Can you believe it? – another rate hike!

Already reeling from record-high natural gas bills, the citizens of Vicksburg were informed yesterday that their heating bills will be going up again – this despite the fact that spot natural gas prices nationwide have risen very little, and are far below the record prices set in 2005-2006, when the city began adding a price adjustment to bills. Is it time for Vicksburg to get out of the natural gas business and instead turn the business over to Mississippi Valley Gas or other suppliers? Shouldn’t the public be informed of exactly why our rates are so high and going up? Would it be cheaper to heat with electricity?

Your comments are invited.

Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 10:09 am  Comments (6)  

Racial discrimination in Vicksburg’s housing assistance program?

The January 15 issue of the Vicksburg Post contained an article with the following statement:


“In 2006, grant funds totaling $475,980 were given to residents for down payment assistance on 21 homes in Vicksburg, with $352,720 aiding 18 closings in 2007. Those amounts include money from grants awarded previous years, as housing administers say helping qualified buyers through the process takes longer than most closings, due to buyers’ inexperience and the great number of records that must be submitted to state and federal granting agencies.

“In those two years, 125 people moved into Vicksburg homes aided by grants administered through the city, receiving between $5,000 and $31,000 in down payment assistance and forgivable loans. Overall, this represented almost $4 million in home sales.

“About half of those who received grant assistance were single parents. Families and individuals who received assistance in 2006 and 2007 had an average household income of $26,193 for an average household of 3.2 people. Four households were white and 35 were black.” (emphasis ours).


The article implies that 90% of the recipients of housing aid in 2006 and 2007 were black. If so, does this indicate a racial bias by the administrators of Vicksburg’s housing assistance program?

Published in: on January 21, 2008 at 9:34 am  Comments (4)  

Revised petition – combine VPD and sheriff’s dept.

Based on input from you, following is a revised petition that asks our leaders to combine the two local law enforcement agencies. Please submit any further recommendations for revision.

Again, the decision as to whether or not to go forward with the petition will be based on your interest, your input, and your recommendations, and will require your efforts for implementation.


We, the undersigned residents of Warren County, Mississippi, request that our city and county leaders cooperate in discussions that will lead to consolidation of the Vicksburg Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. We feel that the city and county’s ability to enforce the laws may be improved, and that overall cost of operations may be reduced. We further recommend that the Warren County sheriff, being the elected official, be placed in charge of the combined force.

__________________________________  __________________________________

__________________________________  __________________________________

__________________________________  __________________________________

__________________________________  __________________________________

__________________________________  __________________________________



Sunday’s Post “Letters to the Editor”

Your comments are invited regarding the “Letters to the Editor” printed in Sunday’s Post:


Pastor James O. Bowman discussed the effect on children of the lack of morals displayed by the adults in our community. He suggested a “Crusade for Christ” in Vicksburg.


Bill Smollen condemned the city’s latest decision to spend $400,000 on new computer software for an “internal accounting system,” and went on to criticize another $282,000 already spent on software to “track  deterioration of city streets” and “to better track employee work hours”


Thomas D. Wright predicted that a new photo ID may soon be required for many Americans.


Tommy Hutto complained that the rehiring of Paul Winfield as board attorney for the Warren County Board of Supervisors was a mistake, and that former attorney Randy Sherrad should be reinstated.


Charity Holm-Whaley claimed that Fred Thompson is the only true conservative in the Republican race for president.


Buddy Chain (of Oxford) opined that Mississippi’s public high schools need to add a “career technical diploma” to their curricula.


Rick Voakes (of Bowling Green, KY.) voiced his opinion that OSHA needs to address the hazards of second-hand smoke in the workplace.

Another interest rate cut… and more dire consequences?

In a speech Thursday, January 10, 2008, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke promised to aggressively lower interest rates in order to boost prospects for the economy. After his talk, stocks briefly soared, and gold hit a record high of $890/oz. Friday morning, more bad news regarding the financial institutions sent the market sharply lower – but gold and silver kept climbing.


