Saturday, Nov. 2, 2002
To the editor:
Concerning the Legislative Weekend just concluded, columnist Terry Cassreino gave passing nod to "a tour of various city sites" the media were invited to cover, then went on to decry "the elitist touch" of having some purely social events like receptions and dinners closed to the media. He never mentioned at all the big concert and dance Friday night at which legislators and the public mingled and talked.
Mr. Cassreino wrote, "What did the city's elected officials discuss with state legislators? What issues of local importance could go before the Legislature in January? We'll never know because those events were closed."
With the exception of the Mississippi Arts and Entertainment Center event at Bonita Lakes, The Meridian Star chose not to cover any other aspect of the tour during which key issues were discussed. Had The Star chosen to cover the Front Street apartment visit, Mr. Cassreino would have known that Downtown Properties has a waiting list of hopeful tenants and that the investment in residential properties is continuing to grow. Had The Star chosen to attend the Meridian Art Museum event, he would have known that the Meridian Arts Council is taking a lead role in establishing Meridian as an arts center statewide. Had The Star chosen to cover the Grand Opera House event, he would have known that restoration of that property is well into the design phase and he could have seen schematic drawings showing how the space will be configured. Had The Star chosen to cover the Hope Village for Children event, he would have seen a beautifully decorated cottage sitting empty because there is no money for staffing and he would have heard legislators and village staff talking about an innovative foster care program.
All of these important issues were fully and publicly discussed by the legislators, local elected officials and the experts at the various events. The Star will "never know" what was discussed because it chose not to cover them.
As to the "elitist" social events, I believe the public understands that our guests deserved the opportunity to eat and relax at times without media scrutiny. Concerning what was discussed during these social events, The Star might have never known such critical information as whose favorite ball teams won or lost or predictions of whether the rain would ever end except for one thing. Mr. Cassreino's editor, Buddy Bynum, along with a number of other people in the community, attended these events. Perhaps Mr. Cassreino can ask Mr. Bynum to fill in those important details.
Assistant for Governmental Affairs
City Of Meridian
Reform the system
To the editor:
I can relate to Suzanne Monk's column of Oct. 27 on probation, revocation, and "fast tracks" to the pen.
I am a sergeant in a county jail in Georgia. We have the same type inmates that are arrested from the street. As soon as they get to jail, they start the process of writing letters to the probation officer or judge wanting to make amends to their situation. They are the same inmates that return time and again after being given credit for time served.
Our jail is overcrowded as well as the Lauderdale County or any other jail across the country.
I urge Meridianites not to criticize the judges, but to help reform the system whenever possible through votes or referendums.
Former Meridian resident
Forest Park, Ga.