Workers World Editor Deirdre Griswold spoke with women in three cities who will be participating in the Poor People’s March from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., on May 11-13. Here’s whythey’re taking part in this important activity.Barbara KauffmanBarbara Kauffman, Baltimore: “We hope to make change so we can better things for everyone. All type of things are going on that should not be happening, but they are. This march covers a lot of things, not just one area. The rich man gets richer, the poor man gets poorer. We want equality.”Kay Adler, Baltimore: “I’m a volunteer with the Baltimore All Peoples Congress, also a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Birmingham, Ala., and a member of B.R.A.I.V. — Black/Red/American Indian Voices.This march is extremely important, especially because we’re marching in the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King. We’re marching from Baltimore to D.C. to accomplish reviving Dr. King’s dream and vision. We are marching for the rights of all people, because if there is no justice, there cannot be any peace.”Georgia ScottGeorgia Scott, Boston school bus driver: “Local 8751 [Steelworkers Union] has always participated in these kinds of activities. We believe strongly in the people’s rights — the poor people, the working people, they’re the ones who make the cities run. I’m from Selma, Ala. There’s been a lot of segregation down there, so I’ve always had a passion for this type of fight. I think we need some changes. I’m hoping that we’ll get some kind of respect, because right now they’re trying to resegregate the schools in Boston. There’s a handful of people who dictate how we live, and they try to pit us against one another.”Nichole GatlingNichole Gatling, Brockton, Mass., school bus driver, Teamsters Local 653 steward: “I believe in solidarity. I’m one of the founders of Team Solidarity in the Boston area. I believe in the original campaign for the Poor People’s March. I’ll be going to show solidarity with other union members and with Baltimore, where there’s police brutality and workers under attack. Just being able to take care of your family, have affordable health care; we need economic justice for every human being, to be treated fairly for what you produce. We school bus drivers don’t have affordable health care; we get paid by the minute, not even the hour. I’m a mother and need flexible hours; that’s why I’m a bus driver.”Zaina AlsousZaina Alsous, Raleigh, University of North Carolina student: “I’m drawn to this march personally in this year of commemoration of the 45th anniversary of Dr. King being assassinated in his struggle for worker justice. As young people, it’s very important to engage in these moments of powerful mass demonstrations to help carry on the rich organizing legacies that we’ve inherited. Baltimore is a key battleground, especially in the Black struggle, what with the extent of police brutality and repression there. As a student I can definitely see the interconnection between the class and racial struggles going on now around the country. Austerity is falling on the backs of students, youth, and poor and working people, especially people of color.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this
Facebook Previous articleCity plans attorney replacementNext articleFive things you need to know today, Feb. 8 admin Local NewsGovernment Facebook Pinterest Twitter 2018 Election Facts First day of early voting: Feb. 20.Last day of early voting: March 2.Election Day: March 6. Seven candidates vie for JP office By admin – February 8, 2018 Twitter WhatsApp Pinterest Top row from left: Steven Westfall, Sheryl Jones, Missi Walden.Bottom row from left: Matthew Stringer, Marvin Jennings, Gary Dunda. Not pictured: Jet Brown. Voters are going to have a plethora of names to sort through in the upcoming March primary, particularly in the race for the Ector County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace position, which has seven different candidates vying for the vacant seat.The seat became vacant in early January after Judge Christopher Clark resigned the position to fill the seat of County Court at Law No. 2, which itself was vacated in late December following the resignation of Judge Scott Layh.Clark said he felt the need to assume the position as soon as possible due to the possible backlog that could occur should it be left vacant for too long. While Precinct 2 Senior Deputy Clerk Nicki Palmer said the vacant Justice of the Peace seat hasn’t suffered from too much of a backlog as of yet since Clark left the position, that could change should county commissioners not fill it soon. However, with seven candidates running to fill that seat, it’s tough to say if it may be filled before the March primary, and with seven candidates, it’s likely there will be a runoff election in May.Justices of the Peace handle class C misdemeanor cases, like traffic tickets, and small claim civil cases with a jurisdictional limit of $10,000, like land lord and tenant disputes.The seven candidates running for the vacant seat are Missi Walden, Sheryl Jones, Matt Stringer, Jet Brown, Gary Dunda, Steven Westfall and Marvin Jennings.Missi Walden said she is the most qualified of the seven, as she holds the most experience in a courtroom. Walden has served as a court coordinator for the past 13 years, most recently in Judge John Smith’s 161st District Court for the last seven years, and worked as a legal assistant for 14 years prior at the law firm of Shafer, Davis, O’Leary & Stoker, Inc.