As you may remember, the following was posted on this forum back in September, 2007:

 On Tuesday, 9/18/07, the Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate and the discount rate by 50 basis points (1/2%). The immediately obvious effects were a surge in stock, oil and gold prices. But what will be the long-term effects? A number of observations and postulations may be made, any one of which is subject to rebuttal: Having “bailed out the big boys” (large banks, financial concerns, mortgage companies, corporations, and possibly some home buyers), the move will also cause the value of the dollar to drop and inflation to increase.Gold, oil (gasoline), and other commodities will go up in price due to the effects outlined in item 1.The standard of living of the elderly and others on fixed incomes will suffer.Prices of nearly everything you buy at Wal-Mart and at the grocery will increase.The working man will be least affected since wages will increase along with inflation; his standard of living will suffer, but a bit less so than the elderly.The rich will get richer as the poor get poorer.Foreign holdings will begin to buy even more of the USA – real estate, corporations, etc., as they become cheaper in foreign currency terms.Foreign countries will be less inclined to buy US Treasuries, exacerbating the drop in value of the dollar. Should they decide to sell substantial amounts of dollar-denominated securities, all hell could break loose.The dire consequences of the Federal Reserve’s foolish manipulation of interest rates over the past decade may be delayed, but not prevented. 

The above observations are now truer than ever, for chances are good that the Fed will lower rates another 1% – 2% during the next few months, and inflation will soar. What can you, here, in Vicksburg, Mississippi, do to protect your assets and ensure your survival? Should you get out of debt, or borrow all you can? Should you buy only what you need, recycle everything you can, and stock up on necessities? Should you move to cheaper living quarters? Should you plant a vegetable garden, or, better yet, buy some land for a homestead? Should you invest in common stocks, commodities, foreign currencies, real estate, and gold, or hoard your cash?


Your observations are invited.

Cinema/entertainment park at Pemberton Mall?

With the permission of “boredstiff,” we reprint her submission to “Potpourri” concerning Pemberton Mall and the possible location of a new cinema. She requests your suggestions regarding possible locations for a new cinema and an entertainment park. Boredstiff:


I wrote a letter to the Mayor to discuss his comment about the mall and what I think we should do with it or some other property that is large enough. I would [like] your feed back on my idea as well as other ways we can pursue this idea.




Mayor Leyens,


I wanted to take a moment and talk to you regarding your comments in the paper yesterday regarding your thoughts or ideas for the Pemberton Mall. I think you had a great idea about the anchor stores remaining as individual stores and demolishing the rest to make room for other possibilities. One possibility I would like to see at that location would be for a new movie theater as well as some kind of entertainment park for families. The location already has adequate parking space as well as being right there in the heart of the fast food restaurants. The city of Vicksburg really does not have that much to offer families or our teenagers. I would like to see something that contained miniature golf, laser tag, batting cages, go carts or something like that. It is shame that we have to drive to Jackson to find entertainment. Our city is large enough that I think it would be great if we could offer something of this nature. I feel as if you would be willing to support something like this

since you were behind the Catfish Row Park which is a wonderful addition to our city, however, it is something that can only be used in the warmer months.


I believe that bringing something like this to our city might help reduce the amount of trouble that our teenagers get in to. I think it might help keep them from hanging out in parking lots.


I understand that this possible location is a very slim possibility but I do think that this city needs something like this here. There are several other empty buildings that this idea would be ideal for.


I would really appreciate it if you would take some time to speak with me about this.


Please give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX ext. XXX or reply back to me. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts or comments on this.




Thank you for taking the time to send me your ideas and thoughts for some alternate uses of the Pemberton Mall property. I will certainly pass along your ideas to the owners of this property. As you know, the City of Vicksburg does not own the Pemberton Mall property. Therefore, we do not have input as to how the owners choose to change or develop it, as long as they keep the buildings and grounds up to building and inspection codes.


