Sunday, September 30, 2007

I Decided to Come Back!

It was a tough decision because Vienna is a very cool place, but I decided I had to come home to Natchez. While I was gone, I did keep up by reading the Natchez Democrat online. And quite a lot happened while I was gone!

The best news by far is that Binky is gone. Eddie Walker was easily elected Circuit Clerk in the runoff election. I know Eddie pretty well, and he will do an excellent job. Of course, he will walk into a huge mess when he takes office, but I have confidence that he will straighten it out as soon as possible.

The City is up to its usual shenanigans. Right before I left, there was some concern about the City having enough money to get through the fiscal year. (The City's fiscal year goes from October 1 through September 30.) About a week later and before they'd even passed the budget for the year beginning October 1, they approved a $15 million recreation complex! What were they thinking? As usual, they had no information - and of course, they never asked the public what they thought. A recreation complex might be a very good idea, but to do it without careful planning and public input is just reckless spending of your money. Supposedly this is a good political move in an election year. I sure hope the Natchez voters are too smart to fall for this irresponsible pandering.

I was very sad to see the Court of Appeals upheld the City's rezoning decision regarding Fat Mama's. It's troubling to have the State's highest court say it's okay for the City to force development on a neighborhood where 100% of the residents opposed it.

But on a more positive note, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board of Trustees voted unanimously to deny a permit to the developers of the condos at the old pecan factory site on the bluffs. Who knows what will happen next in this saga, but I loved the susequent editorial in the Democrat:

"Back in February, the City of Natchez, or more precisely, Mayor Phillip West, sent a clear message to the leaders of MDAH: Your authority doesn’t matter in Natchez. West ordered the former Natchez Pecan Shelling Company building bulldozed without the legally required permit from MDAH. What’s worse, he did so one day after speaking to the Historic Natchez Conference at which both MDAH
Executive Director Hank Holmes and MDAH Historic Preservation Division Director Ken P’Pool were listed as participants. What a slap in the face that was to the two men and the agency for which they work."
It goes on to say:
"But if West and the city aren’t careful, their cavalier attitudes toward the MDAH may continue to burn the city and future developments. What’s going to happen when the next city project needs approval of the MDAH?"
Exactly what lots of us said at the time.