Sunday, February 24, 2008

You Have to Look Back...

"Put up" says:

Okay, let's be fair, Greenville has been sinking for years, ever since we lost our towboat industry! At that time it was all white everywhere. Today's Black (and white) officials have no control over where we have come from, only what our future can be, with everyone's help!

It is a total cop out to blame it on a race of today for what began in the late 70's during the Carter administration. It was then that our delta was hit hard and we have never recovered. Once we lost the towboats, we lost the subsidary industries, the businesses that supplied them and so on and so on. THAT is why so many have left...NO JOBS!!!!!!! It is not a race issue, it is an economy issue and has been for years and years!

Until we can find and attract more industries to replace the lost, we are in limbo and sinking further into oblivion. First thing that has to happen is to stop the blame game! We have to work together to turn it around, finger pointing and blaming has gotten us no where so far...duh? Let's try something new, let's think of what can be done and get it done!

In order for new business/industry to even consider Greenville, we have to have something to offer. A clean city, great schools and safe neighborhood communities. We need attractive shopping and variety dining, activities for everyone, young and old, culturally, physically and spiritually.

WE ARE NOT DEAD YET! Don't make it worse by sucking what little oxygen we have left out of the city with negative and non-productive complaining...take actions, let's turn it around!

Put up or shut up!

The author makes a good point. The current conditions that plague the Delta are the results of a "perfect storm". The '70's and '80's brought about many changes in our economy, schools and local industry. Agriculture gave way to "aquaculture"; the tow-boat industry fell victim to spiraling fuel prices and various manufacturing industries, such as Fruit-of-the-Loom; Mebane, and Uncle Ben's came and went.

Admittedly, we have very little control over fuel prices; however, the primary factors that attract today's industry are a stable and qualified work force, fair wages and a high quality of life for its workers. Here's where Greenville falls short.

In speaking with previous industry leaders, I was told that what had initially attracted them to Greenville was our relatively low cost of living, lack of unions and a seemingly viable and plentiful workforce. Upon their departure several years later, I inquired of these same industry leaders as to their reasons. Most pointed to two key factors.

First was the general lack of work ethic... people took no pride in their jobs, failed to show up for work, were lazy and did not seem interested in learning how to improve their skills. Many workers would habitually come to work late, often impaired and take excessive "breaks".

The second predominant factor was employee theft. I was told by one regional manager that their Greenville plant had the highest cost of employee theft out of its 72 locations, including Mexico and India. As this manager stated to me, "We would come out better fighting labor unions, than losing a third of our inventory to dishonest employees."

All of these issues go back to education, values and self-esteem. Until we can fix these problems locally, we can not expect others to bring us jobs.

Forthright

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

"however, the primary factors that attract today's industry are a stable and qualified work force, fair wages and a high quality of life for its workers."

Uh no, the primary factor for industry is profit. Industry can make a much greater profit manufacturing goods in Asia, Africa, and Central America because they do not have to pay minimum wage, provide health benefits, deal with unions, or worry about those pesky child labor laws. Industry is concerned with making its executives money, not in the welfare of its employees. Just look at the record profits big oil and big pharma have made in the past few years while our soldiers die in Iraq and our seniors struggle to afford basic medicines. That is the result of unfettered capitalism.

The hard truth is that Greenville is dying. There is no major industry to provide jobs. The minor industries will continue to hemorrhage money and shut down (just compare the downtown of today to 20 years ago). The town will continue to be divided by race and class. People will continue to move away. If you look at the communities that are economically successful in Mississippi (Oxford, Tupelo, Madison), they are the ones that, when integration happened, they actually integrated. As with much of Mississippi's history, racism is the original sin. Greenville's fate was decided 30 years ago. It's just been a long time saying goodbye...

BG

Anonymous said...

Oxford, Tupelo, and Madison didn't have the same "complexion" as Greenville, and thus had less to sacrifice by staying with the public schools. You are talking like all was equal when this "choice" was thrust upon us!

