leadership and fund finding magic going to come from?

Exactly what is our Mayor doing when traveling the country looking for investors?

I highly suggest that our Mayor also get a passport for such fund and investment finding activities!

As one of my many mentors, Matt Thomas, kept telling me, "Frank, you are going to have the most difficult time making money relying on just Mississippi based financial and insurance resources."

Of course I am talking out of my butt, but then again I am neither a Zoo professional nor an elected official.

Anonymous said...

Damn, Mickns....GIVE IT A REST. Or better yet, Kingfish, why the hell do you give this nutcase so much air-time? He said it all in his last sentence on his last of many posts above: He's talking out his ass.

Anonymous said...

^^6:23 X 1000

Anonymous said...

What would be best for the animals?

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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