Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Waycaster Hit the Nail on the Head

In a Letter to the Editor, Johnny Waycaster announced his withdrawal from the race for Alderman in Ward 3. That means there will be no Primary Election for Ward 3. For that seat, we'll have to wait for the General Election contest on June 3 between Democrat Gwen Ball and incumbent Republican Bob Pollard. This campaign definitely bears watching, since it pits the epitome of the "good ol' boy" over the committed citizen activist - and may very well predict the future of Natchez.

But let's go back to Johnny Waycaster for the moment, because his letter is really worth discussing.

The first question one has on reading the letter is why did he withdraw. There is no doubt that his candidacy would have hurt that of Dan Dillard, who is running for Alderman in Ward 6. Dan filed first, had been planning to run for quite some time, and had talked it over with Johnny ahead of time. So Johnny withdrew in favor of his friend and employee, and that says something positive to me about Johnny.

However, Johnny also cares deeply about Natchez and what he sees happening with its government. He has worked for years with the City and has an inside view of its workings that the rest of us can only guess about. He was so concerned that he was willing to put himself on the line and actually run for office - which so many are not. I don't think Johnny would have withdrawn if he didn't feel his opponent in the Primary, Gwen Ball, agreed with his basic principles and had a good shot at winning. I know Gwen and Johnny had several conversations before he made his decision. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if Gwen had withdrawn if Johnny had not. I guess they decided that running against each other wouldn't help them with their ultimate goal of getting rid of Bob Pollard. I also won't be surprised to see Johnny help Gwen with her campaign and continue to help her afterwards, if she's elected.

If you look at Johnny's letter, you can tell the concerns he had with Pollard and the rest of this Board. His letter was very eloquent and well written. Here is my interpretation in more down to earth language.

  1. Involve the public. Pollard and this Board do not ask for citizen's opinions - they just decide things among themselves. The only time the public is involved is when they absolutely have to do it. Then they make you sign up a week in advance and limit your remarks to 3 minutes. While you're speaking, they ignore you or make faces. They obviously could care less about the people's opinions.
  2. Act in public. The State Open Meetings law says very clearly that, except in rare, very specific circumstances, information sharing, debate, and decision making of elected officials is to be in front of the public. Pollard and this Board just meet in back rooms and over meals and entertainment provided by those looking for favors. When they vote in public, it is obvious that everything has already been decided ahead of time. In fact, I've caught them slipping and saying just that in public on occasion. And have you ever noticed that all the sneaky things they do come without any notice at the end of the meeting when most people have left?
  3. Obey the law. We all have to obey the laws, or we suffer the consequences. But not Pollard and this Board. They break the law regularly and then smile about it. The first time I noticed it was when they illegally raised their salaries. I wrote a letter - no response. I asked to speak to them - they changed the rules on speaking. I finally get a chance to speak - dead silence. They ignore the law all the time. The only recourse we have is to sue, and not many of us can afford that.
  4. Handle our money responsibly. We all have to learn to live with whatever our income provides, we know how to cut expenses when we have to, and most importantly, we know how to plan for the future. But Pollard and this Board don't have a clue about responsible financing. They didn't even pass a real budget this year. They spend money without knowing where it's coming from or what other programs it might affect. Neither Pollard nor any other Board member have any plan or vision for the future of Natchez. I once heard Gwen Ball ask the Board in a public meeting if they had a vision for Natchez. Dead silence - they probably didn't even know what she was talking about. Only one Aldermen even answered her. Alderman Middleton said his vision was "jobs". (Gee, how brilliant!)
  5. Manage our government. Pollard and the Board have no clue what a disaster area our city departments are, because none of them seems to know how to manage themselves out of a paper bag. This is not the fault of the employees. This is the responsibility of management, and in government, that's the elected officials. They also don't seem to understand the devastating effect this mismanagement has - not only on our daily lives - but on our economic development and our children's future.

REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU VOTE IN CITY ELECTIONS:

Don't vote for candidates telling you they are for jobs or recreation or any other good sounding promise. None of those promises can or will be kept if that candidate does not agree to these five principles of effective government.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on!

