A few thoughts about last night’s candidate forum

After catching myself up on last year’s Bay St Louis election forum I was reminded of the differences between the two communities in terms of the political environment. Waveland’s political scene is far more laid back with the various aldermen candidates agreeing with each other more than a few times. Even better from my standpoint on the panel was that every candidate that appeared for the forum last night was prepared and knowledgeable of the issues in the community, something that was not true last year in the Bay.

Geoff Belcher of the Sea Coast Echo and WLOX’s Doug Walker rounded out the panel and again we didn’t toss out any softies. Doug kicked off the Mayoral portion asking about the heart of Waveland being left out of the newly created opportunity zones. To the extent Waveland is still redeveloping from Hurricane Katrina I focused questions to both the Mayors and Aldermen about their visions for development on the Highway 90 corridor, including a tie vote Mayor Smith broke allowing live oaks to be cut. There was no such thing as a right or wrong answer to these questions. My goal, as it was last year, was to get the candidates to differentiate themselves on the issues and I think the panel accomplished that.

Here are the candidates that attended last night:

Ward 1 Alderman: Henry Tebbe (R), Jeremy Burke (I)
Ward 2 Alderman: Laronne Lewis (D)
Ward 3 Alderman: Shane Lafontaine (D)
Ward 4 Alderman: Charles Piazza (I), Sara Cure Clark (I)
Mayor: Mike Smith (D), Tommy Longo (I), Jay Trapani (I)

No Shows:
Ward 1 Candidate Jay Fountain, Ward 2 Alderman Bobby Richardson, Ward 3 Candidate Don Siebenkittel, Ward 4 Candidate Brice Phillips, Ward 4 Candidate Mark Kidd

Ward 2 Candidate Laronne Lewis had several quotable one liners including his remark about the mail men and garbage men knowing everything that was happening in town (Lewis is a public works employee at the City). Before the forum I quizzed Lewis if he had experienced any workplace retaliation over running for office and the fact he thought that was a strange question was refreshing to me. The rest of Mississippi is not quite as gentille as the City of Waveland when it comes to political expression. Win or lose the City has a keeper in Mr. Lewis.

The most competitive local election ward in the Country is in Waveland’s Ward 4, currently represented by Charles Piazza who is finishing his third, nonconsecutive term as an Alderman. Piazza is matched up with former Ward 4 Alderman/Current Bay Waveland School Board Trustee Mark Kidd and Sara Cure Clark. Besides that race carrying other political implications it also presents a contrast between generations in the millennial Clark and baby boomer Piazza. As for the other political implications, should Kidd win, Bay Mayor Mike Favre would pick the replacement to serve out the rest of Kidd’s term on the School Board. One name already being floated about in that scenario is Ward 2 Candidate Lewis should he lose.

This much is clear, there is no such thing as a wasted vote in Waveland’s Ward 4.

As I put a very busy month of October in the books, I imagine we’ll have more on the upcoming December 4, 2018 Waveland City elections.

Update: The Mayoral and Board of Alderman portions are up as separate YouTube videos. WQRZ has the radio audio up on their website as well.

50 thoughts on “A few thoughts about last night’s candidate forum”

  1. Doug, thank you for participating in the forum last night. Also, thanks to Geoff Belcher and Dave Walker who were with you on the panel, and to Joe Gex who moderated last night. Thanks to the Hancock County Alliance for Good Government for organizing the event. It was great to see the Waveland Board room packed with concerned citizens. I hope that those citizens in attendance who were undecided on a candidate, received enough information to choose a candidate to move Waveland forward over the next four years. Please get out and vote on Dec. 4

    1. Jay it was my pleasure. I always enjoy the chance to get down to visit with the folks in Waveland.

    1. WQRZ will be running the forum at various times before the election. I’ll try to get the dates and time for those that missed it last night.

      Per Brice: Replay on Sunday 10-28-18 @ 9AM working to put archive on Wqrz, WQRZ 103.5FM Katrina Radio 🙂

  2. Thank You Doug, Sea Coast Echo, WLOX and Particularly Alliance for Good Government for Facilitating ! And, Yes, Thank You Joe Gex, All done Professionally And Respectful!! Was an Opportunity to Hear Candidates, See Candidates and Some Vision, Albeit Difficult to Expound in 90 seconds!! But, That’s a Debate, And Wish We could have more So Public can be informed!! Great Job, By All!!

