Jason Patterson Editor & PublisherMy column last week about the city’s failure to perform routine maintenance of the downtown improvements or our local parks received a tremendous amount of feedback.
All of it was from readers who agreed that it’s high time we started holding our leaders accountable for the decline they have allowed to take place in our city. Most of them had other examples of things like limbs being allowed to pile up on street sides until there was just room for one lane of traffic, neglected properties being allowed to become a blight on entire neighborhoods and storm gutters being cleaned only after there is a problem.
In all the conversations I’ve had with residents, there seems to be two kinds of people.
The first group are those who are determined to do their part to improve Yazoo regardless of how the city’s leadership operates. They are frustrated with the problems, but they’re not going to let it stop them from working to help move Yazoo forward.
We need more people like this.
The second group are those who feel a sense of helplessness. They’ve started to believe that things are heading in the wrong direction, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it.
But there’s plenty that can be done.
As I pointed out last week, there are many things that can be accomplished without any government officials getting involved.
Yes, the missing light poles, uneven sidewalks and busted planters downtown that were purchased just a short time ago through grant money are a monument to incompetence, but the progress made on Main Street by private individuals far outshines all of that. On the issue of our parks, there seems to be enough volunteer interest in improving them that the efforts will move forward with or without the city’s involvement.
It’s also a lot easier than many people realize to remind elected officials that they’re working for you. Many people just don’t want to take the time to contact an elected official to voice a complaint, but maybe they would if they looked at it like any other customer service issue.
If you were paying for cable and all of a sudden you couldn’t get but a couple of channels, I bet you would take the time to call and complain. If the problem wasn’t corrected, you’d keep calling until something was done.
Why should you feel any different about your tax dollars?
You’re paying for these services, and if you’re not getting what you paid for, you at least deserve an explanation.
A lot of people may feel that it won’t do any good, but two recent local examples prove otherwise.
Glenwood Cemetery previously reached a disgraceful state because the sexton was no longer allowed to use state inmate labor after it was determined that he had acted inappropriately with the inmates. The problem, and the solution, was obvious, but a majority of our city officials didn’t want to make a change.
They stuck to their guns until public outcry became great enough, and then they made a management change. The results have been terrific.
Another example was the ill-advised proposal to include an adult entertainment district in the city’s zoning plan. A diverse group of citizens and local ministers packed the boardroom to express their objections. I’ve never seen so many people come to a public meeting to take a stand.
With that much opposition, the adult entertainment district never had a chance. I was very proud to see how many Yazooans got involved on that day.
Imagine what could be accomplished if residents got half as passionate about other problems affecting our city.
Our elected officials are all decent people, and I believe they truly want what’s best for our community. But it’s also clear that some important details are being neglected, and it’s our responsibility to do our part to try to get Yazoo back on track.
Things are lining up for this to be a great year for our community. New economic development opportunities are on the horizon when the ground is broken on the Willie Morris Parkway. There is enough momentum on Main Street for a downtown revival. There will be many eyes on our city, and we must put our best foot forward if we expect to have any chance of capitalizing on all of these opportunities.
Despite all of the challenges our community has faced, there is still nowhere in the world I’d rather be. I know that many of you feel the same way, and that’s why we shouldn’t settle for half-hearted efforts.
I urge you to get involved today.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorMy husband Jason is now officially wrapped around another female’s little finger.
She bats her fluffy eyelashes at him, and he comes running.
A smile from her will pull him away from any conversation we might be having at the time.
One whimper from her, and he is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, determined to find a way to calm her down.
And when she said “Dadda” for the first time this week, he melted on the very spot.
Yes, our daughter Elsie has taken the supreme position of “top female” in Jason’s life.
From the second she arrived in this world, he has been under her spell.
The first giggle, smile and wave made a big hit with Jason. But when she finally said “Daddy,” or something really close to it, it was all over for him. And considering it was her first word ever...he’s loving it.
I’ll let Jason have his moment. I had mine with our son James. His first word was “Momma.”
I must admit, however, it’s funny to watch just how much “daddy’s little girl” has her daddy really wrapped. All you have to do is compare the way Jason treats our son with how he treats her.
When James runs inside with a bloody knee or a scrape on his arm, Jason checks it out to make sure it isn’t serious.
If it’s not a hospital visit, Jason tells him to “shake it off.”
I am usually the one that comes behind him with some medicine and a bandage.
When Elsie bumps her head slightly on a table, Jason is pushing me out of the way to pick up her up. I literally was shoved into the china cabinet one night when she ran into the dining room table.
Elsie is immediately swept into his arms. Every part of her body is checked. He showers her with kisses. And he would put a wrap around her head if I let him.
