Controversy in Mayor's Race

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

Some statements about bipartisan support at a recent Meridian mayoral candidates forum is leading to some very partisan bickering.

It's the first controversy of the 2009 local election season. A letter sent by the city's Democratic Executive Committee chairman to Republican candidate Cheri Barry.

The letter accused Barry of saying that she's been endorsed by the Republican and Democratic parties.

It read: "You have no right to assert you have the endorsement of
the Democratic Party", calling it an "egregious misrepresentation
that merits a public apology."

What does Barry say about all of this? Newscenter 11 talked to her Tuesday. She did admit she said at a recent forum that the Democratic Party endorsed her as a candidate. However, she said it was simply a bad choice of words.

Barry said it was never her intention to misrepresent or insult any candidate or anyone affiliated with the Democratic Party. She made that comment at the Meridian Housing Authority's mayoral forum.

Barry says she regrets using the word 'endorse'. She said she should have said 'support' because many Democrats have publicly supported her, including well-known attorney Bill Ready, Sr.

Democratic candidate Percy Bland said he was shocked when he heard Barry's comment because he wondered, why would the Democratic Party endorse a Republican candidate? But he says he's glad she cleared the air so candidates can now focus on successfully running their own campaigns.

"So I hope there won't be anymore mistakes, but I'm only human and I'm excited about this campaign, and I'm excited about this campaign moving forward," said Barry.

"I respect Mrs. Barry and I'm not going to talk about any of my opponents in this race," said Percy Bland. "But we have to be very careful of how we represent what we say and what we communicate to the people."

Barry is the only Republican candidate for mayor. Newscenter 11 spoke with other candidates by phone. Joe Norwood said, "It will all work itself out." Casandra Sloan said she didn't hear Barry's comment. However, Sloan said if she said it, it was wrong for her to say because the Democratic Party cannot endorse anyone until after the primaries.

