An exclusive News-5 Pool shows the City of Mobile, not just the City Council, divided racially on the appointment of former Mayor Sam Jones to the MAWSS Board.
News-5 conducted a scientific telephone poll, performed by Strategy Research and Public relations. It asked registered voters if Sam Jones should be appointed to the MAWSS Board.
55% said yes, 45% no. The poll has a margin of error of two percent.
When broken down on racial lines, however, there is a huge disparity on the issue.
Only 17% of white voters say Jones should be appointed to the board, while 83-percent are opposed.
86% of African-Americans favor the nomination, with only 14-percent of black voters opposed.
City Council Vice President Fred Richardson, who twice put forward Jones’ unsuccessful nomination, took to Facebook after being informed of the poll results.
Had that poll been reversed, many would crawled out of the woodwork to demand that myself, Councilmembers Manzie and Small honor the wishes of the people and drop Sam Jones as a candidate to MAWSS Board. But, since the people favor our position, will those same people come out and demand that Councilmembers Gregory, Daves, Williams and Rich, back out of District 1 affairs and leave Sam Jones alone. Time will tell.
The city’s four white council members who voted against Jones’ nomination say it had nothing to do with his race, but with his performance and inter-personal skills while mayor.
Residents in Richardson’s District One say they are not shocked by the divide in the city.
“People want to deny it but racism has been a problem in this country for years,” said Barry Rowser.
“I think it’s all about race, actually, I do,” said Monica George.
Meantime, one white voter said the controversy may actually produce a positive outcome.
“I think just the media coverage so far has been a good thing because the most we can do is create dialogue and talk about it,” said Leah Wolf. “Even people at my job have been talking about it and maybe me talking to them they’ve gotten a different perspective and vice-versa.”