Warren County Justice Court Judge Bradford reprimanded

The Vicksburg Post reported Wednesday that the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance has recommended that Warren County Justice Court Judge Richard Bradford III be fined, publicly reprimanded, and suspended for 30 days without pay. Bradford is accused of several different improprieties involving cases coming before him. The Supreme Court will make a final decision in the matter. The Post’s article may be read here:

http://www.vicksburgpost.com/articles/2008/12/10/news/doc494001dfad0a2774999677.txt

Advertisements
Published in: on December 12, 2008 at 10:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Your taxes paying for non-city deadbeats

The Vicksburg Post reported Tuesday that county supervisors are paying delinquent customer garbage pickup bills with your tax dollars. You can read the article here:

http://www.vicksburgpost.com/articles/2008/12/02/news/doc49356c11a3892747744522.txt

What’s your reaction?

Published in: on December 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm  Comments (5)  

Our bridge, our dilemma

The Old Highway 80 bridge across the Mississippi River belongs to us – the people of Warren County. An opinion editorial in the Post describes the present situation:

Management of the U.S. 80 Bridge over the Mississippi River remains as murky as the water swirling below.

It shouldn’t be that way.

The old bridge, now used exclusively by Kansas City Southern for its trains and as an attachment point for the cables of assorted utilities, is a public asset. It is owned by the people of Warren County who are being given absolutely no clue as to what’s on the minds of Warren County supervisors or the five members they appoint to the bridge commission.

Last week, for at least the third time in the past seven months, supervisors and commissioners met behind closed doors for well over an hour.

It’s their option to do so, they say, because KCS has threatened to take them to court and state law allows secret sessions when public bodies face “potential litigation.”

“Allows” is a key word here, because nothing in the law requires any of their discussions to be held outside the public’s hearing. If they had any desire to be open and forthright with voters, they could. That’s not the case. Even before and after such sessions, supervisors are coy and evasive in answering questions — and not just about what was said but also the topic being discussed. Their considered position is the less you know the better. It’s their right to have it that way — not even telling you the options being reviewed.

The facts are these:

* Warren County has owned the bridge, built privately and opened in 1930, since the end of World War II.

* From the start, the county’s plan was to use tolls to pay off the purchase price and thereafter to set tolls to pay for operation and maintenance on a break-even basis.

* The vehicular roadbed was closed 10 years ago due to deteriorating concrete. There are no plans for it ever to be reopened to traffic if for no other reason than it is too narrow to meet legal minimums.

* The long-term lease with KCS is a dead letter and has been for years. An earlier agreement by the commission and supervisors to sell the bridge to KCS was revoked by supervisors after public protest. For safety reasons, KCS strongly opposes any plan to allow regular pedestrian traffic on the old roadbed in the form of a park or overlook.

* In 2005, the commission started billing KCS for new, far higher tolls. KCS, for the most part, has continued paying at the old rate as “negotiations” continued.

* Engineering reports say the bridge needs some work, but remains stable for the foreseeable future.

Anything else said about the bridge is speculation.

Why?

Because the Warren County Board of Supervisors has decided that it’s none of your business.

The bridge and its baggage have been kicked around for far too long. Isn’t it time the Board of Supervisors showed a bit of leadership on the issues?

Published in: on November 17, 2008 at 9:53 am  Comments (14)  

Kings Point Ferry – why are citizens paying for it?

Warren County furnishes a barge and Coast-Guard-Certified pilots to transport vehicles across the Yazoo Canal to Kings Point island. It operates 15 hours a day, and costs Warren County taxpayers several hundred thousand dollars every year, money that could perhaps be put to better use in other areas. Why has Warren County agreed to such an arrangement? How many vehicles/people benefit from the operation? Why aren’t island land owners responsible for their own means for crossing the canal? Your opinions invited.

Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm  Comments (4)  

Bare your booty with saggy jeans?

How do you feel about people who allow their underwear to be exposed by loosely fitted pants? Lots of towns and school districts are banning the practice. Here’s the experience of one…

A law that landed a Florida teenager in jail for having sagging jeans that exposed his underwear is unconstitutional, a judge has decided.

