Jackson is the capital of the state of Mississippi, and the largest city as well with a population of over 170,000 residents. Apparently those residents elected an interesting character in Mayor Tony Yarber, who seems to believe that some of the city’s infrastructure issues can be fixed for free – with the power of prayer.
Seriously, this is not a satirical story from The Onion or the myriad of other fake news sites – the mayor of the biggest city in the entire state of Mississippi actually believes that the residents of Jackson can fix real, physical problems simply by praying the potholes away.
He tweeted “Yes….I believe we can pray potholes away. Moses prayed and a sea opened up. #iseeya #itrustHim #prayerworks”.
This is not the first time the Jackson mayor has talked about the city’s issues on the social media site.
Just last week, Yaber tweeted about the possible Costo deal that’s being talked about in Ridgeland. He said in statement sent to WJTV that he was disappointed that some key leaders could not come together to make Costco a reality for the City of Jackson. (Source)
In case you’re still not convinced, here is Mayor Tony Yarber’s Twitter status for further evidence.
— Tony Yarber (@TonyYarber) August 21, 2015
Many Christians like to say that the Bible says “God helps those who help themselves” – although that phrase is not in the Bible and originates in Aesop’s Fables in the story of Hercules and the Waggoner. However, Christian saying or not, Mayor Tony Yarber would do well to take this advice to heart.
Look, I get it, the mayor is a Christian pastor and he probably means well. The guy is also a young, rising political figure who really does seem to have the best interests of Jackson at heart. Mayor Yarber is currently fighting to bring a Costco store to the city to replace the Sam’s Club that left last year, a move that would bring well-paying jobs to Jackson which needs all the help it can get. This effort is opposed by a number of groups, and likely the three Walmart Supercenters in the area which would have to compete with Costco for business and labor.
I admire the fact that Tony Yarber is a mayor who is trying to do his best for Jackson, but suggesting that potholes can simply be prayed away isn’t a solution to the city’s serious infrastructure issues.
Between now and 2031, the city’s plan for repairs estimates Jackson needs $743 million worth of infrastructure work. The particulars of needed repairs are startling: 1,200 miles of streets, 200-plus bridges and hydraulic structures, and 1,100 miles of water main. The miles of drainage ways that are insufficient, according to the plan, were too high to count. The total cost of just those projects is $332 million.
The plan calls for $48 million of work in the first year alone. (Source)
Jackson and the entire state of Mississippi sit squarely in the middle of the Bible Belt, and even apparently good people with good intentions like Mayor Yarber tend to rely too much on the idea that prayer fixes things, instead of facing the reality of the task at hand. I guess it really shouldn’t be too much of a surprise; after all, this is the same state that tried (unsuccessfully) to make the Bible the official state book. Oh, and we can’t forget the “Jesus Take the Wheel Act” from just a few months back as well.
Let’s just hope that Jackson finds the actual means to solve their problems, rather than waiting around for Jesus to fix their potholes.
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