Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Good News and Bad News

Published on July 18, 2017

The good news is that Trump is down to a record low in job approval for a President six months into his first term…36%. The bad news is that 36% is too high to get rid of him via impeachment in the House and removal in the Senate.

Trump is losing the smattering of democrats and a significant number of the independents who were with him in 2016. He is, however, retaining his base. That’s the core of Republican voters who like him because of the people and institutions Trump purports to hate and still campaigns against.

We’re talking Obama, Hillary and the mainstream media. Trump can’t let them go. Bashing them is his ticket to survival. It makes the base feel good. That’s the power of hate. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Do I have a whole lot of studies to cite in support of my theory on the power of hate in politics? Not really. But, I can draw your attention to a couple of savvy political operators and a sage from way back in American History.

The operators: Kevin Phillips and Ed Rendell. Phillips was one of the architects of Nixon’s southern strategy that helped Nixon win in 1968. He said that “the secret to politics is understanding who hates who.” Nixon played that truism in the south like a virtuoso violinist. Ed Rendell (no similarity to Tricky Dick) was a successful Governor of Pennsylvania, and former Chairman of the Democrat National Committee. Rendell observed “in politics hate is a far stronger motivator than love.” Continue reading “Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Good News and Bad News”

These things tend to happen when a new administration takes over.

The winds of change are blowing through City Halls across the coast. When measured against the speed of the changes in Pascagoula, the Bay has seen far less but then last night I received the names of some city employees that had either lost their jobs or were demoted. The much maligned Building Department is the place that has Mayor Mike Favre’s attention.

We purposely did not mention any names on Twitter and outside of the two public figures in Charles Oliver and CAO Jerry Beaugez, I’d ask you good folks commenting to exercise some discretion with artful comments appreciated. As for the Building Department employee terminated earlier this week, it was not Mr. Oliver.

The winds of change are blowing over at the Bay-Waveland School District but that is another post.

At what cost? Hancock County Library System over built, over staffed, over politiced…

OK folks, I know “politiced” is not a proper word but the notion fits. There has been a ton of ink spilled on the Hancock Sups wanting to see change in the Hancock Library system going back to the prior Board. By now everyone should know the drill as it has repeated itself a few times, the first with the old Board of Sups. County funding is cut and one or more of the various branches close or have their hours of operation drastically reduced. The people that depend on the library system howl and funding is restored. The current Board of Sups took a better approach by opting out of an outdated interlocal agreement which funds the system. The clock is ticking away to September 30, 2017 when the funding agreement dissolves and the interests behind the library system are making tons of noise.

Despite massive amounts of reporting from both the Echo and the Sun Herald including an oped which contained what I’d term a blanket endorsement of the County system, the public has yet to hear why County officials are motivated to see change in how the Library Foundation conducts its business. That changes today and it comes courtesy of a document on the County’s website which was given out to the municipal governments that participate in the interlocal agreement.

It was put together by County Administrator Eddie Favre and contains comparative operational information from both his research and from the library system itself. The devil in the details becomes self evident, the Hancock Library system is overstaffed by a 2-1 ratio compared to its peers including and especially its peers in Mississippi. The library system is overbuilt, again by a 2-1 ratio to its peers nationally and in the State. More disturbing to me is it lags in certain technological measures including ebooks. It’s all in the 38 page pdf sent out by Favre on behalf of the County Sups.

Its at this point that I’d urge the more thoughtful folks reading Slabbed to put yourself in Supervisor Scotty Adam’s shoes. A mile of paved country road cost over $120,000 these days with the price of everything going up while tax revenue is stagnant. Before you even talk about raising taxes it behooves most elected officials to see if they can gain some money by right sizing the various departments and component units. That is clearly what is driving the Supervisors here and the political interests that are driving the library system are pushing back in order to maintain the status quo. The numbers make this much crystal clear, the Hancock Library system is no bargain for the taxpayers, especially those in the Cities of Waveland and Bay St Louis that pay for the bloated library system twice on their annual property tax bills.

How about a wild romp through the latest FBI Investigation that has the peeps electrified

It all started back on the 4th with the folks at the Clarion Ledger:

FBI investigating post-BP spill contracts: what we know ~ Anna Wolfe

In the three years since Director Trudy Fisher’s resignation, federal investigators have looked into DEQ’s activities under her leadership. The probe looks at contracts granted by DEQ in an attempt to determine whether Fisher personally benefited from them, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the investigation, including several people who have been interviewed by the FBI.

Under Fisher, private contractor and attorney Amy Whitten reaped nearly $2 million in DEQ contracts, either directly with the agency or through subcontracts with law firm Balch & Bingham. Whitten, a well-known state contractor, had worked with a number of agencies and secured four previous DEQ contracts before Fisher took over the agency.

The link above that Slabbed put out on Twitter was still warm when the Sun Herald picked up Wolfe’s story on Wednesday by then it had really captured the attention of many folks including here. Then we got the wet blanket that lie under the salacious headline:

Mississippi gave millions in BP funds to firm with ties to scrutinized contractor ~ Anna Wolfe

Amy Whitten, a Mississippi attorney who received a subcontract with the state Department of Environmental Quality in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, shared her Ridgeland office address with two companies that also gained contracts related to the spill.

One of the companies, Covington Civil and Environmental Engineering, received tens of millions of dollars in contracts related to the April 2010 BP oil spill. The other company, Adaptive Management Services, received a small contract before eventually subcontracting under Covington.

It sounds juicy and salacious but further down the story: Continue reading “How about a wild romp through the latest FBI Investigation that has the peeps electrified”

A couple of thoughts on last night’s recessed BSL City Council Meeting

Sadly folks, City Clowncilmen were spotted. Just a thought, but using a school board appointment to fight a political consultant’s third party agenda is ill advised on so many levels, including and especially invoking a new found love for ethics in government involving a school system which has systemic issues complying with basic state mandates on the subject [Lana Noonan’s first hand account for Slabbed is here]. Whoever put that bug in Councilman Buddy Zimmerman’s ear did well in making him appear to be a Clowncilman rather than a Councilman.

Equally amusing but not quite as inane was the question about whether or not a school level administrative assistant (school secretary) had any  contact with the children. My own experience is a teacher has a kid for a year, maybe two tops while the same child comes to the same office needing help at various times every year they attend school. By definition a school secretary would have more contact with the children over the long haul.

Just an observation but in all my time attending BSL Council meetings, never once did I see the previous council deny the Mayor such an appointment, even when the Mayor and Council were not otherwise getting along. That would have been true in February of this year had then Mayor Fillingame appointed Maurice Singleton to another term on the School Board.

I am told the reason Singleton was not reappointed when his term of office expired was because then Mayor Fillingame was trying to leverage Singleton into qualifying for City Council against Ward 3 Councilman Reed. It is for that reason that Slabbed presented this post, and accompanying artistic rendition of a Toolman. Last night’s short meeting was the final chapter in that particular saga, such chapter titled “disposal”. Continue reading “A couple of thoughts on last night’s recessed BSL City Council Meeting”