Jackson, Mich., — Two candidates are vying for the spot as the next city of Jackson Mayor.
Jeromy Alexander is vying for the seat of incumbent Derek Dobies, who’s led the city since 2017. In the August primaries, Dobies took home 56% of the vote with Alexander taking 27%.
Alexander was first elected in 2017 as a council member for Northeast Jackson in Ward 3, beating councilman Dan Greer by just 20 votes. Alexander’s term is up in 2021, so he would continue to serve as councilman until then if not elected. Mayor Derek Dobies was elected as Jackson’s mayor in November 2017. Previously, he served on the City Council for Jackson’s 6th ward, a position he occupied since 2011.
Alexander attended Jackson Community College where he earned an associate’s degree of general studies, according to his LinkedIn page. Dobies has a degree in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College at Michigan State University, where he minored in Middle Eastern Studies and received a certification in Homeland Security.
Both candidates agree the city needs a plan to address the growing problem of gun violence.
Gun violence and crime
In Oct. this year, Dobies laid out a plan to reduce gun violence in Jackson that would require businesses in high crime areas to set up security cameras. Both candidates are in favor of implementing security cameras and sensors in high-crime areas of cities, but say that more needs to be done to address crime in Jackson.
On Oct. 15, the city council approved a gun violence prevention plan called Cure Violence, a program that would help to stop people from getting hurt before it happens. The estimated cost to the city would be $58,000 between March and June 2020. The program will not be implemented until March.
“It kind of treats gun violence and violence in general, the same way that you would treat a disease. Where it kind of isolates those individuals that are causing the spreads of that violence first and it employs street level intervention teams to do that work,” Dobies said, speaking about measures he wants to see the city take.
Alexander was the only member voting no on the Cure Violence program. He stated that the council should have waited longer to find the right solution rather than acting to implement something right away.
“The wrong solution prevents and delays the right solution,” Alexander said. “I’d rather have waited longer to make sure that we did the right thing, then to take a quick and easy anything.” Alexander said to our partners at MLIVE.com.
Alexander supports the implementation of acoustic sensors to detect crime. When the sensors are triggered, the sound is sent to a parent company to identify if a gun has been fired and the location is sent to police, MLIVE.com reports.
Dobies said the city council will not leave the issue alone, stating he wants to consider a Group Violence Intervention model.
Service lines and roads
In April, Jackson city officials had been discussing the possibility of raising an extra $184 million to repair its 11,000 lead service lines. The cost to repair the roads would come to about $160 million. To do this, the city considered raising water bills for residents and businesses.
Both candidates say both a water rate and millage rate increase will contribute to a new revenue solution. One one hand, Dobies wants to split costs between special assessments and a millage. On the other, Alexander wants to only charge residents with a larger millage. The Attorney General struck down his proposal because it had exceeded cities’ 20-mill limit, MLIVE. reported.
Alexander said the best way to fix current infrastructure and crime in the city is to reduce funding to certain projects, like art.
Dobies said the money needs to come from a larger tax base by getting more people to move to Jackson.
Voting begins Tuesday Nov. 5.
Visit the Secretary of State’s website here to find your polling place.