ERROL CASTENS: City-county rivalries: A suggestion

One frequent issue in recent municipal elections across Northeast Mississippi was the willingness of city and county officials to work together. That’s not much of an issue with towns like Myrtle or Mantachie, but where the county seat is dominant, turf wars can impede a lot of progress.
Example: A former Lafayette County supervisor admitted years ago that he was willing to spend millions of dollars needlessly or deprive area youth a place to play rather than let Oxford have credit for building a sports complex. (After long and contentious negotiations, Oxford-Lafayette Fields at FNC Park finally opened this spring.)
Let’s try this: Just as aldermen and supervisors represent their respective boards on park commissions, planning districts and solid waste authorities, have one alderman represent the city at supervisors’ meetings and one supervisor represent the county at aldermen’s meetings.
Each entity would have more insight into the other’s perspectives and perhaps be able to share solutions to problems. Accusations would tend to be more carefully worded with accusers and accusees in the same room. Concerns could be addressed as they come up instead of letting them fester.
Jack Reed Jr. and Tommie Ivy, Pat Patterson and Lloyd Oliphant, Parker Wiseman and John Young and their counterparts in other communities could make this a valuable part of their legacies.
Admittedly, city-county rivalries won’t be as easily solved as, say, those in the Middle East, but at least it’s a start.

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Now, let me close out with a few lighter thoughts.
– From the past: Radio humorist Ludlow Porch said, “In the south of my youth, there were only two kinds of men: those who drove Fords and those who drove Chevrolets.”
– A lot of water has gone under the bridge, too, since Bobbie Gentry mystified everyone with “Ode to Billie Joe.” It was late afternoon on Wednesday by the time started its annual ritual of repeatedly playing in my head.
– AT&T’s slogan seems so very appropriate plastered across the Tad Smith Coliseum scoreboard in Oxford: “More bars in more places.”
– Barry Hannah illustrated the power of romance when he wrote, “A mule can climb a tree if it’s in love.” Imagine the mule trying to get down from the tree without mangling itself, and you see what happens when romance goes wrong.

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

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