Wednesday, December 06, 2006

DDT Editorial on Racial Profiling

Excerpt from DDT Editorial...

"As a matter of editorial policy, we do not identify suspects or victims by race. When a suspect is in custody or has been charged, a description is generally unnecessary. Absent other details, such as age, clothing, scars, tattoos, hair styles, approximate height and weight, facial hair or lack thereof, and complexion, identifying a suspect by race serves no purpose.

Yet our editors must be on constant guard to make sure the words “black male” don't get into print.

While we in the news media have a responsibility to not contribute to negative perceptions, we believe the law enforcement agencies whose reports are the basis for most crime stories also have a responsibility. They must end the casual practice of identifying criminal suspects by those words.

Given that the majority of law officers in Washington County are black, we doubt racism is a factor. Still, if we fail to edit comments such as, “She said she was awakened by a black male,” many of our African-American readers would complain that we're creating or adding to the perception of black men as criminals.

They might be correct. Just because the police say it doesn't mean we have to repeat it. Do victims see armed thugs or do they see black males? To read a typical police report, one would believe the latter. Examples: “The victim said four black males entered the store and demanded money.” “She said she was awakened by a black male.” Enough already."

Right... Enough already!

God forbid that we describe a suspected criminal by their race! Age, weight, height, clothing and gender are fair game, but let's not play the race card... unless of course you happen to be "law-makers", musicians, or members of civic organizations... then it is okay to use the term "black"!

This editorial only reinforces my earlier comments... our "color-blind" society sees clearly in black and white.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

100 White Men?

An anonymous writer brings it home...

To clarify a point for readers---and Sis from Seattle: The newspaper did not label the lawmakers as "black." This is the label of their own choosing. Not all segregation begins and ends with the white man.

Imagine a headline that read "White Lawmakers Convene." Or Hispanic Lawmakers or Asian Lawmakers, etc. How would that make sense?

100 Black Men. Miss Black America. BTV. As long as black Americans want to be considered ONLY black as a priority over their status as Americans, then they will always seem to be struggling for acceptance. My ancestry is Scotch-Irish. Yet I do not label myself as such, nor do I feel the need to make the constant reference to my "homeland."

I am an American.

This writer drives the point home! How long would a group named "100 White Men" survive in the Mississippi Delta?

Question... can white females join "100 Black Men", and if not, how would they refuse them? "I'm sorry Ma'am, but we only allow black men in our club"? Any employer who made such a statement to a job applicant would spend the rest of his/her natural life in court.

So, why is it that the only color we are allowed to "discriminate" is black? Sociologists maintain that the "pendulum of life" has to swing just as far to the left as it does to the right in order to maintain balance. I don't disagree with this theory, but I think in 2006, the Delta should be getting pretty darn near close to plumb!


Sunday, November 26, 2006


As my Sunday ritual dictates, I arose to seek fresh coffee and the local Sunday newspaper. The only difference being that today, I had to share my DDT (and coffee of course) with my sister who was visiting me from Seattle, WA.

Being a gentleman, I offered my sister the front page of the Delta Democrat Times, (hoping that it would not offer some horrid tale of child abduction or a "Conoco caper"). She silently perused the front page for a few minutes and then quietly asked, "What are black lawmakers?" She paused and went on to read me the headline, "Mississippi hosts conference of black lawmakers".

Being from the Delta, the headline didn't seem unusual or ambiguous to me... at least until I tried to answer her question. Before I could utter a reply, my sister sharply inquired, "Should I assume that black lawmakers are those who make black laws?" I had to smile a bit at this, knowing where this conversation was probably going.

All I could get out was "Well, no...", before she folded the paper, removed her eyeglasses, glanced up at me and proclaimed, "It appears that Mississippi has made little progress over the past 100 years. Why is it that everything has to be labeled 'black' in the south?" A bit dumbfounded at first, I quickly realized where Sis was going with this debate... the problem was, I couldn't answer her question.

Several hours later, after my sister had departed for the airport, I had time to reflect on the essence of our conversation. It dawned on me that she was actually appalled at the term "black" lawmakers!

I picked up the DDT and stared at the headline and a question came to me. How would replacing the word "black" in this headline with any other adjective (such as white, Hispanic, gay/lesbian, Catholic, agnostic or HIV+) affect its newsworthiness? Better yet, why not leave out all racial, ethnic and cultural descriptors and simply boast that Mississippi will host national lawmakers?

Why? Because we are still a very segregated society for all of our strides toward equality. I think that my sister's indignity was that we still use labels, such as "black" to differentiate each other. Are the political issues of health care and housing restricted to "black" Americans? Are the plagues of poverty and inflation exclusive to the "black" population in our country?

Here's the real issue. By distinguishing "black" lawmakers, we imply that they are in some way "different". Isn't that what we implied in the 1950's with the designations of "White" and "Colored" restrooms, water fountains, schools, building entrances and restaurants?

At this moment, my sister's indignity hit me square in the face. As long as we label groups by their racial, cultural or spiritual beliefs, we are asserting some inequality... otherwise there would be no reason to differentiate. So why, in 2006, do we still see black and white?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I got to see one of my favorite classic movies, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner". In it, the gifted actor Sidney Poitier angrily addresses his father over personal views stating, "that the difference between you and me Dad, is that you see yourself as a black man; I see myself as a man".

Before the movie's end, even Spencer Tracey, a die-hard liberal of the printed word, nods to himself in acceptance of true racial equality in our society, and quietly mutters, "I'll be a son-of-a-bitch!"

Well, Sis... I guess I will be too!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Just a Dog Catcher...

Almost every job that you apply for these days involves some type of criminal background check. Health care leads the industry by actually fingerprinting all applicants. In our high-tech world in which a person's actual identity can be stolen, I think knowing if you are hiring a convicted felon is relevant information... particularly if you working for state or local government.

I am a bit peeved at Mayor Hudson's recent defense of the city employee whose criminal past was exposed. She actually defended the city's policy of not screening applicant's criminal histories, stating that, "everyone deserves a second chance." Okay, I can agree with that, but what about the hundreds of law abiding citizens who are seeking jobs in Greenville that haven't had the first chance, let alone served time?

I think that the mayor's "head in the sand" approach to this issue is dangerous. Any employer who requires drug screens and criminal histories knows that there is a large population of undesirables in our fair city. For our city leaders to ignore this fact puts us all at great risk.

I once asked the leader of one of the biggest employers in Greenville why his organization did not conduct random drugs screens on employees. His response was that he would probably lose a third of his current staff. Duhhhh?

Should convicted criminals be given a "second chance"? Sure, right after all non-criminals have been eliminated as viable candidates for those jobs. I think you went a little too far left on this one, Heather.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The "Color" of Money

"Local Reflector" writes:

The water issue doesn't necessarily involve those who've lived in Greenville and understand what the tint is all about - prehistoric sediment. The issue is about recruiting all those businesses and industry and getting some jobs in the area.

Every recruiting effort conducted by industrial recruiters or companies interviewing for out-of-town employees isn't concluded without checking out the place. If, in the hotel, the water is obviously brown, these short term visitors don't have the luxury of a full explanation of the water; they chalk it up as dirty water and return home to tell everyone.

Yes, it seems trivial on some levels but I dealt with the same problem with my out-of-town guests. In this day and age, clear water is an expectation so I cannot understand how some can feel they're losing a cultural contribution by ridding the municipal water supply of a brown tint. By the way, very few other cities would accept such regardless of explanations or excuses.

Good Job Greenville Leaders!

I have to agree with LR on this one. Most people interpret "brown" as dirty and I am sure the majority of visitors to Greenville are not reassured by the "rotting leaves" fable, however prehistoric.

Clearing the water would do a great deal to make Greenville more marketable to industry as well as to instill a bit of pride in those of us who choose to remain in the Delta. I say "Go for it, Greenville!" We have nothing to lose but the stains of our past.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In Favor of Local Flavor

Anonymous writes:

I told one of my (grown) children yesterday that the city was looking into removing the color from our water. His response was, "I hope it will still taste as good." My family would rather drink Greenville water than any beverage on this earth.

Actually, I know of an ex-Greenvillian who requests family and friends to bring gallon jugs of our brown water when visiting. He claims that it makes the best iced tea in the world.

Perhaps we could capitalize on our murky water. NYC tap water is actually bottled and sold in stores for $3.50 per bottle. In Rome, you can purchase "holy water" for $12.00 per ounce. Surely, we could get a couple of bucks for "Blues Water".


Friday, November 10, 2006

Mystique of the Delta

Could clear water be the key to Greenville's economic future? According to some, it could have a significant impact. Imagine drawing a glass of tap water and being able to see through the glass, or sitting in a bathtub and being able to see your legs!

