Saturday, April 24, 2021

Vice News on Jackson's Water System: The REST of the Story

 Vice News joined the pile-up on Jackson's winter water crisis and just like the rest of the national media, it had one simple answer: racism.  Vice's Alexis Johnson visited the city with her agenda and left with what she wanted: a story blaming you know who for Jackson's water problems. 


*Ms. Johnson states matter of factly that even though the Mayor asked the state for help, "very little has been done." The Mayor agreed with her and of course, played the race card as is so easy for him to do. 

He said the city was "ill-equipped" for the ice storm.  Um, we had several severe ice storms in the 1990's.  The Rez even completely froze over twice.  Jackson never lost water service.  What the EPA order reveals is the water treatment plants were in a serious state of disrepair and neglect a year prior to the ice storm.  The Mayor admitted at the last City Council meeting that Jackson was negotiating a consent decree over the Jackson water system.  It will not be surprising to learn the city never properly repaired the water treatment plants that were the focus of the EPA order last year. 

* "Jackson's water system has been on the decline for decades."  It has? Um, the city built and enhanced the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment plant in the 1990's.  

* Jackson is "scraping by on a $300 million budget." 

* Officials say it will cost $1 billion to solve Jackson's water problems.  The "reporter" does not present any documentation whatsoever.  

*  Mayor Lumumba says "state leadership" shares a responsibility to fix Jackson's water system.  Why? It wasn't the state who cooked up some pretty bad bond deals.  It wasn't the state that told people not to pay their water bills for several years without consequence.  It wasn't the state that eliminated a monthly water maintenance fee instituted by Mayor Danks.  It wasn't the state that blew off the Health Department and neglected its water treatment plants.  It wasn't the state that cooked up the Siemens fiasco.  What the Mayor really means is he needs the state to bail out the Jackson water treatment system because of bad decisions and neglect that accelerated over the last ten years.

*   The Mayor says the state refuses to help the city because of racism.  

* "The tax coffers of Jackson have dwindled along with the city's white population over the last thirty years."  Is that true? Maybe we should take a look at the last twenty years worth of audits.  The 2003 audit is on the State Auditor's website.  It provides the income statement for 2003 and 2002.  The total revenue for government activities in 2002 was $144 million.  Property tax revenue was $59 million in 2002. Sales tax revenue was $36 million in 2002 as well.  The water/sewer revenue was $43 million for 2003 (2002 not available.)  The water/sewer system earned a $7 million operating profit.  Now let's fast forward to 2018. 

Total revenue for government activities in  in 2018 was.... drum roll....... $168 million.  Is that an increase? Yes, it is.  Sales taxes were $14 million while property taxes were $78 million.  However, sales tax revenue was $36 million in 2016 and plummeted to $14 million in 2017.  The "other" revenue jumped from $942 in 2016 to $39 million in 2017 the next year so some revenue was probably reclassified.  The "other revenue in 2018 is $40 million.  The relevant fact is Jackson's total operating revenue from government activities increased  $22 million. 

However, the water/sewer system operated at a loss of $80,000.   The sales to customers were $43 million in 2003.  The revenue didn't fall but increased to $57 million in 2018.  A system that makes money for most cities is a money-loser for Jackson even though Jackson's overall revenue increased.  Somehow, these facts didn't make the cut for Vice

* The Mayor repeats the discredited trope that Jackson's white residents enjoy better water service because they built their homes next to the water treatment plants.   He claims South and West Jackson, which are black, suffer because they are furthest away from the plants. 

There is no other way to say it.  Mayor Lumumba is lying through his teeth.  A shame the reporter fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

O.B. Curtis was built in the 1990's and is by the spillway in Ridgeland.  Guess what sits next to it? A trailer park.  The plant was built long after Northeast Jackson was completely built up save for some apartment complexes constructed later. Eastover wasn't developed until the 1950's. 

