LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

By NEMS Daily Journal

Government shouldn’t pick winners and losers
“…It must be profitable for builders and developers, and … the city has to play a role with incentives and targeted investment.” ( “Housing focus,” Daily Journal editorial, Jan. 10)
Scary words for us taxpayers who aren’t builders or developers. Examining the results of other governments, large and small, indulging in targeted incentives is less than comforting.
Tupelo has a long history of targeted incentives, and your editorial suggests that those measures have failed over the longer term. I’m opposed to ignoring historical results contrary to today’s narrative.
Nature tends toward entropy, and using taxpayer funds to fight that has proved an expensive losing battle. Idealism is nice, but the fact is that people are voting with their feet and pocketbooks. If there is a profitable opportunity for developers and builders, one offering long-term benefits and profits, let them invest their time and money, not mine.
If the city wishes to enhance development opportunities, stay out of the way. Raise taxes too high? People leave and property values decline, making the uneconomical of yesterday an economic opportunity today. Business and real estate have cycles, and targeted investments of other people’s money have winners and losers.
In the latter case, there are many fewer (selected) winners, and they reap benefits disproportionate to their number. Some would call that the proper function of government. Others would call it rent-seeking as usual.
Tupelo’s history suggests that if community-minded citizens get together and work together for the greater good, better things will happen than if the same situation were left to city officials. Witness the MTP Committee. While there can be disagreement over which project deserves higher priority, there is little disagreement about the good that has come from the work of this committee.
Government has strayed from its intended purpose – providing certain essential services such as fire and police protection, roads, sewer and water. Government has corrupted the education process (provoking a middle class exodus), and its corrupting hand continues to make messes elsewhere.
It should not be the role of government to take forcibly from the many to handpick winners and losers. City Hall, please stay where you belong. This past November, a lot of folks emphatically conveyed that message through their votes. To the extent possible, get out of our lives. We can muddle along without your social engineering non-skills.
Don Riley, M.D.
Tupelo


Snow memories banned on ‘Highway Dept.’ hill
‘NO SLEDDING ON THE HILL’ the sign read at MDOT headquarters off North Gloster Street. Last Monday it displaced all of the people that could have thoroughly enjoyed the rare occasion that we get enough snow to go sledding! My family and I moved to Tupelo 18 years ago. During this time we have grown to love Tupelo and what it has to offer us and especially our children.
One of our fondest memories in our great city is of a previous snow day in 1995 when our family and children of all ages sledded down the “Highway Department” hill. It was so much fun that the excitement of my next door neighbor and his four-year-old daughter sledding together was captured in a photograph and put on the front page of the Daily Journal. This was just one of the many great times we spent on “the hill”.
I’m sad to say memories like these can no longer be made. Years later due to icy conditions and poor decisions made by several people, conditions became dangerous. Several people were injured and consequently, sledding was banned on “the hill.” I spoke with the commissioner as to why sledding had been banned and he cited the following reasons: Traffic on the hill blocked usage of their equipment, folks left too much trash on the hill, and people used dangerous implements such as car hoods as sleds.
I agree that the situation on “the hill” at that time was not ideal, but why ban sledding forever? With a few modifications and some creative thinking, we could safely bring sledding back to “the hill”! Realistically, it is no bigger than the Bunny Slope at most ski resorts! Wouldn’t that be awesome – revival of the Highway Department hill. Just think of all the fond memories that could be made or remembered, not to mention the physical benefits of walking up the hill after every run.
Hank Boerner
Tupelo


Computer use, writing a concern for Tupelo kids
As I was reading a recent Saturday Journal about the teacher training they are going to have this semester I was thinking of the young men I took to the doctor in early 2010. They had to sign papers and neither one could write their names in cursive. They are in 7th and 8th grades.
I have had to sign about 20 papers in the past two months, some had a line to print your name, then a line for your signature. These young men are going to be able to print their names, then I guess they put an amp”Xamp” in the signature line, right? I know that computers are being used a lot, but don’t tell me that the computers are going to sign the children’s names for them when they get out of school.
A form of cursive is taught only in the second and third grades in Tupelo’s schools, and it is not heavily emphasized after that.
Also, if you could see or hear what kids are downloading on the computers your stomach would churn. I know some parents that are fed up with the computer things.
I have talked to young people who said that they learned a lot when they took notes in class in their own handwriting. The computers have put an end to that way of learning and I just don’t see what makes sense in Tupelo schools anymore. I am glad my sons graduated years ago when they actually taught subjects in our schools.
Donna Patterson
Tupelo


Journal delivery was a pleasant surprise
Kudos to the entire staff of the NE MS Daily Journal for the steady performance of their jobs through this Jan. 9 snow. We left the Washington, D.C./Baltimore, Md., area when we retired and in January 2003 moved to Tupelo, to a large part, to get away from the “Yankee-S-word”. Now that we’ve seen the largest snow fall since 1968 confidence in our decision is not yet shaken. Tupelo is a fine place to live.
I must admit, however, that I wasn’t all that confident Monday morning when I looked out the front window to see if, by any chance, the Daily Journal had been delivered. I was amazed and pleased to see it lying atop the snow in its usual place in the driveway at 7 a.m.
Reminds me of an old poem that, with slight transmogrification, describes y’all exactly:
“Through rain and sleet and snow infernal
nothing delays delivery of the Daily Journal.”
Bob Spencer
Tupelo (Carr Vista)


Elevated parkway bridge would ruin Trace’s view
This is in reference to the letter to the editor in the Jan. 9 Journal from R.B. Dossett Jr. on the topic of “Complete South Gloster or face loss of confidence.”
I am pretty much in agreement with Mr. Dossett except for one comment concerning the Coley Road extension crossing of the Natchez Trace Parkway. His proposal to have the parkway cross the new road on a bridge above the proposed Coley Road extension flies in the face of why the Congress of the United States created the Natchez Trace Parkway.
The importance of maintaining the scenic vistas of the Natchez Trace Parkway is paramount to preserving the parkway experience for which it was established.
The parkway boundary runs approximately 400 feet on both sides of the motor road centerline. Congress established these wide boundaries so that the parkway would be able to use a vegetative screen to buffer or mask unpleasant development adjacent to the parkway. The landscape character of the parkway will be forever changed in the Tupelo area if the parkway is elevated to cross the Coley Road extension and future generations will not have the rural parkway experience to enjoy.
As far as the cost of the proposed bridge, the design of the parkway bridges throughout its length is pretty consistent. This is one of the design features that separates it from “just another road.” Yes, the cost is more, but remember that it is within the boundaries of a national parkway. Some of the cost could be reduced by constructing the bridge as a four lane instead of a five lane where it crosses the parkway boundary. The turn lane will not be required within the parkway boundary.
As past president of the Natchez Trace Parkway Association, I am sure that Mr. Dossett’s father understood that the importance of the parkway as a ribbon of greenery and a designed cultural landscape will only increase as development and human populations increase along its viewshed and boundaries. The designation of the parkway as a National Scenic By-Way lends even more credence to the importance and significance of maintaining its scenic viewshed unencumbered by visual clutter of our modern day world. I, too, rest my plea and facts.
D. Craig Stubblefield
Tupelo