As native Deltan's, we have become acustomed to our ice water resembling weak tea, but some visitors are simply appalled by our "local color". One of the first questions visitors ask me is, "What is wrong with the water?" I politely explain that our brown water is the result of "prehistoric biological sediments that have seeped into our wellspring feeders".... at least that's the rhetoric that I was raised on. Most simply shake their head and express their relief that we don't simply pump it directly out of the river.

In my travels, I find that Greenville is almost world renowned for two very memorable experiences. One is a eating a steak at Doe's Eat Place and the other... bathing in brown water! The latter is certainly not a drawing card, but quite memorable none the less.

So, is our water safe? We are told that it is, but who among us does not use water filers and/or bottled water... just to be sure. The Delta is well known for its filtering of all things obscure... its water included.

Perhaps the mystique and uniqueness of the Delta lies in its murky water. Cleansing ourselves of our "prehistoric sediments" may be a major step toward our economic progress as a community and may even land us squarely in the middle of the 21st century!


Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Present

Ahhh, it's Halloween eve. As a child, I remember the excitement that this evening brought. Everyone in the neighborhood would carve jack-o-lanterns and decorate their doors and yards. Some houses would have fortune tellers or witches who could cast "spells". Parents and children would get really creative with costumes... none of the tacky store-bought stuff would do. It was a time of fun with a hint of the macabre. It was magic.

This evening, I came home to the same neighborhood in which I have lived for 25 years. It looked particularly dark and uninviting. Porch lights which are usually on... were now off. The street seemed particularly deserted this night. No one seemed to be home. It appeared that the magic of Halloween has disappeared.

Perhaps my neighborhood, like myself, have grown older. Perhaps the "treat" of opening your front door to tiny goblins and fairies screaming "trick or treat" has given way to the "trick" of teenagers disguised as gang members shoving Kroger bags in your face as they silently admire your home. Perhaps, Halloween as we knew it, is dead.

As a child, Halloween was one of the most exciting times of the year for parents and children alike. The season had changed, children were back to school and it was a time when being scared was "fun". I look back to this time with fond memories... as I sit in my dark house, porch lights off... hoping to be spared being visited by the spirits of "Halloween present".


Thursday, October 12, 2006


An anonymous writer asks:

"What is going on at Lenny's Sub Shop? A friend at work told me that she heard that federal agents came in and shut the store down. Any scoop on this or is it just more of greenvilles rumor mill."

I have not heard such a rumor; however, I did read in the DDT that the Lenny's shop in Greenville was closing, while the one in Cleveland would remain open. The story seems a bit far-fetched to me... not that another business in Greenville is closing, but that Federal Agents were involved. I would suspect that this is a "creative" story, born of idle minds. I welcome comments from readers who are perhaps more "in the know".


Monday, October 02, 2006

L.R. on Throwing "Bones"

The billboard campaign is solely designed to stick a thumb in Cleveland's eye and not to promote Greenville as the superior location for a new federal building. After all, it's Greenville which must tell itself that "it believes in Greenville." Cleveland couldn't care less.

This issue, to me, reflects other concerns than a federal building because I see it as a test for the Greenville community leaders who profess to have the contacts and means to influence higher elected officials. It also reflects Washington County's influence on the greater political sphere.

The maverick political attitude (refusing the state flag, for instance) and the "My highway or the highway" notions regarding political dissent and challenge will be sorely tested. Alliances with Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be tested as an outreach for a better Greenville or outreach for a better political career for personal gain.

Where's Congressman Thompson? Will he enter a fight within the boundaries of his own 2nd Congressional District? It's easy to pick fights on national issues; now a local issue starts festering.The state representatives are there to a degree but they're confined to regional influence. Give them credit for their attempts at influence.At the day's end, consider the Good Ole Boy factor in making this federal building issues such a nasty exercise in the "We're a better choice" debate.

Washington County voters have selected - with about 70% support - to try to elect the team that isn't in power given prior election trends.Governor Barbour offered an economic trojan horse in Textron upon his election; it was a one-sided deal and a tease for people needing permanent employment. Throwing those kinds of "bones" doesn't help and reveals that if you don't help the powerful, they'll not help you in substantive ways. It's the way of the political world.

Given the track record, there's no reason to expect the backroom assistance at this point from the leadership despite public lip service.Public pressure is the best medicine and it shouldn't abate until someone stirs.By the way, John Clark wrote a good piece in Sunday's DDT on the "blame game."

I know there's a sentiment that the paper, somehow, gave Cleveland leaders a great idea by writing that Cleveland might be another option for a federal building, but his opinion makes sense. He's been in Greenville three years (he writes), and I'm seeing the customary track of the good-intentioned journalist play out to course.

The first year, one believes he/she can make a difference. "Year Two" is spent defending or refusing the gut feeling that something's not quite right with leaders' thoughts. "Year Three" - you determine that it's time to begin saying things you should've said after "Year One," when you knew better but couldn't believe what you were learning.

Oh Mr. Clark - your subscribers will bloom if you follow the course of dosing the bitter pills with the sweet elixer of community news coverage.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chamber's Action Defended

An anonymous writer fires back at "chamber member"

Chamber Member:

The Chamber of Commerce is trying to SAVE the locally owned businesses. Or what's left of them. I am aghast that our friends in Cleveland would stoop to such a low tactic, but I am not so lily-livered that I am ready to hand them the keys to MY city.

I will boycott the retailers in Cleveland, their restaurants, their University with the performing arts venue....and I recommend that you do the same. Greenville has everything that I want or need.

Wow! This "courthouse" issue seems more heated than any of late. It is refreshing to know that there are still some staunch supporters of Greenville and that they are willing to speak up; however, I am not sure that boycotting retailers or universities is the solution.

I prefer to view the Delta as family of cities and small communities that share a unique culture as well as difficult economic challenges. The Delta has lost many major industries (jobs) over the past decade, so what makes this issue different?

I see it as a sense of betrayal... by a family member!

We can understand when industries relocate to Mexico or the mid-west for well established economic and business reasons, but to lose an icon of federal notoriety to a "family member" 40 miles away... well, it just hurts. It also scares us a bit to know that we (Deltans) have begun competing internally over scarce jobs and public facilities.

Let us not forget that in the early 1900's, the founding fathers of Greenville turned down the offer to have a "Teacher's College" built here for fear of an influx of radical and liberal thinkers who might disrupt our southern way of living. Cleveland seized upon that opportunity and I believe that the entire "Delta" has prospered as a result.

Unfortunately, the ultimate decision to keep or relocate the Federal Building is not one that we Deltans will make. It will be made by politicians whose daily lives will remain untouched by their final decision.

And at the end of the day, we shall all still live, eat and shop in the Delta.


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Chamber Member Speaks Up

I personally do not want any part of my Chamber Membership dues going to pay for a billboard in CLEVELAND!!

Some Advice for the Chamber: Promote the locally owned businesses that we have now!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Billboard Fuels the Fire!

An anonymous writer comments...

Whats with the "I believe in Greenville" billboard in Cleveland? Is this more of that stupid courthouse issue? Who cares where a federal building is? Why dont we work on improving our city and our streets instead of fighting over stupid buildings. The politicians are going to put it where they want to anyway and nobody else matters.

I did hear on the local news that such a billboard would be posted in Cleveland. And yes, I do believe that its impetus is the Federal Courthouse issue; however, I am less sure of its strategic outcome.

It appears to me that this billboard is more antagonistic than competitive. The federal building's location is hardly the issue. It's the jobs that follow the building that are at the heart of this debate. This billboard is little more than "gang graffiti" intended to raise the ire of the challenger... and it has obviously done that! We all await the final outcome.


Friday, September 22, 2006

More on "Haley-Care"...

Forty-three Mississippi hospitals, in conjunction with the Mississippi Hospital Association, today filed a lawsuit in Hinds County Chancery Court against the Office of The Governor and the Division of Medicaid, requesting injunctive relief and asking the court to declare unconstitutional a tax on hospital gross revenues levied by Governor Haley Barbour.

A fundamental principle of the Mississippi Constitution is that only the legislative branch of government can levy taxes. Barbour’s levying of the tax oversteps the constitutional authority of the executive branch. The lawsuit was filed after over four months of lengthy negotiations regarding the many alternatives the state has to fund the program.

The tax, if allowed to go forward, will impose an extreme burden on many Mississippi hospitals. In some instances, the tax will be greater than the total annual operating margin of the hospitals. The Governor’s tax plan allows Medicaid to levy up to a 1% tax on the gross revenue of our state’s hospitals. This represents more than $90 million in additional costs imposed on hospitals. The additional tax burden will require many hospitals to lay off employees and cut valuable services.

"This lawsuit was necessary not only to protect the constitutional rights of Mississippi hospitals, but also to protect the financial integrity of our state’s health care system,” said Sam W. Cameron, President/CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Association.

If you think health care costs are soaring now, just let this legislation pass! This will close the doors on many smaller rural hospitals that are barely surviving now. Hospitals don't get rich serving Medicaid and indigent patients in the Mississippi Delta.

