“The Optics are Terrible”

And worse, Bay St Louis City Councilmen conducting the public’s business in secret being defensive upon hearing (well deserved) criticism for holding closed door meetings with no public notice with vendors discussing a large contract (or a quorum of the Council being wined and dined by developer Jim MacPhaille at a meeting discussing one of his proposed real estate developments).

Bay Council bickers over utility audit contract ~ Stacey Cato

When Knoblock questioned DeSalvo on who initiated the meeting with Delta Water, things got a bit heated.

“I’m not going to get into this political argument with you Mr. Knoblock,” DeSalvo said. “They met at my office.”

“Who was there?” Knoblock asked.

“Myself and them,” DeSalvo said.

“Was the council president notified?” Knoblock asked.

“I notified everybody that they were coming at the (previous) meeting,” DeSalvo said.

“I’m just saying that if you’re going to negotiate contracts, that’s a council procedure,” Knoblock said.

Worse is the City Attorney that would advise a City Council to not bid large contracts just because the law says you don’t have to bid them. It would be nice if public officials would treat the public’s money with the same respect they treat their own. Continue reading ““The Optics are Terrible””

About Pascagoula Being Broke and The Copious Amount of BS Being Bandied About by Mayor Maxwell

Folks, I thought Mayor Dane and his band of Trumpies had all the answers. Maybe he should have been paying attention to the City’s checkbook instead of grandstanding for headlines in the press last December because the topic of the City being broke should have been publicly discussed way before now:

Independent audit reveals City of Pascagoula faces $14 million deficit ~` Tyler Carter

The story is instructive in the respect that Carter recounted the events Joe Friday style but as you’ll learn reading this post, when the City Attorney is involved in ‘splaining the annual audit, there is going to be a certain level of dishonesty bandied about because it taketh not a lawyer to explain numbers, though lawyers can certainly spin them. Here is an example of some of the bigger whoppers told a few days back:

The auditor and council agrees that this was not an issue from the previous council, but an issue spanning multiple past administrations.

Per the audit reports on file at the Office of the State Auditor there was $4.5 million dollars cash in the General Fund at September 30, 2015 and the General Fund was owed $5.3 million by other City Funds. By September 30, 2016 the City’s General Fund had no cash and was owed a whopping $14.2 million by other City Funds. The General Fund also owed other funds $8.861 million in money it had taken from them in the City pooled bank account.

Anyone with half a brain, including those who purport to be the City’s leaders that balance their own checkbooks could recognize the red flags. The audit report, dated June 29, 2017 was certainly a rude gift to the new City Council and Mayor but the City’s bleak financial picture was certainly no secret. According to the date stamp by the Office of the State Auditor the 2016 annual audit was received by them on October 3, 2017, which means the audit was submitted over 3 months late. I did a cursory search of the Mississippi Press’ on line story archive and do not see a story about the presentation of the 2016 audit to the City Council but I did find a few nuggets: Continue reading “About Pascagoula Being Broke and The Copious Amount of BS Being Bandied About by Mayor Maxwell”

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Foreign Relations in the Age of Trump

Posted on July 26, 2018
One of my mother’s favorite expressions, invariably addressed to me, was “make yourself useful as well as ornamental.” Another helpful bromide, this one of uncertain provenance, is “tell your own story or someone else will tell it for you.” Practical advice for individuals, businesses and governments.

How does this relate to Trump as an actor on the world stage with foreign countries? You know I’m going to get to Israel and Jews, right? Of course. It’s what I do.

If you’re interested in how public policy is made in the United States and how the conventional wisdom becomes the conventional wisdom, the American Jewish Community is not the only game in town but it is, by far, the most effective game in town. They tell their story (and sometimes your story) constantly. They make themselves not only useful but essential.

At a bare minimum we can say that, in terms of foreign relations advocacy, Israel and the American Jewish community are playing three dimensional speed chess while the rest of the world is still reading the instructions for slow motion special ed tic-tac-toe.

Don’t laugh…it’s true.

Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance is costly and deadly.

In the field of foreign affairs, let’s look at who has found favor in the Age of Trump and who hasn’t.

ISRAEL. Nobody has received better treatment from the Trump Administration than Israel. Trump never talks about a two state solution or criticizes Israel for additional or expanded settlements in the Occupied Territories …which always impressed me as two parties agreeing to share a pizza while the stronger party eats most of it. The US Embassy has been moved to Jerusalem and Trump gives carte blanche on Israel’s execution, from a safe distance, of demonstrators at the wall separating Israel from Gaza. Unlike our NATO allies, Israel has never fought and died with us and they are regularly the largest annual recipient of US AID, receiving $250 billion, inflation adjusted, since their founding which makes them the largest recipient of US Aid ever.

EUROPE. From Trump, Europe and Canada get the shaft. Continue Reading……

Bay Council again becoming interesting to watch

What I am getting right now are accounts of last night’s meeting but I feel safe in saying the taxpayers of the great state of Mississippi could well save money if the Ethics Commission would open a branch office at Highway 90 and Main Street in Bay St Louis.

I want to see the show for myself before I comment further but it appears these gatherings of City Council members that have respectively included developer Jim MacPhaille, former Mayor Les Fillinagme, former City Attorney Don Rafferty and current Mayor Mike Favre have gotten out of hand. It seems like yesterday…..

Unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court Decides Columbus Mayor and Council Violated Open Meetings Act ~ Mississippi Justice Institute

Today [9/7/2017], the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the Mayor and City Council of Columbus violated the Open Meetings Act when they previously met in prearranged, non-quorum size gatherings to discuss public business, intending to circumvent the Act. This is the first time the Supreme Court has ever addressed the issue of whether meetings of public officials in less than quorum numbers violate the Open Meetings Act. The Mississippi Justice Institute represented The Commercial Dispatch in the appeal.

“This is a huge win for the citizens of Mississippi and for open and accountable government,” said Mike Hurst, Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute. “People are tired of backroom deals and secret agreements by government officials that affect their lives. The Supreme Court’s opinion puts public officials and bureaucrats on notice – you cannot circumvent the law and do the people’s business behind closed doors anymore. Today’s decision is a monumental victory for transparency in government.”

[Link] to actual decision Continue reading “Bay Council again becoming interesting to watch”

With the events of the past few days…

Folks we have been treated to a bevy of National type news stories over the past five days that tie together most every theme in these strange times we live. To kick start things let me introduce the folks in Steubenville, Ohio because they are as some good people to blame for the tariff related hits to Mississippi’s agricultural sector:

When the Politics of Anger Prevail ~ Areza Naraghi

Is this a case of slaves turning on each other? I can see that from reading the article. Then again blaming hard working Mexicans for one’s own laziness seems to be the fashion these days. If there aren’t enough decent jobs in Ohio one naturally wonders if these whiners ever considered moving to a place like Lucedale, Mississippi, where they can work on a large farm doing back breaking labor for 10-12 hours a day outdoors since the Mexicans have it so well down here in the sweltering heat. I think I’d rather have the Mexicans since they’re not afraid of hard work.

On the other hand the modern day democrats like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and company are Wall Street tools so there really wasn’t much of a choice in 2016 for the blue collar set, lazy or not.

Moving right along I posted this yesterday to a more thoughtful Facebook discussion featuring well known local conservatives and liberals and it deserves to be highlighted again: Continue reading “With the events of the past few days…”