Mayor Gillum should not suspend his campaign
By Rev. R.B. Homles Jr.
Publisher and President
I am a supporter and friend of Commissioner Bill Proctor; he has always been a clear voice. However, I humbly disagree with him in calling for Mayor Gillum “to suspend his campaign for governor.” The mayor can do both lead our city and run for governor! I must give Mayor Gillum kudos for being on the cutting edge of supporting crime prevention and intervention programs. Neither the mayor, nor law enforcement, nor elected officials are the total blame for the frustrating uptick in crime in our city and county. The solution is not pointing fingers, but working together to find a common solution.
There are a plethora of root causes to crime: poverty, poor education, mental health and the breakdown of the family. Yes, the breakdown of the black family is a real problem and challenge. We need to seriously face this problem front and center. Likewise, asking the governor to declare a state of emergency will not help. My friends, empty rhetoric and emotional reaction will not get us there.
Brother Proctor is correct. Most of the crime in Leon County is concentrated in his home district, District One. However, we can’t lay the blame for the increase in crime at the commissioner’s feet. We must support the mayor’s idea to activate the “Local Emergency Operation Center” and ask our newly elected sheriff, Walt McNeil, to lead this effort. Sheriff McNeil is highly qualified and committed to direct this initiative. The sheriff has served as Chief of Police in this city, Secretary of the Departments of Corrections and Juvenile Justice. Listen, only the Leon County Commission can activate the EOC. The county commissioners voted to take this responsibility from the sheriff’s office, returning the oversight of the EOC back to the commission, maybe the right thing to do. I think this would definitely be a more efficient and effective approach to systematically address the scourge of crime rather than arbitrarily calling for the mayor to suspend his campaign and asking the governor to issue a state of emergency in Leon County.
Again, we must give our full support to the law enforcement communities. We must redouble our efforts to support programs that provide training and employment opportunities for convicted felons. We must also work to restore their civil rights. Moreover, we must help ourselves. I am firmly talking about Black people doing more to build up our communities through mentoring, opening businesses, supporting each other, starting schools, and becoming good neighbors. When you see something, say something!
The solution to addressing this escalation in violent crime can be reduced but it will not be easy. The Capital Outlook will do its part by hosting solution-based town hall meetings. We need solutions, not finger pointing. We need to pray, fast and work. We need to bury partisan politics. We need to cease and desist from judging each other. We need to create more jobs in the inner city. The Bible is clear: “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). To those without a vision: Please stand down! To those with a vision: Please stand up and let us get to work!