Both public and private hospitals donate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in "free care" to patients that have no payor source. That debt goes right to their bottom line. So Haley's solution to cover the ever-growing Medicaid debt is to simply tax our hospitals to death... literally.

As stated above, the Governor is not granted the power to levy taxes under our state constitution. It is a sad state of affairs when our own health care facilities have to bring suit against the Governor of our state to prevent his wanton misuse of power.

The solution to this problem is not to throw good money after bad, but to seek legitimate reform of the gross waste and corruption that exists in our current Medicaid system. If you feel strongly about this issue, please let your senators and representatives know that "Haley-Care" is not the answer!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rude Deltans

An Anonymous observer writes...

Why are people so rude in Greenville? It is like it hurts them to smile at you when they wait on you. I am from the coast and I can see why our state has a bad rep. It seems like everyone is mad in this town. I don't understand why.

Not everyone is Greenville is rude; however, "customer service" is a concept that is not widely embraced in the Delta.

Minimum wage workers have the entitlement mentality... i.e., I can make just as much not working as I can on this job... and I don't have to smile! Please don't judge Greenville by its service workers. Greenville does have a rich heritage of southern charm... you just won't find it behind the counter of McDonalds.


Monday, September 11, 2006

Conspiracy Exposed?

An anonymous writer suspects collusion...

"And how about our neighbors in Cleveland going to our neighbors in Indianola and asking them to gang up on Greenville? What mean-spirited sumbitch came up with that plan? As of today, I am personally boycotting all Cleveland restaurants and retail establishments until this federal building matter is resolved. My money stays in Greenville."

"Local Reflector" challenges this theory...

The courthouse issue is interesting, as is Forthright's comments on socialized Mississippi medical care. I think the blog can handle two lines of thought.

To Anonymous: Would you consider a guest commentary on the issue which builds upon the comments you've posted above? I see nothing wrong with the political maneuvering of Bolivar County to prove it's "hungry" for a new federal courthouse. The building is up for grabs, so why shouldn't there be competition?

If Greenville sits back and "fights" instead of showing why the federal courthouse should remain there, then it deserves its fate. One strategy is proactive, the other is reactive. Proactive strategies lay out the reasons why a federal courthouse is necessary for the Port House - whatever those reasons may be.

And, don't give me the whole angle that it should stay because it's historically been here. That's not a good reason. Reactive strategies suggest whining by local politicians but no real movement or even clout to influence the decision-makers on higher political levels. It's simple, isn't it?Greenville leaders possess an uncanny ability to cry that nothing's "their fault" - that somehow or some way, their victims of phantom recessions and "bad luck." Better yet, unflattering news breaks and they scatter to get away from addressing the issue...

A. Look at the Burn Center closure

B. Look at repeated complaints on street repair

C. Look at brown water

Hinging your political fortunes on one, lower-level, U.S. Representative can open a county or city to be ignored when events happen beyond one person's control.

Greenville's influence problem is showing. Do they still have that lobbyist on a retainer? Also, "law and order" hasn't been the rule, but the exception, in the Port City in a good number of years.

But, least it appears it's trying.

NOTE: I'm not trying to provoke anger, but the conversation is interesting because I'd like to know why Greenville is superior to Cleveland for a federal courthouse and vice versa.

Forthright: Okay, anonymous... the ball's in your court!

Sunday, September 10, 2006


It is certainly not news that Mississippi's Medicaid program is in trouble. Actually, officials predict a $360 million shortfall in state funding for this program alone. The cost of Medicaid has grown dramatically over the past 5 years, as jobs are lost and more families find themselves without basic medical coverage.

So what is the solution to the state's woes? Should we dip into the scared "tobacco trust fund"? The money would be at least be used for health care and it is a safe bet the many of the health problems treated with Medicaid dollars are directly or indirectly linked to tobacco use.

What happened to the gaming panacea that was promised? The only roads that have been improved seem to lead to casinos, and as for education, unless you live in Tunica County, you probably haven't seen any impact.

So, how will we deal with this growing Medicaid debt? The state of Mississippi has come up with a novel solution. It is essentially a Robin Hood approach which promotes taxing the successful health care providers and giving it to the unsuccessful providers... a simple redistribution of wealth proposal, with a hint of socialism.

Mississippi Hospital Association opposes "taxing the rich to pay for the poor" since all hospitals, both public and private would be impacted. However, our Governor, Mr. Barbour, has proposed an alternate plan which would simply tax the private hospitals (these are the one's who currently pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in local property taxes, sales tax, state and federal taxes, etc.) and give it to the publicly owned facilities (like DRMC, which pays NO property taxes, NO sales tax and NO state and federal tax).

Wow, Haley! What a great idea. Let's penalize those hospitals which are fiscally sound, run efficiently, and make a profit for their investors, and funnel their tax dollars into our failing county owned hospitals! That way we can level the quality of care for all Mississippi residents and make sure that "Medicaid" is the standard of care for everyone!

And we wonder why businesses and industry do not want to relocate to Mississippi? If socialized health care is what we aspire to, then let's just do it. At least everyone knows what they have (or don't have) and can then work together toward improving it.

Ray Humphrys, wading through red ink up to his knees, obviously supports the Governor's plan, under which he (DRMC) would profit. I shall not elaborate further on that unholy alliance.

Suffice to say, that Haley Barbour's political grandstanding to get re-elected falls short of representing Mississippi's best interests for health care.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Git 'er Dun?

An anonymous contributor asks...

WHY was Washington Avenue destroyed MONTHS AGO, with no further progress made since? Nor any word of such progress published in the local news outlets?

WTF??? Is someone deliberately trying to destroy Greenville? It's been my experience that local leaders have always stepped forward when times were tough. We have plenty of those here. Of the nationally-known variety.

Ambassador Retzer? Sons of Senator Dyer? Chairman Reed? Mr. Cox? Mr. Alexander? Mr. Hafter? BILLY PERCY????? Many have the influence to affect changes in your hometown. PLEASE HELP US NOW.

I am here for the duration. I have no choice. The above-mentioned gentlemen differ in religion and political party affiliation, yet they all call Greenville HOME. DO SOMETHING.QUICK.

"Ambassador"... "Senator"... "Chairman"... but, not "Mayor". I am afraid we have seen a major power shift in the last two decades. I liken it to selling tickets for the Titanic 100 years after it sunk.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Blues Quarter or Courthouse?

According to today's editorial in the DDT, it has been 18 months since the announcement of the "Blues Quarter" project and we still don't know much more today, than we did then. We do know that several downtown property owners are adamantly opposed to the eminent domain issue. We also know that several other Delta towns are rapidly competing to "cash in" on the Blues.

I hardly think that the straightening of Washington Avenue is going to have any significant impact of the worth of downtown properties. It seems a rather large waste of taxpayers dollars, albeit, not the first for Greenville.

With the old Stein Mart gone, we have cleared the way for one of two building projects to begin. The Blues Quarter project indicates that this lot will be the hub of the new entertainment district. On the other hand, this same site is reportedly the location of the proposed new Federal Building.

Now, I believe in diversity of interests, but I fail to see the logic behind building a Federal Courthouse in the heart of an entertainment district. Someone needs to choose. Obviously, there is no shortage of property for sale in Greenville, so lack of availability should not be a problem.

I would like to hear from someone in the "know" about both the viability and potential for conflict that these two projects pose. Surely someone knows what is going on in our city hall... and is willing to share with the rest of us.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

"Stealing" the Courthouse?

Our friend, "Local Reflector" responds:

You can't possibly believe that Cleveland was given the idea of "stealing" the federal courthouse by reading the Delta Democrat Times.

I do believe it's conceivable that the newspaper followed on rumors - or not such rumors - and something came of it. If the DDT has influenced such a momentous change of venue for the federal courthouse, they deserve credit which cannot be measured. These things take too much time to organize. Because Greenville leaders didn't know what was at play - that's just par for the course and reflects more on Washington County's relationship with state/federal leaders than anything.The federal courthouse is NOT the final nail in Greenville's coffin if it leaves, no more than Textron's departure was the "final" nail.

I can't imagine there's a ton of economic "boom" in the federal courthouse's job creating possibilities. There is a ton of "prestige factor" that stands to relocate into Cleveland should it actually move.When an existing casino pulls up anchor and sails away, get worried. That's would be over a million in tax revenue floating away. Monopolized gaming ownership makes this, somewhat, a possibility however unlikely it may be.

Greenville's lost its annual cultural offerings this past year. The medical market is "correcting" after a half-decade of an arms race to see which hospital "wins." So, there are other agenda items which probably stand higher in scope than the Federal Courthouse.

For debate's sake, that's my opinion. There's the disclaimer.The paper was ahead of this issue in media reporting terms. But, the idea that Cleveland would recruit the Federal courthouse is an idea, that I'd bet a million dollars, beat any newspaper headline by at least months.