The city annexed South Jackson in the 1980's under Mayor Dale Danks - when it was predominantly white.  Mayor Danks began the construction of O.B. Curtis to handle the additional demand from the South Jackson annexation.  The city built a pumping station in South Jackson because the area is on the other side of a ridge.  Well connections were established ad well.  Indeed, Jackson did quite a bit to provide reliable water service to South Jackson but that of course, doesn't fit the Mayor's narrative.

When Fewell was built, the nice parts of town were in West Jackson. You know, the home of those 100 year-old pipes.  Why were Hawkins Field, the municipal golf course, and zoo built in West Jackson? It wasn't because that was where the poor black folks lived but such facts are lost in the tale told by the Mayor.  Ms. Johnson, of course, had the narrative she wanted to hear so she couldn't be bothered to question the Mayor - on anything.   

At least the Mayor didn't say the state didn't pay for its water. That was kind of hard to do since this website had by then busted him on that lie. 

*Vice contacted Governor Reeves's office in an attempt to speak to the Governor but to no avail.  

What is not mentioned in the story is the EPA Emergency Administrative Order.  The order described water treatment plants that were in a serious state of repair  and neglect.  Key positions were left vacant for over three years.  The water treatment plants were an implosion waiting to happen and implode they did in February.  No one but the Mayor knew about the EPA order at the time and he wasn't about to tell Vice News about it after he hid it from the public and City Council. Unfortunately, it is the poor people of Jackson who were abused yet again as they continue to suffer Jackson's water woes.

Unfortunately, Ms. Johnson didn't bother to contact anyone to see if there was another perspective to this story.  She didn't challenge one statement by the Mayor.  She didn't ask what revenues were over the last twenty years.  She didn't speak to previous Mayors. While the Mayor was blaming the white folks, no whites appeared in the story even though white residents and businesses suffered from the water crisis (See Jeff Good). The Mayor's word was gold as far as she was concerned.  Ms. Johnson wasn't concerned with reporting but rather story-telling. 

This wasn't journalism or even advocacy journalism.  The "story" was just that: a story to tell a narrative with facts shaped to fit that narrative and that, my friends, is the bottom line.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Vice. Nice.
I guess I can say that many moons ago they made great travel guides.

My first passport is covered in over 200 Visa stamps thanks to Vice.

But they are not what a critical thinking person would consider journalism. At least, not the kind of person who followed their old advice and actually saw the world with our own eyes.

Now they seem to cater to psuedo-intellectual leftist types who are too scared to venture outside of North America.

Anonymous said...

When facts and evidence are non-existent, raise the race card. The two "reverends" became millionaires using that method.

Anonymous said...

Vice did a wonderful series called "Abandoned" about closed shopping malls, obsolete speedways, Hwy. 66 & lost towns & ways of life. I completely identified with the skater guy in those shows.

Otherwise its decent into rap, pot, a fat guy eating himself to death & "pharmacopia (psychedelic drugs)" seems to be more important than establishing a credible brand.

Anonymous said...

" Mayor Danks began the construction of O.B. Curtis to handle the additional demand from the South Jackson annexation. The city built a pumping station in South Jackson because the area is on the other side of a ridge. Well connections were established ad well. Indeed, Jackson did quite a bit to provide reliable water service to South Jackson but that of course, doesn't fit the Mayor's narrative. "

So very true !

For Gawd's sakes, there's no comparison between Danks and this youngster.
Granted all Jackson Mayors have " kicked the water issue" down the road.

Mayor Allen C.Thompson was the first to ignore the bigger issue. But at least he had crews working to maintain the system.

Same with Mayor Russell Davis

Danks at least built a new treatment plant (and had planned to do more) but he had to deal with the 1979 flood.

Ditto seemed to be more concerned about Black votes .

And I think everyone knows the history of Mayors Johnson,Melton,(Lumumba the first), and Yarber.

This Little Lord Antar doesn't seem to give a shit . . . but he looks good on MSNBC and uses big words.
However, to the lil' Mayor's credit . . . he does know how to style his hair.

