And they “sniffed the reeking buns of Angel acted like it was cocaine”……

Stealing a post title from 2011, Slabbed is going to tell you the story you won’t hear in the local media about the new Opportunity Zones, which made the news this past week locally. For those so interested in catching up, the Sea Coast Echo ran this press release based account of the Hancock County designation along with a picture of the smiling Bill Cork of Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission. Likewise WLOX ran a similar story plus acted the part of cheerleader in an editorial which was completely devoid of substance. But first here is the reaction from our local politicos as recounted by those media outlets linked above:

Blaine LaFontaine, president of the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, said, “We are grateful not one, but two census tracts in Hancock County were selected for this opportunity. We hope that private investment and incentives will help provide long-term investments to decrease poverty and increase per capita incomes in our community.”

Here LaFontaine correctly repeats the theory behind the program as did Bill Cork in his remarks. Here is some more reaction:

Waveland Mayor Mike Smith said, “Waveland is very excited to be a part of the opportunity zone which offers tax relief to investors. It will be the shot in the arm that our community needs to spur development and create very needed jobs.”

Glenn McCullough Jr., executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority, said global companies know the advantages of the state’s productive workforce coupled with our superior business climate. “By adding Qualified Opportunity Zones, investing in Mississippi becomes an even more logical business decision for companies looking to locate or expand in our state,” he said.

As we read those last two remarks everyone began to giggle behind the scenes here at Slabbed. Here in Mississippi the MDA is more well known for its multi-million dollar boondoggles and by linking the tax relief Opportunity Zones offers investors with job creation both Mayor Smith and McCullough stepped out in a big way because there is no such linkage between jobs and investment in the program. In fact one naturally wonders if Mayor Smith actually saw the map of the designated area because Waveland was largely EXCLUDED from it. Here is a screen capture of the map of the local Opportunity Zone area:

Screen Capture of Hancock County Opportunity Zone tract courtesy of Lana Noonan
Screen Capture of Hancock County Opportunity Zone tract courtesy of Lana Noonan

What was included is what is interesting because some of the most expensive, rapidly developing real estate in the entire state, Old Town Bay St Louis was included. Locals will tell you this is the part of town that has money and this made everyone scratch their heads. Waveland by way of example has been trying to spur redevelopment of Coleman Avenue since 2006, only to see that City’s downtown area remain stagnant with just a few business re-opening.

So with a critical eye I began to google this feature of the new tax law passed last year and what I found confirmed my instincts that this program, at least in its incarnation in Mississippi is nothing more than a government handout to the politically connected. Here the politically right leaning (but otherwise nonpartisan) Brookings Institution was an invaluable resource:

Will Opportunity Zones help distressed residents or be a tax cut for gentrification? ~ Adam Looney

States are fast approaching a deadline set by the new tax law to designate low-income neighborhoods as “Opportunity Zones”—a designation that will unlock favorable capital gains treatment for investments in those areas. Supporters say this will help revitalize distressed communities, but there is a risk that instead of helping residents of poor neighborhoods, the tax break will end up displacing them or simply provide benefits to developers investing in already-gentrifying areas.

Looney hits on the key difference between the old tax codes zones such as the Empowerment Zones and Gulf Opportunity Zones, whose focus was directly on maintaining existing and creating new jobs and rewarding the taxpayers that did so. The new Opportunity Zone is geared to investment development, not job creation and while those two concepts are not mutually exclusive they are far from synonymous. Let’s continue with Looney’s February setup piece which I highly recommend everyone read in total:

Unfortunately, the evidence on the benefits of existing place-based policies is inconclusive. To understand whether Opportunity Zones are effective—and worth extending when key benefits come up for renewal as soon as next year—states have only a short window to act to incorporate evaluation mechanisms into their selection process. States and the District of Columbia must select qualified neighborhoods for Treasury’s approval by March 21. Only one in four low-income areas in any state can be designated as an Opportunity Zone, so states must reject more neighborhoods than they select. This is a perfect opportunity to build in a rigorous comparison of places that made the cut to those that did not, to see whether the program helps residents of low-income communities, which elements are effective, and whether it should be renewed.

So the first question to solve is to identify the winners and losers. The second question becomes how those winners and losers were determined. Here in Mississippi, America’s most corrupt state the $econd que$tion i$ key becau$e the Governor’$ de$ignation create$ geographic winner$ and loser$. Here is a last snippet from Looney’s first article on this subject:

In an optimistic scenario, the tax benefits might encourage purchasing and rehabilitating residential property or expanding local businesses. But the value of the tax subsidy is ultimately dependent on rising property values, rising rents, and higher business profitability. That means a state’s Opportunity Zones could also serve as a subsidy for displacing local residents in favor of higher-income professionals and the businesses that cater to them—a subsidy for gentrification. Indeed, the highest returns to investors, and thus the largest tax subsidies will flow to those investing in the fastest gentrifying areas. Most major metropolitan areas are already grappling with the right balance between promoting development and helping existing residents. Opportunity Zones favor one side of that balance. With few guardrails that might promote so-called “smart gentrification”—policies to retain local residents and preserve or expand low- and middle-income housing—it is uncertain whether poor residents will benefit or be kicked out.

