Don’t be so quick in judging mayor-elect’s abilities

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 28, 2009

I read with amusement the June 21 editorial, “One would think ‘mayoring’ a full-time job,” and the letters the same day, “Track record of Democratic mayors is not exactly stellar,” “Leyens was, will be an asset,” and “Full-time mayor needed.”

Mayor-elect Paul Winfield has not even been sworn in yet, and it seems to me that there are those who have already destined him to fail and shortchange our fair city.

Let us review: If the sole proofs of success as a mayor were determined by whether in a full-time duty status, not being “Democratic” and speaking rudely to those who elected him, then soon-to-be-former Mayor Leyens would probably die in office of natural causes in 40 to 50 years.

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Fortunately, there is more to being a mayor than the color of one’s skin, his or her political party and the number of hours in a “duty-status.”

To have lost by such a large margin, one would think that Mayor Leyens was not perceived to have been a mayor for the entire city.  I have met and spoken with Mayor-elect Winfield, and I found him to quite smart, accessible, considerate, caring and alert of what is going on in our city and around him. I truly believe that, if once he becomes the mayor, he finds he cannot walk and chew gum at the same time, he will either dispose of the gum or stop walking without having to be told.

So why don’t we give him a chance to prove himself, not to some people, but all people, that in his actions and heart, Vicksburg and its citizens will come first.

Rudy Smith


Taxpayers deserve better

In view of an earlier letter I wrote about the not-so-stellar record of Democratic mayors, I was not surprised to see the City of Vicksburg’s Democratic mayor-elect intends to work only part time. Well, that is how Democrats roll. Did anybody really think the new mayor was going to give up easy money?

The mayor-elect appears to think the people of Vicksburg must be stupid if we really believe he can devote only part-time service to the City of Vicksburg and meet all of his obligations to the people he serves.

If the mayor-elect continues with his plans to work for the City of Port Gibson and for the City of Vicksburg, then there should be immediate action to remove the part-time mayor.

With a budget of $30 million or so, 600 employees, and with the mayor’s salary of $81,000, the taxpayers of Vicksburg deserve better than this new mayor is prepared to give to all of us.

This issue should have the people marching in the streets.

Larry Jackson


Conflicts seem obvious

The Vicksburg Post’s “One would think …” editorial in the June 21 edition was right on. When I first heard about Mayor-elect Paul Winfield’s plans to govern Vicksburg on a part-time basis, I could not believe it.

How could anyone doubt there’d be conflicts of interest, conflicts of time and conflicts on priorities? And I find it hard to believe that kind of thing is not officially against the law.

Surely the duties of mayor require 100 percent of that mayor’s workday. If it doesn’t, it most assuredly should.

Mary Louise Nosser


Intentions not made clear

I find myself very concerned by articles about Mayor-elect Paul Winfield’s plans. I heard nothing during the mayoral campaign to indicate that the city would be sharing the energies of our principal official with Port Gibson! In my opinion, the prospect does not bode well for either city or county, not in performance and not in the concept of “transparency in government.”

If I had been given this information prior to the election, I would have given my vote more consideration. However, the issue of divided loyalty is not a new one.

For it is written; “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or he will hold to the one and despise the other.” Jesus of Nazareth, Luke 16:13. Pretty good food for thought!

Joseph Carter


Sure there’s no waste?

I heard President Obama say that the stimulus money was creating jobs as he had planned and very little waste was being found.

Well, I guess he missed the $888,000 The Vicksburg Post reported was sent to the Vicksburg Housing Authority, requested by Mr. Jim Stirgus.

There are 430 homes and apartments owned by the VHA. This money was enough to roof all 430. The catch to this was the money was intended for only 150 homes that did not even need a roof for another five to seven years. The other catch was Mr. Stirgus got fired before this money was paid to a contractor for putting shingles on 150 roofs that didn’t need them.

Any contractor would have made a healthy profit if he or she charged $300,000 for this work. Are we to assume Mr. Stirgus would have given this contractor a $588,000 tip? I find that hard to believe.

Somebody needs to notify President Obama how many jobs this money created.

John L. Barrentine


Barbour overstepping power

In reference to Gov. Haley Barbour’s efforts to dictate budget legislation, I would note that the Mississippi Constitution, in Article I, Section 2, referring to the three departments of state government (legislative, judicial and executive), says, “No person or collection of persons, being one or belonging to one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to one of the others.” That seems clear to me.

The Legislature has the power to prepare budgets and pass tax legislation. The governor can veto legislation he does not agree with. He cannot write legislation.

I did check through the rest of the Constitution. The governor can only be impeached for treason, bribery or high crimes and misdemeanors (whatever those are). I could not find anything about recall elections, although I may have missed it. I guess we are stuck with what we have until the 2011 elections.

Fred E. Camfield


Principal rallied the students

Recently Old Post Files noted that 40 years ago Sister Mary Virginia Marasco took over leadership as Principal of St. Aloysius High in June of 1969.

Student morale was low due to the merger of St. Francis and St. Aloysius necessitated by the departure of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1968. I was a member of the senior class when Sister Virginia arrived. I remember clearly the enthusiasm she brought. Who among the students of that time can forget the class competition to collect the most firewood for the homecoming bonfire?  The city fire department condemmed the lot where the stacks nearly became the highest structures on Clay Street.

Sadly, Sister Virginia’s tenure was brief, ending in January 1970.  She stood on the higher ground of the Civil Rights Movement as it applied to Catholic education. At 88 years young, she resides near Hattiesburg. Her memories of the students are keen and filled with joy. She remains one of my personal heroes of education and the Catholic faith.

Until financial barriers are leveled and all races gain equal access to Catholic education, the work goes on.

Sister Virginia’s address is easily obtained on the Internet. I am sure she would appreciate notes from a community that remembers her dedication.

Susan Hogan Schepens

Augusta, Ga.

Young put city first

I would like to say thanks for the years of service that Gertrude Young has given to this city.

I’ve only lived here for about 10 years, but I don’t know of anyone in city politics who worked as hard as she has. I still can’t get over that she was defeated by Alderman Michael Mayfield, whom I believe to be just a grandstander and not a doer.

I’m also disappointed Mrs. Young will not be Mayor Gertrude Young who would have given her all for the city and I do think she would be the perfect person to be head of the Vicksburg Housing Authority.

Mainly, I just wanted to say thanks to Mrs. Young for working so hard and wish the best for her and her family.

Mickey Loyacono


Kudzu could power America

I wrote President Obama and asked for his help with my idea. Your 300-word limit prevents me from copying it verbatim but this is the idea: We need to see if it’s possible to turn kudzu into clean fuel.

As you know it grows wild in the South and there are over 70,000 acres that are ready for harvest. As an American I want to help so I propose that Obama pay the residents of each state that grows kudzu by the pound or ton to harvest it and deliver it to local freight companies and they in turn will ship it to biofuel locations.

Diane Mitchell

29 Palms, Calif.