Anonymous said...

Am I not correct in thinking that Mr. Waycaster's brother represents the interests of the people who got possession of the Pecan Factory site from the city in a somewhat underhanded way? Would this not have presented a problem had he not backed out, given the unresolved suit and the many issues surrounding that matter? Who knows the facts about this?

Anonymous said...

I can see that this is going to be a good one !!!

I will have a ton to say later....

Anonymous said...

Off the subject, but interesting how the Mayor now wants a public forum for a recreation discussion. Remember when he once said a particular subject was" too important to involve the community"... it's Election time!

Anonymous said...

Pollard should easily defeat Gwen Ball.

Anonymous said...

In your dreams.....I have yet to tell of the things that I know about Pollard and why he will withdraw his name from contention in the very near future. I cannot see Gwen having any competition in the up coming elections. She will be unopposed.

Anonymous said...

If only I lived in Gwen's district! It would be great to help her get on the board. Could you see that crew of arrogant jackasses trying to get away with their illegal back room meetings with Gwen on the board? She would report everything to the public! My consolation is that Tony Fields in running against West in my district. How can a guy named "Bubber" show his face in public anyway?

Anonymous said...

Bob Pollard has been a good alderman and is a good person and is well liked by the people. Gwen ball will be supported by a small activist group. The real people will vote for Bob.

Anonymous said...

Since West has been in office, 200 new businesses have located to our city, plus 4 new hotels, 2 major entertainment projects and the unemployment rate has been cut in half.
I don't agree with everthing West does but something he's doing is working. I have to give him the credit he deserves. Like him or not, how can you argue with those numbers.

Anonymous said...

Negative Ned says.....

It absolutely amazes me how people can continuously speak out of both sides of their mouth. And, while being totally clueless of the fact that one side(of the mouth) is telling eveyone what a horrible economy that we have, what a terrible President that George Bush is, etc., the other side(of the mouth) is spouting kudos to Democrat West for the fantastic economy his has created here in Natchez. Times,obviously, have never been better. Hello! Hello! Which is it?

I challenge anyone that can tell me how their life is, in any way, not better off today than it was when President Bush took office.

We need to stop the kudos for a guy who has flagant disregard, indifference to and disrepect for the laws of our state and ordinances of our community.

Maybe a little more energy could better be exerted in trying to persuade the mayor to spend some time in his office and better still....spend less time across the river.

It is sad for our city that so many well qualified people turn their back on the important postions of leadership in our city
and take the attitude that "as long as it doesn't affect them personally...then, they don't care what happens."

And, it won't ever change folks!!!!

Negative Ned

Anonymous said...

Negative Ned is an optimist

eagle1 said...

Your comments about Pollard are quite harsh. Can we stick to politics and not personal attacks. Pollard is a good guy, like his politics or not. Fact is, the people backing Ball and Granning for that matter, are a small special interest (so to speak) group of people. Because Ball has that reputation, she will easily be defeated in this election. What some of these people backing her don't understand completely is that the average Natchezian doesn't look on her group very highly. While this group thinks VERY highly of themselves (typical elitists), the average joe thinks poorly of them. This election will prove my point.

Anonymous said...

Bob may be a nice guy and I'm sure he is. But, I don't at all see him as a non-elitist. He and his wife are leaders in the Krewe of Phoenix. And, Bob does associate with some powerful and wealthy folks. Furthermore, Eagle is right, we really should stick to the issues regarding how they're going to make this a better place for everyone. P.S.: Eagle, I haven't noticed any unkindly remarks regarding Bob.

Anonymous said...

I agree with negative ned's criticism of Philip West, but his glowing support of President Bush is baffling? Bush is the worst president in the history of this country. The Bush administration has shown itself to be completely incompetent in every area of government responsibility from the economy, the military to foreign policy.

The question should be, "What has President Bush done right?"

Anonymous said...

Negative Ned says...........

