The Daytona Times makes recommendations to voters in three particular races of interest
BY THE DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
First, the two elephants in the room: Dr. Willie Kimmons’ alleged sexual assault charge and Dannette Henry’s community activism inexperience and the family “coattails.”
Dr. Willie Kimmons for Volusia County Council
Just last week, local prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against Kimmons, who was involved in a consensual sexual relationship outside of his marriage that obviously went bad, to say the least. The White woman in question subsequently accused Kimmons of rape, which his lawyers disproved to the satisfaction of prosecutors.
Kimmons, who often cites the late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm as his godmother and the Daytona Times’ late founder Charles W. Cherry, Sr. as his mentor, should have known better. If they were both alive, Mrs. Chisholm and Cherry, Sr., would scold Kimmons like he stole something.
We have written here before about the fact that Black candidates – especially men like Kimmons who are vocal, free-thinking, unapologetic, and self-confident – continue to be targeted by forces interested in maintaining a status quo that generally doesn’t work for Black people. Every prospective or current Black politician works under a double standard. (Ask Barack Obama.)
Perhaps not coincidentally, Kimmons was also sued by a “resident” in his district who tried to convince a Volusia judge to throw Kimmons off the ballot for allegedly living outside his voting district. That case was also dismissed.
There are reasons why some folks don’t want Kimmons on the council. He is a strong, common-sense voice with decades of the administrative and leadership experience in organizations similar to Volusia County’s.
For the almost two decades he’s been in Volusia County (he’s not a native), he’s been a community activist. As a retired college president of multiple schools, he could easily work at his own leisure as an educational consultant and ignore some of the issues he’s tackled – Black male mentorship and conflict resolution, among others – when there was no financial or political incentive for him to do so.
Kimmons is “Unbought and Unbossed,” in the words of his godmother Mrs. Chisholm. That unwillingness to be controlled gives some folks heartburn. The criminal charge and the lawsuit were dismissed and shouldn’t be distractions. We think he deserves the benefit of the doubt and a chance to serve on the Volusia County Council.
Myke Tairu for Daytona Beach’s Zone 5
Tairu is an outstanding transplant to Daytona who also deserves a chance to serve.
He’s a Bethune-Cookman University graduate who earned a master’s degree from Yale University, then returned to Daytona Beach with his wife to start a family and begin his community service career here.
And he started off with a bang on the statewide level, organizing and leading the “Ban the Box” movement which is persuading employers to remove the check box on job applications that asks if an applicant has a criminal record. That’s a common-sense, easy-to-understand “fix” that can help to lessen the impact of the mass incarceration affecting Black Americans nationally.
In his relatively short stay in Daytona Beach, he is proving to have the attention to detail and the fresh thinking that the city commission sorely needs. We have been impressed with his command of the issues, his background, and his activism. And we believe that he’s not going to be happy just to be on the commission and sit there like a bump on a log.
It’s time for a change in Zone 5. And Tairu’s energy and diligence stands in stark contrast to her opponent, Dannette Henry. Her primary qualification? Her last name.
She’s running on the shallow legacy of her brother Derek, who is now Daytona’s second-term mayor, and her other brother Patrick, who is now running for a “promotion” from Zone 5 to the state House of Representatives.
She seems to be a stealth candidate, with a lonely Facebook page, no website, no publicized platform positions, and just a little biographical information (with misspelled words) about her and her experience.
A member of the Henry family has been Zone 5’s commissioner for a total of three consecutive terms. Where is the signature legacy of their tenure? Is it flood abatement and infrastructure improvements under the tenure of Cherry, Sr. in Zone 6? Is it something like the Cypress Aquatic Center during the tenure of Yvonne Scarlett-Golden?
Could it be the Yvonne Scarlett-Golden Center located in Zone 5? No. YSG was conceived and financed before Derrick Henry’s first term on the commission.
What have the Henrys done for Zone 5 lately? If you can’t answer that, why does another Henry deserve to continue such lackluster representation?
If she’s running on her brothers’ coattails, what credit can she claim for Mayor Henry’s signature accomplishment?
Could it be the Orange Avenue infrastructure project? We hope not. It will come in months behind schedule, and with complaints of inconsistency and incompetence, and a missed opportunity to hire local residents to act as liaisons with the city during a construction process that’s been filled with misinformation, miscommunication and confusion.
Here’s another Henry “accomplishment.” The city, led by a Black mayor, is under the cloud of a racial discrimination lawsuit filed on his watch by one of its Black senior managers, Thomas Huger – ironically the son of the city’s first Black commissioner.
Zone 5 deserves qualified, aggressive, knowledgeable representation and leadership. We believe Myke Tairu will provide that kind of leadership in Zone 5 for the first time in a long time.
Shirley Green for county court judge
Shirley Green has served honorably as a county court judge, and brings sorely needed diversity and her different life experiences as a Black woman to the Volusia County judiciary. That experience is something that is in short supply statewide. We see no reason to dump her for her opponents who have targeted her primarily because she’s not in the “good old boy” section of the county’s lawyers and judges that generally protects incumbent judges.
We’re pleased to recommend that you vote for her so that she can continue to serve in county court, which is truly “the people’s court” involving small claims, evictions, traffic tickets, and low-level criminal charges.