  3. Thanks to everyone involved in putting on this forum. I would ask that residents to check out my campaign website. Welikemike.net for a complete true picture of the past 4 years and you can see for yourself the advancement of waveland. Thank you in advance

  4. Finally got around to reviewing Waveland’s most recent independent audit by their auditing firm, Windham and Lacey, PLLC. One interesting point is 3 findings this year that were not found last year. The firm reports to the Board of Aldermen beginning on page 49:
    1. Finding
    During our review, we noted that information systems procedures lacked a policy for strongly safeguarding backups. The City’s procedure for copying and safeguarding computer data was for an employee to take home a disc, with a second generation disc left in City Hall. Loss of computer data could result in a loss or misappropriation of public funds.
    The firm recommended the City develop a stronger policy for archiving and safeguarding computer information as a recovery plan to restore data in case of a disaster.

    2. Finding
    Capital assets acquired during the fiscal year were not always posted into the City’s schedule of capital assets. In the prescribed method accounting for municipalities, purchases of capital assets are accounted for as expenditures, which the City properly reported. They are then added to the capital assets accounting system which is not integrated into the City’s general ledger. Improper accounting for capital assets could result in loss or misappropriation of public funds.
    The firm recommended all assets, deletions and additions, be recorded in a timely basis.
    3 Finding
    During the course of our audit of financial records of the City we conducted a test of expenditures for proper adherence to the purchasing laws and to ascertain if the procedures established by the City are being properly implemented based on the City’s own policies and procedures. During our test, we noted instances of purchase requisitions that did not include the purchase price of items purchased. Not including the purchase price of items on a purchase requisitions not only violates the City’s procedures for purchasing but could lead to improper payment of those purchases that otherwise might not have been approved. Omitting the purchase price on purchase requisitions could result in loss or misappropriation of public funds.
    The firm recommends including pricing on purchase requisitions to ensure proper accounting purchases.

    The City has responded to these Findings by saying they are currently taking proposals for off-site computer back up, and should have this resolved by the first quarter of 2019.
    On the capital assets Finding, the City has responded saying they are reviewing and recording capital assets in a timely, monthly basis.
    The City has responded to the purchase order requisition Finding by saying that, at this time, purchase orders will not be issued without at least an estimated price.

    Now, we have to ask ourselves, in our locale, why no back up for our computer information? If any city should understand the importance of this, it is Waveland!! The firm even used the phrase, “in case of a disaster.” We know all about disasters on Coleman Ave. where City Hall is located.
    The assets Finding is of most importance to the taxpayers as to what they have purchased. After all, I think we had a city truck stolen at the Nereids Parade this year that seemed to take some time to account for.
    And, next question, how much public money have the Aldermen spent without prices on purchase orders to review before voting to approve??
    The City website is pretty good on information, with one obvious exception: they post meeting Agendas, Minutes, and Audits, but not dockets. The docket that is on the printed agenda for the meetings is lacking to say the least. The full docket such as is posted online by the other entities in the county–schools, cities, Board of Supervisors, is detailed with every expenditure, date, vendor, and warrant no. for payment.
    We’ll have to see if we can get Waveland city officials on board to publish a detailed docket for their taxpayers to review what they are buying on a monthly basis. It’s overdue.

    1. Lana,

      Thank you for pointing the audit findings out. While I will agree the website has plenty of good information, the agendas are rarely the same agenda that is given at the meetings. Thus if someone was to review the agenda to decide if to attend the meeting or not, they may be in for a surprise to find out a certain agenda item was added after initial publication. I understand that things come up but if you are wanting transparency this should be the exception and not the norm.

        1. By law, minutes are to be approved in 30 days. The minutes could be up to date and just not posted online. As long as they are finished, and the Board and Mayor have signed them, they are okay. I don’t think posting them online is required, but it is a convenience for the public.

    2. I heard from a former City of Waveland department head that the auditors never came to City Hall to look at any files. That’s two years in a row. I know for a fact that the auditors never went to the Waveland Police Department to look at files. Shane Lafontaine was the only Aldermen that voted No to accepting the audit two years ago. Shane asked the auditors in a public meeting if they went to City Hall this year to look at files and the auditor said that she had. I don’t think that happened. What faith can the citizens of Waveland put in an audit that is not completed properly. Waveland went with this new audit firm because it was half the price of the previous auditor. You get what you pay for!