By including Old Town Bay St Louis in the designated opportunity zone area Governor Bryant picked an area undergoing rapid gentrification that needed no other help attracting investment. Between businessmen extraordinaire Mike Cure and Jim MacPhaille Old Town was already rapidly redeveloping which is why including it in the Opportunity Zone over an area that needs investment in Waveland’s Coleman Avenue is such a head scratcher. Luckily for everyone Adam Looney remained on the case and just a few weeks ago analyzed some preliminary data, which included Mississippi along with 17 other states.

The early results of states’ Opportunity Zones are promising, but there’s still room for improvement ~ Adam Looney

And what did Looney find?

Looking at the 18 states that have submitted, the good news is that most states designated deeply impoverished places for the new subsidy, with Georgia and California standing out for allocating most of their picks to their most distressed neighborhoods.

What about Mississippi?

But in South Dakota, Idaho, and Mississippi, neighborhoods designated as OZs were actually better off, on average, than eligible communities that were not selected. In Mississippi, in particular, the state selected tracts that had lower average poverty and child-poverty rates, were better educated, and had smaller minority populations than the low-income areas they skipped over.

The political connection between those currently developing real estate in Old Town Bay St Louis and Governor Bryant has been very well documented on these pages. Based on what Brookings has found already I suspect there are politically connected winners in each of the areas designated by Governor Bryant as Opportunity Zones. Meantime areas that truly need help just a few miles away from the most wealthy part of Bay St Louis go without any tax help.

File this one under more government handouts to the wealthy, because in Mi$$i$$ippi politic$ trump$ need every time. I personally wouldn’t look for these new fangled OZs to do much more than increase the national debt.

77 thoughts on “And they “sniffed the reeking buns of Angel acted like it was cocaine”……”

  1. Governor Bryant is going to have an “Opportunity” of his own on Monday—
    I am going to give him an “opportunity” to explain to Waveland why we were excluded by him from this Opportunity Zone Map.
    At first, when I read my Mayor singing the praises of this “deal” I thought something was going to happen for us, only to see the map, and realize something did happen to us, not for us.
    First lesson– Mr. Mayor, please read the material before you sing the praises of anything on our behalf. That advice is extended to WLOX too since they are supposed to be reporting the news!!

  2. You left out the Kane real estate boon. He’s bought most every vacant lot he didn’t already own to throw up a paper house and offer it for the bargain price of $350-450 K.
    Always remember who sold McPhail most of the properties he’s swept up…

  3. Well, aleleiua! Someone is finally poking the bears! Haha, enjoyed that very much.
    And do not get me going on how BP RESTORE funds are being diverted to fund some official’s wet dream of a gleaming city on the hill with rocketing fiber optics, a Jackson Co connector Jetson speedway and that marine mammal private prison on the beach!!! Oh yeah, throw those dumb Bubbas a mil for their stinkin’ oysters!

    And next, the David Blaine of quango EcDev PHC (or is it HCDC? So hard to keep straight who is top dog) Bill Cork very cleverly lobbied for the $9 million for rebuilding the canals, piering, docking and barge channels. So Port Bienville can carry much heavier barge traffic smack dab through our Hancock County Marsh Preserve and close to the Pearl River watertable.
    We all know this area, it scored the highest storm surge in Katrina, and was horribly damaged by both storm and BP disaster. And PHC’s answer to this is: Dredge, baby, dredge. Perhaps so Trash Doctors can run barges up the bayou full of IMW, perhaps not.
    Also Santa managed $2 million and another $2.7M from FAA to build another hangar, repave runways, add more repair and office space. A jet lounge was added. Mr Cork opined that how could get these high powered execs to move their business here without a jet lounge. I think I might have gagged at this point in the Council meeting. I imagined those jets banking over our schools, execs looking at kids that one day would clean their jet toilets or pump jet fuel. BTW, this Airport project is expected to gain us 20 jobs!!!~
    Then in quintessential Cork style, he went onto say that “all these reminders all over” about Katrina were very distracting and we should stop it. I truly did feel like crying….every single person in that room lost loved ones, lost so much. And it was just an annoyance to him.
    The light bulb in my dim mind lit up! Yeah, now I know who was responsible for removing the high water mark on 603 and I-10. His dismissive casual references to Katrina were inflammatory. If I had already spoken before the Council, I would have left LOUDLY, but alas, I stayed to plead to a Mayor and Council whose minds had been made up for them a ways back!

    See, you got me going-lol. A final short story. HC PHC also was awarded a Katrina CDBG HUD award of $9 million. I tried to wade through 100s of pages of HUD policies, Special Econ. Development Activities etc…..had to stop when my eyes started bleeding. But my understanding went something like this: HUD is all about helping very low to moderate areas to renovate blight, help with mortgages, rental assistance, senior housing etc….cool! In a microscopic 10 word line at the bottom , ports are considered eligible but under certain codicils. The 70/30 rule. It maintains that 70% of these funds must be used for hiring minority contractors or businesses, or offer jobs to the low to mod income folks or workforce development. This term is seen over and over. So 70% of $9 m is $6.3 million towards all these altruistic and helpful programs. If I am wrong, someone correct me.
    This workforce development is to be located at, soo-prize, soo-prize the old Vo Tech PRCC facility by the airport and our middle and high schools…..
    It gets too long here so I will just say that the Hancock County Technical Career Center’s website is a GHOST-no staff, or phone numbers or solid syllabi or course descriptions. No photos of smiling teens mastering their way OUT of lead grill cook at Waffle House…..check it out. The final blow is that Mr Cork has asked for an additional $13 million to aid in the further development of this job center that apparently will change our sweet home into a industrial juggernaut.

