Jackson County Supervisor John McKay on getting taxpayer funded freebie fishing trips and boat rides from former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker as quoted by Michael “Da Noose” Newsom via the Sun Herald December 22, 2012:
“(Walker) has always been straightforward and honest in every situation I ever knew him to be in,” McKay said. “Whenever we casually were talking about this boat, and he said, ‘Hey, if you ever have an opportunity to use it, let me know.’ I didn’t question what the criteria was, who had been asked (to use the boat), who hadn’t been asked, any of those questions, because I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it because I trust Bill Walker to this day, until he’s proved otherwise.”
“Whenever you go through (Bill Walker), you assume — I didn’t ask, but I assumed — DMR had this and did it on a regular basis, and I was led to believe they did it on a regular basis for a lot of folks,” McKay said. “… I don’t have any idea how it was funded. I didn’t ask. I was just offered the trip to take some kids out and take the legislators out, so I took advantage of it,” McKay said. The August birthday trip on the Silver Dollar charter boat wasn’t actually that, McKay said. The trip had been scheduled several months before, but McKay’s mother died in July. McKay had to call Bill Walker and tell him he wouldn’t be able to make the trip planned for himself, his grandson and friends. He said later Bill Walker told him there would be an opening on the boat, which happened to be near McKay’s grandson’s birthday. About 10 children, many of whom were McKay’s grandson’s friends, went out that day. “It happened to be within one week of my grandson’s birthday,” McKay said. “We just casually called it (a birthday trip), even though we didn’t have a cake, there was no presents, wasn’t anything. It was just word of mouth that’s what it was. It just happened to fall that way and wasn’t anything planned.”
Ocean Springs Mayoral Candidate John McKay as quoted by Karen “Campaign Killa” Nelson via the Sun Herald May 9, 2013:
McKay said the trip with his grandson has been labeled “the birthday trip,” but he said, “We didn’t schedule it. It just happened, happenstance, to fall within a week or 10 days of my grandson’s birthday. I never called it a birthday trip. No adult ever called it a birthday trip.” He said the kids may have called it that, “Kid talk.” There was no cake or presents, he said, however, Walker supplied the food, “but I offered to pay for that.
And this from Jeffrey over at Yella Blog:
High ranking public officials are not “dragonslayers.” They are club men. Their most common distinguishing characteristic is cowardice. This isn’t always a bad thing, of course. Because we are fortunate enough to live under a mildly responsive, somewhat functional, kind of democratic form of government, we can occasionally frighten the cowardly club men into doing the right thing. But what that requires from us is constant attention, and much screaming and yelling at no small expense to our leisure, our security, and to our pocketbooks. Even so the failure rate remains high. The club, after all, is the club and its members enjoy many privileges most of us do not. In any case, there is no time in this to stop and pretend any of our presumed leaders, even when occasionally made to behave, is our friend.
Have I left anything out? I just may have to follow this Ocean Springs Mayor’s race as I sense blood in the water.