Sunday, October 15, 2006

Our City is Out of Control!

The City Government is totally out of control, and Natchez citizens had better take action to protect our City! This crisis became blatantly clear by reading two articles in today's Natchez Democrat.

One article describes the problems City Departments are having functioning without a budget. This is unconscionable! By state law, the City must adopt a budget in September, as their fiscal year begins October 1. Did they? No! Instead they passed a fake budget. The guys who can't find time in their busy schedule to do their job are the same ones who gave themselves a big raise a couple of months ago.

The other article explains why they don't have time to deal with piddly little things like financing the City's government. They're busy with their secret deal to develop a casino!

The most horrible part of the article was that the Mayor and all the Aldermen are in agreement to have a casino under Roth's Hill. They're fighting alright, but not over whether to have a casino, but which one. The white Aldermen brought a proposal from one developer and expected it to be adopted. The Mayor and black Aldermen want it subjected to bid - or they want another developer. The only people with no say in the matter are the ones affected the most - the citizens of Natchez. Needless to say, citizens can be understood if they think these politicians must have something to gain here. After all, casinos have lots of money to throw around.

They really think that the citizens have absolutely no right to be involved in this discussion! Here's what the Mayor said:

“I was hoping we could avoid this being a public issue. It’s too important for it to become a public issue."

Can you believe that? It's too important for us to be involved! He seems to forget that he and the Aldermen work for us. (See Natchez Democrat editorial on this issue.)

This may be the first time that a racial disagreement benefits Natchez. At least, it delays the secret casino backroom deal. However, I'm willing to bet any takers they'll reach an unanimous decision (behind closed doors of course) to allow a casino.

What can you do to stop this atrocity?

  1. Get in touch with your Alderman and tell them what you think of their shady deals. Click here for addresses, phone numbers, and emails for City Officials. If you don't know who your Alderman is, contact the Mayor at 601.445.7555 or mayor@natchez.ms.us.
  2. Attend all meetings of the Mayor and Board. They meet on the second Tuesday of every month at 11 am and the fourth Tuesday at 6 pm. The next regular meeting is Tuesday, October 26. However, since they didn't meet last week, they have to have a special meeting next Tuesday, October 19 at 5 pm to approve the docket to pay their bills (Disgraceful!). They say the casino deal will not come up then, but their word is not worth much.
  3. Tell your neighbors and everyone you know what's going on. At least some of these politicians want to get reelected, and the only thing that may stop them is outrage from voters.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

The best things that could ever happen to Natchez has finally come. It's call EXPOSURE OF ALL THE WRONG DOING!!!! I am so happy that the cover has finally been pulled off of all of the mess.

I say let's Clorox the town..., clean out city hall and all the mess that is around the town.

The exposure of the wrong doing will be a costly thing for some people. Just watch and see.

Anonymous said...

Why not do an economic impact study on the first casino before agreeing to a second casino? Common knowledge seems to say that more money is leaving than is arriving because of the casino. Is this really "economic development"?

The River runs GRAY... said...

The MIssissippi River isn't BLACK. It isn't WHITE. In fact, if you must put a color to it, I'd say that GOD MADE THE RIVER GRAY.

Love for this magnificent River is one thing that EVERYONE WHO LIVES IN NATCHEZ HAS IN COMMON.

Some of us take God's great gift for granted. Oh, if those who do could only travel around and see how other communities have destroyed their river banks and views. Cluttered them with warehouse-style casinos (the size of WalMart super stores) that float out over the water and form a barricade between the town and water.

WANT TO HEAL THE RACIAL DIVIDE IN NATCHEZ? Let's start by focusing in on something that we all share and we all love. The natural beauty of the place itself. Surely we can come together on this?

The Mississippi is OUR RIVER. The Bluff is OUR FRONT YARD. NATCHEZ IS OUR HOME.

We all need to come together TO SAVE THIS PLACE from being "sold off" to private developers.

IMAGINE: You drive down to the bluff to see the sunset -- but you can't. There are fences and locked gates. And behind those gates are mulit-story condo buildings; casino hotels; a swimming pool for "members and guests only." The bandstand is gone.

YOU ARE LOCKED OUT. It is NO LONGER YOUR BLUFF. YOU CAN'T SEE YOUR RIVER.