    PS Boy, am I gonna get it from Mr Cork…lol….I am seeking an accountant’s help to see if we can follow that $6.3 million. And I hope it WAS spent correctly. But I am not holding my breath.

    1. Maggie,
      I am following some money and minutes right now myself. As the saying goes, “loose lips sink ships!” Hope our public officials have some political life jackets at their disposal.

      1. Well I am thrilled that you would be looking into some of these issues too. I am a neophyte to local politics, especially MS local stuff. The more I dig, the weirder it gets.
        If you need anything, you can PM me on FB Maggie Luke King….

        Just spoke with a regional non-profit who keeps an eye on all these billions of BP monopoly money….seems MS is in last place (shocker!) They are coming to this area later this year for public meetings on our marshlands and Pearl River (both abut Port Bienville Industrial Park…..

        1. Just my opinion—the BP money should be put in an interest bearing account for the continued restoration of the Gulf of Mexico, and industries such as seafood that were affected by the spill, not catfish farms upstate, or museums, and other buildings with politicians names on them, if you get my drift.

          1. 100% agree! Florida allows the worst affected counties oversee projects. LA has a pretty good group of scientists, engineers, marine experts etc.
            MS put the whole tamale in MDEQ’S lap. The plan said “to restore, protect, preserve and mitigate damage to natural resources”…..I’ve seen damn little of that

          2. This is an excellent idea Ms Lana. That money should be used to benefit and renovate the industry and placed in a perpetuating fund that local people oversee – NOT GOOD OLD BOYS OR POLITICIANS! Philly, Billy Boy and his Felon brother-in-law, Joey Z., are passing the $$ around! What is the need for the new Marine Resource building being built on the beach in Gulfport? Another boondoggle….the Department of Marine Resources and Gulf Coast Research Lab are more than capable of handling any research needed for the Gulf. Southern University is now over the Lyman Fish Facility in Gulfport, that will add to the arsenal for the politicians to Lord over (since they won’t let the technical staff that were hired with college degrees do the jobs that they specialize in). Isn’t that more than enough research facilities? But I guess this will add some more jobs to the pitiful number of new jobs that [email protected]$$ and Billy the Boy promised the port would provide. I want to know why the FEDS have not come and picked those two up yet? They are absolutely not in compliance with what they promised the Federal people.
            Is Miller Lite from the DMR now involved with this new influx of BP $$ at his new job? Boy the political parasites are holding on like ticks to drain every drop of blood they can. A real job would kill any of them.
            I would be interested in seeing the justification for this new research building. Any ideas where this info could be found Ms Lana? And also, has the Dolphin prison obtained needed funds to move forward with its’ development? A little bird tweeted that Billy was on his knees crying for the additional funding. And his henchman brother-in-law is still helping what he can.
            Until we, the people, STOP deep-pocketed politicians from interfering with trained employees that know their jobs, we might as well just light up the BP money and burn it because we will never see it used to benefit our Gulf and natural resources. Maybe the people should get together and draft a law to seriously penalize any legislator that interferes with public employees carrying out their designated duties. Maybe it should include very steep fines and jail time? Something needs to be done – and just complaining isn’t going to get the job done. Know any attorneys that have had enough of our resources money being depleted by crooked politicians and friends?

            1. I believe the Aquarium received $17 million in the first $43mil. Jackson Connector road $10.2 M, Fiber optic Planning $5M, $2 M to Stennis Airport, Port Bienville $9M to repair Katrina damage to piering, ramps, channels etc. (why weren’t the repairs done in the 13 years since?) and our beleaguered oystermen were thrown a small bone $1M.
              The final decisions are made within MDEQ, DMR was removed from that I believe. But of course MDEQ operates at the pleasure of the Governor (and his handlers.)
              RESTORE first and foremost was to “restore, preserve, mitigate our natural resources” . Go down to the canals and bayous around Bayou Caddy and talk to these men….men used to adversity, men with pride and courage. Our leaders have turned their backs on all of us but especially the families that have been hauling in the bounty for centuries. Oil mats still under beach sand, tar balls….and that is just what we see. As we saw in Katrina, the dollars that actually reached us was a small percentage. And the govts spent bucks on silly things. Not a rec center for tweens/teens with arcade or movies and dances, a snack bar. Mo, but we have ridiculous faux gas lights on 6 blocks of Washington St where no one lives. But my one block has not been repaved in 14 years, yes, 14 but Lawdy, we need a street cleaner much more for all those quaint shops….don’t worry about Ward 6. “Six? What is she talking about? Where is that? ”

              my husband wishes I would just shut up. He worries about what strangers think of him. I don’t give a roach’s crunch what anyone thinks. Why aren’t folks angry?

