Urgency?

“I didn’t sleep at all last night” the name of a great song. Yes, I was tossin and turning all night. When combined with what has already transpired and what I learned last night yesterday was a disappointing day.  I love this city and it saddens me to see a lack of real urgency by  those charged with leadership  either by hire, appointment or their election to a leadership post.

Let me explain.

Last fall my next door neighbor made the decision to move to Saltillo for its school system. Predominately white. Their daughter was the only white child in her kindergarten or first grade class. When I brought this up to friends I was told my neighbors will be back because the housing, for the long term, is inferior. They won’t be back. A week ago a strong supporter of TPSD moved their child to TCP. They are not leaving Tupelo, just choosing an alternative education product but for the same reason. Last night I learned another neighbor is moving from Tupelo to another city although his business will remain in Tupelo. These are post grad educated families with upper level incomes. The kind of citizens we want to move to Tupelo.

Years ago the reason for busing was to insure a” racial balance” of students in our class rooms. How has this effort been neglected? What great educational process has allowed this balance to swing so far the other direction? Tupelo schools are not 100 % one race and need to be balanced to reflect our society or else this white flight will soon be out of control. What we are doing is not working. It is time for bold decisive action. Time is running out. I was in Columbus yesterday to visit a friend. We talked about schools. Columbus has six private schools, predominately if not all white and public schools for those that cannot afford private school. That doesn’t mean that public schools are not as good, but there is less public support for excellence. We cannot afford seperate but equal. It didn’t work before and it won’t now. By the way I was told Columbus also has  jet air service to Atlanta via Delta.

Friday’s DJ reported that “Mississippi Most Religious State” The article next to that was about the legislature holding hearings to determine if we will include those without insurance in out states health care program. Is there a misconnect there? Draw your own conclusion. Where am I going? One of the things I am working on caused me to inquire about the Tupelo Ministerial Assoc. I guess if you have an organization of 4-6 members, all white, you can call yourself whatever you want. This is not an indictment of those participating but rather those ministries that are not. The TMA is not for everyone that agrees on a certain religious philosophy. Rather it is for all church leaders to look out for those less fortunate. How about homeless?   How about public transportation? Why are the black ministers not participating? I am told they have been invited. Do we as Christians not all worship the same supreme being? So what is the problem. Oh, that is right, we have an annual Thanksgiving inter-denomination intra racial service.

Do you see a pattern? Where is the urgency to change? Or rather are the changes to painful and real leadership is lacking. These are serious problems and need to be discussed in the light of day and every day. What have we individually done today to make Tupelo a better place to live and raise our families?   To have long term sustainable growth Tupelo will need to get its social house in order. No quick fixes. GET INVOLVED. ASK QUESTIONS. DEMAND HONEST ANSWERS. WE CAN DO BETTER. WE MUST DO BETTER.

King or Mayor?

At this late date for candidates for City Council and Mayor, Tupelo should be embarrassed by the lack of candidates for the positions. I am concerned, (actually frieghtened) for the future of this city. Let me explain why.

As for growing. where are we going to grow and what will that growth look like? Anex again? We will spend many years paying for the last annexationc so we cannot count on that as an increase in tax income. Tupelo  cannot grow south because of the City of Verona. Growing East is probably not going to happen because all  the service and merchant business is downtown and Northwest. We are somewhat blocked by Saltillo and not much development is occurring West toward Pontotoc. Realistically, any growth will be inside the city limits. Unless there is industrial growth inside the city, new residents will probably locate close to their companies around the Blur Springs/Saltilllo/New Albany areas.

Do we have enough minimum wage service sector jobs in Tupelo yet? Where are the intellectual creative jobs going to be? Not in Tupelo unless the CDF, Create and the Daily Journal make a concerted effort to promote industrial location inside the city. These are regional identies. So much for growing.

Tupelo improvement? We still have the railroad dividing the city. Somebody in city hall needs to jump off the bridge and get this done. No other city would allow this to exist for so long. No it is not easy or inexpensive. It just needs to be done. It does divide the city economically. North Gloster and, if it weren’t for the Hospital, there would be no South Gloster. Look at the areas of decline. Are they around the areas traversed by the train? You betcha. And we continue to spend money on an airport that sits on the most valuable land in Tupelo and interrupts the city’s development and the flow of traffic. First comes fear and then flight.

OK, so let’s look at the schools. Some things we cannot change. Whites are in a minority and in some classes not even present. That does not mean our schools won’t or can’t perform at the top levels. It does mean the support of the entire community will decrease. White parents will seek, and have sought other educational opportunities for their children and some of that will be by moving. Just the facts. I know it is blunt but we need to wake up.

What’s next? Drive out Endvill Road, around Blue Springs and up to New Albany. Look at all the new athletic facilities in New Albany. Look at the new housing developments all around. In a few years, there will be a major mall development in New Albany. What do you think that will do to our older crowded retail area called the Mall at Barnes Crossing. Some businesses will close and all that tax money will start to dwindle and not be available to solve all those other problems that would keep Tupelo viable.