Anonymous said...

It’s just like 9/11, global warming, and Covid-19. Just keep telling the lie loud enough and long enough, and people will eventually believe it. No hard evidence needed. Just endless talking heads and propaganda. The sheeple will swallow anything.

Anonymous said...

Jackson for years and years had a $6/month "Water System Maintenance Fee". Ditto stopped it and spent what was in it. Had it continued, it would have leveraged millions. Why is NO ONE reporting that?

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, the MSM isn't even hiding it any more. Lester Holt upon winning the Murrow Lifetime Achievement award last month said the following: "I think it’s become clearer that fairness is over-rated...The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in. That the sun sets in the west is a fact. Any contrary view does not deserve our time or attention.”

So now you know the game.

Anonymous said...

Reporting - Pravda style.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Kingfish, for providing a summary of the contents of that video. I'm not about to click on 'Vice News', since that would increase their traffic and thus their profits.

Anonymous said...

thank you Kingfish- the truth must be told. Antard is an incompetent bigoted liar!

Anonymous said...

You only needed to watch 5 minutes of Vice programming to know ahead of time that they weren’t going to tell the truth. Their shows consist of weed smoking, pizza eating and drag queens. Of course they were going to blame anyone and everyone except the people responsible for running and maintaining the water system in Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Allen C Thompson did more for Jackson’s infrastructure that any mayor since. The city grew faster than it ever had. The infrastructure was needed for all the growth and then Danks added OB Curtis. Then every mayor since lived off their accomplishments and never upgraded or improved. Jackson was one of the most prosperous cities in the country from 1949-1970. The current city officials like to stand in front of the cameras and blame all the problems on others and stand there with their hands out making Jackson a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Vice News some times has interesting and informative reports. But much like Jackson Free Press and other narrative-driven news outlets you need to tune on a BS filter to screen out the narrative they continuously push. JFP has some excellent writers but they can’t escape their narrative spun by Donna Ladd. Nonetheless I enjoy reading JFP. Vice News gets caught in the same trap. Their writers (I’m hesitant to call them reporters) spin the narrative set by their editors. But turn on your filter and their can be interesting information derived from these outlets.

Anonymous said...

Chokwe is doing his best to drive EVERY white person out of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

More overt racism against whites from the intolerant left. The propaganda division of the intolerant left portrays this overt racism as not only acceptable but necessary. Why? Because all whites are evil.

Anonymous said...

He is fulfilling his father’s dream to create the Republic of New Afrika.
The strange part is that instead of focusing on dignity and self determination, he is blaming the whites.

Anonymous said...

To follow up on 11:30: Chockwe I came up in the 60s in Detroit, and his ideals were formed in that time and place. Chockwe II was raised in private school with white kids in Jackson.

While the "old guard" has tried desperately to continue Chockwe I's "legacy" through Antar, he's not the same person as his father. I think the current Mayor Lumumba probably grew up confused because what he was being taught about "the system" and white people did not match up with his own experience.

As a result, he is now just a completely full-of-sh*t politician, with no guiding principle other than ambition and megalomania, who wouldn't recognize the truth if it poured out of his water faucet.

Anonymous said...

I see that Antar's "Blame Whitey" propaganda campaign via clueless liberal media continues tonight with a similar story about our infrastructure problems being caused by racism airing on CBS 60 Minutes.

Anonymous said...

" Chockwe II was raised in private school with white kids in Jackson"

And also at one of the most exclusive private schools within Mississippi.
The tuition at his high school cost more than many colleges.

And he claims my poor White ass is "privileged" ?

Anonymous said...

I thought white people living in Jackson were under the same boil water notice for just as long as black people.

Anonymous said...

Yes, 10:07 but obviously the white residents could rely on their privilege to magically clean their drinking water.

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Trollfest '09

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.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

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.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

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.

Note: Security provided by INS