              I do not know what input we have at this point as far as BP funds go, but if someone does, please tell me. I will buy SCE and look for the molecularly microscopic notices tucked in with wills. I am glad to be moral support for anyone, I just need lots of notice. Maggie

              1. Thank you for the info Ms Maggie. I couldn’t help but smile at your post if it all wasn’t so sad and true. Crooked politics at its’ finest! Why hasn’t Mr. Trump looked into our post Governor’s use of the funds sent here to help our people? I still don’t understand why the rerouted money for that port hasn’t been addressed and someone had to answer for what has been done. That ridiculous light show at Jones Park costs ???? taxpayer dollars. The elevated bathrooms with elevators??? Really??? Wouldn’t it have been more cost effective to just build ground level bathrooms at a much cheaper cost and rebuild if a storm took them down? Repair of these elevators are how much??? Please tell me that the elevator company isn’t contributing to some PAC! It is almost like these people have no education or sense!! Since Katrina, our State has had the worst leadership that I can ever remember. We are led by some group that call themselves republicans – but I don’t know any true republicans who conduct themselves like this clan does. These are a rogue bunch who care not about any person or individual. It’s all about who can get the most money and power. I have yet to see something done like they promised it would be done. Their promises are worthless. They way to tell when they are lying is when they open their mouth! Please help us Gene Taylor! I will gladly vote democrat this election. Can’t be any worse than the raping we have been getting. Come clean the swamp like you promised Mr. Trump!!! We are waiting and watching!! Do what you said you were going to do!

  4. The North Beach restaurant got CDBG funding by using the rule. Teaching those kids to flip burgers. The learning is all over BSL restaurants. Possibly in a beachfront/barfront condo development in BSL as well.

    1. Or a beachfront, bar front setting in Waveland.
      We are currently the only municipality in the county without a viable downtown business district.
      We offered tax abatements over a year ago to attract business to Coleman Ave. but to date the Hancock County Tax Office has no notification to issue any.
      This is not working. Coleman Ave. should have been in that Opportunity Zone– no question about it.
      People in the business community on the highway are shocked at how downtown Waveland was ” carved” out of it!! Amazing!

  5. The county nominated 6 of the treasury department eligible census tracts. The Governor selected the BSL and Waveland (one each) tracts that had the highest poverty rates. Whatever else happened in MS, the result in Hancock County is fully consistent with the intent of the program which is to attract investment to our poorest communities. It just so happens that the tract containing downtown Waveland was much more affluent in comparison. The fact that downtown BSL was included is an artifact of the way the census tracts were drawn. The OZ program was indeed designed to assist the poorest communities, not to permit randomly selected areas where people think we need investment. As for the Port and Harbor’s role, we just worked with the County to make sure all our eligible tracts were nominated through the required online portal. Futhermore, I personally called and emailed and spoke face to face on more than one occasion with both mayors to remind them of the need to advocate for their desired outcome. I further contacted several chamber folks to make sure they stayed on top of the situation so the development community was engaged. We discussed the census tract nominations on at least one occasion in open session of the County Board of Supervisors. Frankly, I think we all did everything we could have to make sure the nominations were complete and to everyone’s satisfaction. I give Blaine and both Mayors kudos for staying on top of it. But at the end of the day, the Governor picked and didn’t advise us of his final selections until after they were submitted to Treasury and after the deadline. So, the minute we found out the results we issued a press release to let the community know what the results were. You can argue about the merits of the program, as I certainly have my doubts about how it will play out. But I don’t think the results of the designation merit the criticism. The Governor made a simple choice. Each eligible incorporated city got one OZ and the two tracts that were picked had the highest poverty rates in each city. Pretty straight forward stuff. I think the Governor easily defends that choice as a matter of policy and we were right to thank him publicly.

    As always, I’m a really easy guy to get a hold of and enjoy sharing what I know about economic development policy (and debating it) as well as getting good faith and constructive feedback from my fellow citizens. I encourage you to reach out to me on articles you write on related topics. I’m also happy to put you all in the car and drive you around and give you a tour and briefing on all our plans and programs as well as help you understand the grant programs, source and use of funds and compliance issues. The office number is: 228-467-9231.

    1. Thank you for commenting here Mr. Cork. If it is OK I’d like to put my questions here where everyone can see them and that way hopefully you won’t get bombarded with phone calls asking the same question.

      The 2010 Census Tract map for Hancock County is here and I found 2010 demographic data by tract here. Tracts 301 and 303 (Bay St Louis, portions of the more recently annexed Waveland) have lower poverty rates and higher household incomes than the tract that was excluded (302 – Waveland). Only tract 305 (Diamondhead) has better poverty and income demographics than 301 and 303. That said surely is is newer data than the 2010 numbers but I only found an amalgamation of all the Hancock tracts.

      Are you 100% sure the tracts that Bryant selected are “the two tracts that were picked had the highest poverty rates in each city” because the census numbers do not appear to back that up? Second, your comment made it sound like Bryant selected the most impoverished tracts in Hancock County when that is clearly not the case (See tracts 304 and 306).

      Finally it appears the Old Town BSL Tract was selected not because it met the poverty definitions in IRC section 45(e) but rather because it bordered an otherwise eligible (but not selected) tract 302 – Historic Waveland thus meeting the exception in Rev Proc. 2018-16 (IRC § 1400Z–1(e)) for an otherwise ineligible area to be designated an OZ. Please share whatever data you have on these census tracts including the household poverty numbers. The amalgamated data shows a county wide poverty rate of 17.2% in 2017. (Surely tract 301 and 303 are doing better than average as in 2010). Thank you for whatever additional color you can add to your remarks.

      1. Thanks for publishing the real data, Doug. We’ll see how long it takes our ” real easy to get in touch with” Port and Harbor Director to respond!!
        My letter to Bryant is several days old now, with no response. I promise not to hold my breath if you do the same. Facts are sometimes a rare commodity in the world of politics, and such a nuisance to those in power.

