Mississippi editorial roundup
Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:
The (Tupelo) Daily Journal on candidate’s “off the record” interviews with editorial boards:
Before the general election, the Daily Journal editorial board invited each Republican and Democratic candidate for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general to meet with us for an interview no later than a couple weeks prior to the election.
Republican Lynn Fitch and Democrat Jennifer Riley Collins, candidates for attorney general, accepted our invitation and we reported on those meetings in the Daily Journal.
Republican Delbert Hosemann and Democrat Jay Hughes, candidates for lieutenant governor, accepted our invitation and we reported on those meetings in the Daily Journal.
Democrat Jim Hood, candidate for governor, accepted our invitation and we reported on that meeting in the Daily Journal.
Republican Tate Reeves, candidate for governor, responded three weeks after our initial invitation through his deputy communications director. “We are doing off the record editorial board meetings the week of October 28th, in time for endorsements to be made the final Sunday before the election.”
We acknowledged that all the other candidates met with the editorial board within the timeframe and we were more than willing to work with Reeves’ schedule since he made several trips to Tupelo during this time.
We emphasized that all of our editorial board interviews are on the record so that we can share a candidate’s ideas and position on the issues with our readers. Candidate interviews with the editorial board provided a forum for the candidates to discuss their platforms and included a question-and-answer period.
We received no response and our editorial board was not able to interview gubernatorial candidate Reeves for our readers.
This is disappointing to us and, in turn, our readers. But of concern is the response “we are doing off the record editorial board meetings.”
When an elected official running for the state’s top office wants to speak to newspaper editorial boards off the record, one has to wonder how transparent he will be if elected, and how well the candidate can explain his vision for Mississippi with questions that go much deeper than looking for a sound bite response.
The goal of our editorial board is not to pick one candidate over another. No one candidate has all the answers. We believe in endorsing the best ideas we gathered during these positive give-and-take meetings. We believe great ideas for Mississippi go beyond party affiliation. Like one candidate said during the meetings, “When the election is over, I have to work across aisles to get things done for Mississippi. We have to govern or Mississippi will not move forward.” We agree!
The Vicksburg Post on a Convention Center bringing in a significant amount of revenue:
When news is published that a local facility brought in more than $8 million to the local economy, Vicksburg and Warren County have something to celebrate.
At their annual report meeting on Oct. 23, the Vicksburg Convention Center announced the facility and its events brought in $8.088 million to the local economy during their 2018-2019 fiscal year. Better yet, the center produced revenues that were greater than the past two fiscal years, hosted more conventions than last year, and on average used less subsidy money from the city of Vicksburg.
The convention center is proving to be an asset, not only to the city of Vicksburg and Warren County but also to local restaurants, hotels and shops. More than 13,000 hotel room stays were recorded as a direct result of events being held at the convention center. Those are hotel stays that would not have been booked and taxes that would not have been collected if the convention center had not hosted an event. It also doesn’t count the hotel stays that were not recorded as a direct result of events held at the convention center, of which we believe are likely many.
Perhaps the most impressive piece of the annual report came from the 21 customers who gave testimonials about their experience holding an event at the convention center and working with convention center staff. The testimonies were overwhelmingly positive, and one even stated that the center is “the best kept secret in Mississippi.”
Now that’s really something to smile about.
It’s easy to boast about the economic impact of the center as a whole. It is harder to recognize each and every individual behind the convention center that made their year so successful, not only for the facility but also for Vicksburg. We would like to personally thank the staff of the Vicksburg Convention Center; executive director Annette Kirklin, events manager Erin Powell Southard, sales manager Elyce Curry, business manager Donna Cook Gray, sales coordinator Sue Bagby and technical director Timothy Clark for their work in making the 2018-2019 fiscal year a success and for their community involvement in creating the “Vicksburg Smiles” campaign.
We would also be remiss if we did not thank the Convention Center’s advisory board, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., Visit Vicksburg Executive Director Laura Beth Strickland and Vicksburg Warren Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pablo Diaz.
It is this team of tourism professionals and government officials who are helping the convention center meet their motto of “going beyond expectations.”
The Greenwood Commonwealth on a new marker for Emmett Till:
On Oct. 19 in Tallahatchie County, a group of people gathered for the placement of yet another historical marker at the location where historians believe Emmett Till’s body was found in the Tallahatchie River.
Till was 14 in the summer of 1955, a black youngster from Chicago visiting relatives in the Leflore County community of Money, when he flirted with a white female shopkeeper, Carolyn Bryant, in a rural grocery store. Two white men took him from his relatives’ home soon afterward and tortured and killed him, dumping his body in the river.
Till’s lynching, plus the acquittal of Bryant’s husband and his half-brother in a criminal trial, was one of the defining moments at the start of the civil rights movement. It is a moment that, unfortunately, a few people in Mississippi seem unwilling to accept for what it was — an indictment of the Jim Crow South and its unjust treatment of black Americans.
Three memorial signs have been placed along the river over the past 11 years, but all have been damaged, typically with bullets. A picture this summer of three Ole Miss students, grinning as they carried firearms and posed in front of a shot-up marker, seems typical of the mind-set of the vandals.
To a small degree, the discomfort about the marker is understandable. Its very presence speaks volumes about the immorality of segregation, and nobody likes to be reminded about their society’s shortcomings. Thus, when nobody’s looking, those who are truly bothered by the marker, which is located in an isolated area, take their revenge.
This past weekend’s gathering was to commemorate a fourth marker along the river, one that the Emmett Till Memorial Commission hopes will stand up to the vandalism that damaged its predecessors.
The new marker, weighing 500 pounds, is designed to withstand assaults. It has protective glass and reinforced steel to prevent damage from bullets and other attacks, and hopefully to keep it from being stolen as well. The site also will be monitored by surveillance cameras that can transmit images onto the internet.
It would be a gentle symbol of racial progress, not to mention a show of respect for history, if the new marker was left alone except for the occasional visit from someone interested in Till’s life and death. But the safeguards built into the marker probably will be too tempting for a few goofballs to ignore. They’ll be compelled to find out for themselves whether it’s really bulletproof, or see if they can somehow dislodge it.
How odd that a simple memorial shows how far we have come, but how far we have to go