When James gets into trouble, Jason is quick to put him in time out, give a firm talking or whatever the situation calls for.
I raised my voice to Elsie the other morning to stay away from some cords, and I am the one who got yelled at.
“Don’t you raise your voice to her,” he told me.
“What,” I asked. “You’ve got to start letting her know what she can’t do. You don’t have a problem getting on to to James.”
“Well, that’s different,” he said, picking up Elsie. “She’s a little girl.”
I stood in silence as he escorted Elsie out of the room, explaining to her how “I didn’t mean it.”
James sat on the couch and took a huff of breath. At least he understands, I thought to myself.
I can only imagine how this will play out as the children get older.
I’m sure Jason will slip Elsie that extra cupcake. He will never spank her, unless it gets really, really bad. One cry from her will lead to a full investigation from him. And when she starts dating, he’ll probably act as chaperone until she’s 30 years old.
Of course, I can understand where he is coming from. I tend to do the same thing with James.
If Elsie is daddy’s little princess, then James is momma’s little prince.
And I got a feeling, those two will always be rulers of the court.
Jason Patterson Editor & PublisherSometimes when I’m spending most of my Saturday cutting grass and working in the yard, I wish I could just do it once and be done for the summer.
I suppose I could do that, but I’m sure I’d have some unhappy neighbors and one very unhappy wife when the place started looking like a jungle.
Many of the problems facing Yazoo today are a result of someone “taking the summer off” when there’s ongoing work to be done.
One of the most often discussed topics today is the poor condition of our local parks with restrooms in disrepair and routine field maintenance neglected. These are issues that wouldn’t exist if our leaders weren’t asleep at the wheel.
During the last Mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting Ward 1 Alderman Charles “Mickey” O’Reilly called for cleaning up Brame Park. I am in total agreement with him that it needs it, but what Mr. O’Reilly doesn’t seem to realize (or at least want to admit) is that the park has declined over the past decade, which is the same amount of time he has represented the ward in which it is located.
I used to enjoy taking my lunch to Brame Park to eat rather than sitting inside, but the park has gone downhill considerably since those days.
Another example is Main Street, where the Mississippi Development Authority made significant investments in the form of a grant to this city to improve downtown Yazoo.
Today the brick sidewalks are uneven and potentially dangerous in some places, some of the new light poles haven’t been replaced after being damaged and at least one of the large planters has visible damage. The music from the sound system was recently cut off after the bill went unpaid.
Just like I would be hearing from my wife if I shut down the lawn mower for the summer to focus on leisure activities full time, it’s time for local leadership to start hearing from the taxpayers. We have to get their attention.
In the meantime the good news is that we don’t really have to wait around for politicians to make good things happen in our community.
Soon after residents started voicing concerns about the state of our parks, volunteers began offering their services. Coach Johnny Staples says he has had many people contact him to offer support in his volunteer efforts.
There’s also plenty of positive activity downtown, and none of it has anything to do with the government. Jet and Vernette Griffin have brought tremendous new activity with the Downtown Marketplace and across the street Jeff Curtis has done the same thing with TCTI Fitness. Paul and JoAnn Adams continue to make major investments in their downtown buildings. Frank Webb at Webb’s Pharmacy is upgrading his system and expanding because he is confident in the future of his downtown business.
The momentum is there, and it’s just a matter of time before more good things happen downtown.
But it would be a lot easier to market Yazoo to new business if we took the time to pay attention to the basic maintenance details. It would also ensure that the local taxpayers are getting what they’re paying for.
Taking pride in our city is a year-round job.
Jamie Patterson Managing EditorToday is a special day in the Patterson home as Jason and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary.
I know five years may not seem very long, but it has been an eventful ride for us.
I can remember how the first year of marriage was filled with excitement, uncertainty, love and anticipation.
Like most young couples, we rented our first place. It was a house on Washington Street right behind Ricks Memorial Library and the Triangle Cultural Center.
The small house was everything we wanted. It had a lot of room for us. And it had a lot of character with its historic charm.
We quickly moved our second-hand furniture in and began our journey as a married couple.
That first place still holds many memories in my heart.
Its kitchen was filled with smoke many times as I learned to cook different dishes. Every night was a new test at the supper table as we tried a variety of new recipes. I knew Jason really liked something when he got up for seconds.
“It’s good but I wouldn’t want it all the time” meant the recipe was a failure, and he was just too nice to say it.
The small spare room was also the place we took our newborn James on that first day home from the hospital.
Decorated with Winnie the Pooh, the room adjacent to ours became his little world.
Its halls shook all hours of the night as little James cried into the darkness those first few weeks.
Its living room was the place where James took his first rocky steps.
