In front of a city council chamber packed with people Tuesday, the Gulfport branch of the NAACP called on Gulfport mayor Ken Combs to resign. The NAACP had intended to do that at a council meeting last week, but could not due to a procedural matter.
Tuesday, however, they made it official.
"Be it further resolved that the Gulfport branch of the NAACP, calls on the Gulfport City Council, formally officially and in the minutes, of the Gulfport City Council to call for the resignation of Ken Combs as the mayor of Gulfport."
The resolution may be a moot point, the mayor has said he will not resign. At the beginning of the meeting, he had this comment.
"To everyone who I may have offended, especially North Gulfport, and that area, I deeply apologize," Combs said.
However, during the public comment time, which came some 90 minutes after the mayor's apology, some felt, he had not gone far enough.
"The mayor here today apologized, but it is not in the right setting. He made a statement concerning the North Gulfport area. That is the setting the apology needs to come in," Richard Marsh said.
Last week, the mayor met with some African-American ministers. Councilwoman Ella Holmes-Hines says it was not the right thing to do.
"When you go to Vrazels and meet with certain ministers who are minorities, but are not part of North Gulfport, that is one of the things that most people consider deceitful. When you go before the Orange Grove Chamber of Commerce and there is no representation there of the black community, they consider that to be deceitful," Holmes-Hines said.
By the time the public comment segment began, the mayor had left the room. So he was not there to here the criticism directed his way, and was not there when the NAACP introduced its resolution. His absence did not go unnoticed.
"That is putting more salt in the wounds. Councilman Rose and Ken Combs both should be here to hear these comments," Dorothy Mclendon said.
The city's chief administrative officer told WLOX News after the meeting, the mayor had gone to a party with family and friends to celebrate his 74th birthday.
At the next meeting in two weeks, the council may vote on wether to censure the mayor, and to ask for his resignation.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, the mayor announced there will be town meeting in North Gulfport in the next two weeks to discuss water sewage and drainage problems in the area - especially Turkey Creek.