Council candidates field questions at forum
By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 29, 2001
Three incumbents seeking re-election to the Meridian City Council and two challengers had the opportunity to answer questions at Monday night's political debate.
The debate, held at Emma McCain Theater at Meridian Community College, was sponsored by the Council of Government's Human Relation's Commission.
Incumbents Bobby Smith, R-Ward 5, and Barbara Henson, R-Ward 3, said progress has been made during their tenures and that they want to be there to finish the work.
Ward 4 Councilman Jesse Palmer Sr., a Democrat, said he would like to be re-elected and become the longest serving African-American in the city's history.
The three incumbents were questioned about their roles in delaying a decision on a manufactured housing dispute until after the election. The dispute involves an elderly brother and sister who want to upgrade their dilapidated single-wide manufactured homes to double-wides but their land is not zoned for double-wide homes.
A proposed amendment by the council to solve the problem was sent to the Meridian Planning Commission, thus delaying a final decision on the matter until after the city's general election on June 5.
Palmer said the incumbents would have liked to deal with the problem directly, but certain procedures and laws regarding a change to the zoning ordinances must be forwarded to the planning commission.
Independent Ward 3 challenger Lee Fryery took the opportunity to share his views on the manufactured housing controversy.
On the subject of properly "growing the city" and upgrading education, Independent Ward 5 challenger Todd Vallot said he believes the key is for the city to address the drug problem that exists with narcotics being brought into the city via the interstate.
The city's general election will be held June 5.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at email@example.com.