  6. I wish I could say to all of you that Mr. Cork’s post is consistent with my correspondence from Jeff Merkowitz of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, but I can’t.
    It’s okay, though, because this is Waveland. We are Ground Zero survivors, and we’ll continue this long struggle. It’s the core of who we are now.
    Stay tuned.

      1. Mayor Smith gave a different explanation lasr Sunday on WLOX This Week. I wonder which one is right existing tax abatements or Old Town being part of the most dirt poor commumity in Hancock County?

        1. Now, if you are going to start looking for the truth, Doug, that may be more of a task than even we can accomplish.
          Waveland has half the population of the Bay and twice the subsidized housing, the work “affluent” gets used in the same sentence with the name of our city. Maybe we should just stick with facts. I know they are not popular amongst politicians and their mouthpieces, but I do prefer them to the lawnmower fumes!!!

          1. James Carville and his wifey, Former Speaker of the House Bob Livingston live in the slums. And there we were all this time thinking Bay front was valuable. The shack next to Ron’s house must be driving down the demographic more than we thought.

            1. Yes, and we have a former U.S. Congressman and his wife just down the street from James and Mary, and Ron and Gretchen.
              It was even more trashy before James and Mary bought the property. We had to put up with that low life celebrity, Pete Fountain, and his wife, Beverly.
              Yes, truly, the Bay is much poorer than Waveland. People are just fighting to get in here so they can shop at Wal Mart while the inside bank gets robbed like today!!
              After all, who gets to pick out their tomatoes and watch a bank robbery at the same time?!

              1. We are forgetting the small weekend housing development at the old Camors Plantation Property at the corners of Leonard, Boardman, and Beach Blvd. where the NOLA dwellers ( I hear some are Saints players) come to get out of the city, and have their boats tied to the pier out front. Yes, the Bay has gone to the dogs.
                Phil and Bill and Blaine and the boys really needed to give the place a shot in the arm.
                Like I said in a previous post– this is Miss. the poorest state in the union. 40.9% of the state budget is Federally funded, and we are giving rich developers Federal tax abatements. As Mr. Cork said, he gives kudos to our public officials for “staying on top of things!”
                I think the real truth is everybody who is anybody wants to say they live close to Ron!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Miss Beth, I live in Ward 6, bought our camp here in 96, built in 69….we loved being County, and when talk started about annexation, we were vocally opposed. Experts said it would be hung up in court for years.
      Katrina hit, we, like most had 28+ ft surge. We ran 8 days after to NC. Came home in April 06.

      While 50-60% of us were gone, and rest of us stumbling thru long days of lining up for water, ice, forms for FEMA campers, power & temp poles, ROEs, vouchers, jobs, meds…..and WHAM! we were BSL! Our taxes shot up, services sunk. We went from rural benign neglect, laissez fare to POA style officiousness and codes that morphed daily, hourly.

      MS local politics is akin to a deep dark well full of vipers, and most residents just don’t want to shine a light on the darkness. As I advocated for BP workers medical woes, I encountered a fatalistic attitude that I only encountered in 3rd world nations. The rich and powerful run the show, fighting them is futile, so keep your head down and try to provide for yours. It made me angry and my Daddy raised us that since we had the advantage of good home, both parents, good schools, it was our duty to speak for those who could not. Silence is the ally of injustice, corruption and unethical acts by elected or appointed commissions and agency.
      Time to make noise, ladies and gents. Speak now or….y’all know the rest!
      Lana, not a resident but I’m happy to support y’all in finding answers, resolution, ….parity. Let me know.
      I will be following up on disbursements made in both BP and Katrina, and where and how effectively those funds are adhering to stipulations and conditions laid out in the legislation.

  7. Poor Beach Blvd!!!
    We in the 6th Ward agreed that our streets could go another year before paving (last time was 2003, yes 2003) so that the slum dwellers get a break. Where can we leave a box of clothes, hygiene supplies and blue tarps?
    My sister came in 2011. I said “jump in, I’m going to show you the REAL “Tale of 2 Cities”. We drove thru Old Town, then Beach to Coleman.
    Perplexed, curious, furious. She is NYC Commissioner of Water, Environmental Quality,so she gets municipal governance. I couldn’t explain it.
    I still am rendered speechless (yes, a rarity indeed) at how funds, policies, projects, contracts, “legal public notices, meetings or commenting notices”……so much squeaks by with in the word of law. The spirit is anything but.

    1. But, Maggie, go to Cork’s post, second sentence. “The Governor chose ONE Zone in each city …”
      Your “one” Zone in the Bay just happens to include all of your downtown business district PLUS your highway corridor.
      Not so in Waveland. Our truly depleted downtown got axed.
      And that is the heart of this matter right there.
      Cork, Blaine, and Phil can keep their statistics. The map speaks volumes.
      By the way, where is Greg Shaw, Waveland’s Supervisor?
      His and our city officials’ silence is defeaning😎

      1. That is where the rub lies Lana because if you looked at the 2010 tract map I linked above, tract 301 begins at Bay Oak Dr, runs up to the highway via Webb St and either Turner or Bouslog, runs east on 90 to the Bay Bridge where it ends at the water. Tract 303 where Maggie lives includes Cedar Point and Ward 6 plus a small part of Waveland before taking in Bayside Park. What major poverty there is in tract 303 is in Bayside, which is really part of the Pearlington Neighborhood tract IMHO.