There are other topics I could mention but just think about no new residents, no new high paying business opening in the city called Tupelo, tax money from both retail and real estate taxes dwindling, white flight continuing and what is left. The Convention and Visitors Bureau and Elvis!  No the sky is not falling———–yet. But many other cities, Detroit, Memphis, Jackson, Greenville etc.  have gone this route. This is a road well traveled. Why do we need to make the same mistakes and expect a different outcome. This is a company town and change includes reducing the influence certain self serving organizations have on Tupelo.  This is not new.

What is new. I have been told by potential candidates that they would not want to try and solve these problems because of the boat rocking it would take. Several candidates have voiced racist attitudes. And those that should run prefer to sit it out or move. We may have a King and a Court but their rein will be short and the consequences will be painful for those of us still here. Man without vision shall perish and so shall cities. Now read this again slowly and tell me where I am wrong. Just my opinion.

Pursuit of Happiness

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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Exactly what do these words from the United States Declaration of Independence mean?

Life? Does it mean that the citizens should be forced to keep every citizen alive as long as possible? Does it mean you should not have to fear other citizens killing you?

Liberty? Does it mean you can do anything you want? Does it mean you are free to live they way you want as long as it does not infringe on your neighbor?

Pursuit of Happiness? Does it mean that happiness is a right? Does it mean that you are free to make yourself happy or not as long as it does not infringe on your neighbor.

Are things as self evident to the ignorant as they are to the wise man?

Does a Creator have to be a God or a common recognized religion?

Natural rights are rights not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or government, and therefore universal and inalienable. In contrast, legal rights are those bestowed onto a person by a given legal system.

That all men are created equal? Hobbes proposes a rough equivalence among men, based on the idea that the strongest man is not so strong that he is protected from the strength of the weakest and is thus not strong enough to be considered greater. How has money protected the strong from the weak?

Exactly what is the responsibility of each citizen in a community and in a nation?

Airport Tower could close?

If the budget cuts are made the FAA will close, 100 small airport towers. Is Tupelo one?

Why government fails our children

A day late and a penny short is what happens when you do not address the cause of problems and only treat the result.

The state’s median household income of $38,718 ranks last in the country, and its percentage of adults (21.6) and children (30.7) living in poverty is the most in America.

The level of poverty is going to indicate in most cases, not all, but in most cases, what is happening in a home.  In homes with high levels of poverty, you are going to find not a great deal of print material, rather you are probably going to find situations where children have not been read to.

That is that interaction and feedback that is critical to the learning process and that is happening both at school and at home. If none of that is happening before the child ever gets to the school and if none of it happens after the child gets to school, then that child has a gap, a barrier that almost is impossible to overcome.

The researchers (including everybody with an opinion) say that by age 4, children of professional parents had heard about 50 million words, about 40 million more than those of parents who were on welfare. In professional households, the majority of words were encouraging ones, while in the lowest-income families, those words tended to be discouraging.

By the age of 4, researchers said, patterns of vocabulary growth are already established… and intractable.”

Rather than focusing on children of the poor we should be focusing on young adults before they have children. With a parent without an education you have an impossible job with a small child because the public education system simply does not have them the 16 hours the parent does. Research shows the children fall behind even with preschool without a parent’s continuous guidance.

Right now every county in Northeast Mississippi is on the Pre-K bandwagon and that iss short term for the good. But without a program for future parents and teaching responsibility the school education money can be wasted on preschool.

The mistake of government health care

Propaganda and the medical field has been manipulating people for over 75 years. The first fact is everyone will die. The second fact is the body heals and doctors only assist it and if they fail you die. Most people die under a doctor’s care rather than by accident. Today’s medical field and bag of tricks has amazing technology to keep you alive a wee bit longer than the body cares to live. For that few extra days of poor quality life you could spend your entire life’s labor production. Does this make sense? Is this reasonable? Why are we demanding the government do this? Resources our children can use to make a better world are being use by selfish people to live a little longer.  The developed world is 16% of the world population and it uses 75% of the world resources.

Car insurance charges depending on your driving record and the type of car you drive. You get discounts for conservative live style and low driving miles.  Health insurance should be no different you should pay by how much you have risked your life such as smoking, over eating, high risk work, multiple sex life, poor exercise, poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits etc. Do you want the government to control your habits and life style because they insure your health?  Is it freedom and liberty to live as you please and die when you please?  Can we really want a government to be that much in charge of our lives?  When you ask the government to give you medical care you are asking to be a child and the government your nanny.

We can not expect freedom as the government will want to plant an ID chip with you history under your skin and it will keep records of every minute of your life including where you travel and hoe many drinks you had.  Computers are way past 1984 and willing people do not see the loss of quality of life in asking for universal health care.

Corporations control the congress and get the regulations and laws they want. The citizen becomes a consumer that gets fleeced.

Should we expect betrter?

Suspicions of Government

When I was a young lad I was sitting, as I remember it, at the Thanksgiving dinner table when the conversation came around to the USSR  claim of shooting down a U.S. spy plane. My father was livid when I said I thought that to be the case. My father, a WW II veteran of Africa and the D Day invasion, dismissed me and excused me from the table. I know he could not believe the government was not telling the truth, let alone spying on a former ally. Then Francis Gary Powers, the pilot was returned by USSR to the USA.  That was my first introduction to a government that denied what it had done. That was more than 50 years ago and I am sorry to say that mistrust has only grown.

