Ferguson Elects 2 Blacks to City Council, but Rejects Activist Candidates

John Eligon, New York Times, April 7, 2015

In the first municipal election here since a black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer last year, voters elected two black candidates to the City Council on Tuesday, increasing the number of African-Americans on the governing body to three.

But in a blow to the protesters who had pushed for sweeping changes to the city’s law enforcement and judicial policies after the shooting last August, voters rejected several candidates who had the direct backing of protest activists.

{snip}

One of the black candidates elected on Tuesday, Ella M. Jones, a critic of the city government, will be the first black woman on the Council. The second victorious African-American candidate, Wesley Bell, had the backing of several current council members. The third winner, Brian P. Fletcher, is a former Ferguson mayor who started an “I Love Ferguson” campaign after the unrest sparked by the shooting.

Tuesday’s election was a test of whether the activism and advocacy for change sparked by the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown last August would translate into action at the ballot box. Turnout was just under 30 percent, still far shy of presidential races but nearly three times the turnout for the last Council election, two years ago.

{snip}

The race attracted eight candidates, four white and four black. It pitted some candidates who were viewed as representing the Ferguson establishment against newcomers with little or no political experience, but who were riding the wave of national discontent over law enforcement tactics sparked by Mr. Brown’s killing.

{snip}

The next Council will have to decide critical matters of the city’s future. It would be responsible for hiring three of the most important positions in the city: a new city manager, police chief and municipal judge–three officials who resigned in the wake of the damning Justice Department report that documented widespread instances of abusive and discriminatory policing in Ferguson.

In addition to changing law enforcement policies, the Council, in order to avoid a lawsuit against the city, will have to negotiate a settlement with the Justice Department over the abuses federal prosecutors said they found during a monthslong investigation. Many of the changes recommended by federal authorities could be very costly.

{snip}

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  • Okay, but here’s why it turned out to be a big flop for the handsupdontshoot crowd:

    1. The total number of votes cast in each ward:

    Ward 1: 1619
    Ward 2: 1373
    Ward 3: 736

    And each ward has about the same number of residents.

    Guess which ward contains the Fergaza Strip and the apartment farms and Ground Zero. Yep, Ward 3. Which means all their voter drives and registration drives were pretty much a waste of time.

    2. The only ward where a handsupdontshooter won was Ward 1. The ones that ran in 2 and 3 lost. The main reason is that most black voting is done by middle aged and elderly women, and Ward 1 is where most of Ferguson’s middle aged and elderly black women live. Ward 2 is the whitest of the three wards.

  • JackKrak

    Is it wrong for me to look forward to the Mad Max-style hellhole Ferguson is going to be in a few years?

    • phorning

      There are people there who don’t deserve it, and it will probably spill over into neighboring communities that don’t deserve it.
      The first sentence of the article says, “a black teenager was shot to death by a white police officer last year.” The media is still peddling the lie, they will peddle new lies as the situation continues to get worse.

      • Reverend Bacon

        They are still peddling lies, but that’s technically true. In fact, I’m impressed they didn’t say, “unarmed,” since that’s also sort of true, but misleading. The biggest lie they told here, that I saw, was the one that said the report “documented widespread instances of abusive and discriminatory policing in Ferguson.” It did no such thing; it alleged that certain incidents were “instances of abusive and discriminatory policing,” but those allegations couldn’t pass the scrutiny of anyone who had a basic understanding of statistics.

        • Charles Martel

          Even in San Francisco when blacks make up 8% of the public school students they are 71% of PSS arrested. There is no city in the US where blacks are not over represented in arrests except for towns with prisons where the blacks count as residents but cant be arrested.

      • Peter L. Giamatti

        Actually it was the influence of most of the neighboring communities that took Ferguson down. So they will not be “affected” by Ferguson’s inevitable decline much at all.

        There are people there who don’t deserve it, and it will probably spill over into neighboring communities that don’t deserve it.

        • Charles Martel

          2 section 8 housing complexes got built in Ferguson 10 years ago.

    • ElComadreja

      It won’t take anywhere near that long.

  • Uncle_Dan

    If you rearrange the letters in Ferguson, it spells Detroit.

  • superlloyd

    Ferguson’s decline is cemented as if it were ver in doubt.

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Unless gentrification takes shape, yes, Ferguson’s decline is permanent.

  • Reverend Bacon

    “three officials who resigned in the wake of the damning Justice Department report that documented widespread instances of abusive and discriminatory policing in Ferguson.”

    I guess it’s true- 100 repetitions equals one truth. Shame on the NY Times for being one of the repeaters.

  • Peter L. Giamatti

    It will be hilarious to watch Ferguson try to “reform” its way out of a death spiral. You know, democracy, representative government, responsive alderman, Town hall meetings, “fair” courts, yada yada. None of that stuff does anything. Very very quickly it is going to be “show me the money” time, i.e how are they gonna pay for the streetlights. Or else.

    Because basically what you have is both sides pulling up a seat with popcorn in-hand waiting for Ferguson to go 6-feet under: conservatives and SJW’s, both with their “I told you so’s” ready. The only difference is our “I told you so” is correct.

    • I’m humored when I read and hear all the implications around here that things will get better in Ferguson when the blacks take over.

      Are the municipalities in North County that are run by blacks and populated by blacks not speed traps and nickel-and-dime-you traps? If blacks got all political power in Ferguson tomorrow, does that change budget reality or any other reality? Will blacks all of a sudden start applying to the Ferguson PD just because blacks run the city? No, because that’s not the reason why they’re not applying now. The reason they’re not applying now is because the Ferguson PD pays too little and the work is too dangerous. If you’re black and want to be a cop, you can pretty much pick your LEO, (affirmative action), which means you’re not going to pick low pay and high danger Ferguson. You’ll pick high pay low danger Ladue.

      Blacks running Ferguson doesn’t mean it’s suddenly going to be able to pay its cops more.

  • Light from the East

    It only signals Ferguson’s disastrous future.

  • belajadevotchka2

    Wow. It appears as if the NYTimes doesn’t want to see me in a mental institution- they didn’t use the word “unarmed” to describe the violent black thug that was lawfully shot by an LEO in self-defense!

  • “Ferguson Elects 2 Blacks to City Council, but Rejects Activist Candidates”
    –New York Times

    Ferguson Elects 2 Blacks to City Council, but Rejects Arsonist Candidates.
    Fixed it for ya!