Forthright: Okay, Stealing might be a rather harsh word. Recruiting seems more appropriate. Anyone who has visited Cleveland lately can certainly see that there are vast differences between Cleveland and Greenville.

Cleveland has a downtown area that is flourishing with quaint shops and restaurants. Residential real estate is difficult to find on the current market and businesses are actually moving into Cleveland. Their public schools are quite good and Cleveland's health care facilities are thriving.

Sure, they have DSU, Baxters and several other prosperous industries, but why do you think these businesses chose Cleveland over Greenville? It has to do with "quality" of life and the community's vision. As a community, Cleveland looks forward in anticipation and growth. Greenville simply looks back with remorse.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Traitors Amoug Us?

I am so over Ray Humphries.

Speak to me about the possible loss of our FRICKIN' FEDERAL BUILDING and the final nail in the coffin for Greenville. And tell me this: did the newspaper or did they not stir up this kettle of bull? It seems to the casual observer that the Suits in Bolivar County didn't get the big idea until the DDT handed it to them in their "newspaper."

And for that matter, I don't recall a challenge to that fact being printed in the DDT, yet Reily felt the need to address the implied finger-pointing. Hmmmmm.

Et tu, Brute?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Five Questions, No Answers

Well, you have to hand it to Ray Humphreys who is quoted in Sunday's DDT as saying, "Debt is a tool commonly utilized in the business world as a means to grow a business." (Delta Regional carries a $25 million debt).

Ray goes on to say that, "DRMC's administration and Board of Trustees regard prudent management of the county's most valuable asset as a very serious responsibility, and we consider it an honor and a privilege to continue to serve the residents of the Delta region."

Okay, let's look at the first quote. It is actually true that debt (management) can be a tool to expand a business, but what have we expanded? We have the same services, the same hospitals, fewer patient beds, fewer doctors, nurses and jobs! More (paying) patients are fleeing Greenville to receive care in Jackson and Memphis. So, where's the growth?

Ray attributes $21 million of the current debt to the purchase of KDH. That would mean that DRMC amassed $4 million in debt either prior to the merger, or since. Ray seems to really believe in this "debt theory" of growth! How much more "growth" can we afford, Ray?

On to Ray's second revelation. If the county's most valuable asset is $25 million in debt due to the "prudent management" of Ray and his current administration, it is not surprising that Ray considers it an "honor and a privilege to continue to serve the residents of the Delta."

If I incurred $25 million in debt for my boss, I would indeed consider it a true honor and a privilege to still have a job. Obviously, no one checked with Hattiesburg prior to entrusting our most valuable asset to Ray. If they had, they would have seen the same pattern of unbridled waste spending that we have now inherited.

So, when will it all end? How much more "growth" will it take for the taxpayers of Washington County to realize that the one thing that we can no longer afford... is Ray Humphreys.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Back to "Scoop" Days

Okay, is everyone on vacation? I take a few days off and the entire Delta gets quiet. Let's hear from you. I have made commenting on the Scoop even easier by eliminating the need for a pen name or an email address. All you need to do is send me your ideas, rants, raves or topics for discussion and let's see what develops.

July and August certainly seem to be the months that most Deltan's travel. Whether I visit Destin, Gulf Shores or even NYC, I never fail to meet two or three people from the Delta. For a diverse community, we certainly seem to stick together when it comes to vacations.

So... the kids have gone back to school... so let's get back to Scoop.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

"L.R." Predicts No Winners

Great point on an area providing "basic medical care." What the community may be experiencing is a situation where DRMC tried everything it could to get over a medical services "hump" and couldn't quite get there. In its failed wake comes reduced hours for employees, etc.

The area is returning to the status of "basic medical care" - which, by the way, isn't a right but a privilege that should be cherished, appreciated and supported within limits of acceptable service on behalf of medical providers.

The KDH takeover, like it or not, guaranteed the DRMC reign is now permanent. No competition will enter the fray for an intra-city battle for medical supremacy. KDH is gone and gone is the competitive fire that makes leaders creative and more efficient. Employees have nowhere to turn should DRMC reduce hours or benefits - especially they're "of the Delta" and can't fathom any better place to call home.

It will be difficult to discern any winners if management changes because the changes will be brought by financial struggles and other maladies whether self-inflicted or not. Someone loses their job...the community sees its only hospital on a shaky foundation (especially with Medicaid reimbursements being scrutinized)...the hospital can only cut back on its services, thus making it anti-competitive with regional medical offerings and county leaders face prospects of using tax money to bail a bucket-full of red ink.

The taxpayer gets it no matter what. I must admit that some clouds have no silver lining.

L.R. is right about DRMC. There will be no winners... not locally anyway. Proprietary health care (privately owned) will boom in the 21st century, as health care costs explode. Public funding sources will quickly run dry and the private investor will be the last salvation of public health care as we know it.

Actually, it's a pretty safe investment. Given the declining health of most Americans, particularly in the South, I can only see the need for more and better health care facilities.

Health care won't be the first industry that turned to private investors for its survival... look at the auto and oil industries. If I had to bet on the security of my investment in one of these three industries, I would surely choose health care. Oil prices fluctuate as do auto sales in proportion, but when was the last time you heard someone predict that the need for, or cost of, health care would be declining.

As for DRMC's future, no one can be certain. As stewards of public funds, the administration must be held accountable and be responsive to the public's wishes. If the winds of change are truly blowing, lets hope they bring the needed changes to our faltering health care facilities.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Musings and Mules...

The word on the street is that DRMC may soon be under new ownership, or at least management. Of course, this has been rumored since shortly after the merger of the two hospitals, so who knows where the truth lies. I have many friends who work at DRMC and two have reported that work hours are being cut in an effort to save money. That is a commendable effort, but it may be too little, too late.

If providing cost efficient health care was among DRMC's long range goals, purchasing King's Daughters was not a very wise decision. What happened to the vision of a new hospital? Why are so many local physicians leaving the area? Most hospital mergers are intended to eliminate duplicated services, allowing for new technology and expanded services. So what new or expanded services have we seen as a result of this merger?

Of course it is easy to look down from 40 thousand feet and still miss the big picture... but, I just don't see it. Quality medical care is vital to Greenville's ability to attract industry and jobs. Health care and Education in the Delta share one unfortunate commonality. Both are viewed by citizens as entitlements which should largely be supported by our tax dollars. As tax payers (or not) we should all have access to public education and basic health care... and we do. However, if we expect "quality" and "positive outcomes" in either of these basic services, we must invariably turn to the private sector.

Let's face it, government run programs are generally not noted for their efficiency or effectiveness. I think the recent FEMA debacle proves that. I believe that it was Mr. Twain himself who so aptly stated, "The most efficient way to starve a mule to death is to put a government committee in charge of feeding him. The mule will die quickly and ultimately, there will be no one to blame."


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"Local Reflector" Speaks Up

Look higher up the social totem pole if we're searching for reasons why the work force isn't strong and why industry recruitment is such a tough job. To lay industrial recruiting efforts solely on the "lazy" gives the "lazy" class credit for working hard enough to actually ruin industrial development.

I'll argue that we should look to those who oppose too much Greenville connection to the proposed I-69 and those who oppose running I-69 through Bolivar County because it will make it more difficult to plow the fields. These are well-regarded families and individuals in the Delta....."visionaries."

The DDT piece on the I-69 disunity leading the interstate to omitting Washington County is more spot-on than readers will imagine. Greenville will continue drying up until that Inter state's built in 15-18 years IF base changes aren't made to leadership's thinking. Then, new infrastructure will only be a piece of the Economic Recovery Pie. The I-69 article was compelling but didn't hit the heart of this highway building issue as it's opposition is local in nature not at the bureaucratic levels.

Another article was the Greenville Public Schools' ten-point plan of action. The wording was vague and its terms are not measurable to any standards. But, it's a step forward from what previous school administrators have done. The people reflect the schools' abilities and vice versa. If you look at workforce issues, consider the training sources your tax dollars mandatorially (is that a word?) support and their effectiveness.

But, we run in circles on these issues and you keep paying an ever-growing tab. Sorry to hear about the balloon festival and air show. It's better to have no event than one that doesn't meet the standards of the organizers. Pretty much every major city event is on ice, isn't it? Besides the sanctimonious Blues Festival - that requires public financing but would fold had it been any other event - is anything standing on its own legs these days besides the Catfish Races?

I hate to break the news L.R., but not even the Blues Festival is flourishing! The first problem is that all of the true Blues artists are dying off. Note that the name has been changed to the "Delta Blues and Heritage Festival"... "heritage" encompassing everything from Rap to Reggae.

It is not the same Blues Fest that began in the '70's on the back of a flatbed trailer. I am a fan of Blues music and appreciate its true art form; but I abandoned the "Festival" years ago as its quality wained.

Surely Greenville's footnote in history will be more significant than "home of the catfish races".


Monday, July 17, 2006

"Youth Movement" Responds

Really ??