      1. You are mislead about the auditing firm. They have been to city hall both years and spent many hours sampling what they need to look for. Get your facts straight before you speak

        1. You might want to get yours straight. The first year, they said in a board meeting in front of the public that they did not come personally to City Hall. The auditors said that themselves. That is why Alderman Lafontaine voted no on accepting the audit and voted no to rehire the same firm.

          1. I agree. It is obvious that things were covered up. Probably not felonious but not stuff that represented the best interest of the tax payer. Which is why we elect people….to represent the best interest of the tax payer.

            I suggest getting out of the rut and electing a person with a fresh forward thinking thought!

  5. Auditors and get a random snippet from each filing dept. if they don’t randomly pull it and let the administration/mayor do it they get the corrected or vest files.

    They may have taken lessons from Filingame! Wasn’t till the council put its foot down that the truth and crimes against the voting public were surfaced!

  6. I think this is the most wonderful thing that is happening on our Coast! It is time for the people to start paying attention to what is happening with their money that is handled by elected officials who are supposed to be public servants but deem themselves as gods on the throne of their fiefdom. I wish Biloxi and Biloxi was as serious as the people of Waveland are. It is time. It is past time. There is big money down here on the Coast now that is to be utilized to restore our resources and communities. I can only hope that Biloxi and Gulfport will be good stewards of that money, along with the other small towns along our coast.

  7. All one would have to do is look at down town BSL in any given day and look at down town Waveland that same day.

    What would you have to lose to try a new leader who has the business savvy to get investors to take a look and develope Coleman Ave in what used to be the town center. What do you have to lose? Not much.

    It takes private investment to build commerce not Government Cronies looking for retirement!

  8. Downtown Long Beach is more comparable to Waveland than the bluff the Bay sits on, especially since elevation is the excuse given for Waveland’s downtown.

  9. Responding to investors is very important as well as promoting. Coleman has its own potential. Talking about the down side is just a detraction! Entrepreneurs are thinkers and will deal with the issues.

  10. That’s exactly why we should support Tommy Longo. He can get Waveland back on top again. His pro business attitude kept Waveland the sales tax leader for years. Wake up Waveland.

    1. I literally just spit my coffee out when I read this. Are you kidding me. He broke this city. When the new administration took over after his reign in 2010, the City was $500,000 in the negative. But on paper it didn’t show, because he had them fudge the numbers. He stole from the City, I guess back in 2000 or before, not sure of exact date. That’s a fact. You can go on the State Auditors website and see where he was charged with embezzlement and paid back $20k. He should have went to jail, anyone else would have. I don’t know how he can even show his face.

    2. Pamela,
      You took that exactly wrong.

      Longo could have filled up King Dumpsite with brown paper bags after Katrina. He just wants back on the dole!

      Smith just wants the retirement years and his actions are lethargic at best. Just doing time on the tax payer dime.

  11. Idk about those accusations, it must have been a setup because he was found not guilty. You’re as bad as the Democratic Congress, recognize the court’s. Tommy done a lot helping people in my neighborhood immediate after Katrina not running for the hills like most politicians waiting on conditions to improve.

    1. No that was the second time you are talking about that he was found not guilty. The first time he paid back over $20k to the State of Mississippi. Well your neighborhood must have been the only one he helped. Because of my recollection, he is the one that ran for the hills with all the gift cards sent here. I don’t know of any of the others that ran for the hills that you are talking about.

    1. Concerned
      Fillingame Framed?
      Are you freaking that stupid?
      Please tell me you are kidding!

      Black and White
      Let’s look back on a few
      Misused Federal Funds, DOJ $300,000+
      Misused Utility Funds , Garbage , Water & Sewage, $1,000,000+
      Couldn’t make bond notes
      The Police Dept. Is another story

      Please tell me you are joking and not that stupid to believe that BS


      1. Im pretty sure Concerned was being sarcastic. I think or I atleast hope Concerned was. Neither of those were framed.

  12. Notice to the BSL Tax Payers: It is being said that the Chamber is coming back to the City Trough! It’s sounds as if they may be wanting another hand out! They are trying to get the Garden Center for free rent! They need to Raise their dues and pay their own way! Or charge more to the nonprofits that funnel through them.

    They were put to the curb once. I hope we aren’t the city of free rent again! Raise taxes 6 mils and then give property away like it has no value is not a good thing.

    Audit the Hancock County Community Development Foundation and you will see how much the Chamber makes off the taxpayer grants and other Non Profits! It is quite amazing how that carousel spins!

