Jackson ‘s mayor has completed his first thirty days in office. And over the past month there has not been a shortage of news stories, with Mayor Melton’s uncanny ability to often be where the news is. Many of the issues the mayor has brought to the forefront have been sidelined, leaving the city behind a pile of legal red tape, unable to take immediate action.
The mayor vowed to knock them down, but still they stand, dilapidated houses near the Farish Street YMCA, a magnet for prostitutes, drugs, and crime.
“I’ve found out that government doesn’t work for the people. It’s very process oriented. People in Jackson need help right now. We’ll have to cut out the bureaucratic process. It’s a frustrating process,” said Melton.
Melton says his promise to knock down the houses still stands. It’s just one of several city objectives being slowed down by legalities, like the Terry Road Adult Bookstore that was closed last week when Melton found prostitutes and illegal drug toys inside. It’s back open for business Friday.
“This is a civil proceeding where we do have papers in the court to close them down permanently because of the things I saw when we went in there. It gave the authority to close it down immediately. Now we’re going in there, the court procedure, to close them down permanently,” he said.
Like with the Maple Street Apartments, which Melton also said needed to be shut down, the law has left the city with their hands tied.
“The law says I have to give the owner a 30-day notice. Well, I have a problem with that when you have open refrigerators and open freezers where kids can get in and suffocate,” he expressed.
Melton also ran into legal barriers when he tried to shut down the Upper Level night club, finally settling in court for a one week closure of the business and improvements to security and parking.
“I have to say the owners have stepped up, and they have done a very good job of revitalizing things there,” stated Melton.
Melton says he hopes to take action on projects like the King Edward Hotel, which also rests in a 30-day holding pattern, in the coming month, so more attention can be put on Jackson ‘s infrastructure, economic development and crime. Mayor Melton says he also hopes to work closely with Jackson Public Schools to implement a mandatory drug testing policy.