Letters to the Editor

By NEMS Daily Journal

‘Malling’ isn’t planned for downtown Tupelo
As a Main Street practitioner and advocate of downtown revitalization for 20 plus years, the “malling” of downtowns around the country in the 60’s and 70’s was one of the worst decisions made in the name of progress. That is not what the Main Street Enhancement project is proposing.
The Main Street Enhancement project, four years in the making, is a plan to replace trees that have died and to renovate the overall streetscape – which has seen no sincere improvements in over 30 years. In the planning process, we realized that parking, pedestrian and vehicular safety and truck traffic should be a part of this process.
Using actual traffic counts from Tupelo, traffic engineers have done computer modeling to determine various ways that can make our downtown area safer for all users and still efficiently move traffic to and through the area. The proposed 3-laning of Main Street is only one way to address the issue and is just that, a proposal. The request to the Council for approval is not the final approval of the project, rather approval to proceed with the next phase of design development. The beauty of the proposed plan is that it does not disturb the existing width of the street nor call for major renovations to the current infrastructure, but allows us to test various solutions before we permanently implement changes.
The concepts being proposed support the Comprehensive 2025 plan for the City of Tupelo, written based on months of public input. The plan also supports the overall master plan for downtown Tupelo that created the Fairpark District of downtown.
We must always be searching for ways to grow our economy. With a more diverse generation arising, a changing economy, growing environmental concerns and new alternatives to transportation, Tupelo must refocus its efforts on protecting and promoting the City as a great place to live and work. These decisions are vital to the future of downtown and our community.
Go to www.mainstreettupleo.blogspot. com and Google “Great Streets,” “Great Places,” “Great Cities,” “What makes a Great Downtown?,” and “Projects for Public Spaces” for additional insight.
Debbie Brangenberg
Director
Downtown Tupelo Main Street Association

Toyota’s not scrubbed, just delayed by economy
Mississippi is often characterized as a whole by a single negative statistic that generates a convenient headline. As little effort is made to look at the whole picture, our state and our people are often mischaracterized by those who don’t know us.
As a native of Delaware, when I first announced to friends I was moving to Mississippi to pursue a great opportunity, they were bewildered. How could there be an opportunity in Mississippi? Clearly this was just one example of folks not looking at the big picture.
Over the years, I have talked to others who moved here from other states and faced similar reactions. They found that when they looked beyond the misperceptions, and focused on the bigger picture, Mississippi was in fact a very special place, with unique opportunities to offer and wonderful people, as well.
We are fortunate that Toyota and so many other companies have been willing to look beyond the headlines and to spend some time getting to know our state well enough to look at the bigger picture.
This is why it is important we as Mississippians understand the recent Toyota model recall to be what it is: an unfortunate but rather common event in the world of automotive manufacturing.
If you spend some time on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, you will note that there have been thousands of recalls over the years – and they are happening all the time. Companies must deal with them as Toyota is doing: correct the problem and work to assure continuous improvement to minimize issues in the future.
The Toyota plans for Blue Springs, announced several years ago, enjoyed a rush of enthusiasm, followed by a crush of disappointment over the state of the economy that forced Toyota – and other companies – to sideline their expansion plans until the international economy improves. But the company hasn’t lost faith in Mississippi. The plant is sidelined, not scrubbed.
Toyota already has invested $300 million with the construction of the plant at Blue Springs – and when the national economy improves, another approximately $800 million will be on the way, bringing a huge positive boost to our state – and positioning Mississippi to be at the leading edge in the economic recovery.
Blake Wilson
President and CEO
Mississippi Economic Council
Jackson

Military isn’t designed as social laboratory
In response to Jimmy Reed’s Feb. 14 letter about homosexuals in the military: The military is not a place to conduct social experiments.
Do you get the feeling that our government and society in general have caved in to a secular and “anything goes” ungodly mindset? According to the on line Free Dictionary by Farlex the expression of “cave in” is defined “to collapse; subside; informal to yield completely, especially under pressure.” I see a complete cave in, a yielding to impious thinking and behaviors.
As an example of the changing moral mindset in our current times, the Military Justice System review panel believes it’s time to repeal “Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.” According to the Army Times, Nov. 16, 2009, note the following headline, “Report: Outdated sodomy law should be repealed,” by William H. McMichael. A lead-off quotation from this article will suffice, “Sodomy between consenting adults should not be a crime in the military justice system, a blue-ribbon commission that periodically reviews military law concluded in a new report.”
It now looks like Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided to push this social experiment on us. What nonsense!
I suggest that a host of our active duty, retired military and veterans are shaking their heads in unbelief. What utter nonsense to cave in to the gay-rights “anything goes” advocates.
The military is designed to accomplish missions that involve the use of force. Anything that hinders the mission must be excluded or done away with. Adding and approving sodomy, same-sex love affairs in the military will hamper or completely destroy morale and traditional military discipline.
The need is to return to a God fearing nation. God Help Us!
Donald R. Fox
Saltillo