Jackson: Madon a good choice to lead fight for new jail

Published 11:47 am Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The little engine that can, I know he can, I know he can.

This is how I feel about Pineville Mayor Scott Madon when it comes to Bell County ever getting, in 20 lifetimes, a jail and rehab center.

Mayor Madon was one of three speakers at the League of Women Voters town hall meeting on March 20 at the Middlesboro, Bell County Library.

Email newsletter signup

Jailer Gary Ferguson, in bleak detail, gave Bell County a grave description of what meth and other drugs can do to the human mind and body. Inmates eating their own scabs, drinking each other’s urine and hiding drugs where the sun don’t shine making it very difficult for jailers to find them without an x-ray machine.

I hope the jailer pays combat duty to employees doing strip searches because those employees see things and look for other things that no human should have to. Oh, the humanity.

Mayor Rick Nelson of Middlesboro was supportive of any positive action, and offered the city’s help to the various wonderful groups fighting the drug problem so valiantly and the people who have fought the good fight when it came to their own drug problems and won. It can be done.

As the evening progressed, it became clear to me that mayor Madon had arrived at the meeting very well prepared. He fielded most of the questions and shared his own experiences with people who he knew had problems. He brought pertinent information which he shared. It became very clear to me that mayor Scott Madon is the only one in Bell County that could even attempt, let alone succeed, in getting a new jail and drug treatment center for Bell County.

So I told him, “Scott, you’re the one to do the deed.” The mayor never flinched, looked shocked, or said “no.” How refreshing it was for a public official to just start discussing the matter in a knowledgeable way as if he had been considering it for a while. Not once did the word “can’t” come out of his mouth.

I guess the mayor knows that can’t never could do anything.

Mayor Madon has proven leadership. Look at the improvements he and others have brought to Pineville. A new jail and rehab center outside of the town would benefit Pineville. I say halfway between Pineville and Middlesboro,

Mayor Madon’s unique experiences have blessed him with rare insight, and I believe he sees all sides of these issues.

The mayor appears wise enough to know it is free to formulate a plan in your mind. It costs nothing to think of the good a jail and rehab center will do. When a person first thinks of the price to build, it blinds them to the positives, then they give up, ignore the good, and only fear the cost.

Once you formulate a viable plan, sure there will be a cost to make a model of that plan, but it is free to reach out for benefactors to finance your plan. Mayor Madon is the best qualified to do so, and I don’t believe it costs much to set up a fund for the jail.

I believe there are many philanthropic organizations and individuals who would contribute to a rehab center, especially if you mention inmates eating scabs and drinking urine. Those poor souls belong in a long-term facility.

There is the state and federal government, but you need someone who can communicate to them for help.

I’ve heard the cost may be $30 million. I figure a drug rehab and a jail with 150 beds in each one, enclosed in a nice compound between Middlesboro and Pineville, would cost around $1 million. We want it done right. It is of minimal cost to try and raise the money. How cheap could we be if we cannot even try?

I nominate mayor Scott Madon as our champion. This project is not for the faint of heart. It takes wisdom and a mission, and Scott doesn’t flinch. Say we get 70 percent of that $100 million and we need a bond issue. Mayor Madon, in my opinion, is the only official we have that could convince the county voters to vote yes (the county is just a suburb of Pineville in my opinion).

A bond issue has to have people who buy the bond and a tax to pay them, as I understand, which should go up for a vote. After all, we’re in this together.

Remember, it costs us nothing to encourage our public servants to try. We are free to envision a new jail and long-term rehab center, and it costs our public servants nothing but their time to envision and plan these facilities. But, if there can be results, my money and hope are riding on mayor Madon.

Experience, education, a proven leader — the results are in his genes. It’s a shame he can’t replace Mitch McConnell.