By NEMS Daily Journal

Thanks to community for Link Centre support
The Memphis Barbecue network reps and judges, championship and local patio teams all enjoyed the warm welcome they received from volunteers and community members at the “Don’t Be Cruel BBQ Duel” competition and festival.
As chairman of the organizing committee, I want to extend our group’s appreciation to the broad network of sponsors who made the event possible, as well as the VIP judges, dozens of volunteers, fellow board members and Link Centre staff who spent untold hours to make this an event of which our whole community could be proud. We look forward to once again being Tupelo’s “living room” next spring for an even better BBQ competition event. If you would like to participate as a competition team, sponsor, or volunteer, please check the website, www.tupelobbqduel.com, for further information and specific ways to connect.
All of this effort is to support Link Centre’s valuable work focused on arts, education, and social services, which benefit the whole community.
Bev Crossen
BBQ Committee Chair Tupelo

Are events in Tupelo only for the elite?
We have been living in Tupelo for five years now and there is one thing that infuriates me very time we attempt to enjoy a festival or an event. We pull up to the gate and there is an entrance fee.
Saturday, April 9, was no different; we went to the Azalea Festival, once again there it was: Entrance fee: $15 per adult, not a nominal fee of $5 or less. Sure, the children’s fee was less but add it up for a typical family.
In front of us at the gate was a single woman with three children, after taking a moment to read the sign they turned and left. In keeping with my principles we also left.
I have been to a lot of events across the country where you can enjoy a sunny day at a festival in the park listening to bands play, watch dancing performances, or shop from the variety of vendors and not have to pay a dime to get in. This is one of the lowest wage earning states yet everything here has an entrance fee. This particular event was partially funded by the visitor bureau. The entrance to the event should have been free or at least affordable for all the citizens. Is Tupelo a greedy city? Or was it intended only for the elite?
Roseanna Mosley

Improve schools; then solve other city issues
I have lived in Tupelo for over four decades and never imagined that the city could reach the low point that it has reached. There are so many problems that addressing all of them in one letter is impossible.
The council gives lip service to increasing and retaining the middle class in Tupelo. This will not happen until the Tupelo schools improve. I know many young families that have moved from Tupelo to Saltillo, Mooreville and other areas. All moved for the same reason – the poor condition of the public schools. Twenty years ago parents in surrounding areas were happy to pay tuition so that their children could attend Tupelo schools. Today they move from Tupelo so that their children don’t have to attend public schools here.
I don’t know one person with complaints about the teachers. For the most part they are excellent. The problem lies in the fact that the teachers have no backing from the administration. There is absolutely no point in the Tupelo City Council and the mayor considering any of the far-fetched proposals for retaining the middle class until discipline has been restored in the schools and the teachers are allowed to teach, not condemned to dealing with disruptive students.
Ideas proposed for retaining the middle class are simply not viable. The paying of college tuition is ridiculous. Students can already attend ICC with tuition paid. Plenty of money is available for deserving students to attend college. The taxpayers of Tupelo do not need to assume this burden. Although my child could have attended another college, he chose ICC. It is a decision that neither he nor I have ever regretted.
Low interest loans for houses? This type of thing created the national crisis. Perhaps we should take a lesson from that.
I hope the council will take serious steps to correct problems in Tupelo starting with correcting problems in the schools before it is truly too late.
Ann Arnold

Minor needs to cease columns about 1962
Bill Minor keeps bringing up the riots at Ole Miss on Sept. 30, 1962.
His subject on this is about once a month. Enough already! I was there with the Mississippi National Guard and we had to stop the riot from that scum that were shooting at us and throwing bricks and insults – the low life that God allowed to even breathe, so please, Bill Minor, I wish of you two things. Either shut up about the riots at Ole Miss, or just retire and go home. Little do you know that we all had live ammunition with lock and load. It could have become a blood bath.
Lamar Smith
Lee County

