Disappointed but not bitter (06/22/2005)

What went wrong?

Johnson’s term officially ends on June 30, the day when former Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics director and television executive Frank Melton takes the helm as Jackson’s second black mayor. Johnson made history in 1997 by becoming the first black mayor, but this accomplishment is not something he harps on. Throughout his tenure as mayor, Johnson concentrated on Jackson’s future rather than its past.

“I try to focus on what’s ahead rather than what’s behind,” said Johnson, when asked what went wrong in his reelection campaign. “But obviously, in a situation like that, you want to try to learn from that experience. I don’t know what the lesson is yet, quite frankly. [Melton] had a coalition of Republicans and Democrats that backed [him] and did not back me.”

Johnson, a former State Tax Commissioner, said over the past eight years, Jackson has grown tremendously and his administration had a lot to do with that growth. In 2004 alone, Johnson:

? led the coalition that convinced Jackson voters to pass the Capital City Convention Center referendum;

? signed a development agreement for the dilapidated King Edward Hotel;

? arranged for the city of Jackson to supply five million gallons of water a day to Nissan;

? attracted several new businesses to the Farish Street Entertain-ment District;

? resurfaced approximately 8.5 miles under the city’s Street Resurfacing Programs; and

? completed several drainage improvement projects and began work on several development projects.

Currently there is over $400 million worth of development planned or underway for the downtown area alone.

Mississippi Link
6/22/5