This morning I picked up the DJ  and read the article at the bottom of the page and the Mayor’s request to the CVB for $400,000 more dollars to fund  the aquatic center. Originally pegged at @ $6-7,ooo,ooo the price grew to $11,000,000. I now cite the DJ and it’s report of the Mayors request.”We still have some pieces to put in that were left out to keep under budget.” Notice, “were left out” implies a deliberate action. OK, so what was left. Remembering, quote the DJ, “City officials alluded to the need to have an aquatic center with all the latest amenities and equipment”. Left out according to the paper and I am sure paraphrasing the Mayor, was a digital score-board, time/touch pads, bleachers and lockers. I ask you, don’t you think these are essential items for a center that expects to host competitive timed events?. A timing device for all those great competitions expected would be a no brainier. And where do you think a swimmer would change clothes. Should  lockers not be included? And what would spectators sit on. Possibly bring their own chairs from  home. May be I don;t know what lockers and bleachers are these days.

And then the convenient rush. “Reed said the work is ahead of schedule…… and a March 1 deadline is approaching for the contractor on work that would include wiring.” To me this sounds like the plan was lets leave out items so we can get the budget approved at 11 million and then when we get close to a deadlines we can ask for the additional funds to insure the project will be finished as initially planned. I remember all the Council and Mayor holding to the $11,000,000 as if in great pain.. A fiscal emergency because we deliberately “left out” some essentials and now the money must come forth or we will have an aquatic center for competition with no bleachers, no lockers and no time clock. Some one should be held accountable and that should be the Mayor, the Parks and Rec Dir. and the City Council. How do you plan an eleven million dollar facility for competition, under finance it and then at the last minute expect another department to step up and save your bacon. Only in government. In addition to the city $11,000,000, Reed said a capital campaign from parents and corporate sponsors has raised $820,ooo, an original $300,000 from the CVB and now and an additional $400,000 is needed. That puts this $11,000,000 project pretty close to $13,000,000. From my view this is either poor planning and heads should roll or it was deliberate, misleading and heads should roll. Mayor and City Council elections are just around the corner. It is time for honesty in local government. Just don’t expect it. Just my opinion.   Don’t even mention the Airport.

Corrupt Governments

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has a proposal to spend as much as $400 million to buy homes wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, demolish them and preserve the undeveloped land.

 

New York has been hit by storms in the past that wiped out whole islands near the area that the Sandy storm caused damage. The area was only small summer bungalows at first that cost very little to replace. The city government in it quest to gain property tax allowed big permanent homes to be built in the storm zone knowing they would be destroyed some day.  Then they have the nerve to get funding from the rest of the country to pay to rebuild the area? The country sees nothing wrong as all states do the same thing. Is it not an ethical issue to take money from others for your greed and poor decisions?

Tupelo Regional in Hindsight

Leadership has been discussed at length in the articles posted here. A lot of variables can be used to define leadership but the real sign of a successful management of a public asset are results that benefit the general citizenship. Tupelo Regional has been hijacked from the public by its leaders.

Many historic facts are available to justify that comment but the real tragedy is the end result of the airport’s runway extension debacle. It could have been a bridge to the future. Instead, it became a bridge to no where, a show stopper.

A few men were so intent on saving West Jackson for selfish reasons that it literally clouded their chances to “fly higher.” Remember in this discussion that an extension of 650 feet at Tupelo provides no opportunity to aircraft that don’t already use Tupelo. A 1000 foot runway extension did when it was justified by years of study and analysis. The question, “Why then only 650,” is academic. It was clearly a waste of taxpayers’ money.

But why did TAA fail to consider another solution that would have saved West Jackson and would have provided a 1,000 foot extension? Consider the following:
* FAA, in violation of their own regulations, agreed to 650 feet with a reduction of safety area between West Jackson and the runway extension.
* Why stop at 650 feet when 1000 feet was justified and approved?
* As long as the new distance between West Jackson and the runway is maintained, logic would follow that if West Jackson is moved 350 feet to the north then a 1000 foot extension is possible.
*Therefore, why didn’t TAA extend the runway an additional 350 feet to the north? FAA would have paid for the relocation a little north or would they? And if they wouldn’t, why not?

This option would have:
*Saved a lot of money
*Provided for an option that would have allowed relocation of navigation equipment (navaids) without the horrible effects on commercial air service the current administration’s faux pas has created.
* Project would have been finished by end of 2010.
* saved East/West Major Thoroughfare.
* saved whatever foolishness is being considered on the south end; relocate fire station and bank, more tree removal, more navaid outage, more FAA regulation violations, more costly surveys and grants.

Some example of leadership and management, but it’s not a good one. Why did they not push this alternative? Remember that the Board has ethical and conflict issues that were never resolved. And now the airport is broke and receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in subsidies from the City. One only has to turn the clock back 14-20 years to the era when the same unnecessary drain on City assets was occurring. Who were involved with airport problems back in the nineties? Deja vu! And the same people are to blame!

Dansette