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franklin county times

August 1, 2004

By Staff
Smith v. Smith: Finally,a real debate
On Saturday, July 24, I heard a real debate between two politicians. I have been listening to candidates for office debate from the national level to the state and local levels. But, never had I heard two politicians tell their true opinions of each other like Mayor John Robert Smith and Councilman Bobby Smith argued on the "Truthmaster's" radio show.
First, let me say I'm not too fond of this Harrison Lewis fellow who calls himself the "Truthmaster" because I think that he, at times, is arrogant, liberal and borders on the line of being a racist. He often uses the race card and, besides that, he does not have sense enough to take his hat off indoors.
But I have to admit his interview as mediator with the Mayor and Councilman Smith was second to none in all of my years of listening to our city leaders in exposing the true, under-the-table backslapping that goes on behind closed doors when it comes to running the city of Meridian.
For example, I had heard people many times say that the mayor wants the interchange to run through his "friends'" property. But who would have ever dreamed that Bobby Smith had the courage to not only accuse the mayor but call the mayor a "liar" when the mayor said that it wasn't true? Who would have ever thought that the mayor would accuse Councilman Smith of accepting ski trips from potential buyers for the city?
I have talked with three others who heard the debate, with one thinking that the mayor won and two others stating that Councilman Smith won because of his ability to make one feel like he is one of you.
I personally made my decision that Councilman Smith won when he brought out the point that the mayor had "slipped" past the media and the public of paying $8,900 to a janitorial company for one month to clean Union Station.
Also, I will never forget when asked by the "Truthmaster" if he had any intentions of "kissing" Mayor Smith's "political fanny," and telling the mayor that he was "sorry" and wrong and would never do it again by calling the mayor a "bald-faced" liar, Councilman Smith replied, "Hell, no."
Let's have more debates like this in the future.
Cecil Henderson
Meridian
A poor decision
This past spring the Meridian Public School District voted on a different school calendar for the upcoming 2004-2005 school year. One of the biggest changes deals with the changing of spring break.
For the first time in my recollection, Meridian Public Schools will have a different spring break than other area schools. This spring break also differs with Meridian Community College and Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus. This change inconveniences a number of the citizens and local businesses.
First of all, some employees of the public schools and the private schools might be affected by this ruling. There may be some teachers who work in the Meridian schools but have a spouse who works in the Lauderdale County schools. Some Meridian school workers may even have children in the county or private schools. These families will not be able to enjoy spring break together. Parents who are continuing their education at MCC or MSU-Meridian Campus will have to make daycare arrangements during the city's spring break if their child attends city schools.
Churches and certain businesses will also be affected. Churches which might be planning mission trips or youth outings during spring break will not be able to if they have children who attend different school systems. Some businesses that cater to young people such as dance studios have to rearrange their schedules due to the two different breaks.
If enough people feel the different spring breaks are an inconvenience, the city school board needs to reconsider this change in the calendar. They are a public service to this community and we are its customers. Citizens of this city who feel they are inconvenienced by these changes need to let the city school board know how they feel.
Eddie Sheely
Meridian
Letter-writer responds
I would like to clarify the opinions I expressed in a recent letter to the editor ("Lockheed shootings: Why," The Meridian Star, July 13, 2004). I would like to thank Lori Evans for calling me on my opinion ("Vick way off base," The Meridian Star, July 18). Like many people who are trying to rationalize what took place at Lockheed, I arrived at my opinion mostly on gut instinct as to what I felt must have taken place there. It may have, it may not. I had picked up on a couple of interesting items in talking with people that seemed to point to the cause of the problem.
But Lori is right. I was expressing my opinion based more on gut instinct and trying to rationalize it myself rather than any fact that I can prove. I do know that we need to get to the truth so it won't happen again. Then, maybe some good can come out of it.
Naturally I feel for the families affected. I am not heartless and, yes, I have had this happen in my family, too, so I know how tough that is.
I guess at this point we better let the professionals sort it out. The main thing is to get it right so it never happens again.
Jim Vick
Preston

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