• 64°

Sept. 2, 2001

By Staff
City needs a
can do, will do'
development policy
An open letter to the Mayor and Council:
Obviously we are paying the price for not expanding our tax base at a rate equal to the cost of operating government. In private business, one must match the cost of doing business with the resources available.
Before considering a tax increase, we should identify and correct the cause of our dilemma. It is a "steady decline in the construction of median priced homes within the city."
In my opinion, the responsibility of our failure rests squarely on the Community Development Department and their road-block, establishing a "can't do" policy and forcing many developers, subcontractors and contractors to seek work outside the city's jurisdiction rather than put up with the harassment of this department.
This deficiency was brought to your attention in a recent evaluation by an independent study group. This problem has existed for many years and stagnation of our growth is its result.
This is the problem, so what is the answer?
1. Reduce the staff of this department by 50 percent and instruct those remaining to adopt a focus on the important issues of making Meridian a "can do, will do" city. This alone will reduce the budget shortfall and turn Meridian and our school system around.
2. Have the department invite developers, subcontractors and contractors to again build within the city, promoting cooperation rather than harassment with the sole objective to "grow Meridian" with a "can do, will do" motto.
3. Simplify, clarify the ordinance to give the developer, contractors and owners final say for any item that does not affect the safety, health or welfare of the general public. This can be done in one council meeting within the existing ordinance with a "can do"interpretation.
By implementing these changes, a new beginning will commence. It is foolish to consider incentives to re-start our economy until we change our attitude and policy of the Community Development Department. The taxpayers of Meridian are already over-taxed because of our failure to expand our unsubsidized tax growth for the City of Meridian. We need more effective management not a tax increase.
Mel Bounds
President, Bounds Building Company Inc.
Coalition for
Change' in voter
registration drive
To the Editor:
Apathy is the indispensable pre-condition for the failure of a community. Meridian has become without question the most impressive economic failure in Mississippi's history. Last municipal election, 70 percent of registered voters didn't vote, and thousands of citizens qualified to vote never even bothered to register to vote. All six incumbent elected municipal officials were returned to office. Are we seeing a pattern yet?
Without change things will always remain the same. Until the current apathy is replaced with a new spirit of positive popular participation in public affairs, change is not ever going to happen.
The same failed leaders, promoting the same failed policies, to profit the same select special interests, will never reverse Meridian's decades of population and economic decline.
In an effort to address Meridian's problems, a positive new organization has been formed. The Coalition for Change seeks to unify the vast majority of the citizens of Meridian and Lauderdale County who have been left out by the old power structure.
CFC will promote civic projects that will benefit the entire community, rather than just the special interest group. CFC will concentrate on investigation, education and voter registration.
In less than three months CFC has added almost 400 new names to Lauderdale County's voter registration rolls. Within four years, it is the goal to CFC to add at least 5,000 new voters to the rolls, and motivate the majority of current registered voters to vote.
CFC is not a political organization. CFC will not tell voters who to vote for. With proper information and motivation, CFC knows voters will begin to make wiser decisions.
If you agree: that taxes are too high, and local wages too low; that outlandish gasoline prices are a larger problem than the need for a fourth parking garage; that politicians and the police should obey the law; that Meridian's decline can and must be reversed; then, the Coalition for Change may be for you.
For more information, contact Coalition for Change, P.O. Box 8075, Meridian, MS 39303.
If things don't change, they will always stay the same.
William Hugh Johnson
Self-described atheist
not happy with In God
We Trust' posters
To the Editor:
I can understand, maybe, why a teacher would choose to post "In God We Trust" in his or her classroom. But why has this suddenly become mandatory? Why is it, that every time I go to school, I have to stare at a poster advertising for the Judeo-Christian deity for over an hour?
I'm an atheist, but I would never push to have posters put in classrooms that say "Gods Do Not Exist," so why do so many Christians in this state find it necessary to force their theological point of view on people like me? Why is it so hard for people around here to think outside of their own beliefs, and realize that what they're doing is making some people resent them?
Basically, these posters tell me that I'm not an American and don't belong in my school because I don't subscribe to the Judeo-Christian ethic. Well, I have my rights every bit as much as people who worship that particular god, and I (among others) will not rest until someone realizes that not everyone in Mississippi thinks the same way.
Doug DeWitt