Dear Anonymous,

Those are some clever remarks, however, I notice that you skirted the real issue which was "please tell me specifically how you life is worse today than it was when Bush took office?

Come on, meet the challenge !

Negative Ned

P.S. I would also like to know if you can tell me just one thing that you have done for your country in your lifetime?

Anonymous said...

How am I worse off? That's easy enough. The cost of living has gone up dramatically, especially gas/oil, health care, my taxes went up while billionaires got trillion dollars in tax cuts, my country is stuck in a war started based on the lies of Bush, this war is being paid for with foreign debt that has sunk the value of the currency I earn, save and spend, the stock market has that my retirement savings are invested in has been in the tank for seven years resulting in the fore mentioned savings being severely de-valued, my civil liberties and that of all Americans have been whittled away bit by bit by an administration that has no respect for the Constitution, and the list goes on.

What have I done for this country? I go to work, pay my taxes, obey the law and do my best towards my fellow citizens. In other words dill weed, I'm one the three hundred million people who make this country work.

eagle1 said...

Well, it's a proven fact that the economy was headed south before Clinton left office. Then with corporate scandal revealed and the internet bust (all of which were happening during the Clinton years but revealed during the Bush years) the economy headed further south. Then two of the worst disasters in our country's history occurred. In my humble opinion, the tax cuts, among other things the president has done, has kept this country from going into a full blow depression, much less a minor recession. Given all that has happened over the last seven years, plus two wars, it's absolutely amazing we aren't even in a full blown recession now. Heck, the jobless rate is still at an all-time low. AMAZING. Facts are facts, tax cuts stimulate the economy, like them or not. I don't obsess with the rich like the left. I don't think the rich should bear the roughly 80 plus percent of the tax burden simply because they are rich.

And to debunk your old and tired "Bush Lied" theory of war. If he lied, so did the previous administration. They too believed the murdering tyrant of Iraq had WMD. If you'd like, I will document their beliefs but that is also a tired argument. Stock market in the tank??? Hardly. It's actually broke records during this administration. Civil Liberties????? Again, nobody is searching library records, it's a non-existant problem overhyped by the far left. Taxes gone up??? mine haven't, and I'm actually getting an additional rebate this year, SWEET.

Anonymous said...

[Quote]How am I worse off? That's easy enough. The cost of living has gone up dramatically, especially gas/oil, health care, my taxes went up while billionaires got trillion dollars in tax cuts, my country is stuck in a war started based on the lies of Bush, this war is being paid for with foreign debt that has sunk the value of the currency I earn, save and spend, the stock market has that my retirement savings are invested in has been in the tank for seven years resulting in the fore mentioned savings being severely de-valued, my civil liberties and that of all Americans have been whittled away bit by bit by an administration that has no respect for the Constitution, and the list goes on.[quote]

Spoken like a true liberal.
Gas prices are increasing due to the demand from emerging countries like China & India. Demand has greatly increased because of this, so it would not matter who is in office, it was going to happen.
Furthermore, the enviromental wacko's won't allow building new refineries or domestic drilling for oil in the US.
Food prices are rising due to the demand of corn etc., for alternative fuel, something politicians failed to foresee.
And please show one shred of evidence that Bush lied! This has been the mantra of Bush haters for years but it has no substance. He has mismanaged the war but he did not lie.
Exactly what taxes have risen for you other than maybe city/county taxes?
That claim can be easily dispelled.
If your stock investments have been in the tank for 7 years, you need to find a new investment counselor.
There was 9/11 or have you forgot, but my investments rallied and have done quite well until this latest downturn.
Also, please enlighten us on when your civil liberties have been violated. Here again is a cliche' of the left. There is no evidence of widespread violation of civil liberties.
As for health care, I don't have the answer, but I know that socialized medicine is not the answer.

Have a nice day.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you anonymous "liberal" but then maybe you're a conservative who tells it like it is. Honestly, I wonder if this other guy, Ned, has been hiding under a plastic coated rock somewhere, getting high on the fumes of denial.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Ned. My comment should have referenced Eagle.