Incumbent Thelma Walker said that criticism from her Pine Bluff Ward 1 alderman race opponent, the Rev. Jesse C. Turner, concerning some of her campaign comments is baseless.

Incumbent Thelma Walker said that criticism from her Pine Bluff Ward 1 alderman race opponent, the Rev. Jesse C. Turner, concerning some of her campaign comments is baseless.


"I am not going to dignify Jesse Turner’s comments because he has plenty of time on his hands to criticize other people," Walker said. "He doesn’t do anything for anybody unless he is going to benefit from it. I know what I do for people and the Good Lord above knows what I do. I don’t do these things for praise."


Turner sent out a campaign press release Tuesday alleging that a comment made by Walker in an article in the Oct. 19 edition of The Commercial that she had responded quickly to an elderly woman’s roof problems was untrue.


Walker said in the Oct. 19 article that she had received a fax from a man who told her that his elderly neighbor had a roof with a hole in it that needed repair. She went on to say that she contacted Pine Bluff Economic and Community Development Director Larry Matthews about the problem and that he took care of it.


"It is misleading to say that someone sent me a fax last week and I got something done this week," Turner said. "I did some digging and found out that the house Ms. Walker was referring to had been on the Economic and Community Development Department’s list of homes in need of repair since 2012. Now department Director Larry Matthews found out about it and got it taken care of, but if Ms. Walker had been taking care of business, she wouldn’t have let this home get into an emergency state."


Turner also alleged that several Pine Bluff residents have contacted his campaign to tell him that Walker did not respond to their requests for help.


"Residents are calling me and saying that she is not forthright in what is coming out of her mouth," Turner said. "People are telling me that they have tried to call Ms. Walker but she does not call them back."


Walker said that her efforts to help others are not simply a campaign tactic.


"This is not something that I just started doing," Walker said. "I believe that people are supposed to help each other and that we have a duty to help people who can’t help themselves."


Walker said that Turner’s accusations do not faze her.


"I am not going to worry about Jesse [Turner] because everything he does is self-serving," Walker said. "He wants to get anything that he can for free."


Signs


Turner was offering a reward this week for information pertaining to what he said was the theft of 12 of his campaign signs.


"This has slowed our campaign," Turner said. "It is the citizens’ money that supports the campaign and paid for those signs. I think that the thefts are an insult to these people."


Turner said in an Oct. 18 press release that he wants to prosecute whoever is responsible for the thefts to send a strong message that such actions will not be tolerated


When asked for comment, Walker said that Turner is not the only one dealing with such a problem.


"I’ve had some of my signs stolen too, but you don’t hear me complaining about it," Walker said. "Several of my campaign volunteers go out every day to make sure my signs are still where they are supposed to be."


Early voting for the Nov. 4 general election is ongoing at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25, and Saturday, Nov. 1. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3.