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Jobs, crime top District 4 issues

By Staff
NEGLECTED BUILDING – This house on 39th Avenue is one several neglected buildings in Lauderdale County Supervisor District 4. Some residents in the district hope the new county supervisor will help solve that and other problems. Voters will elect a new District 4 supervisor Nov. 5. PHOTO by paula merritt / The Meridian Star
By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
October 20, 2002
Leslie Burns and Lonnie Watson have been business partners for more than 30 years, owning and managing A1 Seafood and Produce on Fifth Street in Meridian.
Over the years, the two have watched the neighborhood change for the worse. And now, with an election next month for a new county supervisor, they hope things will change.
Watson and Burns are actively following the race to fill the vacant District 4 seat on the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors. Voters will choose a new supervisor Nov. 5.
Watson and Burns don't live in District 4. But because their seafood shop sits in the district, they said, they have a vested interest in the election and issues that surround the race.
Running for the job are Rickey Harris, a county patrolman; Melvin Wright, a retired hospital worker; John Nelson Jr., a private investigator; and Joe Norwood, a television cameraman.
All are Democrats.
Safety concerns
Both Watson and Burns said they are concerned for their safety at their seafood shop. They said the neighborhood hasn't been the same since a liquor store opened across the street.
Residents of District 4 shared similar concerns and also talked about unsafe roads, dilapidated housing, inadequate garbage collection and clogged drains and ditches.
Robert Mason, who lives on Paulding Street, said he's concerned about flooding caused by leaves that clog drains after a heavy rainfall.
He said residents try to keep the area clean. But, he said, the neighborhood has a lot of elderly people who just can't do the work.
Arthur Hodges opened Hodges Variety Store on Fifth Street eight years ago. He said Fifth Street floods every time it rains and he wants his county supervisor to change that.
Strong leader
Hodges said District 4 needs a leader who will spend time in the district and listen closely to residents' needs.
Hodges believes the district's only salvation is industry: "I'd like to see a company receive a huge tax break to locate here and bring jobs."
Vonciele Mitchell lives on Davis Street in public housing and is concerned with the number of cars that race down her street.
Mitchell said she would like to see speed bumps on Davis Street to force drivers to slow down.