Its dining room was filled with laughter at James’ first birthday party.
Its front porch swing was where we spent many cool fall evenings. With a baby in my lap, I sat under Jason’s arm and watched Yazoo pass us by.
Its front door was where we welcomed our first trick-or-treaters.
Its front bay windows were where our first Christmas tree lights could be seen from the street.
Its back porch was where we celebrated our first Fourth of July with sparklers and hot dogs.
Its back yard was where James splashed in his first little swimming pool.
It was a bittersweet moment for us when we bought our first house and had to leave our rented piece of heaven. We smile and share memories to this day every time we pass that little house in town.
It seems your first place as newlyweds holds that special place in your heart. It was where you learned to be husband and wife. It was where you learned your housekeeping skills and repair tricks. It was where you learned how to be parents.
But most importantly, it was where you learned to love and live.
Our new home has taken on those same memories. My kitchen still fills with smoke at times. We welcomed our daughter Elsie into a new room. First steps were taken again. And birthday parties have been held within its walls.
Backyards have been transformed into campgrounds and swimming parks. And front porches have been stocked with rocking chairs as children play on its steps.
It has become a home.
We will celebrate our five year anniversary today surrounded by our two unpredictable kids, our mutt on the front porch and a hot meal on the table.
Like our first year of marriage, we’ll be excited about what’s to come. We will continue to build our life within our home. We will be uncertain of what challenges may come our way.
And we’ll love every minute of it.
Walter PattersonLast week, I had the opportunity to listen to a man who had made a great deal of money working in private equity.
Private equity companies risk their own money when they make an investment – unlike Mr. Obama who has invested your tax dollars in green energy companies, and none have succeeded. Billions of tax dollars have been thrown away for absolutely nothing, and yet Mr. Obama criticizes Mitt Romney for working for Bain Capital, a private investment company that was successful in turning about 80 percent of the companies it purchased into productive, efficient, and competitive companies. Yes, these companies expanded and hired employees, something that the left does not want to admit.
This venture capitalist explained the workings of private equity firms and why they were important to our economy. Near the end of his talk, he said something that I have felt all along. “There is no way for this country to avoid a depression –no way.”
These are sobering words. They made me sit up and take notice. But after a moment’s reflection, I admitted that it does not take an Albert Einstein to figure this out.
The political class in Washington is more focused on getting re-elected than doing what is right for the country. Unlike soldiers in battle who perform heroic acts, acts which almost seem impossible, we do not have brave politicians. They simply have no guts.
Let me give you an example. Article I, Section 9 Clause 7 of the U. S. Constitution says, “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” We all learned in our 9th grade civics that all bills dealing with money must begin in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans now control the House of Representatives yet our national debt continues to rise at an alarming rate. We owe so much money that most thinking people wonder if we can ever repay it even when we shift the burden to our kids and grandkids. Soldiers who performed heroically on the battle field often sacrificed their lives. No one in the Senate or House is willing to sacrifice anything let alone their life. Their main concern is, “What junket can we get the American taxpayer to fund, and I need a raise.”
The national debt will soon be $17 trillion. The Democrats, when they came to power in 2006, started this debt ball rolling down the hill, but we cannot forget that the Republicans captured the House in 2010. How significant is this. We have the purse strings if we have enough guts to hold them. What the Republicans should do today is tell Harry Reid, the most corrupt Senator in the history of the Senate, that no further consideration will be given to any appropriations measure until a budget is passed. Folks, do you realize that the United States of America has been operating without a budget for over 3 years? The Democrats have refused to pass three budgets passed by the House, and instead, want to rely on “continuing resolutions.”
This will take guts. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner, will have to sum up some courage to do this. The extremist Democrats will go absolutely crazy and tell every lie that they can think of to scare the people of this country. This action may, in fact, cost the Speaker his seat in the House, but sometimes the battle demands self-sacrifice. On the other hand, he might earn a medal.
Now, I don’t expect any of this to be done. Politicians aren’t about to sacrifice themselves for a little thing like the country. In fact, I have a feeling that the Senate, in all of its left-wing irresponsibility, will vote to give our treasure and our resources to the United Nations. Does anyone know how Senator Thad Cochran stands on the Law of the Sea Treaty?
Europe is now in economic collapse. Socialism has finally taken its predictable toll, and within a short time, this economic disease will hit the United States. The citizens of this country see what is happening, and we know what to do.
The problem is that our elected representatives are too cowardly to stand up and fight for what is not only legal, but what is right.
Unless a brave soul or a group of brave souls in either the House or Senate leads the charge for responsible government and puts the brakes on runaway spending, the private equity gentleman will prove to be correct. “An economic depression cannot be avoided.”
Last Updated (Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:31)