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  • by Bill Location: Bailey on Apr 1, 2009 at 02:49 PM
    The Good Book tells it the way it is "Let yee who has not sinned cast the first stone.
  • by Joey Location: Meridian on Apr 1, 2009 at 11:30 AM
    As for Mrs. Bland teaching in the MPS system and their daughter attending school in the district that's true. If you are a employee of the MPS or any other school district for that matter and you live out of the district your children can attend any school in the district for which you are employeed that's a common occurence. Mrs. Hood the principle of MHS lives in Tanglewood out of the MPS district yet her son attends MHS. All Im saying is that we the citizens need to our homework we do not need self serving elected officials. Mr Bland does'nt want the citizens to know these thing but we deserve and need to know. It is nothing personal with Mr. Bland he is an okay guy but we don't need him as our mayor he is playing politics. Will he move back to Marion into the house that he now has for sell when he lose the mayor's race? Only time will tell.
  • by Joey Location: Meridian on Apr 1, 2009 at 11:15 AM
    "I would be interested in any proof that you have regarding Mr. Bland's residency. The proof is that I have lived in the neighborhood for almost 20 years and I am aware of what goes here. Mr Bland moved into neighborhood in the late summer of 2002 and he moved out in early 2006 late 2005. There was a nice young navy couple that Mr. Bland leased the residence to for the last few years they moved out in November(2008) and he moved back into the residence in Janary(2009).Mr Bland has lived in the Southern Oaks subdivision in Marion for the past few years I know this because a friend mine lives there and she will tell you along with any else who lives there the he was living ther until January(2009)he kept his homestead at the Poplar Springs address and if he voted using the Poplar Springs address in the last 3years that's fraud! Do some research about the homestead it's public record and ask some of the neighbors if Mr. Bland want admit it himself. These are cold hard facts period.
  • by Gary Location: Meridian on Apr 1, 2009 at 10:22 AM
    Its okay to have a different opinion but lets not fall out by name calling! When people uses words like "them,they,truth master,smart enough,intellegent,go back,common sense,vultures" just to pick a few words out in these comments! Yes, she did admit using the wrong words of choice, but didn't apologize. I never heard the words "I'm sorry for saying"...It might not mean much to you but it means alot to me.Then she says support instead of endorse, same meaning! If she was willing to say Bill Ready name then who is supporting her from the Democrats party? Or was that used to help increase her voting status? I am looking to vote for an individual who's past record speaks for it self. The parties doesn't mean anything to me its the person that has the best interest for the people Meridian and right now its a toss up! There have never been a clean election, and all canidates have their faults but what are they? I rather know before I vote instead of afterward.
  • by Meridian Voter Location: Meridian on Apr 1, 2009 at 09:37 AM
    Speaking of gaffes, Mr. Bland has to be glad that his entire announcement, which took place on government land by the way, wasn't broadcast to the viewing public. Especially when he was talking about the short length of time he has been in Meridian and how that has no negative impact on his qualifications as mayor. During that statement he called out Cheri Barry’s campaign manager, James Peavy – simply referring to him as Mr. Peavy. Paraphrasing, Bland said, "It doesn't matter if you've been here 20 years, 5 years or even 1 year, Mr. Peavy." Most of the crowd thought Bland was talking about Hartley Peavey. I mean how can you refer to someone as Mr. Peavy in Meridian and not know people will assume you’re talking about the owner of Peavey Electronics?! That’s not the only gaffe that was made at his announcement. If only that entire video was available . . .
  • by Anonymous on Apr 1, 2009 at 09:02 AM
    If we disqualify anyone who has ever made a gaffe from holding public office, then we will never have a president or vice-president, and that includes the present and former ones. At a public gathering, Joe Biden, a Democrat, told a guy who is confined to a wheelchair to 'stand up and take a bow'. That was a huge boo-boo and offensive on top of that. But does anyone think Mr. Biden intended to be offensive? Of course not. Does he need to resign over it? Of course not. What I'm wondering is why the people who heard Mrs. Barry say this didn't ask her what she meant at the meeting? It could have been quickly cleared up then.
  • by Sandra Location: Meridian on Apr 1, 2009 at 08:18 AM
    "Mr Bland should move back to Marion he only moved to Meridian this past January(2009)to run for mayor." I would be interested in any proof that you have regarding Mr. Bland's residency. I have known him as a citizen of Meridian for atleast 4 years. His wife teaches in the district. His daughter attends school in the district, and yet you maintain that he has only located here in January of '09. In regards to the letter from the Democratic Executive Committee, they have the right to clarify their acts and/or intentions regarding how they are being portrayed. Mr. Bland did not write the letter. He simply had a perspective about the reported "endorsement" and rightly so. We have seen with the national political scene that words are often discounted but then come back to haunt and hurt. All candidates need to be clear with statements. I'm proud to support Mr. Bland's mayoral bid & I do this confidently even as I have known Ms. Barry, Ms. Sloan and Mr. Norwood for years.
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Apr 1, 2009 at 07:10 AM
    I am an independent and vote for "the best person", not for either political party. I do business with Percy, and he is a very good business man and really knows how to provide great customer service, Joe Norwood has been a loyal friend for sometime, but I feel he is in his best position as a county supervisor...lord knows we don't need another 3 stooges puppet. I couldn't tell you anything about the other 2 democrat candidates. I will say furthermore, none of them have been by my house to campaign with the exception of Cheri Barry. I rarely vote republican! I don't agree with 80% of what their party stands for. However, I have known Cheri for a long time. During Katrina and Gustav she was dedicated to her job and spent countless hours making sure the needs of strangers were met. So she made a mistake, we all do. She has apologized. Cheri is the only candidate that I feel meets the needs of Meridian. Someone who will work "with us" to clean up after John Robert's 16 year hurricane.
  • by Observer Location: Meridian on Mar 31, 2009 at 09:56 PM
    I'm sure Mrs Barry is a very nice person and has lots of loyal friends in this community who apparently jump to her defense when they feel that her mistakes have been brought into focus. That's great but what happens if she's elected and makes a stupid or offensive remark to a potential major employer who is considering locating in Meridian? A mayor of a city the size of Meridian needs to have a little more polish when speaking in public. Maybe Mrs Berry would be better suited as president of the Junior League. No one disputes that she has done a good job with the Red Cross but she just doesn't seem to be ready for an office in which she will have to always be in the public eye and in which she will have to be accountable to a very diverse population.
  • by evelyn Location: meridian on Mar 31, 2009 at 08:36 PM
    Mrs Barry,an intelligent,charming candiate had no problem stating that she is only human and used the wrong term. We,who reside in Meridian are aware that some members of the Democratic party are very supportive of Mrs. Barry's candidacy.
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