        301 is where the rapid gentrification is occurring and now the developers that are already there can make their returns free of capital gains tax while the folks in Waveland suck on it. From Phil Bryant on down the pols are in it for themselves and their financial backers here, it is why Mississippi showed up so badly in the Brookings data.

        1. Yep, you got it, Doug. Like the copy shop owner who printed the map for me said
          ” well, hell, they just neatly carved downtown Waveland out of the Zone.”
          There is s message in this map, and we’ll watch it unfold.
          Too obvious!!

          1. I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that this is not Obama, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or whatever boogieman gets conjured up in these parts doing this to Waveland. The people putting the screws to the good folks in Waveland are their own kind from Phil Bryant on down.

            Maybe one day the good folks in Mississippi would have self respect to take out their own trash before criticizing another state’s elected representatives.

            1. It’s closer than the stateline, Doug. Don’t forget how solidly Republican Hancock County has voted since 2010.
              The high ranking Hancock County Dems jumped ship in a hurry that year.
              Hancock has been a walk in the park for Bryant. Getting too comfy maybe?!

        2. I believe a friend’s spouse said it best post-Katrina:
          “Bay St Louis will have only 2 types of residents: Those who can afford to live here and those who cannot afford to leave.” My family is the latter.

  8. The “crookedness” goes so deep in all aspects of everything, especially in Bay St. Louis, that I wonder why we even care. Lana must have an entire wall at home with a flow chart! God Bless her. Thanks Doug 7 Lana for at least presenting the facts clearly

    1. I don’t need a flow chart, Trixie. I am 74 years old. I know most of their Mamas and Daddies!!!

  9. Until the Taxpayers of this State decide to stop enabling the good old boy system, this will continue. As I have said before – if you know they are on the take and not looking out for the best interest of everyone (Not just your own personal agenda), then don’t vote for them! I don’t care if it is your brother, sister, aunt, uncle, etc. running for the office….do not vote for them. You are crippling this State. I, for one, am ready for the blue wave to come through. And all of the sell-outs who jumped over to the republican party to save their hides – I hope they get what is coming to them too.
    We are all pulling for you David Baria! Good luck!

    1. But you may vote for what you think is a change & find that it’s not & that the veins of BSL & Hancock Co are endless

      1. At the end of the day, girls, we are voting for politicians regardless of what color banner they wave. That’s the root problem, with VERY few exceptions.

  10. The only smart one was Mike Farve. All of the Bay is covered. He bamboozled Waveland just like his brother did for annexation, remember the battle for 603. Blaine can’t be trusted, a free meal will sway him. Cork, I don’t know, but he sure traveled a long way from home to work here. Was told he thinks he is cock of the walk at the local watering hole in the Bay.

    1. Miss Beth, I live in Ward 6, bought our camp here in 96, built in 69….we loved being County, and when talk started about annexation, we were vocally opposed. Experts said it would be hung up in court for years.
      Katrina hit, we, like most had 28+ ft surge. We ran 8 days after to NC. Came home in April 06.

      While 50-60% of us were gone, and rest of us stumbling thru long days of lining up for water, ice, forms for FEMA campers, power & temp poles, ROEs, vouchers, jobs, meds…..and WHAM! we were BSL! Our taxes shot up, services sunk. We went from rural benign neglect, laissez fare to POA style officiousness and codes that morphed daily, hourly.

      MS local politics is akin to a deep dark well full of vipers, and most residents just don’t want to shine a light on the darkness. As I advocated for BP workers medical woes, I encountered a fatalistic attitude that I only encountered in 3rd world nations. The rich and powerful run the show, fighting them is futile, so keep your head down and try to provide for yours. It made me angry and my Daddy raised us that since we had the advantage of good home, both parents, good schools, it was our duty to speak for those who could not. Silence is the ally of injustice, corruption and unethical acts by elected or appointed commissions and agency.
      Time to make noise, ladies and gents. Speak now or….y’all know the rest!

      1. Well said Ms Maggie! And oh, so true! People just don’t understand that “we” outnumber “them” and can control their evil ways by voting out the thugs and giving someone else a chance. If that one doesn’t work out then repeat. It won’t take them long to get the message that they work for us….not us for them!

  11. Slabbed Readers:
    I am still waiting on a reply from my Governor as to how he made the final determination on the Opportunity Zones that omitted my city’s desperate downtown district.

  12. The small housing development on N. Beach the old plantation was also a McPhaille development. Those poor individuals in that group of Nola Saints etc…… definitely not poor… ha ha
    And now McPhaille prevails again with downtown. I wondered why he was sinking so much money in the BSL area. Maybe Kane had inside info and confided in Jim McP to encourage him to keep buying as much as he can downtown..

  13. You mean just because his dad is President of the Commission over the port that Cork runs? LOL

    How about the new hotel being built and getting benefits that the people who took the risk to make his investment nearly risk free didn’t get? City, County abatements now no capitol gains!

    This is all business as usual in Hancock County!

    1. Stupid, not one business has approached the Hancock County tax office to date for an abatement in Waveland’s Coleman Ave. corridor that was created about 18 months ago to attract developers.
      I wasn’t there, but received a call Fri. that at a meeting in Waveland this past week Waveland Mayor Smith stated that a hotel and Harbor are coming to the foot of Coleman Ave.!
      We’ll have to start watching the Planning and Zoning Agenda for when the developers appear with the details, and who they are!!