Greenville can not compete with five dollar a day wages or sweatshops working children in a country that has no Government oversight, No minimum wage, If you loose your hand your just simply out of a job. Wake up !!

Quit blaming Greenville, Its leaders, Its people. Our problems are not unlike most Mississippi towns. I hope the south wind blows you and every negative thinker right out of this town.

I don't think that anyone is suggesting doing away with the minimum wage. Quite the contrary, the national push seems to be in favor of increasing it. After all, you can't even purchase 2 gallons of gas these days for $5.15.

The problem with the local workforce is not how much (or how little) we pay them, but their work ethics. Productivity and profit are the cornerstones of capitalism.

Example: You need someone to rake the leaves in your yard. Two people offer to do the job for you. Worker "A" offers to rake your entire yard for $20.00. Worker "B" says he will do the job for $6.00 per hour. Which offer do you take? Who do you think will finish the job first? Herein lies the question of ethics.

If Worker "A's" goal is to secure a steady income, he will do the job well in minimal time and move on to the next job, increasing his total wage per hour and increase his chance for future income. Conversely, if Worker "B's" goal is to simply "earn" $30 dollars, you can bet that your job will take him 5 hours, and you will probably never see him again.

No one is suggesting that we revert to indentured servitude.... simply an honest day's work, for an honest day's pay. It is our safety net of "entitlement programs" that has lowered the bar of workforce ethics... If I can earn $5.00+ per hour for "hanging out", why would I want to rake leaves?


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Workforce Woes

NAFTA has little to do with the job situation in Greenville. The problem lies within the community. Industry will move here because it can get cheap labor, only to find out later that the workers are not worth even bothering with. And that hurts the qualified skilled labor force that can actually provide reliable service to an employer.

The whining, welfare workforce in this town will forever make it even less desirable to future investors unless they just want people to push brooms or hire the type that stand in the aisles of Wal-Mart to ignore you.

If the North wind blows in the smell of cooking rice to the city, I wonder what comes through when the South wind passes over the waste water treatment plant?

The writer makes a good point. It is difficult to find people in the Delta who truly want to work. Sure they take the job when offered, but they fail to see the connection between performance and paycheck.

If they pass a pre-employment drug screen, which is a big "if" in the Delta, employees enter a race to see who can do the least for the longest. If you address their performance, you are being discriminatory because "no one else does any more than me"... which in most cases, is true.

They don't care if they are fired because they can then get unemployment, food stamps, TANF, and eventually disability income. Most will qualify for Medicaid which provides the same level of medical care provided through employee benefits, for a mere $3.00 co-pay.

So, what are the incentives for a person to enter the unskilled workforce of the Delta? They are all listed above. You have to have worked to qualify for most of the state and federal assistance programs, so to take a job and then lose it, becomes the only prequalifying event.

What has been created in the Delta is a subculture who is very adept at how to "work the system". The result is that programs intended to be temporary subsistence for the needy have evolved into full time careers for the lazy.

We created this system and have permitted its abuse for years. As I stated before, not until we make working more lucrative than not working, will we attract a workforce that values a job.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Bringing Up the Rear

So much for my decoding of cryptic messages... another anonymous writer clues me in on the previous cinema quote...

"IMHO, the other anonymous writer, is speaking in satire. Robert Duvall was standing in the middle of a battlefield with everything being blown up around him when he made the statement.... smells like victory.

Industry in Greenville has been blown to hell and the city still thinks that it is winning in the effort to find jobs. MasterFools is not expanding off it's property. It is actually shrinking it's manpower and support for some of the remaining hourly employees. Any skilled labor that is looking for work in Greenville needs to turn elsewhere. Salaries around here are being evaluated by the wages paid when this town was a cotton king - real cheap.

Greenville and Washington County may hail many laurels in their endeavors to improve business and employment, but everytime I see a company hire in people for the lowest wages that they can, it makes me sick. The Delta is the laughing stock of the nation and Greenville is the handle of the stick. "

"Laughing stock of the nation"... I doubt that we are that important, but the message is clear, you get what you pay for. I believe that it was a Textron manager who coined the phrase "Delta time", which is defined as getting 40 minutes of productivity for 60 minutes of pay. Until we make "working" more lucrative than "not working", we will continue to be at the rear of the pack. As they say in Alaska about sled-dogs, "If you're not the lead dog, the view never changes."


Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Way We Were

While doing a little (late) spring cleaning in my attic, I ran across a very old document entitled 1850 Census by State. For the state of Mississippi, it reported census numbers by county. It was quite interesting, so I thought I would share what our county looked like 156 years ago. I tried to scan the document; however, it was not legible when I tried to post it, so I will simply relate each statistic as recorded in the 1850 Census of Washington County:

White Males: 339
White Females: 207
White Total: 546

Colored Free: 7
Colored Slave: 7,836

All Classes, Male: 4,402
All Classes, Female: 3,987

Total Population 1850: 8,389
Total Population 1840: 7,287

Born out of state (US): 368
Born in Foreign Country: 21

Total Dwellings: 126
Total Families: 126

White Scholars during Year: 53
Whites 5 and under 20 years old: 131
Whites over 20 unable to read & write: 1

Accommodation of Churches (Persons): 300

Doing a little math, it would appear that each "dwelling / family" was comprised of 4.3 people. We can assume that these are white families, since there were only 7 freed slaves at the time. Apparently each "family" had a "dwelling", so we can infer that the concept of the duplex had yet to be invented.

Washington County was 94% black ("colored") which was owned by the other 6% (white). That would allow for each white male to own approximately 23 slaves each (women couldn't own slaves). You have to wonder what those 7 freed slaves were doing.

As for education, we did pretty well. We had 53 Scholars and only one white person over 20 who could not read and write. It should be noted that "Scholars" most likely refers to grammar school graduates since there were no colleges or universities at the time.

It appears that there were adequate church pews for the white population in 1850. I doubt that slaves were allowed to worship in mass.

From 1840 to 1850, Washington County increased its population by 14%, although, my bet would be that slaves accounted for a large part of that figure. It is interesting to step back and see where we were just 150 years ago. Much has changed. It is equally as interesting to project what Washington County, Mississippi, will look like in the next century.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Scoop for the "Scoop"?

This cryptic message was submitted by an anonymous writer:

"I love the smell of MasterFoods in the morning. It smells like....industry.
Ha! A fan of Robert Duvall!"

I can only assume that this comment may have something to do with the secret industry that Washington County has been courting. Of course MasterFoods is already in Greenville, but perhaps they are proposing some type of expansion or new product line. This is only speculation on my part, but if true, it would be great news for Greenville.

Perhaps the anonymous author would care to confirm or deny my assumptions.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

More Thoughts and Happy 4th!

"Red Dog" offers this observation:

Money talks, bullshit walks. Again, show me the organizations chomping at the bits to have a convention in downtown Greenville, Mississippi, USA, that will pour a couple of million, with an "M" into the local economy.

Take the family to Disney World for that weekend and grin and bear it. You support the casinos, don't you? Oh, I forget, I see you all in Tunica and Vicksburg on the weekends..

What hypocrites!

Another anonymous writer posts:

OK, here's the deal. Showfest has broad appeal to the lowest common denominator of the area. The segment of the population that pays property taxes and owns businesses and purchases the hefty car tags DOES NOT SUBSIDIZE SHOWFEST. Yes, they are in the minority. Yes, that is regrettable; Greenville was a hub of cultural activity at one point.

The continued loss of the business/leisure class has resulted in a ridiculous grab for a skinfest---excuse me----Showfest as an alternative to actual entertainment and hopeful revenue for the City.

I think it's time to let Showfest drive off into the sunset. Deltans will never agree on the definition or value of entertainment. If we did, we wouldn't need 95 different television channels and multiple sets in each home.

Those who say good riddance to Showfest assert that we have lowered or compromised our standards for the sake of the almighty buck. Is this true? Well, it depends on your anticipated goals. Consider...

If you enjoy fishing for the sake of enjoyment and recreation, your ultimate goal may be to spend quality time outdoors with family or friends. Whether you come home with a string of fish is secondary to the simple enjoyment of fishing.

However, if your livelihood depends on fishing, you best be well informed about where the fish are located, what type of bait to use, as well as when you have fished a hole dry, so you can move on to another. Your survival depends on it.

So, money will continue to be made on events like Showfest... it just won't be in Greenville. There are plenty of good "anglers" out there that will welcome the opportunity to bring home that sizable catch.

The question now becomes, "What is Greenville willing to support?" We don't support local bars and restaurants. We don't support cultural or literary events. We don't support professional sporting events. We don't even support local health care facilities, merchants, or even our own airport. How many times have you driven to Jackson or Memphis to shop, see a doctor, or catch a flight?

At the end of the day, what we don't support most, it each other. We expect outsiders to want to invest in our community and then criticise them for expecting to make a profit. Question... If you inherited 10 million dollars today on the sole condition that you stay in Greenville and open a business, what would that business be?