  13. Has anyone seen meal man Mickey since we exposed him, Compton and the free loading politicians that run to the troff for cheap influence from free meals? I’ve been looking for them on meeting days. They must be going out of town, ordering in or going to someone’s house. Once they get used to the free stuff they can’t stop. Help me expose them and others.

    1. One more Supervisor, and we would have had a quorum for an official County meeting yesterday at Da Kitchen in Waveland. Tax Collector and County Administrator were on hand as well. And, of course, Mickey.

      1. Word on the street is that Meal Man Mickey even asked if he could come back to pay the bill because there were some people there that shouldn’t see him pick up the tab. I am not sure if it is illegal or just unethical but given the fact that he made such a statement/question lets you know it shouldn’t have happened. I guess we all know why Compton is getting all the business with the County. Pretty sure you can add Waveland to the mix as well. No wonder Meal Man Mickey is campaigning for the incumbent, he stands to lose $1.3 million+ over the next 4 years.

  14. Longo Mayor???? Please tell me this is a big joke! First off , the above statements about him with dealing with city money is true. He did many many things after the storm that was very wrong. 18 wheeler pulls up with guns, vest , clothes, handcuffs, duty belts along with all new equipment for the police department and some just helped themselves to all, where others did not get or see anything. One attic I know had 6 Glocks in it was a eye opener for me! After things settled down, they were sold for personal profit! He had his Foster Children taken away due to abuse! His daughter raised 2 of them and still has one she is raising. She has said herself, he had a bad temper and she was glad she got the girls! The children told there school counselor and after the investigation, the children was removed from the home. Of course they said the children made it up and they were troubled children. But his own daughter saidthe Girls was telling the truth. She stop speaking to her dad after that took place but now she and her husband is campaigning for him. So that made me wonder, 🤔 What has changed all of a sudden for them. I figured it out. His son-in-law works for Waveland Fire Department and that my folks will be your new Fire Chief ! I would not want him back in! My opinion!

    1. I wouldn’t think his son-in-law cold be Fire Chief if his is Mayor. Wouldn’t that be nepotism. Oh I forgot Longo doesn’t follow any state laws or rules. A shame that you would stoop so low for own personal gain.

    2. Pretty sure the son-in-law won’t be chief IF Longo is elected. And that’s a big IF!!! However word is that the current mayor is planning on bumping his salary another $10K, assuming he wins, and creating a new position for current public works director at an increase in salary of course. Everyone knows Compton and a certain, want to be engineer,wants current mayor re-elected since Compton is making a killing off of Waveland. No wonder the Big M and Big B are campaigning so hard for Smith! The list of folks promised jobs by Smith is too long to name everyone. Not to mention public works director telling employees they will all be fired if Smith isn’t re-elected. This my friends is bullying at its best. Hourly employees are protected by Civil Sevice so they can’t be fired with change if administration. Get informed people!

      1. It sounds like you are really eitherr misinformed or just plain stupid. I bet you pick up cans to buy the beer you drinking. You must not know thaws of hiring kin folks. I support the current aldermen and mayor because you can see things happening for the betterment of waveland. Unlike the other mayor that boosted his salary 12,000k and laying everyone off while doing nothing. Haha you are sick

  15. Meal man Mickey and Compton collected over $1.3 over the past 3.5 years! There’s no wonder why he wants the same administration in place for four more years!

  16. Hmmmm elevation…. many cities from Brownsville Tx to The keys have had hurricanes and recovered with new elevation requirements. Coleman Avenue the best business deal for land near the water in the country….. why is it not being developed? It’s the fat ass politicians that have no clue how to market the assets that they have at their disposal. It will take an ed ja ma kayted group of business minded people to make this happen. Tell Mike, Tommy and the other incumbents you have had your chance send them to the pasture . No more free lunch. The lights are on and nobody has come. Imagine a fire happening at Walmart and it closed for a year to rebuild. Without their sales tax the City is broke. Don’t make me paint up a van for Election Day…. Let’s not let that STD Gonnarelectum hit our city and give them a shot of Voteemmout.

      1. Hide behind a name. The truth hurts. Just in case you been living under a rock for the last 13 Years drive down Coleman Avenue see all the sales tax generating businesses. Hmmmmm the county elections are coming soon!!!!

  17. Waveland is definitely ready for a new vision. Look at BSL any given day and look at Coleman Ave. what do have to lose?

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