|Jason "Fury" Flores|
Instead, independent mayoral candidate Gary Lawton lashed out at Alford for accepting the 25-year-old rapper's backing and offering to introduce him to Renaissance Downtowns officials whose plan Flores has called "racist."
Here is what Lawton posted on his campaign's Facebook page over the weekend:
Graff Lawton for Mayor Mr. Flores has endorsed Ms. Alford and apparently she has accepted the endorsement for she has not said otherwise publicly. Although I too at one time thought that Mr. Flores may help reach our young residents, I decided to end that because of Mr. Flores' actions at the Mum Parade calling after young girls, his music which objectives women in the most demeaning ways and uses one of the most vulgar words in our English language and his general disregard for any type of respect for the integrity of this election. Being unconventional is fine but he failed to prove that he even did the required paperwork to be a write-in candidate. I always told you i would admit a mistake and this was one, will Ms. Alford knowing what she knows continue to embrace Mr. Flores' endorsement? if she does, you need to question her judgement.
A separate entry reads: I will start: Ms. Alford, you agreed to introduce Jason Flores to downtown developers, does that mean if you are mayor you will appoint him to a board? If not, why would you offer this to him? If yes, is he the best person you could find to be on a board given how he gamed the election process for his own gain?
Here is Alford's response:
I initially reached out to Jason for a couple of reasons. First, to thank him for the nice things he said about me in the paper. We spoke about other things, like his music, which is not my cup of tea. I'm a blues/rock fan. He understands that his music isn't for everyone and he doesn't expect it to be nor does he get insulted when someone says that. I expressed my displeasure about his use of the word racist in reference to Renaissance Downtowns. I asked him if he had ever met any of them or had a conversation with them. When he said he had not I asked him if he would do me a favor and do that. I could have just "told" Jason what I thought he needed to do but, instead, I offered to go with him as a liaison of sorts. He readily agreed. Mr. Lawton made reference to being "rebuffed" by the RTC in 2009. I wonder if he also remembers that I reached out to him just a few months ago and spent several hours talking with him in his home to see if there was anything I could do to mend that rift, build a bridge, call it what you will. It didn't bear fruit but the attempt was made. Are Mr. Kriscenski and Mr. Lawton saying that it's acceptable to reach out to some and not others?
Isn't it a Mayor's job to include as many of our citizens in government as possible, from all quarters? To make all feel not only welcome to participate but encourage them to do so?
As for Jason's roll in all this, he told us very clearly at last week's Bristol Taxpayers' Association event what he was trying to accomplish. He was trying to light a fire under his generation, to shake the apathy loose that he was seeing, to get us all to pay attention. Was I the only one who heard that? Whether or not you like his music or agree with his methods, that's leadership. That's brave.
Will Jason Flores have a place in an Alford administration? You bet, if he wants that and his schedule allows. If he would like to get started in the process of participating in and learning about how city government functions by serving on a commission I will be happy to recommend him for one. If that isn't possible for him, I hope he will get me a list of those he knows who do have that time and the desire to learn and participate. I also hope he will agree to be MY liaison to them.
As far as that goes, if I am elected in November, I would also be glad to put Mr. Lawton's name in for an appointment to a commission if he wants that. I'm not going to exclude him because we are both running for Mayor.
One of my "stock" phrases when I am having a conversation with a young person about voting is "We are turning this whole shootin' match over to all of you. We need you to vote and participate, to learn how it all works."
However, I (we) need to do more than just "tell" our youth what they need or should do, I (we) need to show them how it's done; teach them "how it all works". We need to reach out to them and make them welcome in government; their government.
To that end, if I am elected in November, I will be putting together a Youth in Government Task Force and I would be honored if Jason would assist me in getting that effort off the ground. He "speaks their language" and they respect him. So do I. I will also involve educators, parents, Youth Services, The Boys and Girls Club and Chamber of Commerce and any other group or person(s) who would like to be involved.
If possible, I would also like to implement an internship program at City Hall to give our youth the opportunity to experience firsthand the inner workings of all city departments, boards and commissions. The logistics will, of course, need to be worked out.
These are just two of my youth initiatives. I'll bet that as our youth get involved, they will have plenty of new and creative ideas for City Hall to consider.