NAACP Calls For Gulfport Mayor's Resignation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/08/03

NAACP Calls For Gulfport Mayor's Resignation

The heated words erupted as Mayor Ken Combs said that people who don't have engineering degrees can't intelligently discuss drainage issues like Turkey Creek.

"They don't know nothing about water. They think they do, but you have got to have an engineering degree to know something about water," Combs said.

Resident Howard Page responded, "That's a lie."

Page is a Sierra Club member. The club is considering legal action because the city didn't get proper permits to clean out Turkey Creek last spring. Page says he told the mayor he'd see him in court.

As Councilwoman Ella Holmes Hines tried to restore order, Combs lashed out at Page.

"I'm going to see you there and tear your ass up," Combs said.

"It was basically a threat to me in a vulgar way that, you know, he would win in court. I perceived it as rantings and an irate state of mind. I perceived it as a loss of civility," Page said.

The Gulfport NAACP agrees. In a letter signed by president Felicia Dunn Burkes, the group calls for the mayor to step down. It says, "Mr. Combs has again brought ridicule and embarrassment upon himself personally and the City of Gulfport. It is time for Mr. Combs to put Gulfport before his own ego and tender his resignation from the Office of Mayor."

One council member says once again, the mayor used a poor choice of words.

"I don't think the mayor should resign, but I think he should take a careful study of the words that he uses and where he uses them because it just feeds fuel to the fire." Ward 6 Councilman Chuck Teston said.

Other council members we talked to agree, and say the mayor's words are no grounds for resignation.

Mayor Combs was out of town Friday and could not be reached for comment.

byMarcia Hill

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