Don’t target the old and poor for budget slashing
I read in the Daily Journal on April 11 an article titled “Obama to lay out spending plan.” This article states Obama is to reveal his plan to reduce the deficit, in part by scaling back on programs for seniors and the poor. In other words the people who can least afford it. Now I realize there is a lot of waste and fraud in these programs and this should be corrected, but this is not the group that should be targeted. The giant corporations and the super rich individuals who pay little or no taxes are the ones to target.
If the Obama administration and Congress want to reduce the deficit they should start with fair taxes. I have been paying taxes for almost 60 years and by April 15 each year if taxed are owed, I pay them.
I have seen several television ads from companies wanting to reduce what you owe the IRS. If you owe the taxes, they should be paid. But what really galls me is to learn that General Electric had over $14 billion in profit and paid no taxes and in addition they get a huge rebate for buying a fleet of hybrid cars. There are other large corporations that pay little or no taxes.
It is not just the large corporations who are involved; the super rich who can afford to pay the tax lawyers and lobbyists also pay little or no taxes. A couple of examples of this is a super star entertainer who owns a huge farm, pays little or no taxes because he grows honey bees on his farm. A super rich individual who owns thousands of acres in several states pays little or no taxes because of farm subsidies.
I have stated in the past that we should abolish the present income tax system and go to a national sales tax. Under a national sales tax if a purchase is made taxes are paid, regardless of a person’s financial status.
Earnest “Dee” Streit

‘Oligarchy’ rules Tupelo for its own self-interests
The events of the past two weeks revealed two things about Tupelo. First, Tupelo is an oligarchy. Secondly, if people will speak strongly, loudly and collectively they will be heard.
The standard definition for oligarchy is, “A small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution.” For those who would argue differently, I would challenge you to do the following exercise. Get the following lists: the CDF Board, a list of the CREATE Board, a list of the Airport Authority, Tupelo advisory boards, the School Board, and the Daily Journal board. Once you have your lists, start looking for names (you will need to know spouses) that are repeated. A clear pattern emerges from the exercise. There is an inner circle of people that are on three or more of the lists. A second group of people with at least two responsibilities form a second circle.
They tend to take care of their own needs and wants first. The middle-class and minorities are not properly represented in these circles. Members from this group get their Letters to the Editor printed. They get elected to represent us at the state and federal level. They get pretty much whatever they want, when they want it. Education, achievement and intellect will not guarantee you admittance into their circles. It is who you know, and how well spoken of you are within their circles.
Tupelo High School Principal Lee Stratton is a top-notch guy. He deserves every bit of the support he got. The inner circle was willing to let his reputation be marred to avoid revealing the ineptness of the oligarchy’s decision when they hired the wrong man to be superintendent. Many of the “problems” of Tupelo schools can be traced back to their source, the oligarchy. They write policies and make personnel decisions based on their wants instead of what may be best for the collective community. I encourage the people to stay united and break this hold that a small band of the privileged have over Tupelo.
Stacy Scott

Obama acted without congressional discussion
Where did President Obama get the authority to commit U.S. forces to war in Libya? There was no declaration of war. There wasn’t even an authorizing resolution by Congress allowing money to be spent on a war against Gadhafi.
As far as I know, there was no meeting of Obama and top leaders of Congress to discuss the subject. Congress wasn’t even “allowed” to express the people’s opinion on whether we want to be in a third concurrent war or not.
There was just a vote by the U.N. Security Council, not even a unanimous vote, and Secretary of State Clinton suddenly and solemnly announcing that we were at war.
When did we amend the Constitution to allow the U.N. control over our military? When did we abolish the part of the Constitution that said Congress has the right to declare war? Now, I know that in recent postwar conflicts, we didn’t have declarations of war. But we did have congressional debates. We did have funding votes. We did have a sense of congressional involvement and some kind of resolution.
In his speech to the nation seeking to justify military intervention which the president said the U.S. has “an important strategic interest in preventing Gadhafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful – yet fragile – transitions in Egypt and Tunisia.” He added: “I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.”
Obama did not wait to make that case to Congress, despite his past statements.
“The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” he told The Boston Globe in 2007 during his presidential campaign.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the crisis in Libya “was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it is an interest.”
Linda Pearson

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