In closing, Happy 4th to all. Go out to Shelban Park and support our local efforts to celebrate our independence!


Sunday, July 02, 2006

More "Scoop" on Showfest

An anonymous writer offers the following comment:

"This Sunday's D.D.T. reports the demise of showfest. But I must say. I saw it here on The Scoop first. Maybe The Scoop is the true resource for breaking news stories. Support Forthright - CONTRIBUTE."

"Local Reflector" reflects on the broad economic losses associated with this event:

It's great that someone posted the Showfest information on the Delta Scoop and that "Forthright" - our new blog-master - quickly posted it for the community to read. This is the essence of Delta Scoop concept. But, don't confuse it with competing with the Delta Democrat Times. Local dialogue is a community concern. I commend the Times for covering the story as it's highly important and an issue that transcends a "Showfest"; it means the loss of outside revenue or new cash coming into town.

Why is that important?

Well, if you consider the numbers of locals who rely on government subsidies/direct payouts, you have a prescribed amount of cash arriving monthly in local mailboxes. The good news is that this cash doesn't shrink when the economy shrinks and is resistant, in actual amounts, to the ebb and flow of market economics. All the utility companies and landlords can count on so much money being available the first week of every month. The drawback is that while this financial infusion is stable, it never grows and it never creates economic booms. It's enough money to keep a roof over one's head, but one will never see middle class status by relying on it. If its buying power, community-wide, fails, then you're experiencing an influx of welfare recipients or more jobs have left - jobs which likely paid somewhat better wages.

When an event like Showfest can perform in Greenville, suddenly you have a flow of income directly into local merchants' coffers and the city accounts. It's all disposal, after-tax income and, given recent years, it makes people happy except the churches who need something tangible to fight (as opposed to tackling moral apathy which we know exists but cannot physically see) and the people who purposely cruise HWY 82 near Raceway Road in hopes of being offended.

Now, one of Greenville's 52 yearly weekends is darkened by another event's assumed "death." Was a million dollars a day in economic impact killed with it? Maybe if you count how many times the outside cash will turn over within the community. Nonetheless, that's wasted economic impact which the beloved Blues Festival will not match anytime soon.

If you check economic impact, why couldn't the city have helped Showfest? What makes the Blues Festival culturally superior to a car show, when the city's bottom-line is what's most important? The answer is nothing. One event packed the city's major thoroughfare for two nights a year and sold motels out. The other draws about four thousand (maybe) people to an open field to hear great music but not hang around long enough to eat more than one meal in town.

Ten grand given to hire a band would've given the city cash to tighten the security a little better. The city shouldn't support a car show that cannot afford to support itself, unlike the Blues Festival.

I am running off into a tangent, but the more you hash our ideas and issues, the more certain things become apparent as to why things are as they are. The issue isn't Showfest, it's economics. When a community is so inclined to consider local government as a job-creating entity and substitute grants as proof of economic development, maybe it cannot understand that a little accomodation for perceived inconveniences can go a long way. And to think, Showfest wasn't in the city soaking up tax exemptions and making a bunch of empty promises. It just wanted to hold a show at a convention center whose grounds were perfect for such an event. Maybe the problem is that event organizers aren't deceptive enough in proclaiming they can usher in two days of economic "heaven" every year.

"Local Reflector"

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"Local Reflector" on Showfest

That entire posting, as printed on the Showfest website forum, will spell the end of the annual event.

First, it was given a community reprieve because it helped raise funds for Burn Center. When it lost that "protection," it can be assumed that the Showfest would decline on some peoples' eyes. Second, for all the shootings and "violence" surrounding Showfest, I wonder how many of the defendants/suspects were actually Showfest visitors. You can't blame the Showfest crowd for the behavior of Greenvillians.

It never hit me that the entire local media was "negative" towards the Showfest. Maybe editorials, but I saw more positive reviews of Showfest than negative when you come right down to it. The lack of dialogue with local politicians can be understood because what local leader can really be seen embracing the Showfest? The community, in many sectors, simply doesn't recognize that Showfest was one of the few events where outside money circulated inside the city limits - a cash infusion.

My interpretation is that the politicians understood this and stayed relatively quiet through it all and turning a blind eye towards public consumption on the boulevard and female breast exposure - the exposure being the only unique "crime" being committed; people drink on Greenville's streets all the time. There are ways to play the political game in these controversial cases and I question whether the Showfest organizers played it to Delta specifications. The lack of sponsorships can be laid at the organizers' feet, but with 8 people, that could be extremely difficult. Shoot, the mighty Blues fest hardly gets medium-dollar advertisements.

So, if you drop the customary "blame the media" argument, the points for ending Showfest are quite compelling. I'm betting dwindling attendance and few sponsorships to pay the overhead costs played much higher roles than local public image. It's tough luring money into the Port City. Besides, the Showfest was designed for out-of-towners primarily.

What happens next, Greenville? There's no more burn center so no more incentive to organize local events around its money needs. There's no more Stingers. The Bluesmen are a memory (a cherished memory at that)Do you think the once-a-year Mississippi Valley State basketball game will tide you over every winter?

One day, it will have to turn around. I mean there is place called "Rock Bottom," then there's nothing else to do but spin around and head the other way.

Friday, June 30, 2006

"Showfest" Departs Delta

Dear fellow MiniTruckers,

It is with great regret that I inform you that ASSORTED has decided to cancel SHOWFEST for an indefinite period––possibly forever.

We want to thank everyone who helped us build a club run show from the ground up. We were honored over the years and awed by your enthusiasm and support. Thank you so much for the friendships, the sponsorships, and the volunteers who worked so hard to pull off what seemed like impossible odds at times. We hope we’ve given you some great memories and good times.

Among some of our reasons for this decision are (but not limited to) escalating costs, loss of the Burn Center, safety concerns, lack of dialog with some city officials, negative media, lack of sponsorships, decreasing attendance, and the logistics of trying to move the show to a new location. All of which would have to be overcome by just eight members. And quite honestly...we need a break. It was not an easy decision and we hope that you will understand.

Again, THANK YOU for 11 great years!

Peace out,

“Chunks” Burnley

Whether you are a Showfest fan or not, here is another economic loss for Greenville. Some will say good riddance; others will truly miss a unique festival that brought many tourists and dollars to our city. Surely, somewhere between literary festivals and hot-rods, Greenville will find an event that it will support. Good luck, Chunks.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"Scales" Weighs the Options

I have to assume the plan to build a new federal building would be at the taxpayers expense. Agreeing with Forthright WHY!!!.

It has always been apparent to myself that the Feds have always maintained a high level of maintenance for any of their facilities. I wonder now if this becomes a reality where will the new convention center be built? What economy affect will this produce along Walnut St.? What effect it will have on any plans to build a Blues Quarters? What effect it would have on the lingering question of the city to claim Eminent Domain in this area? Could it be that plans to build a convention center or Blues Quarters could possibly be that all these future plans, which we the citizens have no knowledge of, will be moved to the land site of the old Chicago mill area?

Understanding that the possibility that this new building may be in completion with the city of Cleveland in Bolivar County. Just thinking along here, would the new building better serve the people since the new interstate would be coming through Bolivar County with a new bridge at Rosedale. Have we compared the growth rate of Greenville to Cleveland? Do the feds view Greenville as a dying town? Does the Federal Government want Federal business mixed in with week end street parties along Walnut St.? All that property would then become federal property which would include a large parking area possibility consuming the entire block?

If I were a betting man, my money would be on Cleveland where a lot of the federal dollars are being spent for the bridge and interstate. As far as the revitalization contribution stated by the Chamber, I applaud their thoughts and comments, but that's what dreams are made of. Where it stands now has had no impact on the revitalization effort so how would one block down contribute? The new imprinted streets made no significant contributions, Walnut St. has made no outstanding contributions, I would hesitate to even suggest that four lanes of Washington Ave. will be [no] benefit. In my opinion relocating to Cleveland would be more beneficial to Greenville. We then would have lease space in the vacant offices for a variety of local business, Attorney's etc.

Like I said I was just thinking.


Scales poses some excellent questions regarding the impact that a new federal building might have on other proposed downtown revitalization projects. If the Blues Quarter proposal does become a reality, it would seem that a large federal building in the middle of an entertainment district might seem a bit out of place. A modern convention center would certainly attract more people to the downtown area than a new federal building.

As for Cleveland being the Feds' new home, it is certainly a possibility. Cleveland is a thriving community that is extremely involved in recruiting new industry and commerce. If the I-69 route stays as proposed, Cleveland will certainly gain the lion's share of economic benefits.

I have to agree with Scales that linking downtown revitalization with a new federal building seems a bit of a stretch. I will admit that a trip to Lowe's will kill the better part of a boring afternoon, but I just can't see myself calling a friend and saying, "Let's go down to that new federal building and get us a couple of new social security cards".... well, not for a few more years anyway.


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Boon or Boon-doggle?