THE SUNSET THAT HUMANS HAVE GLORIED IN FROM ANCIENT TIMES TIL TODAY IS MERE GLINT VIEWED HERE AND THERE IN BETWEEN THE BUILDINGS.

AND BE PREPARED TO BE CHASED AWAY --those private residents aren't going to want people like us "loitering" around outside their homes. Or "cruising" by in our cars. Soon signs will say "no loitering" and "No Cruise Zone."

FELLOW NATCHEZIANS! Wake Up! We're about to lose the heart and soul of our community.
9:18 AM

Anonymous said...

Loosing the heart and sole of the community does not sound bad to me. Bring on a new heart and soul along with some new money, new jobs and new excitement. What we have now is old and stale.

Anonymous said...

Over and over, I read about the budget crisis, the hiring of shady characters like the former city planner, the back-room dealings with mysterious groups like Expect a Miracle.

I read and hear about the complete disarray that the planning department is in. Applications are lost. Minutes are non-existent or illegible. And so on and on.

And yet the city -- with no budget or plan in place - forges ahead to sell off public lands to private developers?

People - there's no plan! There's no budget!

I witnessed the city council meeting where this council UNANIMOUSLY voted to overturn city ordinances, without regard for the consequences (loss of funding) and without regard for DUE PROCESS. And this was being done WITHOUT A COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IS PLACE. It was being done just to satisfy one developer and one project.

We've stood around with our mouths gaping open long enough! Now it's time to get over the paralytic shock of just how unqualified this Mayor and these aldermen are to run a city!

At the very least, Mayor West has proven that he is unable to manage City Hall. A little business experience goes a long way when trying to run a city!

Yes - WE ELECTED THEM. WE ARE RESPONSIBLE. Maybe next time we'll be wiser, smarter, better voters and citizens.

BUT IN THE MEANTIME, what are the steps for getting these people out of office?

The budget situation and the management crisis at City Hall seems to be indictment enough for running this mayor out of office.

Can we at least call for his resignation?

The River Runs Gray ... said...

In response to anonymous who says we need a "new heart and soul"....

That's what I'm saying: Recognize that the heart and soul is the RIVER and the Bluffs and the VIEW, the Landscape and the Natural Beauty.

Rally around that. Promote it. Share it with the world. Don't destroy it.

We've never focused on that before. You don't even recognize that this would be "new."

Natchez should be a destination because of that view.

Preserving the Bluffs is NOT standing in the way of progress. Lack of VISION is standing in the way of progress.

In the meantime, why would you not want the heritage tourism industry in Natchez to thrive? Why do you feel that it is necessary to destroy jobs, along with the restaurant and hotel industry, and the built heritage of the town- in order to promote progress in other industries?

That's very short-sighted, don't you think? Maybe I'm not undertanding you.

Anonymous said...

To everyone who considers themselves in the city planning business or the real estate development business, consider these words of wisdom from those who TEACH the greatest minds and practitioners of urban planning and development:

“All development is not created equal. Communities that set low
standards or no standards will compete to the bottom. If you are afraid
to say no to anything you will get the worst of everything. On the other
hand communities that set high standards will compete to the top.”
- Ed McMahon, Senior Resident Fellow, Urban Land Institute

"Nature is the ultimate paradigm and example. Therefore, just as there
is harmony in nature, all the elements of a building should fit together
and every building or town should fit with its surroundings."
Norman Crowe, Notre Dame professor of architecture

SEE CASINO CRISIS comments on this blog: When I consider multiple casinos versus Natchez as a college town, I say "COMPETE TO THE TOP ...NOT THE CASINO." What could possibly represent a lower common denominator than "casinos?"

Casinos: Is this the best this City Council and Mayor can do for Natchez?

Are there any college degrees represented on the city council?

That could explain it.

Anonymous said...

Anyonymous said... "let's ... clean out city hall and all the mess...". Please, let's do that before it's too late. Any suggestions would be great. A thought is that we, as concerned citizens who stand in opposition to another casino, join forces and make ourselves a viable and strong obstacle to the fruition of this latest debacle, the casino proposal. We have to come together on this and become a visible force in the face of the board of aldermen and mayor. I stand ready and willing to take them on!!! and hope there are others. Don't forget that there is another casino planned at the foot of the bridge below the former Ramada Inn. For some reason this boa aren't interested in seeing that happen and I'd like to know more about that if anyone can address this. One of the boa was overheard in a meeting as saying that he would stand in the way of the road access to the Cato (Ramada Inn)casino project. I wonder why? There's a story there, most assuredly. More later.