The 17-year-old spent a night in jail after police arrested him for exposing 4in (10cm) of boxer shorts in Riviera Beach, south-east Florida.

Town voters backed the law in March after supporters raised a petition.

However, a circuit judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional based on “the limited facts” of the case.

Carol Bickerstaff, defending teenager Julius Hart, had urged Judge Paul Moyle to throw out the law, saying: “Your honour, we now have the fashion police.”

Before making his ruling, Judge Moyle said: “We’re not talking about exposure of buttocks. No. We’re talking about someone who has on pants whose underwear are apparently visible to a police officer who then makes an arrest, and the basis is he’s then held overnight.”

Gaining popularity

Moves to ban baggy or saggy jeans are gaining popularity in several parts of the US.

Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia are among the larger US cities considering similar measures.

However, civil liberties groups say such laws will unfairly target young African-Americans.

The fashion is believed to have originated in prisons, where inmates are given baggy uniform trousers and have their belts removed to prevent hangings and beatings.

The trend made it to gangster rap videos in the 1980s and then spread to skateboarders and high-school hallways.

Should a similar ordinance be made law in Vicksburg?

Published in: on September 22, 2008 at 3:14 pm  Comments (8)  

Davenport trial ends in mistrial

The jury could not reach a verdict in the trial of Dane Davenport, the Mississippi Highway Patrolman accused of molesting two boys. A new trial is planned.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 3:22 pm  Comments (97)  

Your tax dollars for charity?

Charlie Mitchell’s column in the Monday Vicksburg Post was revealing insight into a practice that has been questioned in this blog before – that of the Board of Supervisors giving our tax dollars to charities of their choice. This year they will “give” $613,700, next year $603,700. Recipients include Red Cross, Haven House, The Initiative, and the Vicksburg Warren Humane Society. The article was unclear as whether the board was giving VWHS a donation in addition to the $125,000 “contract” to handle vicious animals and the $100,000 given in the past to aid in VWHS’ shelter building fund. The board might have given the people a tax-decrease instead of a tax-increase if they had avoided making these donations, though that statement assumes that monies would not have to be spent to replace the functions of the donees (animal control, battered women shelter, etc.). How do you feel about your tax dollars being given to charities?

Published in: on September 8, 2008 at 8:19 pm  Comments (7)  

Warren County will increase property taxes

2.79 mills. That’s the amount the Warren County Board of Supervisors will raise property taxes this year. For every $100,000 of assessed value, the homeowner will see an increase of $28.00. A homeowner in the city will pay $926.10 per $100, 000, up from $898.20. A homeowner outside city limits will pay $567.30, up from $539.40. City and School tax rates will remain the same. Many residents of our county are struggling to meet higher costs of food and energy, and now must cope with increased property taxes. What’s your take on the board’s actions?

Published in: on September 4, 2008 at 9:09 am  Comments (6)  

Will there be a Warren County tax increase?

The Board of Supervisors is pondering whether to cut expenditures or initiate a county property tax increase. What would you advise them?

Published in: on August 14, 2008 at 9:09 am  Comments (11)  

How will you cope with the rising cost of energy?

Entergy has announced that its rates will increase by 28% over the next three months due to the higher costs of natural gas. Gasoline is at $4.00 a gallon and rising. The City of Vicksburg has raised natural gas prices five times this year. Almost everything we buy today costs more than yesterday. How will you cope? What would you recommend we do to stem the rising costs of energy? Would you recommend drilling offshore and in ANWR? How about alternative energy sources – wind, solar, geothermal, etc.? Would more coal and nuclear plants help? What role does conservation play, and of what will it consist? Are you planning on purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle? Your input is solicited.

Alternative transportation

An excellent “letter to the editor” in Sunday’s Post suggested more walking and bicycle-riding as a partial remedy to high gasoline bills, obesity, pollution and climate change, and heart disease and stroke, and even make Vicksburg a more attractive destination for tourists and residents. The letter further suggested that Vicksburg provide more bicycle and walking paths and trails. The suggestion is obviously a good one. But can Vicksburg and Warren county afford it? Or can they afford not to?

The Board of Supervisors – what’s your opinion?

