Your Opinion: Letters to the Editor

Councilmen’s response irks forum participant
Shame on Tupelo City Council President Fred Pitts, who described Tuesday’s grassroots meeting of citizens (who are also voters) as a “rambling for two hours . . .”
His comments demonstrate the arrogance that some City Council members exhibit when citizens speak against a measure that the council is bound and determined to pass. I, personally, spoke from prepared notes. I offered some very concrete proposals. Others did, too.
Mr. Pitts’ comments reinforce the feeling citizens have that certain members of the council do not communicate well with their constituents and are out of touch with reality. Yes, some people got off topic, but we must remember that life does not come with a script. I am also appalled that my representative on the council, Jim Newell, thinks so much of his precious time that he could not stay the entire meeting to hear citizens, most of whom did not have an agenda, speak from the heart.
Newell knows he does not have the votes to defeat the Tupelo Reinvestment Plan, therefore, he needs to get busy trying to improve the plan using citizen and taxpayer input as much as possible.
Jim Newman is to be applauded for his efforts as a concerned citizen. I stand ready to serve with Newman and the “smaller group of people focused on the issue”.
Ken Patterson
Tupelo


Russell violated his own words in column
In January, Gabby Giffords, a congresswoman, was shot by an allegedly deranged gunman. After the shooting, the liberal media pontificated and opined that the gunman was goaded into his act by uncivil political discourse. One such voice was the Daily Journal’s own Marty Russell, who wrote, “We no longer have reasoned discussions of issues based on logic and facts.” Russell also opined, “At some point we apparently decided that we no longer needed the civil in civilization because everybody but us is wrong and not worth listening to.” And Russell wrote, “… (M)aybe the tragedy in Tucson will shake us back into some semblence of civility.”
On July 19, Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp. (which owns Fox News), while testifying before a British Parliament panel about a telephone hacking scandal, was physically assaulted by a man wielding a plate covered with foam (in the manner of a cream pie). The next day, in his Daily Journal column, Marty Russell applauded the act of violence which disrupted an official inquiry being conducted by the British government.
A firearm attack on a congressman and a pie in the face of a businessman may be quantitatively different, but in January Marty Russell was condemning mere uncivil language while in July Russell applauds an actual act of physical violence. And then Russell claims that it’s men like Murdoch who give journalism a bad name? I have to wonder what kind of ethics Russell teaches his journalism students at Ole Miss?
But more importantly, I wonder this: What has happened to the editorial integrity of the Daily Journal? I wonder how Russell’s column got by the editorial staff, but then the answer is obvious – the editorial staff agreed with it.
Similarly, the Daily Journal has recently published pieces by Rheta Grimsley Johnson which have contained vile vituperative statements about Newt Gingrich.
The editorial pages of the Daily Journal are neither fair or balanced. Each time I read the Daily Journal, I grow more and more disgusted.
David Robinson
Oxford


‘Kalamzoo Promise’ gets strong student response
As reported in Education Week on July 13, a study has been published following the impact of the Kalamazoo Promise on School Climate. A significant response of the financial incentive has been to encourage students to work harder and aim for college. Students noted improved perceptions of how their teachers were working with them, such as pushing them harder to do well. They also reported skipping less class, seeking academic help more often, and encouraging friends to “stay on the right track” to college. The study was published by Arizona State University’s “Education Policy Analysis Archives.” I pulled it up by going to a search engine and putting in Arizona State University Education Analysis Archives Impact of the Kalamazoo Promise on School Climate.
There is no one silver bullet for our community’s changing demographics, nor for the daily hard work of helping all students succeed. Every positive piece helps. Clearly the tuition guarantee can be a positive force not just financially, but also as an encourager which demonstrates to students and staff that the community values them and is actively participating, going the extra mile, to lend support to their efforts. The tweaking by the City Council to align the All-American City Plan with the already established community college tuition gurantee is a reasonable financial compromise which should have similar results as the Kalamazoo project.
The constant drumbeat of scapegoating the schools for all of the community’s issues is discouraging, unhelpful and counter-productive. There will never be a perfect plan. Like educating students, it is a process. I encourage the council to courageously lead the way and implement the four-pronged plan crafted by many experienced, caring community members with the understanding that quarterly reports will be given and each part evaluated and adjusted as needed to produce the strongest results.
Shawn Brevard
Tupelo

NEMS Daily Journal