March 3, 2004
The silent treatment
To the editor:
Why does the mayor of Meridian still refuse to reveal to the citizens of Meridian after many months the person or persons who chose the controversial new interchange site near Hawkins Crossing Road?
Why does Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall continue to refuse to answer the question and others. Why did the Board of Supervisors refuse to answer that question during their public meeting on July 21, 2003, when I drilled the question into their minds? Two supervisors, Craig Hitt and Hank Florey, said they thought Engineering Associates picked the site; three supervisors, Jimmy Smith, Ray Boswell and Joe Norwood, refused to answer. Engineering Associates said later it thought MDOT picked the site.
Since supervisors, under the prodding of EMBDC leaders, put we taxpayers under a 15-year loan debt of well over $5 million in purchasing the new industrial park cow pasture, they should know every detail of its development rather than exhibit ignorance.
Why did Ken Storms, the city's Chief Administrative Officer, refuse to answer that question over public radio last summer?
We citizens have the right to know, yet our elected leaders do not want us to know. Why the secrecy?
However, this is what we citizens do know: EMBDC invented the idea of purchasing the old Malone Ranch and adjoining properties for its development into a new industrial park and sold the idea to the supervisors and city to finance it.
We know that two EMBDC officials, Ronnie Massey and Ralph Morgan, owned 204 acres of the 615 acres purchased by we taxpayers at excessive prices.
We do know that the controversial interchange site near Hawkins Crossing Road is well over two miles away from the new industrial park, but should be located at the industrial park.
We also know that the site is located near a 500-acre tract of undeveloped commercial real estate (Great South Development) owned by four prominent EMBDC developers, Jimmy Covington, Jimmy Alexander, Bob Luke and Bill Gavin, who have had no success in developing that tract in seven years. We do know that two of those four owners gave $1,450 to the reelection campaign of Dick Hall in February 2003. We do know that Commissioner Dick Hall stated to the editorial staff of The Meridian Star that he had no idea where this controversial site was located, nor did he know the property's owners.
We citizens also know the meaning of the words corruption, deceit, political favoritism and sham. And we informed citizens know much more. No wonder the mayor, supervisors and EMBDC are silent.
Citizens should write our representatives in Washington and demand an investigation; otherwise, millions of federal dollars may be misused, our industrial park will suffer, people's homes will be ruined, and some select EMBDC members may get richer.
City has ignored citizens' basic needs
To the editor:
As I drive the streets of Meridian dodging potholes and basketball goals, I am becoming a more skilled driver. The long time ignoring the road and street problems has compounded the cost of restoration; this is inexcusable and a waste of taxpayers' money.
Bonita Lakes could be nicer if the lower lake had the normal amount of water. Darn that tree root; it just seemed to have had a mind of its own and grew along the concrete spillway structure creating a void; of course, the water followed and thereby introduced the need for big time money to be spent on a solution. Could there be any other voids lurking near, perhaps between the ears? If so, you cannot fault the root.
We should all be amazed at the city's prolonged ignoring of basic infrastructure problems.
It is readily apparent that since Mayor Al Rosenbaum, the cost to Meridian and county residents has virtually skyrocketed. The personal agendas have been given top priority over citizens' basic needs.
The residents of Eagle Pointe and other outlying communities should stand their ground. They do not need the aforementioned actions.
Meridian leaders, give us a break!