I read with great interest, the article in today's DDT regarding the building of a new federal building. One proposed site is the old Stein Mart location, literally one block away from the federal building's current location. The only thing I did not understand from the article is why we need a new federal building. If I am not mistaken, the current structure was build in the 1960's and designed for the then perceived "growth" of Greenville.

The last time I was in the federal building, it did not seem dilapidated or in severe disrepair. Sure, it is a bit dated, but does that warrant the expenditure of countless tax dollars for a new building?

Since the main post office will remain in its current location, what is the plan for the rest of the current federal building? If there is no plan, my guess would be that the net result of this project will yield two things: first, increased tax liability for all residents and second, more empty space in downtown Greenville.

Sure, it would be great to see a new facility being built in downtown Greenville, but it would also be great to drive down Main extended and not have to dodge pot holes or "hazard markers", (the city's latest low cost solution).

I am not opposed to any project which will help Greenville regain its once vital downtown; however, I do not understand how moving an existing service building one block away is going to enhance the downtown. Will it provide new or better services and create jobs? Will its new location be more convenient... one block away? Maybe I am behind the 8 ball on this one, but I would love for someone to reveal the logic and inherent value behind this building proposal.


L.R. says, "Get real!"

It's regrettable to see so many excellent homes lose value due to civic/social circumstances. But, regarding appraised values in the area, I always questioned the methods by which the appraisers could value Greenville homes so much. In many cases, it seems highly unrealistic.

Likewise, I find the tax valuations always dubious because there's no way land values can be rising. For instance, there's a house on Deer Creek listed for $500,000. Get real! Maybe someone told the owners they could get that amount - and maybe they will - but Geez it seems high given a strict buyers' market that exists in parts of Greenville and other areas around Washington. I think there are great values in property in the area if you're into owning rental properties. They're bought cheap and can be profitable. That's one stock in which I buy - the area's rental scene. I'd also buy options in the local steakhouses, which are excellent.

Local Reflector

I agree with L.R. that local property values seem a bit inflated; however, there is a great difference between the listing price and the selling price. Apparently, someone places a high value on our property. I received my home-owner's escrow account statement last week and both my property taxes and home-owner's insurance had increased almost 2.5%. It appears that the "price" of Greenville is falling, while its "costs" just keep going up.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Price of Greenville

"red white&blue" poses the following question:

If the city of Greenville was listed on the stock market how much would the purchase price be and how many shares would you be willing to buy?

I was born and raised here. I have lived here most of my life. You really get a different picture of Greenville if you move away and come back. I have done that on several occasions with my job. I remember the Greenville of old and to see her as it is today makes me want to cry. To see KDH closed, to see General hospital (DRMC as you know it today) and to see Washington Ave. with its closed business it is so sad, To see crime like it is. I don't personally believe we have had 54% drop in violent crime. There is a lot of crime that the general public is not aware of.

This is a very interesting question. If you judge the worth of a city by its collective property values, Greenville is certainly a buyer's market. Many long time home owners in Greenville are bailing out as property values decline. Several homeowners who have invested thousands of dollars in improving their homes are being forced to take below appraised value in order to sell.

A home is generally considered one of the largest investments we make, and like all investments, we would like to see at least a nominal return on our investment. Here lies the problem. Supply far exceeds demand. Very few people are moving into Greenville. Most of the local home sales are citizens who are either leaving Greenville or moving south of town.

Real estate is much like the stock market. You invest on the assumption that you will turn a profit over time. In reality, Greenville is not a very promising investment, residentially or commercially. We all remain hopeful that projects like I-69 or the Blues Quarter will come to fruition and turn Greenville around; however, it is difficult to project what Greenville will look like ten years from now. I welcome all thoughts on this matter.


Monday, June 19, 2006

"Bill" Booms Out!

1. What is good or getting better about Greenville?

  • Public Education is actually improving at least in the lower grades. I don't know why. Maybe the salaries are drawing in greater qualifications and teaching ability?
  • The city leaders are actually improving in actually doing something rather than talking about what could be done?

2. On the other hand (here it goes) why is it that we pat ourselves on the back so much about our success with "race relations" when in reality there is just as much animosity from the black community, or vice versa depending on one's, ah, perspective. Why don't we just admit there are some differences we can't stand about each other and state those differences? OK now, let's start telling what we don't like about each others' culture or whatever you want to call it.

  • Boom Boom car radios. Why do I still hear it and why are there no tickets issued or fines paid?
  • Why is there a driver's insurance liability law and I haven't heard of one person ticketed or fined or paid a fine?
  • Why doesn't the DDT publish municipal court arrests, convictions and fines levied and/or paid; and why not publish bankruptcies; why not publish more DRMC letters (I know; it's the advertising budget!)

Add yours here later!

"Bill" raises two very important issues here. First, there are aspects of our community which are improving, like elementary education and a reportedly lower crime rate. And for all the heat that Mayor Hudson has endured, we have seen more action of late from our public officials. Perhaps the tide is turning and we are uniting to attack the actual issues that plague Greenville, rather than blaming the "other" group for their existence.

As to Bill's Boom Box issue, it begs the question "why have laws on the books that we don't enforce?" Well, first of all, I would bet that fines have been levied for all of these offences (on occasion). Secondly, laws have a two-fold purpose. One is to punish those who violate them and the other is to serve as a deterrent to those who may consider such actions. Laws reflect a society's values; their enforcement reflects its culture.

While a headline in the DDT proclaiming, "Ten Boom Boxers Busted" might bring joy to the hearts of many, it would spark just as much criticism from those who feel that the police could better utilize their time tracking guns and drugs. Bill's points are well taken.

By the way, since 1912, it has been illegal for a motor vehicle operator to back a moving vehicle from a private driveway onto a public thoroughfare. (But let's just keep that one to ourselves...)


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Speak Up Delta!

Okay, it has been over a week since I took the reins as blog-master of the Delta Scoop and no one has submitted any commentaries. I have had several congratulatory messages expressing gratitude for saving the "Scoop", but no real issues on which to expound. Surely, we can not have exhausted all topics of local interest.

Here is one of my concerns. In discussing with friends some of the previous issues addressed on the Scoop, it has been said to me, "I started to write something, but I don't write very well."; or "I wanted to respond, but I thought I would sound stupid."

Okay, let's address three basic points:

  1. This is not a writing contest. It is a blog dealing with local opinions, views and beliefs.
  2. The reason contributors are anonymous is to allow everyone to voice his/her thoughts without fear of being "labeled" or personally ridiculed.
  3. This should be fun! If you want national news or sports, check CNN, but for lively debate and discussion of local topics, the "Scoop" is your place!
As a long time reader, I truly enjoy the spirited "verbal volleys" that often arise on the Scoop. Most of all, I enjoy knowing that there are still people in our community who care about local issues and want to see the Delta grow and prosper. The value of this forum is that it stimulates thought and discussion among us, which is always the first step toward change.

Now, I am off of my soapbox, so hopefully, you will get on yours! Let's hear from you. I am always open to suggestions and new ideas. Let's hear the good, the bad and even the bizarre... so just speak up Delta!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"MuchIsUnjust" writes:

Welcome Forthright. I look forward to reading the Scoop under new leadership. Perhaps you should have chosen "Forthwright", meaning that you will be a workman straightforward and direct in your leadership of Delta Scoop.

Thanks, "Much"! There are many meanings to the moniker that I have chosen, yours being one that I certainly hope to live up to. The Delta Scoop already has some excellent contributors, all of whom I hope will stay with me. I also want to reach out to those who remain silent on topics of local interest. Everyone has ideas, beliefs and opinions... so bring 'em on Delta. I will always be Forthright!

Monday, June 12, 2006


"Cautious Optimist" writes:

Glad that someone's agreed to carry the blog forward. Although the discussions get a bit heated (or, more often, simply sarcastic) at times, I believe that outlets such as this do serve a healthy function.

A Bold New Adventure

Never let a good thing go... and the Delta Scoop is a good thing! As an avid reader of the "Scoop", I could not sit idly by and see the Local Reflector's diligent efforts to solicit our ideas, views and beliefs, simply become a historical footnote.

Therefore, with great trepidation, I have agreed to take the reins as the Delta Scoop's new "Blog-master". Having no experience on this side of a blog, I ask that you all be patient with my technical skills. Local Reflector has agreed to remain active throughout this transition for which I am truly grateful.

No, I do not know the identity of the "Local Reflector". I accepted his invitation to continue the Delta Scoop as blindly as he offered it. I only hope that I can live up to the tradition of lively conversation that sparks new ideas. I am very appreciative of LR's trust in me to continue his "brain-child" in the true spirit of debate. I also want to thank all of those who have shared their ideas on the Delta Scoop and hope you will continue. This is a forum about ideas, opinions, and beliefs. It's goal is to stimulate thought and conversation. It has certainly done that for me.

Since LR wishes to retain his well deserved moniker, I shall assume the name "Forthright".