Nick Name said...

Please use a Nick Name

rd said...

"Put up"

excellent words!

Anonymous said...

I keep seeing the same old, same old on here... complaints about the systems, but no answers. People justifying their lack of support and solutions for the public school problems with a simple "I'm not sacrificing my child's education." Fine, send your children where you want. But be one of the people in the community that are still supporting the efforts to fix the public schools and help build the youth of this community. Look at all that JA does for our local children. Look at some of the scholarship programs that are trying to motivate students to aim higher. Greenville Renaissance Scholars is an awesome program; check it out. Work on exposing the problems to the right offices and authorities. The special education office at GPS is so far out of compliance with the federal laws that govern that body. Write letters, challenge them. Even if your child attends private schools, we still have rights to services through GPS for special education and other therapies(speech therapy, etc.) And just because your children do not attend that institution, does no mean you are not still responsible for the current state of it. We are all a part of the same community, and we still pay taxes that support GPS. There are so many ways to help: mentor, volunteer your talents, push for some change. And if you are one of those who does not have the time, then stop taking our time up with your complaints!

Anonymous said...

"You are talking like all was equal when this "choice" was thrust upon us!"

To what "choice" are you referring?

BG

Semi-Regular Reader said...

Here are possible answers.....

Consolidate the public schools to reflect Greenville's true population, cutting back on maintenance of old buildings while giving, at this point, many disadvantaged students new classrooms, labs, etc in which to learn. There are over one dozen public school campuses in town.

Then, make the G'ville Public School board an elected body and remove its power to pass tax increases onto property owners without accountability for results. They're currently appointed by City Council.

Secondly, reduce business tax rates and reduce Greenville's govt to reflect shrinking population. Local government's job isn't to provide jobs for the sake of providing jobs. Cut all "local grants" to the bone, build a jail and improve city security.

Thirdly, after slashing city gov't spending, reduce property tax rates - if even slightly. High tax rates retard what G'ville leaders profess to desire in its population. Owners value their neighborhood communities more than renters.

Then, fight like heck for an "Empowerment Zone"-type distinction for municipal Greenville. That's a tremendous uphill battle, but worth getting the lobbyist involved.

Fourthly, and not to restart a long simmering topic, downsize the medical community's ambition to make DRMC an excellent, but fundamental, hospital that can care for 85% of the population's needs, yet is quick to outsource patients to medical facilities those with insurance choose for their major medical procedures. If the insured will pick DRMC as first stop for fundamental care, the patient load will increase and the write offs will drop.

Fifth, it's a near impossibility, but make the Washington County Supervisors' salaries reflect the service it requires. A local politician should not pull a full salary for political service; political service is a community service, not a method for paying one's personal bills. Lower pay (part-time pay) would rid the board of folks who are along because their supervisor's pay brings home the bacon.

Sixth, actually turn out some incumbent politicians come election time. Not all, but some. They take you for granted when they win at will. Meanwhile, your community suffers from a lack of substantive change. (wishful thinking here as well)

Here are five ideas (I'll not place ANY faith in Suggestion #6) in hopes of "putting up." Mind you, I've yet to really complain as simple complaining does nothing.

But, without fundamental changes to a broken, local economic and political system, those saying to look at the "sunny side" are supporting the status quo - which is equally unacceptable.

The idea is about strengthening the tax base over the addition of jobs. Many opportunities that might consider the Delta may offer jobs that automation has replaced, like in textiles. Let's get the small employers (and their machines in here) and not always hold out for the huge fish that make for an impressive wall mount but aren't much for feeding a family when food is scarce.

Nick Name said...

Please use a Nick Name

Anonymous said...

Bravo! A great plan that if implemented would have results in less than 1 year. However, I won't hold my breath!

Put Up said...

semi-reg. reader--

Those are outstanding ideas and points, I would vote for all those changes....how does one person make any of those events happen? what is the first step for citizens to demand changes?

