By NEMS Daily Journal

Main Street project not a high priority
In reference to the Feb. 13 Daily Journal editorial “Main Street makeover,” Harbortown is a neighborhood near, not in, downtown Memphis. It was a success for the developer and builders. Downtown Memphis was also a beneficiary of the New Urbanist conceit. Streetcars but no private vehicular traffic on Main Street for many blocks. Renovating buildings for mixed commercial and residential.
Have you walked in downtown Memphis lately? A significant number of abusive, threatening bums who publicly urinate and defecate on the sidewalks but few citizens and tourists strolling or biking in the daytime, and only the foolhardy after dark.
Untold millions in tax favors for developers and select businesses doled out by the Center City Commission to the enrichment of the select few, yet downtown Memphis continues to be a failure. The condos downtown are going begging for buyers. Businesses and the downtown mall continue to go under. The visionary political and financial kingpins continue to rip off the taxpayers and perpetuate their clout. The city school system has surrendered its charter in favor of forcing the county system to take over and pay for the sins and shortcomings of the city system.
I would hardly tout Harbortown as a success story for the taxpayers of Memphis, The winners there have inordinate political and financial muscle, just as here. All pay. A few benefit, greatly disproportionately.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with devoting $3 mil to decorative street lamps, plants and their associated maintenance costs in years to come, brick pavers and pedestrian signals for cross walks, and whatever other lagniappe is part of this plan, I object to my taxes going to an expensive test to demonstrate the feasibility and desirability of this project while leaving out bike lanes, parking changes, left turn signals. As the outcome seems pre-ordained, why indulge this charade?
This is not to suggest that in a perfect world we should not do this. Perhaps, perhaps not. But I do suggest that this should have a much lower priority than quite a few other demands on the public purse which are going begging and which many believe should be satisfied as much higher priorities than this grandiose and wasteful plan. This deserves to be on a wish list, not an immediate priority.
It boils down to priorities, and this is the wrong one at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.
Don Riley, M.D.

Journal’s survey not representative
I was somewhat surprised by one of the stories that was run on the front page of the Daily Journal on Feb. 16. The article was penned by Emily Le Coz and the headline touted, “Most surveyed favor Tupelo tuition plan” with a sub headline, “Mayor Reed’s ‘Promise’ proposal still in its infancy.” The placement of this article on the front page seems biased and prejudicial.
I say this because Le Coz surveyed 15 people to gain their opinion. She went on to state that 13 support the plan even though the plan is “in its infancy” with no concrete details describing the implementation of the program. If one does the math the assertion being made, in my humble opinion, is that 87 percent of Tupelo residents support this plan. For those of us who have any experience with mathematical statistics, a sample size of n=15 from a population of 35,000 is statistically insignificant and distorted. Whether or not Ms. Le Coz or the Daily Journal support the mayor’s plan is of no consequence to me. However, the use of the front page of the newspaper to lend her “survey” weight is detrimental to constructive debate as to whether or not this is the best way to save our schools.
Rather than use gimmicks to try and keep or lure families into the Tupelo Public School District, such as Macbooks and college tuition, the school board and City Council members should focus on the foundation of the problems that plague the school district. Discipline and order in the classroom is first and foremost of these issues. Creating a good and safe learning environment for our children does not necessitate an increase in my property taxes, it only requires will and determination. These elected officials have a duty to our teachers, our children and our community to honestly look at why there has been a “mass exodus” from TPSD.
Melanie Tidwell

Factual data disputes Robinson’s letter claims
I am writing in response to an article in last Sunday’s Forum from David Robinson of Oxford and an article written by Sonny Scott. Both gentlemen were obviously much opposed to the Affordable Health Care Act, “Obama Care,” as some call it.
I will not dispute much of the data the gentlemen used other than Robinson’s assumption that the Health Care Act has increased health insurance cost. Health insurance cost has been increasing at 10 percent or more each year for several years. The past year most data show estimates of health insurance premium cost increases at less than 10 percent. My own health insurance premiums for 2011 increased only 8 percent while previous years it increased at more than 10 percent annually.
I consistently hear those on the right criticize Obamacare, but I rarely ever hear them offer solutions to the health care crises other than to open up competition between health insurance companies and allow them to compete across state lines. This seems to be a strange solution to the problem. It seems to me that health insurance companies are part of the problem, not the solution.
We have the highest health care costs of all industrialized nations at a little over $8,000 per person annually while the average annual health care costs in other industrialized nations are less than $4,000 per person annually. Also, data from the World Health Organization shows that we do not get as good a result from our health care dollar as do other industrialized nations. If health care cost increases are not contained and/or reduced theoretically our entire GNP will be consumed by health care expense resulting in a failed economy.
I support a single payer national health insurance system which would solve most all the problems mentioned by both gentlemen. The Democrats and those of us on the left have at least offered solution to the health care crises while the Republican right has offered no solution other than more of the same Scott said in the close of his article with regards to Congress coming to the rescue “it ain’t gonna be pretty.” I say if the health care crises is left to the market place to be solved it’s going to be a disaster both socially and economically.
David Summers

‘Common sense’ needed on animal cruelty bill
State senators supporting the animal cruelty bill surely never lived on the farm.
Our prisons and jail houses are overflowing already and creating laws to put people in jail or prison is not the answer. We do not need to pass laws just because other states have.
Our state is different with a large amount of people living on small farms in the country.
The citizens of Mississippi need to be better informed and present laws enforced.
As an older person born and raised in Mississippi, I cannot envision my neighbor in prison for abusing a dog or cat.
Hopefully common sense will prevail in this and other matters.

E.M. “Ed” Herring Tupelo
Hold out for more in honoring KKK …
It’s not enough, Mississippi! A commemorative tag to “honor” Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest is just not nearly enough.
I say let’s hold out for a Byron de la Beckwith Commemorative License Plate. (after all he did help make ‘em for a while).
Steven Monts

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