Credit the retirees as the runoff elections loom…..

Karen Nelson checks in today with a great article that examines the aftermath of Tuesday’s primary elections in Jackson County, which despite the overall low voter turnout resulted in change in County Government. Karen gives credit to the scrappy group of SRHS retirees that will not go away quietly without answers along with accountability for the disaster that has resulted from a coordinated campaign of lies literally stretching over a period of years:

The tight-knit group handed out thousands of fliers, talked to voters, took out advertisements, picketed the hospitals and lawyers’ offices. They became good at giving interviews to the media and religiously attended Jackson County Board of Supervisors meetings to speak out about what they thought was fair and ask for answers as to why the county-owned system failed them and the community.

“I think people in the county were very upset about this,” Kitty Aguilar said Wednesday after the election. “It was unbelievable in most people’s minds that this would go on — the pension plan and how it was dealt with, and that county supervisors didn’t man up, take it straight on and deal with it.”

This brings me to another point because there has been a debate in comments as to whether or not the campaign teams hired by certain candidates in Jackson County actually met the definition of a professional political coms consultant, the majority of the commenters thinking not. For my part I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few folks over the years that actually qualify having spent a lifetime practicing the dark arts in the Louisiana political arena. A few of these folks could probably have taught Machiavelli a thing or two and that reminds me of a comment I left back in May which is based on the wisdom of one such professional political operative from the other side of the Pearl River:

Local politics is all about pleasing the proverbial chronic voter. The chronic voter is typically grey that has extra time on their hands to engage in political activity like going to Board meetings or manning a picket line.

Since Chronic voters are Grey, they also have a lifetime of social contact with the community which means they are a big influences on what I’d term the marginal voter, which is that part of the electorate that turns out to vote only part of the time.

In 2010 about 28,000 voters turned out of the total voting age population of about 100,000. My guess is somewhere about 18-20 thousand of the total would fit the demographic of a chronic voter. Also in that demographic are close to 3,000 SHRS plan participants.

This is all a long winded way of saying that the County Board of Sups has written off somewhere around 10% of the total vote straight out of the gate. It is not an election winning strategy IMHO.

The advice the Sups heeded which in turn lead to my making that comment did not come from a political coms professional or a seasoned political operative IMHO. I think the Sups actions were based on the advice of a lawyer.  If an elected official did what was best for their constituents over their own electoral self interest such would be a rarity in my opinion though it does happen on occasion.

To the extent the Board of Sups was never able to regain the trust of the SRHS retirees is meaningful to that analysis because heeding pure legal advice led to political suicide for two Sups with two more in runoffs.  To the extent the SRHS pension disaster could have been handled in a far different manner it is hard not to conclude that the Jackson Board of Supervisors have been nothing more than the little dutch boys trying to plug leaks in a levee they did not create in a fools errand exercise that ended with the voters tossing them out.

I imagine one of the worse case scenarios for a politician is having to put out major brush fires caused by the very folks the got you elected.  There is a lesson in what happened for those that are politically minded in Jackson County.

Finally a comment bump from John Rodgers:

My prayer and hopes for 2016 is the firing of Paula Yancy and Guice.

And thank God for new supervisors, thus we will have more competent, qualified trustees appointed to the SRHS who will be representing the workers, retirees and the public that use our facility.

8 thoughts on “Credit the retirees as the runoff elections loom…..”

  1. Yancey probably shares that wish with John Rodgers.

    Can anyone comment as to whether Paula Yancey is her legally documented name? What’s on her MSDL, SS card, bar card, Blockbuster membership?

    Here’s another absurdity in Mississippi law: you can qualify under a fictitious name. See: Joel Bomgar a/k/a Joel Bomgaars.

    Wonder if we’ll see “the artist f/k/a Prince” turn up on the ballot someday?

