It is a sign of our troubled times that many people have come to expect political candidates to use half-truths and outright lies to garner votes. Those of us who vote thoughtfully— who take the time and make the effort to check facts and learn the truth about what comes out of candidates mouths—feel that we are better armed to make the right decision about who will lead us. That method of separating fact from fiction is made more difficult when a newspaper has its own political agenda, and uses the power of the press to slant the truth, suppress information, and instill fear in voters. I am not speaking of this fine newspaper.
When a newspaper takes on the mission to defeat incumbents in the city government and mayor’s race, and push their choice of candidates into office – that is the real corruption taking place in the recent and upcoming city election. Let me explain.
In a normal election cycle, a newspaper’s job is to report honestly on each candidate’s issues, plans, accomplishments, and qualifications, then tell its readers what the candidates have to say and what they’ve done. This allows voters to know the candidates’ words and works when choosing who to vote for. If you were reading some newspapers before the election, you know that is not what happened.
I can just imagine that the “good ol’ boys” who decide the content of the news were tired of a city government largely run by African American representatives (mostly Democrats), and came up with a plan to use fear to manipulate the vote. Day after day of negative headlines have increased fear among readers, both black and white—fear of unbridled crime, fear of a “do-nothing” government, and the unspoken but real fear of some that there are not enough white faces at the table. These fears drove more white voters to the polls in November, and kept more blacks from voting.
Lets look at the facts about crime, for example. There are two things wrong with the way we now perceive the crime problem in Savannah: The first is that “nothing is being done to stop crime,” as some candidates have repeatedly stated. The second fallacy is that crime in Savannah is worse than in other cities, and that somehow city government is the cause of the rise in crime.
This mayor and city government have implemented a detailed plan of action to aggressively hire more officers and get more eyes on the street; they’ve given police their biggest raise in the history of this police force, and intend to do so again soon to attract more qualified police candidates; rooted out the corruption in the police force, and hired a new police chief; worked with the Chief to obtain more training and modern equipment for the officers; and implemented “Operation Cease-Fire,” a citywide program to curb street crime which is showing promising results. You might not have known all this, because there has not been mention any of it in the last few months in some major newsprint sources. They also don’t compare crime stats with numbers over the last 10 years, because it would show that crime is not skyrocketing, as they like to claim (if you want to check police programs or see an overview of crime stats in the city, go to scmpd.org/wp-content/ uploads/2015/01/2014- Counts-by-Precinct.pdf).
THERE HAS NOT BEEN ANY REPORT on recent national statistics that show that every city the size of Savannah and larger has seen the same proportionate rise in crime in the last several years, regardless of whether the city government is led by Democrats or Republicans. Changing horses in mid-stream doesn’t solve problems. Ideas and actions solve problems. Consider that none of the candidates some other news source has endorsed in the run-off election (all white) offers any details about how to solve the real problems that plague our city.
“Corrupt” is a word that’s been slung around a lot by the candidates and the media. It is being used to try to derail Mayor Edna Jackson’s campaign for re-election and smear her history of good works.
As I see it, the corruption lies squarely with a news source that slants the facts to get their untested candidates elected.
When you cast your vote on Dec. 1 for mayor and city council, remember the truth about the many things that Mayor Jackson has accomplished for this city and how she continues to work daily to make our city a great place to live. —Janice Shay, former chair of the Chatham County Democratic Party and a proud friend of Edna Jackson