By the way, please run for office, with that platform, you would be a shoe in...that is if you are not already in office and if you are....make it happen...make it happen and tell us how to help you to do that!!

Downtown said...

Two points --

Under Mississippi law, municipal school board members cannot be elected -- they must be appointed by the City Council/Board of Aldermen. County school boards, again by State law, are elected.

Also, despite lots of "talk" to the contrary, our "City" taxes -- the portion of the ad valorem tax set by the City -- are simply not "high," as compared to cities of roughly comparable size. They're just not. I haven't checked to see whether the County or school taxes are out of line. They may be and, if so, that is something that could be addressed.

LAND LORD! said...

Downtown>>.... THE PROPERTY TAXES ARE VERY HIGH COMPARED TO SISTER CITIES. I HAVE FOUR HOUSES IN GREENVILLE CITY LIMITS THAT I USE AS RENTAL PROPERTY. THE HOUSES ARE IN A LOWER PART OF TOWN. THE TAXES ON ONE IS ALMOST 900 A YEAR, THE OTHERS ARE NEXT TO 700 A YEAR. THESE HOUSES ARE VALUED UNDER 25K...

I HAVE FRIENDS IN A VERY NEAR TOWN THAT HAS A 230K HOUSE IN A VERY VERY NICE N/HOOD IN THE CITY AND THERE TAXES ARE JUST UNDER 1000 A YEAR. THERE TOWN OFFERS A LOT MORE THEN THE CITY OF GREENVILLE DOES......
MOST PEOPLE I KNOW COMPLAIN ABOUT THEIR TAXES BEING TO HIGH. EVER YEAR I GET MY TAX FORMS I AM TEMPTED TO SELL MY PROPERTY AND MOVE OUT! GREENVILLE TAXES ARE WAY TO HIGH AND I HAVE NOTICED THEY GO UP EVERY YEAR. SOMEONE NEEDS TO PUT AN END TO THE TAX INCREASES BEFORE ALL THE PEOPLE MOVE FORM THE CITY. THIS MIGHT BE ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS THE TOWN IS DRYING UP!

Semi-Regular Reader said...

Okay....consolidate the school districts. Impossible? Or change state law. Those two options will reach my recommendation given that talk is so cheap we may spend our words in abundance. That said, if current board members could win their seats electorally, then they deserve it. It's an accountability issue.

SIDENOTE: Our Delta legislators would be well served to support a change in law (unless it's state constitutional). After all, they're looking to influence state leadership in ways in which the Delta benefits. This will test that theory.

Second, city taxes are city taxes. Don't split hairs on tax rates paid by property owners. Pain is pain. In fairness, a better discussion would be to examine HOW are tax dollars are spent, not actual rates. Though when people are leaving your city, you need "stimuli" other cities/counties may not need to implement to maintain population. There are other 38,000 population cities in America. Worry about G'ville and do what it takes to right the ship.

TO "Put Up" - I'd never win a local election on that platform. There simply aren't enough taxpayers to outvote those who don't pay property taxes, don't understand tax policy or they tangibly benefit from the squeezing of the working person's wallet.

There also aren't enough taxpayers with children in the public schools to care about public school policy. I'd be the Nader or Ron Paul local candidate.

Enjoy these conversations for what they are....

Anonymous said...

Wow, the new photo of Obama dressed in African garb is oh so patriotic. It sickens me. He and his wife are the epitomy of racists. I found out today that her thesis was on the very subject of racial divide. Positive change?? I don't think so!
Instead of Anonymous, sign me Always Been Proud of My Country...unlike Michelle Obama!

Anonymous said...

To "Always Been Proud of My Country" -

So wearing African garb is unpatriotic now? When I was twelve my parents dressed me in a little Swedish outfit on occasion - was that unpatriotic?

And there IS a racial divide in the United States - President Bush has mentioned it in several speeches. Researching our nations social and cultural divides (whether racial, or otherwise) is important in order to get a better understanding of our problems -- so that we are then effectively able to work through them. I fail to see how either of your points shows the Obamas as unpatriotic.

