June 3, 2001
Dalewood sewer: What freedom of choice?'
To the Editor:
To the citizens of Lauderdale County:
On May 21, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors created a sewer district, the Dalewood Sewer District. I believe this district was created while working with an irregular, indeed, unlawful, petition.
The board was given a copy of the Mississippi Attorney General's opinion showing, by analogy, that petition pages without language stating the purpose of the petition on the heading of the signatory pages were useless. This is the Attorney General's opinion, and they chose to ignore it.
The Mississippi Supreme Court states that a petition without explanatory language in the header of the signatory pages is indeed unacceptable. This is not just an opinion, it is the law of the state of Mississippi. All but one of the board members chose to ignore this also.
Three members of the board voted yes to the district the big three, they call themselves. One member, bravely, voted no. The fifth member abstained from voting because he owns property there. He did abstain, however, here is a quote from him from the April 16, 2001 hearing. "With that, I will, however, make the motion, for the purposes of voting, that we create the sewer district." He abstained?
The board also seems to think that those of us who have a working system can opt out of the sewer district, not hook up. I believe they are mistaken, confused and misled into thinking this. The law says there are no options for the residents of Dalewood; however, anyone living within one mile of the property lines of Dalewood do indeed have the option to hook up or not hook up to the sewer system. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing. There was talk in these hearings of pollution in the lake, having to close it down due to disease. No one showed one example of proof of this. I guess it's supposed to be taken as the gospel truth because someone says it.
I beg to differ, and proved it by taking samples from Dalewood to the Mississippi State Chemist, Dr. Earl G. Alley, at Mississippi State University, for testing. These tests all resulted in incredibly low results of contamination, half of which were zero. I'd be glad to show them to anyone.
I learned a lot from all this. One, it only takes 25 signatures on a LEGAL petition to give someone the right to come on my place and tell me what THEY are going to do on my property. Whether I like it or not, doesn't matter I have no choice.
It takes six times that many signatures on a LEGAL petition to allow me a vote on the matter. Where is the logic in this?
Now, if I refuse to allow them on my land, the attorney for the board says they can do it by eminent domain … come on my place, bury a holding tank, pumping unit, and hook it to my power panel, open my septic tank, fill it with dirt, and leave. All by eminent domain.
As I understand it, you can demand a trial by jury with eminent domain cases. Reckon how many trials the county of Lauderdale wants to pay for? I expect there will be many folks realizing they're fixing to dig up their yards. This is one reason this letter is addressed to the citizens of Lauderdale County, we all got to pay for them.
I have a place in Lauderdale I could move to, but, I expect real soon to have a sewer line with a big bill show up down there, too. That's another thing, the bill, no one has a clue what this is going to cost, at least no one I know. I have not been told a figure that is fact.
Of course I've only been paying my dues here 30 years. I guess I shouldn't expect anything. I really wonder where my freedom of choice went. I seem to have misplaced it.
Raymond E. Huffmaster
Past time to move on
To the Editor:
What do Natchez, Vicksburg, DeSoto County, Hattiesburg, Neshoba County and Tupelo have in common and Meridian doesn't?
A convention center or coliseum.
Several of the aforementioned areas have a lesser population base than Lauderdale County. They are also reaping the benefit of outside dollars coming into their communities.
Meridian does have the old trusty and rusty Frank Cochran Center, or should I say hut.
Wake up, Meridian. It is past time to move on.
Candidate appreciates forums
To the Editor:
I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who sponsored and participated in the recent very important political forums, especially the Human Relations Commission-COG, Lauderdale County NAACP-PAC, WTOK and WMOX for sponsoring the very important political forums.
While I would have enjoyed more lively debates, it is my prayer that the listening and viewing public have been able to gain enough information between the candidates in order to make a wise decision when voting on June 5.
Again, thanks for allowing me to be a part of this very worthwhile endeavor.