Candidates for City Council responded to a Daily Journal questionnaire before the May 5 primaries. Their answers were published in an election guide and are reprinted here.
Q: What experience and personal qualities can you offer to the City Council?
NABORS: My bachelor’s degree in social work and minor in sociology have afforded me 19 years of working with families and communities. The training and certifications have given me opportunities to resolve conflict, plan, organize and enhance the lives of families and communities. I have an understanding of others and the ability to listen. I admit I don’t have all the answers but will work to find them. My personal commitment to outreach through our church, Sheriff’s Department Jail Ministry, and For Kid’s Sake, which is a special project through the CREATE Foundation.
PITTS: Owned and operated two businesses for last 28 years. Past president, Tupelo Kiwanis Club. Past Kiwanis Lt. Governor. Currently serving: trustee for LA-MS-W.TN Kiwanis District. Past president, United Safeguard Distributor Association (a national organization). Deacon and director of churchwide Sunday school Calvary Baptist Church. Past Lee County Election Commissioner. Active in and supporter of civic organizations. CDF Future Focus 2010 supporter. CDF member. Tupelo Community Theatre supporter. Tupelo Ballet Company supporter. Yocona Area Boy Scouts Council supporter. Regularly attend CDF’s First Friday.
Q: Name three goals or projects you will pursue if elected.
NABORS: Renew the trust of the citizens in city government by working to make city government transparent; develop a rapport with elected officials in order to build a consensus; promote strong, safe, vibrant neighborhoods by working with the Department of Development Services to implement orderly, efficient land-use patterns, economic vitality, protecting neighborhoods and housing, high-quality design and development, efficient and accessible transportation, and regional coordination (Comprehensive Plan 2025).
PITTS: I will commit to working with the mayor and other City Council members to make Tupelo the very best place to live, and to make sure our city codes are relevant and enforced fairly to all Tupelo residents. I would like to see Tupelo become a hub for new business start-ups. We need to do whatever is possible to help secure these.
Q: This past municipal term was marked with conflict and lack of communication between the mayor and City Council. What specifically will you do to open the lines of communication and and minimize conflict?
NABORS: Most important in conflict resolution is to recognize the role, boundaries and responsibility of the mayor and the council. Once this is understood, I would promote respect for one another and their views. I will personally do a self check to make sure that I am not jeopardizing the wholeness of the council. When there is difference in opinions, I will work hard to have open communications so we can reach compromise.
PITTS: Attend the weekly meeting of the department heads with the mayor. Be available to the mayor when asked for any kind of input. Ask questions, listen, learn and research before making a decision that affects the city. Be willing to compromise and commit to work as a group of seven (the City Council) and not as small groups within.
Q: The recently completed ethics study was a source of much controversy during the past term. How do you propose the city move beyond this turmoil while still addressing the needs of the the residents and municipal employees?
NABORS: I think that it is imperative to the relationship with the residents and municipal employees that we review the allegations and findings that are substantiated, and move quickly to implement changes that ensure that no one abuses or misuses their position or governing powers. If we do not take into account the report, we will cease the opportunity to improve relationships with our citizens and municipal employees.
PITTS: Due to the large amount of money this has already cost the city, hopefully we can get something positive from this study. The new mayor and City Council need to identify the problem areas within their areas of responsibility and see that they are corrected. We need to learn from this experience and work to continue to make Tupelo a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Q: The city’s new comprehensive plan recommends denser growth patterns using existing space, yet Tupelo is in the midst of an annexation bid to add roughly 16 square miles to its boundaries. How do you reconcile these two different paths of growth?
NABORS: The two growth patterns can complement each other and not be a conflict. Numerous vacant lots within the downtown area have infrastructure already in place that may be used for new housing. The density can blend with existing neighborhoods. The annexation will allow expansion of residential, commercial and industrial growth which is also needed for economic strength.
PITTS: Tupelo is going to grow, and we need to prepare for that growth. Denser growth within is great, but some people will prefer to have a home with a larger yard. Tupelo will need to continue to improve the traffic flow to handle this growth and for that we will need land. The annexation area is in the separate city school district and some are already receiving city services; that makes this is a logical area to annex.
NEMS Daily Journal