      1. I did get the bat signal yesterday. 🙂 The answer to both questions are yes and yes IMHO.

  2. Lawd have mercy ! I’m laughing so hard I almost busted my depends. But I too have wondered much about Her name and where she stays at

    Mmmm we needs to start looking into that I do believe

    Too bad April don’t date old gray haired men or I might could take her to a concert and find the goods out on Yancey

  3. Doug, I think you may be confusing “paid” with “professional” in that you can PAY a lawyer $250+ an hour to draw a picture of the space shuttle or a skyscraper, but that doesn’t make them a PROFESSIONAL aeronautical engineer, structural engineer or architect, it just makes them someone getting paid to do something that really isn’t meaningful in a practical way. Similarly, you can pay someone for “political consulting” or “political communications” any amount you want, but it doesn’t make them a pro, or even competent, at either.

    Since I have no idea to whom you are referring in LA, and don’t really want to know, I can’t and won’t comment. I will say that LA and MS politics are different, esp. at the local level. The old LA money that really runs things is nothing remotely like the new MS money that desperately wants to be somebody. To use nationally known examples, the Clintons are money-grubbers who desperately want to be Kennedys (who were themselves new money money-grubbers), while the Bushes have long been happy being comfortably well-off and content being Bushes.

  4. If the chronic voter is grey and we need to get out the younger vote in the run-off I suggest to do what certain car washes do to bring in the cars with younger drivers:

    If the retirees would approve I could get in my off-road truck and run over some young things to hold up some signs against Cumbest ( that would be juicy analogy), against Guice and of course Yancey.

    All I ask is for Grandpa Grimm to bring his heart pills and for Talley not to choke his chicken in public. He,He hee

  5. But remember, Jackson County Board of Supervisor, past and present, who were on board and knew or should have known what was happening at SRHS will have to give depositions. This is far from over since they are named or can be named in civil or other suits by retirees. What is so hard to swallow is we taxpayers of Jackson County will probably have to pay their lawyers for their deeds or misdeeds. Am I correct?

    1. It is almost certain that no past supervisor can be sued – statute of limitations on civil stuff is generally 3 years max, and although a tolling argument could be made, I doubt it would work in this case. The statute of limitations on the multitude of possible criminal acts, both state and federal, varies, but again, I doubt supervisors from the early 2000s have much exposure and ones from the 1990s are 99.99% clear unless someone was murdered.

      As I said months ago, it is my opinion that anyone expecting 100% of “pre-fiasco” retirement money from the SRHS pension plan is dreaming. The lawyers on both sides will (and have) get something and the pension plan members will get something, but the only people who will get close to 100% are the defense lawyers because they can generally walk away when a civil client stops paying the bill.

      As to the Jackson County supervisor’s race, the candidates who say they will make sure the retirees get 100% are either lying or idiots – no single supervisor can do such a thing, even if the money were there, which it is not. I seriously doubt the taxpayers of the county will stand for a taxpayer-funded bailout of the pension plan.

      The truly sad thing is that while all the legal wrangling is going on, the pension is going unfunded and is paying out, reducing the pot all that much more. If I remember correctly, I saw something that said the payout is about 1 million a month and the total pot was, back in Dec 2014, about 140 million, so if those numbers are correct, the plan has depleted itself by about 6.5% (or about 9% annualized) on top the trouble it already had. In other words, it had less than half of what it needed when the mess made the papers and it has increased that deficiency dramatically in the last 8 months with no end in sight. Why does anyone think that you can pay 100% with less than 50%? Even if it were at 80%, why would anyone think it could pay out at 100%?

      If whatever amount it had on hand could pay whatever amount it needed to pay, it wouldn’t be in trouble, plain and simple. If realistically “fixing it” or “saving it” were possible, like fixing a car or a washing machine, it would simply be a matter of installing the repair part(s) and getting it running again. There are no parts available because there were never any such parts made. There is no repair person who can roof your entire house with only half the shingles it requires. There is no “financial manager” who can give 1000 people a 100 dollar bill each with only 1000 50 dollar bills. I hate to piss in the punchbowl, but I hate it worse that decent people who are in financial limbo aren’t being given the cold hard facts of the situation to be able to figure out their situation. At this point, there is no life-saving surgery, only an autopsy and coroner’s report, followed by your recently re-elected DA failing to find any wrongdoing to go after.

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