      1. Lana, you have to know by now that you can’t believe anything that comes out of the mouth of the Mayor of Waveland. He’ll tell you what you want to hear. Plus, being an election year, his untruths are coming around more than usual.

  14. That’s free hunting trips to the delta at a very expensive hunting club at work. They take the bait then can’t get off the hook. I wonder how many supervisor have been with the tax abatement applicant hunting? It needs to be asked publicly.

  15. Always amazing when someone doesn’t agree with things, they scream corruption.
    We are ripping a guy who is investing millions in our community because ?? he has money and he’s buying vacant properties up?
    You don’t like what he’s doing than you can stop him or anyone else.
    Put your money where your mouth is and buy it yourself and do what you want with it. . Simple right?
    Some scream about the corruption especially in BSL and Hancock County. And the Farve’s bamboozled Waveland?
    Mayor Ice or someone comes through for the Bay and he is now corrupt.
    Can agree with some about the down town part should not be included and also believe Coleman Ave and area should be. But that doesn’t make Ice , Bill and others corrupt.
    Conspiracy Theory at its Best.
    Life is Great in the Good Ole Bay

    1. Thank you Miss Charlene….Not voting in this day and age is irresponsible.

      I told my millennial daughter, eligible for 1st election, “This is your generation. It is your history being written right now. In 50 years, at my age, you’ll look back. I hope you won’t be feeling regret, wishing you had done more, had paid more attention. “

        1. MR DUPED:
          My 21 yr old dau just graduated
          her 4 years, 2 degrees.Moved out freshman year, worked 4 yrs at Country Club, promoted twice, and 2nd job at a law firm for 9 months. Besides bdays and Xmas, we could not help her financially, and she never asked. And only $6000 in loans.
          People need to lay off millennials-most around here are great hard working .
          I resent your remark, frankly.

          1. sounds like you did a good job. But millennials are by and large panderers for free shit and handouts., service dogs and safe zones! LOL

    2. I do not think Mayor Ice had to do much here, given the political connections of those developing Old Town.

      This is not corruption, not in a legal sense anyway in my view. It is a prime example of the proverbial swamp though.

      If Mrssrs. Cure, Kane and MacPhaille have a problem with people wondering why they are getting a Government handout to the exclusion of the truly poor areas of Hancock County they should grow thicker skin.

      1. Mr Cork should be a charter member of that
        club….he blew up and cussed a friend who spoke against Trash Doctors.
        He was not too pleased with me for my anger at his blase attitude of any Katrina memorials at a council meeting. A negative distraction to prospective companies. Any exec who doesn’t know exactly what occurred here is a bozo. And yet, criticize any element of spending and projects, and he seemed overly defensive, as if personal. Noone likes criticism but in his position he needs to get gator skin.

  16. Exciting news of MacPhaille’s mini Whole Foods, Juice Bar and Vegan Restaurant on second floor of Century Hall in the Bay!!
    He’s not really bringing any jobs to the Bay with these small operations like this and the Coffee shop, but he is trying to bring sale tax, and that is a good thing especially with Casino revenues down.
    Maybe he’ll do something bigger with Alcan property if he can survive the uproar of the neighbors.
    Stay tuned.

      1. Kathleen,
        The ENTIRE city of Bay St. Louis is in the Opportunity Zone.
        Doug posted the map. Look at it. Waveland downtown is only area Gov. Bryant carved out.

        1. Century Hall is a historic building & not subject to ADA; a restaurant may change those rules though. We’ll have to wait & see what the Bldg Dept says.
          I must admit that the Whole Foods, Juice Bar, vegan thing sure fits right into Mr Looney’s “gentrification” tax cut theory.

  17. Mr Stone Cold

    I have stayed clear of the whole Old Town drama, so I cannot speak of corruption in that arena. I live in Ward 6, the ‘red-headed stepchildren of BSL social strata” and I am just fine staying out of THAT high priced sandbox.

    My concerns lay with any Katrina monies or BP RESTORE funding. Decent jobs will steer us towards the real priorities-good education, solid job skills either STEM, vocational or university leading to stronger families, less crime, addiction, less need for foster care system or federally funded programs.
    Another top priority is the restoration and protection of our natural resources, our marshlands, our estuarine and marine ecosystems, the food chains that have supported locals for 300 years. The PRIMARY goal of the entire RESTORE legislation was the restoration, and protection of the incredible biodiversity of our home, the bounty and beauty. So far, BP monies have done little to protect or restore. They have gone to “economic development” projects, which as far as I can ascertain produce more “econ” to the top tier than the rest of us and certainly not oystermen, shrimpers, fishermen….Katrina CDBG HUD grants, as I understand, are required to be 70/30 split-70% going to low to moderate income areas, either in new housing, senior centers or if not a housing grant, the monies are to be used for workforce development or contracts to minority businesses.
    I am always concerned when people in Jackson start deciding for us what we need, especially when the monies are ours. They generally let their counterparts down here decide what to do with it. And regular folks like the oysterman or cashier or weekend camper or kayaker don’t have much input, if any. Call it what you want but in my house, my parents called it “getting screwed”.