Anonymous said...

Looks like there are lots of opinions that agree. Could there be a meeting? A rally? A public discussion. The mayor and board could really end up being heroes if they could just understand what the destruction of the bluffs means - and what saving them and promoting them would do for the city. They probably just can't think of anything, or anyone who could help them. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt. I can't believe that any one of them stands to gain anything personally from pushing for another casino, no matter what color the owners are.

Anonymous said...

Lack of vision is, indeed, one of the problems with this city council. They've not created a plan, a vision for this city, unless, of course it's a vision of our riverfront looking like Tunica or Vicksburg. Obviously, planning isn't a part of their self-ascribed job description. They simply wait for the "deal" to come before them irrespective of the consequences. And those consequences are gutting our resources. They appease developers while pilfering our treasures. Years ago I read, in the Natchez Democrat, that a visiting expert in city planning advised that a municipality should look to promoting a number of small businessess rather than courting the supposed "golden egg" which might appear to bring prosperity. Well, we had our golden egg in the International Paper Mill, Armstrong Tire Co. If we rely on one golden industry and it fails we're likely doomed. But if we have many small businesses and industries we aren't as likely to have the rug pulled out from under us again. But, this city council is stubborn and irresponsive to citizen input and concern. Each and every one of them need to be booted out. Their ineptness and illegal conduct disgrace this beautiful city. P.S.: If you're a business person in Natchez what kind of deal were you offered? Did you get a tax break, a free piece of property?

Anonymous said...

There are some very good points made here. In two years maybe, if we're extremely lucky, city hall will be cleaned out. I for one will not be holding my breath.

The sentiment here also seems to portray that the Natchez citizens are against casinos and riverfront development by private sector in particular. In reality there is probably only a very very small number of individuals who would oppose any such development so long as it were done somewhat appropriately.

These blog post continuously call the for the input of the citizens when making municipal business decisions. Is that what you really want? You want a referendum vote on every issue (not reality)? Do you realize what the majority around here really wants? I think it's safe to say that historic preservation, sunset views from the bluff and natural beauty are not on the "A" list.

If Natchez is going to be saved, we need better public schools. We need higher education. We need more educated citizens. We need industry. We need better leadership. We need small business. We need real estate development. We need planning. We need to attract people with money. We need jobs. We need a lot.

But when there's not a lot to choose from, sometimes you just have to take what you can get. If people want to invest good money in Natchez we need to find a way to make it happen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you are right. There is a lot we need. But, we must take care that we don't destroy the one thing we have already and that is a viable and vibrant heritage tourism industry. I have been on the bluff many, many times and talked to visitors from all over this country. They are in awe of what we have here; they recognize the uniqueness of this place. We haven't cluttered our bluff with high-rise condos, casino hotels, office buildings. Yes! we need commerce. And, we haven't marketed ourselves like we could and should. There is a way to be prosperous and at the same time respect and retain what is already working for us. It takes work and a little creativity. Our city council simply doesn't work for us, the city. They have proven that by not taking the time and effort to create a budget for the coming year. Yet, they gave themselves a raise! for what?

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Anonymous said...

FYI - The City has a comprehensive plan that was done by Central Mississippi Planning District. The plan cannot be implemented because the ordinances are so outdated. To his credit, City Planner Andrew Smith and the various commissions were working on this when the mayor fired him. In my talk with some of the planning and zoning board commissioners this project was being done better than any other planner had done previously.

Does anyone know what's going on with that update.

nottabelle said...

Why were some comments removed?

Anonymous said...

Natchez is going down hill. Everything around this city has become a joke.

My child asked me this question: After I finish college, why would I want to return to Natchez?

I could not give him a good answer. We (adult residents) have failed the next generation because we have neglected to provide a future in Natchez. We are simply turning out the brightest young people for the benefit of other places across America.

Natchez has failed. Is there any hope?

We must begin to cultivate leaders in this town. Ignorance can be changed through education. Stupidity cannot be helped until the stupid one realizes just how stupid he/she is.

QUESTION: How much longer will we be stuck on stupid in Natchez?