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.