    When Obama said, “C’mon down, the water and seafood is fine. The oil is gone” you didn’t believe that, did you? There are huge amounts of degraded oil still on our beaches, in the shallows, eating away roots of sawgrass and mangroves, killing deep sea coral and creating some DNA mutations in some species.
    So build an aquarium and a pedestrian pathway? Oy vey, over and out.

      1. Yes. That’s what Waveland got— not inclusion if our poor downtown to attract developers with abatements.
        Governor Bryant included all of the Bay’s downtown and highway corridor?!
        This was based on 20% poverty level and incomes not exceeding 80% of the median income??!!

      2. Mr Cork should be a charter member of that
        club….he blew up and cussed a friend who spoke against Trash Doctors.
        He was not too pleased with me for my anger at his blase attitude of any Katrina memorials at a council meeting. A negative distraction to prospective companies. Any exec who doesn’t know exactly what occurred here is a bozo. And yet, criticize any element of spending and projects, and he seemed overly defensive, as if personal. Noone likes criticism but in his position he needs to get gator skin.

      3. Annexation of a thin strip was being argued over in 2004 by BSL and WL…Lawyers said it’d take years.
        Then 8/29/2005 got here. And while 90 million tons of Waveland ended up in the Kiln and narrow strip of west side 603 was trying to figure out how 2 sisters on our bayou drowned in their attic, 30 ft off the ground, and fetching our deck chairs 30 ft up in the trees, and finding neighbor’s dog Brutus alive!
        Wellll, that’s when BSL slipped it thru. We figured 603 was the next Hwy 49, and drooling already, reading up on eminent domain. We are 1 block off 603, Waveland line is middle of bayou-crazy!

  18. And these are our “Christians” that have control of BP funds that are entrusted to restore our natural resources and fishing industry. What a joke. All that I can see is a bunch of Fat Cats getting fatter. Shame on you Congressman, Governor, Auditor, Attorney General, Legislators and local politicians involved in this. Shame on you. I am sure that you are teaching your children a valuable lesson on what is ethical and right; as well as how to treat others. Shame on you again.
    Folks remember to vote!

    1. Sic’em Miss Charlene! I mean it, everyone should be good and ticked off, wherever you live BSL OR WAVELAND.
      It may start in Jackson, but it does extend to DC with that wimp Palazzo!
      And our locals (and I don’t mean all of them) are either in on all the fun or in oblivion.
      They have not “SERVED” (they are public servants) their constituents well.

      1. My biggest pet peeve is how all of these decision making individuals run around from here to there looking important, and apparently forgetting that at the end of the day their paycheck comes from us, the taxpayer. They had all better keep working for the government, because in the real world you don’t snub the people that write your paycheck. You give them answers to their questions.

  19. Let’s look at the big picture here. What about the rest of the Gulf Coast. Why did the governor just pick BSL and small portion of Waveland?
    Pass Christian and Long Beach along the Hwy 90 is not getting much development. New flood zones and flood insurance premiums are stopping the growth. Pass Christian has less than 1/2 the population than before the storm and they didn’t qualify?
    Something is real “fishy” here. One of the most fastest growing areas is BSL and they qualify… And one person is buying up most of the property? Is this like inside trading? I guess no one actually drove down here to see the areas just used a census from 8 years ago. A lot changes in that period of time.
    Our elected officials have their heads in the sand.
    Blaine only calls when he wants a donation for his daughter’s dance group. Never acknowledges you when he sees you.
    Philip Moran you send campaign contribution to another one never says hello in public.
    Tim Keller if he runs one more time with the campaign promise of making the office accessible on line please after 20+ years it is not going to happen. He should have done it after the storm.
    Jimmy Ladner, he will return calls and meet with you. The only one.
    David Baria only calls when he wants donations to golf tournament of some type of donation. Never returns calls. Have tried several times still waiting.
    This is our delegation in Jackson and local. No help for our area, only their own personal agendas.
    I guess we have to fight our own battles, we have no support from our elected officials who promised to serve and work for us.

    1. BAM! Thanks Disgusted…..that weird puzzle piece just fits. 25 properties in 5 years. And some big ones, including Alcan + 75 acres and the primo hotel site at 603 and 90. Why have I or maybe others never heard of him til the dustup about PJ’s?
      And if he is going for a trade school at Alcan site, can y’all guess where much of his funding will be coming from? The Federal government, because with Katrina CDBG grants, a large percentage of the monies must go to EMPLOYING low and moderate income workers or TRAINING them. Much cheaper to train them on Fed dime than employ them with all that pesky unemployment insurance, workmen’s comp and EEEEK, medical benefits, sick days and possibly a living wage?

      I used to joke that Les was going to dredge out to the islands so Princess Cruises could dock here and I could sell matches from a cup on the dock. Now I’m thinking I better get a vendors license….wow, like sands thru the hourglass, so are the Bays of Our Lives.

  20. I called Baria for a discussion on the BP Funding and he told me he was too busy getting RE-elected to work on any issues. I forever will be a non voter for me baria.

    1. Exactly, they want that monthly check from the State, health benefits and then their retirement. That is all they care about. And we have to pay for this…

    2. Baria is too busy to work on any issues? Didn’t he find time just recently to endorse medical marijuana???!!!!

  21. I just looked up the parcel of land they are considering purchasing. It belongs to Jeffery Reeds Sister. It is worthless to her and us. we have access all around it and don’t need what we have.

    Go to the Hancock Geoportal and type under parcel search . Mr. Reed’s sister is a Dunklin.

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