Today the Natchez Democrat ran an article about the Candidates for Alderperson for Ward One. There are four Democrats running: the incumbent Joyce Arceneaux Mathis, retiring Natchez Fire Chief Paul Johnson, community activist Jim Sanders, and Sonya Anderson Mars. They will compete in the Primary on May 6. If no one gets over 50% of the vote (highly likely), the two top vote getters have a runoff on May 19. The winner of the runoff is elected, because there is no Republican running.
Sonya Anderson Mars sounds impressive on paper. The only problem is that I've never laid eyes on her. She was a no show at the Candidates Forum. If you run for office and can't make it to a forum for the voters, why in the world would you expect people to vote for you? It may have something to do with her job in Canton. Unless she's going to quit, how will she make meetings of the Board? I'm predicting she won't make the runoff.
Jim Sanders deserves your consideration. He actually attends all the Board meetings, which indicates a commitment to the City. He ran once before and probably learned from that experience. He'll likely make the runoff.
The real question is who will be the second candidate to make the runoffs. Paul Johnson also has attended Board meetings in his role as Fire Chief. He has a good understanding of how the City works. Almost everybody who knows him likes him. My concern is how independent will he be. Will he go along with whatever the Mayor wants - or will he really represent the wishes of his constituents?
And then there's Joyce Arceneaux Mathis. I would like to think she won't make the runoff, but that's hard to predict. In my humble opinion, she's the worst member of the Board. Her voice is so loud it hurts my ears when she talks (shouts) - but she seems to love the sound of her voice. If you eliminate her, the Board meetings would be cut in half. She especially likes to tell you how wonderful she is - and maybe some voters will believe her.
All candidates seem to agree that our streets and infrastructure need immediate attention - and something needs to be done about dilapidated buildings. Joyce's solution is to whine and complain during the Board meetings. Has she heard about the telephone? Why doesn't she call the Department Heads and discuss these issues with them? Why doesn't she follow up on actions she demands? I've been attending Board meetings since the last election, and still hear the same things over and over. Could we have a little action, please?
Almost all candidates complain about our school system. They say education will be a top priority. The truth is the City has very little control over the schools, other than appointing two members of the school board. Have these candidates attended School Board meetings? Do they go to the PTA meetings? Do they visit or even volunteer in the schools? That's the only way they can make a difference.
If you live in Ward One, who will you vote for on May 6?