“With the district courts, I’ve scheduled all the hearings and managed the court,” Walden said. “I know how things should be run. That definitely gives me a step up from my opponents, who have never been in courtrooms to see how hearings are held.”Candidate Marvin Jennings said he has been in a courtroom and he’s experienced both sides of the court system. Jennings has been both a plaintiff and a defendant and wants to bring that experience to the judge’s seat.Jennings had a number of charges throughout the ‘90s when he was in his late 20s with jail records from Tom Green County showing he was charged with several offenses, including assault, injury to a child and theft. But Jennings said he was not convicted on any of those charges, which were dismissed, and said he made some bad choices in his life after a bad divorce. He said he had also been on the plaintiff’s side of the courtroom as a landlord during tenant disputes for issues like evictions.“We’ve all got a few scars,” Jennings said. “I’ve just had some rough trails in life.”Currently, Jennings is the chief of the Gardendale Volunteer Fire Department and a lay pastor at West Texas Cowboy Church.While candidate Sheryl Jones doesn’t have experience working in a courtroom, she said she is better equipped to fill the position than her competitors due to her experience in law enforcement. Jones dealt with the courts when she was employed with the Odessa Police Department, working as a juvenile detective and an accident investigator. She says she has an eye for detail, as she worked on training the Texas Department of Public Safety on the Texas Criminal Information Center Database and the National Criminal Information Center database and running inquiries in those systems.Despite her background in law enforcement, she said she isn’t worried about showing any bias toward police in the courtroom.“I use common sense,” Jones said. “And there’s two sides to every story.”Matthew Stringer has no judicial experience, working at his family’s jewelry store Diamonds in Midland, but said he spent time studying the jurisdiction and responsibilities of the court, and has been involved with Texas legislature working as a delegate for the state Republican party, a delegate to the Republican National Convention, and was a Republican presidential elector for Texas’ 11th congressional district during the 2016 election.Stringer said his main goal is to increase accountability for the position, providing an annual report to people that shows what the office’s budget was, how much money they spent and how many cases they handled, to show what the taxpayer’s money goes towards.“I want to make the court accountable to the people it serves,” Stringer said. “I think that will help boost taxpayer confidence in our local government.”Gary Dunda, while not directly working with law enforcement, previously campaigned to be Ector County Sheriff and is a former game warden in Ector County. He said he’s running on a campaign of serving the public just as he did as a game warden, and is focused on tackling the backlog that may be piled up once someone takes the office.“I’ve always been interested in law of some sort, and when this came about, I thought it was one more thing I can do for the people of Ector County,” Dunda said. “I also want to serve the people just as I did as game warden: Fair, honest and impartial.”Candidate Steven Westfall said he will be available to citizens. This includes keeping his office open during lunchtime, as the Justice of the Peace offices currently close from noon to 1 p.m. when they are open Monday through Friday.“As a private process server, I’m constantly at the courthouse, and I noticed the JP’s office was usually always closed during lunch hour, and sometimes they’d be closed early,” Westfall said. “I want to make this position available to the public during those hours.”Westfall said to do this, he’d bring his own lunch or order something. But Palmer said this might be difficult, as the main door to the office is closed during lunch, and should Westfall want it to remain open, that would require the other justices of the peace to remain open as well.“He’s not the only JP in this office,” Palmer said. “So, coming in, you can’t basically make your own rules.”The final candidate, Jet Brown, said this position would fit in line with what he does now in the oil and gas industry. Brown said he was previously a consultant with ConocoPhillips for about 17 years, and is currently the CEO for Permian Truck and helping develop management systems for Warrior Crane Services.“I think I can bring efficiencies to the court system and what I did with Conoco and at Permian Trucking is take everything paperless,” Brown said.One common goal they had at ConocoPhillips was to protect the people in the oil and gas industry, and Brown said he would have that same mindset in protecting the people of Ector County should he be elected.“I want Odessa to be a good, safe place for our children to grow up in, and I don’t want them to leave,” Brown said.Election Day is March 6, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will also be early voting available from Feb. 20 to March 2.Just The Facts WhatsApp What: Justice of the Peace Precinct 2.How long: Four Years.Salary: $63,712; auto allowance – $5,050; fringe benefits – $28,578.