Letters to the Editor

Terminate Brown contract
and cut the city's losses

After reading Friday morning's article in the Daily Journal concerning Cindy Brown and the Ethics Now report, I felt compelled to write and express my opinion on the continuation of Brown's contract by the City of Tupelo.

1. A consultant's reputation is built on the quality of service and/or product he/she provides to the client. I understand Brown's desire to protect the work product of her former clients, but her decision not to reveal the names of the companies or organizations she has served is ludicrous. Building a clientele of satisfied customers who will provide positive references is the lifeblood for bringing in new business to a consulting firm. Knowledge and access to those references allow the client to make an informed judgment. I believe the City Council was remiss in hiring Brown without proper references and in not holding the original consultant, Neil Trautman, accountable for passing off the city's contract to a subcontractor without appropriate assurances of Brown's reputation for quality service.

2. It strikes me as very disingenuous that Brown alleges that many city employees are in fear of losing their jobs if they speak to Brown. As a former attorney in the City Attorney's office, I worked with city employees, both management and rank and file employees, on a daily basis. I found them to be intelligent, hard-working and open-minded people who would not be easily intimidated. If city employees are not talking to Brown, it is because she has created an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion.

3. The most recent comments made by Brown alleging that she is being “followed” and that her cell phone was “bugged” leads me to believe that a decision to continue a contractual relationship with Ethics Now is not in the best interest of the city and is an inexcusable expenditure of city funds. The idea of producing an objective and truthful report to determine if there is racial bias in the city's workplace is a good idea; however, in light of Brown's methods, the likelihood of receiving such a report is virtually nonexistent. Let's cut our losses now and move on.

Sonja Jenkins

Where is the competence
in Tupelo's bumbling?

I read with interest each day in the Daily Journal the apparent incompetence of Tupelo's city government. They can't keep a simple consulting contract from ballooning from $25,000 to $100,000 for a discrimination in hiring policy study. They cannot initiate a successful policy of traffic violation control (cameras)). Again, where is the “Good Neighbor” attitude, as I expressed in an earlier letter.

Back to money issues. In the earlier years of the proposed annexation study, while Larry Otis was mayor, a meeting was held at the Freewill Baptist Church on Veterans Boulevard. As one concerned citizen expressed at that meeting, “Tupelo only wants to increase their tax base by annexation.”

At that point, Mayor Otis expressed, “Oh no, Tupelo has plenty of money, we have over $25 million in the bank!” So with the current news in the Journal, we see that Tupelo has again “run short of money!”

Where has it gone? Is it being spent on new baseball fields behind Ballard Park, and for complete reconstruction of Thomas street?

Another recent shortsightedness has been brought out, the acquisition of land for the extension of Coley Road to the Gloster Street intersection with Barnes Crossing Road. The city fathers sat back in the early 1990s and watched the mall being built, but it took over five years for them to ever decide it would be good to four/five lane North Gloster from North Green street to the mall.

Now after all this time, they have tried to get a landowner to give a valuable piece of property to make a connection at Barnes Crossing. Is their head in the sand? Does Tupelo have city officials with any foresight for long range planning?

Look folks, this development on the north side of Tupelo has been going on now for more than 15 years. When are Tupelo's city fathers going to wake up and use some judgment in all the business they seem to be incapable of handling?

I still do not want to be annexed into the city of Tupelo.
Charles Wood

Mitchell's article inaccurate
on Prentiss Co. schools

I am writing in response to Lena Mitchell's article on consolidating the Prentiss County schools, which appeared in the Aug. 15 Daily Journal. I am an employee of the Prentiss County School District. As a parent and an educator, I can see both the positive and negative sides of the consolidation issue. Mitchell adequately presented both the potential benefits and the potential problems involved in consolidating the two school districts in Prentiss County.

I question Mitchell's accuracy in reporting of reasons parents involved in a suit against the District felt their children would be “shortchanged by switching from Booneville to Prentiss County schools.” Mitchell listed “problems” with the county schools without presenting the other side of the story.

Had Mitchell researched the validity of the suit's claims, she would have found that the Prentiss County School District does, in fact, offer K-12 art, Advanced Placement English, Advanced Algebra, physics, Biology II, Chemistry I, Chemistry II, drama, after school tutoring, and Healthy Marriages Curriculum. Students in Prentiss County also have access to computer labs on all campuses.

The Prentiss County School District also offers football at Jumpertown and Wheeler (junior varsity) and Thrasher (varsity), baseball, boys' and girls' track, boys' and girls' tennis, and boys' and girls' powerlifting in grades 7-12, as well as junior high and high school cheerleading.

Contrary to the group's statement, students in Prentiss County do have access to Level 5 schools: New Site, Hills Chapel, Marietta, and Wheeler in 2006-2007. Jumpertown was a Level 4 school and Thrasher a Level 3 school.

Finally, had one bothered to look at the Subject Area Test scores listed in the Daily Journal, he or she could have seen that the Prentiss County School District's scores were among the highest in the area.

Mitchell's failure to research the claims made by the suing parents was irresponsible.

In a county where tensions already run high, feelings have been hurt, and extended family relationships have been strained, the last thing we need is for a journalist's unnecessarily inflammatory article to be printed in our regional newspaper.

Kim Perry, EdS, NCSC
Jumpertown School

Brown's claims won't hold
water without evidence

“I have been followed, and there is proof that my cell phone was tapped,” Cindy Brown said.

What a crock! Brown makes these allegations yet offers no evidence to substantiate such claims.

Brown also claims, “City employees are afraid, nine out of ten employees fear losing their jobs or some other type of retaliation if they're seen with me, which explains the mileage I've racked up driving to out-of-town locations to meet with interview subjects.”

Again she offers no proof, neither will Brown provide documentation of previous ethics studies, say's “that's confidential.”

How convenient! It is my opinion Cindy Brown has much experience in milking a situation for every cent she can squeeze. Our City Council says, “We are not going to give Cindy Brown a blank check.”

Surprise!, Council members, that's precisely what you've done.

E. Delano (Ed) Christian

Vegan' urges meat-free
diets against cruelty

I agree with Marty Russel's article (Aug. 22 column): “When it comes to animal abuse, we humans are species-ists'.”

Many believe dog fighting is an evil, barbaric blood sport, but we glance over our own contributions to animal suffering. While most of us couldn't stand to watch a dog fight, we don't mind eating the flesh of an animal that was killed in a slaughter house. We're so used to seeing a dog as a pet, while we view a cow as “food.” But both species can be just as loving and gentle. All animals deserve respect, but, unfortunately, many are treated cruelly.

I'm vegan, which means I don't eat meat, eggs, dairy -anything that comes from an animal. I also avoid animal products like leather, silk and wool. And I boycott animal acts such as circuses. I don't believe in harming animals for anything, especially when we already have so many alternatives.

I encourage anyone who is interested in making the world a better place for animals to consider a meat-free diet.

Christiana Cheek

Click video to hear audio