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Candidates at odds… Palmer says opponent ignores progress in ward

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
April 1, 2001
Refuting an opponent's claims that "he hasn't done anything," Ward 4 Councilman Jesse E. Palmer Sr. says he has accomplished a lot and that his opponent is blinded by political ambition if he can't see it.
In Wednesday's edition of The Meridian Star, John Nelson Jr. claimed Palmer has been derelict in his duties and that he hasn't been aggressive enough in fighting to improve conditions in the ward.
Nelson, an Independent, says Palmer is taking credit for things he had no involvement in and that most of his touted projects are the result of other peoples' work.
In response, Palmer, a Democrat, provided The Star with a list of projects he has worked on in Ward 4's behalf.
The list includes a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant used to relocate five families from a flood zone and to demolish 20 dilapidated homes. The list also includes a $267,000 Home Owners Rehabilitation Grant used to revitalize 10 homes in the ward and another $250,000 CDBG grant used to construct playgrounds and other facilities for Ward 4 residents.
In Wednesday's story, Nelson also accused the incumbent of not working to correct a drainage problem with a walking park near his St. Luke Street home causing the park to constantly flood at the first sight of rain.
Palmer says the park was designed to alleviate overgrowth in the area.
Nelson doesn't agree with that assessment of the facts.
Nelson also made accusations Palmer had not worked hard enough to help an elderly Ward 4 resident, Jean Ruby Willis, whose property was being eroded by a city drainage ditch.
According to Palmer, the city can't work on a private citizen's property at its own expense. If Willis could buy the necessary materials, the city could do the labor to correct the erosion problem, he said.
Nelson says Palmer's inaction on Willis' behalf is a pattern of behavior towards the ward.
Palmer's letter claims Nelson doesn't have a clear understanding of how city government works.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.