The supervisors have been inflicted some fairly severe criticism within another post on this blog. But if they’re to improve their performance, what do they have to do? Where are they failing? What would you do if you were one of them?

Published in: on June 10, 2008 at 7:20 am  Comments (9)  

Vicksburg’s issues and challenges

We face many in the years to come. But progress has been and is being made in our city and county. From your viewpoint, what are our greatest accomplishments? What are our biggest challenges? What improvements in city/county government would you recommend? Higher/lower taxes? Timely notification of changes in property tax? Bigger/smaller government? More/less regulations? Code changes? Subsidies to lower fuel costs? More bond issues for further capital improvements? More/fewer casinos? Inventory tax elimination? Merging of additional city/county functions? Changes in law enforcement, including merging city police with sheriff’s department? Full staffing of the VPD? More emphasis on recycling? Changes to our public school system? More attention to illegal immigration? A new movie house? Better reporting of crimes and more attention to their prevention? More mass transit (rail)? Additional recreational facilities? More variety in our restaurants? Jail all the lawyers? Legalize marijuana? Mufflers for the horns on KCS’ trains? Impoundment of any vehicle rattling to the beat of boom-boom rap and other vulgar “music?” Make permanent the downtown post office? Bigger flower beds in Washington Street? More/less trees/plants/other esthetics?

Ban smoking in Vicksburg?

Other cities and states are banning smoking in public places. Why not Vicksburg?

Opinion – how the city & county can improve your car’s mileage

With gasoline over $3.50 a gallon, your vehicle’s efficiency has a pronounced effect on your wallet. Some of you may have to make a choice between buying groceries and drugs versus taking a trip to see mother on Mother’s Day. Any improvement in your car or truck’s mileage means less will be spent on gasoline. So, how can you make that improvement?

Obviously, changing the way you drive will help. Reducing your speed and acceleration, anticipating stops ahead and “coasting” instead of braking hard, maintaining the proper pressure in your tires, taking the shortest route to your destination, and avoiding those routes that involve stop and go traffic will all help. For those of you who frequent the streets and roads in Vicksburg and Warren County, however, there is much the mayor/aldermen/supervisors can do to reduce your expenditures for gasoline – and reduce air pollution as well.

Each time you apply the brakes on your vehicle you, in effect, negate the energy required to bring the vehicle up to speed. As you accelerate after braking or stopping, that energy (in the form of burning gasoline) is required to once again bring your vehicle up to speed. So, additional gasoline is burned, and additional pollutants are spewed into our air (a vehicle is least efficient when accelerating, making the problem that much worse).

An example will serve to illustrate: Suppose you were traveling Washington Street from just south of the old Mississippi River bridge with the intersection at Clay Street as your destination. Further, suppose you are forced to stop at every traffic light and stop sign along the way (which is too often the actual case). In the process you would have been stopped at eight traffic lights and three four-way stop signs. Now, suppose there were no stops required along this same route. The difference? Better mileage and less air pollution when no stops are required. How much? Perhaps 25% or more.

Obviously, not all the traffic lights and stop signs can be removed. But there are many whose elimination would improve traffic flow at a very minor inconvenience to vehicles entering from the affected intersections. There are traffic lights and four-way stops all across Vicksburg and, to a lesser extent, Warren County, that can be replaced with simple two-way stops. Additionally, there are inefficient “left-turn protected” traffic lights that can be replaced with simpler “stop or go” lights to improve traffic flow; the inconvenience to travelers would be minimal.

Naysayers would argue that the risk of accidents would be increased by removing these impediments to traffic. However, it is a proven fact that many more people are sickened or killed by air pollution than traffic accidents, so wouldn’t an improvement in the quality of our air more than offset additional accidents (even though the assumption of more accidents is dubious)?

Many of these traffic controls would never have been installed if engineering analyses had been performed to determine the effects not only on traffic flow and safety, but to balance against them the detrimental effects on automobile efficiency and air pollution. Only due to apathy, and perhaps ignorance, do they remain.

1) Your opinion is invited. 2) If you concur, which traffic controls would you remove?

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 12:42 pm  Comments (4)