Tearing down a politician who is trying to help his country move forward, however, seems unpatriotic - whether coming from a Democrat OR Republican.

instead of Anonymous you can call me "Tired of purposeless, hateful words"

Put up said...

Regarding property taxes to vehicle taxes, which are always expensive in the city of Greenvile...one thing my mother told me and I have found is very true, better to have higher vehicle taxes than property taxes. More folks own cars than properties...and she is sooo right!

Some folks may live in shacks, but amazingly the same people will drive very fine new cars or trucks...go figure?

Anonymous said...

Dogging your country by stating that "for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country" is unpatriotic by any standard. I am, and have been, proud of my country. It does not take my husband running for president and receiving support for me to be proud. And, have you ever thought that maybe some people were offended by the African garb? Your parents may have dressed you in Swedish clothes, but you know, you weren't running for presidency of the United States as a grown up man! That was his choice and now, all of a sudden, the Obama camp is all up in the air about how that photo was "leaked" to the press. Please, we all know it was not considered politically correct. I know that no one is supposed to have feelings except for minorities, but these days in Greenville, whites are the minority by far! I want a president who is American and proud of it, I don't really care if he or she is black, white, asian, hispanic or purple polka dot. You are all being fooled by Obama's emotional speeches. What concrete plan has he offered and what experience base does he have to draw from? He's a great looking guy with an excellent speech to deliver. I find it odd that if anyone points out any negatives about Obama, that person is guilty of tearing down a politician who is helping his country move forward. LOL we all believe that about the candidate we support. That's why we live in the US of A and have free speech and a vote of our own. So, kindly disagree with me, but don't for one minute think that just because you believe it, it's right!
Always Been Proud of My Country

MR G said...

anonymous>> I agree with you all the way!!

Anonymous said...

I have seen many politicians and diplomats pictured in many news magazines and news shows wearing traditional dress of the country they are visiting out of a sign of respect for the people of that country. It just goes to show you that narrow minds looking for a dividing message will find one. Obama does have concrete plans, and ones that make sense and can be obtained. Personally, I don't want anymore politicians of the old experience that Washington has produced.

Anonymous said...

I am truly offended when a grown man, prominent in presidential politics, would insult our country by being so politically incorrect:

http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/02/oh-noes-george.html

Clearly, he is not "a president who is American and proud of it"

Obama, thats yo momma! said...

Obama 'Frightens Me'. The Bible has warned us that 'A man will come from the East that will be charismatic in nature and have proposed solutions for all our problems and his rhetoric will attract many supporters!'

When will our pathetic Nation quit turning their back on God and understand that this man is 'A Muslim'....First, Last and always....and we are AT WAR with the Muslim Nation, whether our bleeding-heart, secular, Liberal friends believe it or not. This man fits every description from the Bible of the 'Anti-Christ'!

I'm just glad to know that there are others that are frightened by this man!


Who is Barack Obama?

Very interesting and something that should be considered in your choice.

If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts...this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States...better heed this and pray about it and share it.

snopes.com ..' confirms this is factual. Check for yourself.

Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from Wichita , Kansas.

Obama's parents met at the University of Hawaii.

When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia.

When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocated to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He is quick to point out that, 'He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.'

Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that that he is not a radical.

Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son's
education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta.

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.

Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their hands over their hearts, Obama turns his back to the flag and slouches. Do you want someone like this as your PRESIDENT?

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy.

The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!

Anonymous said...

Sign me...Scared of What's To Come! Another sign of impending doom - Louis Farrakhan praising Obama. "Farrakhan says he is not telling anyone what way to vote but said Obama's background could make him just the leader the United States needs." Now, I feel much better about Obama knowing that even Farrakhan believes he is the "right" man for our presidency. Scary. Check it out:

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/080224/world/farrakhan_obama_1

GO OBAMA said...

Well we already know who else is backing Hussein. The rest of the clan might as well join. GO OBAMA!!