We have however, had several conversations and meetings with the owners about what was needed here and offered as many incentives as legally allowed, along with support, to help them redevelop the property. To date nothing has taken place. We are consistently working with the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Foundation and other entities to try and recruit new industry and businesses to come and invest and build in Vicksburg. That is one reason we have worked so hard to make our City as attractive as possible. However, in the end, it is up to private companies to make the decision of whether or not they want to invest in Vicksburg. We can only recruit, offer incentives and whatever resources we have, to make their plans come to fruition. We also think Vicksburg is a great City and has so much to offer. We will continue to recruit new businesses, help the existing businesses expand or redevelop, and send the message to potential investors that Vicksburg is the place they

want to be.


Thank you again for taking the time to write me. I always appreciate hearing suggestions and ideas from our citizens. I will try to call you next week and we can discuss things further.




Laurence Leyens



Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 6:39 pm  Comments (17)  

Vicksburg crime: Is it worsening?

Thursday’s Vicksburg Post carried a front page story regarding a Vicksburg woman who has reported the theft and vandalism of her rental property four or more times in the past year. The police have been unable to prevent it, or to capture those responsible. This may be a front-page story today, but it is nothing new. There are literally hundreds of instances of thefts, purse-snatchings, car-jackings, drug raids, bad-checks, embezzlements, rapes, murders, etc., that are reported within the Post’s pages every year. Many other incidents never make the Post. Probably not since Vicksburg was overrun by thieves and murderers in 1863 have the citizens of this city been more afraid to leave their homes.


Why can’t we, the citizens of Vicksburg, pick up our daily Post and read of new parks and playgrounds, civility and philanthropy, love and kindness, rather than of the latest outrages against the populace?


Lack of law enforcement, poverty, broken homes, gangs, and more can be blamed for the depressing headlines and crime reports. More importantly, we should ask ourselves this: What can we, as individual citizens, do to make Vicksburg a safer place to live?

Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 6:27 pm  Comments (12)  

Is it time for Chief Moffett to go?

The VPD’s announcement that five of its officers resigned in December may be another indication of the disarray and discontent that seems to have plagued the department for the past several years. Already undermanned, the department may now be seriously compromised in its ability to protect the citizens of Vicksburg. Other factors may be cited for the force’s inability to retain or hire officers (61 of 87 positions filled), but the buck stops squarely at the desk of Chief of Police Tommy Moffett, who has been severely criticized (and defended) in this forum. Perhaps the time has come for the chief to resign to allow a more competent officer to take command. The Asst. Chief, O’Bannon, might be considered, but O’Bannon’s record of sexual harassments and other factors would probably disqualify him from consideration.


Perhaps now is the opportune time to combine the VPD and the sheriff’s department into a “metropolitan police force” under command of Sheriff Martin Pace.


What do you think?

Is government welfare destroying the middle class?

This story happened right here in Vicksburg: A lady in business for herself needed help to meet the demands of her customers. She has hired five different helpers during the past year; each has, after varying lengths of time, simply not shown up for work. The latest hire, who showed the most promise, was given a Christmas bonus and a Christmas gift, after which she never returned. Each of these employees was, in general, poorly educated and receiving, in one form or another, monthly handouts from the state or federal government. There was, therefore, little need for them to hold down a job.


This story is repeated millions of times each year all across this country, and it’s not getting better. The state and federal welfare establishments have no incentive to improve conditions. Rather, in order to increase their power and assure their future employment, they use all means available to ensure a public perception of worsening poverty.


It is doubtful that our politicians have the will to make the corrections needed. The problem will more than likely be approached from a “humane” perspective, i.e., increased welfare assistance for the “poverty stricken.”


Is the USA headed toward total socialism? Have you had similar experiences as that described above with your employees? Is the welfare system gradually destroying the middle class? What can be done to rectify the situation? Your comments are welcomed.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 10:48 am  Comments (10)  

Are you prepared for a formidable 2008?

Some learned prognosticators are predicting a dire 2008 for the USA. Below are the opinions of three such naysayers. Reader warning: the material can be very depressing.


But what do you expect in 2008? Will the first half be one of negative growth, or will the bad news continue for the entire year? Will inflation rage, or has the Fed done a good job of keeping a lid on it? Where will the price of oil be at the end of the year? Your opinion is invited.

Published in: on January 8, 2008 at 8:28 am  Comments (6)