Much Appreciation to All

LR writes:

Thanks for those of you still dropping by to see if anything's written on Delta Scoop. To think of how many blogs are on the Internet, this one grabs a small slice of interested and often like-minded people. I'm one of those people and I bet we've shared many a common thoughts despite the "heat" generated by the various topics that arise.

I spent the weekend setting up Delta Scoop so I may turn the reigns over to the new blogmaster as seamlessly as possible. I think I've nearly achieved it and will maintain co-publishing duties until we're both confident that the new blogmaster can man the controls. It isn't hard but it does take time.

You'll notice that you may leave guest comments by using the comments link underneath each posted commentary. If you click it, a box pops up and you may write anonymously or offer a moniker such as "Property Owner," "Big Head" or "Scales" (already taken). If you think you'll contribute more than once, conjure a nickname and stick with it. It helps you develop your online character and makes for stimulating other readers' imaginations with thoughts of "I wonder who that person really is?"

To those who've corresponded with me via email, I written quick notes to tell them of the change of writers and to request they continue active readership. In some cases, I offended one-time supporters more than I ever dreamed possible. I wrote them as well to say "come back." That's because a new line of thinking, maybe different, maybe not, will emerge soon.

The responsibility of serving even dozen of readers on a daily basis is not one taken lightly. This new blogmaster, in my opinion, must set aside twenty minutes a day towards maintaining the Scoop at its present level of discussion. It takes twenty minutes for me to sit and type a commentary of thoughts on most days. It's much easier, quicker and interesting when some of you offer your opinions on a regular basis. The writers behind the names "Solemnis," "Oneheckuvajob," "Delta Watchdog," "Scales," "Property Owner" and the brief tenure "Eleanorigby" contributed handsomely while keeping the variety of opinion fresh.

One nice article a week from seven people means the Delta Scoop gets a quality thought of someone who cares about the community. This is in addition to new blogmaster's contributions/answers/challenges to what others are saying. The blogmaster should be one who challenges you whether you like the opinion or not. He/She should also exercise taste and decorum to control the nasty side effects that WILL arise from offering anonymous thoughts on most any topic under the sun. It's a learning process that will pay off with a sense of inner pride and volunteer public service, no matter how unique that public service.

I know that several readers are people who've moved far away, yet still feel a connection with an area where they've invested many years. Don't think you can't contribute because you're not within the Delta or Greenville. You lived there and have thoughts, concerns and praises about your former home. By all means, share it! I think it prevented a few out-of-towners from offering thoughts because they thought it didn't matter. Well, I moderated Delta Scoop from out-of-town for several months and held my own while allow former neighbors and friends a place to type/write what topics they deemed necessary. The Internet places us in every geographical area we choose.

I must confess that I did edit people's guest commentaries, since so many guests (mostly angry at my philosophical stance) accused me of wielding the knife. On about half the commentaries, I went in and corrected the spelling and grammatical errors that popped up when proofreading! That's it! I did that as much as possible to clarify a person's statement and the cover their tracks because they may've been tired or something when offering a guest comment. I never said a word about people's spelling because their opinion and their sharing of that opinion is of most importance.

Now, it's my understanding that the new blogmaster is busy conjuring a great new "blogmaster" name. I was gonna relinquish my "Local Reflector" title, but realized that meant I lost my entire account permanently and couldn't post on Red Dog's blog or on Delta Scoop without creating a new identity. was the one kink we couldn't work out.

If you have a nifty name for the new blogmaster/publisher, email it to this person's new "official" Delta Scoop email address:


Have a great Monday and let's keep local thought rolling! Heck, go ahead and venture a new commentary to get the new blogmaster up and publishing!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

LR writes:

I'm a statistics person and if the Feds say violent crimes are down over 50%, then I'll take it and congratulate the area for the crackdown! For the longest time, it seemed nothing worked in the effort to slice into the violent trends, but federal intervention seems to be working. It worked in Clarksdale as well during its gang heyday of earlier this decade. Even if they're fudging the stats somewhat, which is equally believable, I'll take the crime data as proof of a better city security situation.

I would like to know which crimes are being listed in compiling a 50% decrease in violent crime. It appears obvious but selective choices can make statistics go up and down. Murders - one in the past year - is wonderful news; it's so wonderful it's nearly unbelievable. My theory is that the violence of recent years was mostly the work of the underworld - victims were targeted over random violence where simple robberies turn deadly, for example. Once a purge is completed, violence would drop, maybe not completely, but it would be reduced.

Sunday's DDT is correct in its editorial. The numbers don't lie and if these statistics continue as they're going (though going 11 months without murder cannot be improved), then perceptions will change.

Maybe the city will release data on the less-than-high-profile crimes like burglary, vandalism and robbery. Maybe I should say that I hope the city will release honest data in those fields. Even if it isn't as good as the murder rate dropping, it could outline challenge for the next local frontier in making Greenville feel safe and be safe for the 90% of its citizens who play by the rules.


Progress is being made on a transfer of the Scoop to someone who, I think, will act in a noble fashion and continue a fine little tradition here. I know I'll be contributing through guest comments, but you'll have someone on the ground to be relevant.

Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Is Bennie the Best Choice?

LR writes: Okay, since someone's stepped forward with great interest, and the intellect, to continue Delta Scoop, I'll offer another commentary to keep things flowing. I was around long enough to live under the representation of Bennie Thompson and to see the challengers come and go. Earlier this week, "Red Dog" on said he's the best the Delta will receive in the U.S. House and cited Congressman Thompson's growing seniority, which means closer steps to chairmanships and other preferred positions.

I commend the Thompson campaign for handily eliminating State Rep. Chuck Espy. The Espy name is recognized nationally and many thought this would be his toughest primary challenge to date. Maybe, by statistics, it was tougher than other primaries, but it was still a landslide choice by Second District Democrats and revealed that Mr. Thompson has a "base of support" within the larger "base" called Democratic voters.

Next is Tchula's Republican mayor Yvonne Brown. We know there aren't enough Republicans to win Thompson's seat without high numbers of crossover votes. Clinton Leseuer tapped a disgruntled Democrat core and came within seven percentage points of toppling Thompson four years ago.

Clinton B. lost by twelve points overall, so stealing seven of those would've put in Washington, D.C. Can Brown do it?

It might be a little more likely because she actually won an election as a Republican and as a Deltan. But, she's East Delta and I don't think the name recognition is there. Congressman Thompson has name recognition and political machines in all the larger Delta towns and has "get out the vote" machines in the small towns and rural areas where bestowing federal grants and calming fears of investigations make him Godfather-like. On first glance, I say expect a Thompson re-election.

Is Thompson the best leader for the area?

Well, he's what you'll get as long as keeps doing what he's doing and controlling the local politicians. That's the way politics works behind the scenes and he's good at it. The Seniority issues don't bother me as much in terms of his possible chairmanship of House committees. Red Dog touts the seniority issue and the chance Democrats have of possibly claiming a U.S. House majority. It's a plausible hypothesis, but Congressman Thompson WAS in the Agricultural Committee, then was moved to Homeland Security. Both are important, but WHICH is more directly important to the Delta? Hint: Think agriculture. But, with a House majority, he'd chair Homeland Security - no small job. You make up your mind; I've made up mine and prefer the Agriculture Committee. Sorry Red Dog.

The simple fact to assume is the notion of what's "good living" or a high quality of life in Mississippi's Delta. If you think you enjoy such an experience and that the elements of the world which are semi-controlled with federal dollars (schools, some roads, etc) are bettering your daily life better than it could be obtained outside the 2nd District, then I recommend supporting Thompson. Popular media has told us for years that things are great and that trends are reversing; you've read it and I've read it. If not, and you want other leadership, then begin developing strategies for the crowd that can't tell you anything about politics yet vote in enough numbers to influence local elections. The concentration of those voting based on name recognition alone, in my opinion, is quite high - negating these stacked "debates" at Valley or whereever else where issues are discussed but really the Bennie's opponent is mocked in an unprofessional manner while the crowd hoots, howls and laughs. I saw the Lesueur/Thompson debate a couple of years ago in person.

I left it thinking that casting any ballot was a waste of time.


I, LR, believe it is coming very soon and it's great to be able to have a locally-based person assume leadership. There are a few transitional things to work out, but I think it can happen smoothly. I'll still carry an interest and will post, but the leader will be someone with eyes and ears in around the area.
I'll ask you to remember two websites on which the Delta Scoop may be found. These two websites both work 24/7, so if one goes down or changes, the other will be there. - That's obvious. I paid for one year's access to this address and will try to transfer it to the new blogmaster if I can and if the Scoop continues as it has. - this is actually the backbone web address offered by the folks at (hosts of the Delta Scoop blog site). It's permanent as long as the blog is updated and survives. No worldwide Internet authority controls its name.
Either of these addresses take you to the same place. Jot them both down if you visit often. I use them both just to check things out.