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South Mississippi Living 4/07

Monday, January 07, 2008

Barbour should reconvene commission to assess our recovery

January 6, 2007

-- Jim Barksdale, the chairman of the Governor's Commission on Recovery, Rebuilding and Renewal, delivered the commission's report to Gov. Haley Barbour on Dec. 31, 2005.

Near the end of that report, the men and women working with Barksdale made recommendations for the long-term recovery of South Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina. In introducing those recommendations, the writers of the report noted: "These recommendations may spur future discussion and the formulation of new recommendations or the modification of those presented here."

We believe it is time for that "future discussion."

We call upon the governor to reconvene the commission in order that its members might assess the present situation in South Mississippi and reassess their recommendations.

The recovery effort needs a formal examination.

More than two years after Katrina, large portions of South Mississippi have not been mended. This is especially true for properties located between the hurricane's debris line and the shoreline.

Because South Mississippi is divided up among so many jurisdictions, there is no one source for a comprehensive evaluation of the region's overall recovery. That "big picture" is what we need from the governor's commission.

With proper preparation, the commission might not need to be in session for more than a few days. But those few days could greatly improve the pace and quality of recovery efforts over the next few years.

Our appetites have returned; why haven't the restaurants?

Since our offices sit on DeBuys Road, we are regularly reminded that the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are still vacant lots just down the street on the waterfront.

Gone as well are Ryan’s and Cuco’s and Cajun’s and even some eateries without an apostrophe.

South Mississippians rejoiced when the first Waffle House came back to Beach Boulevard. And were delighted to have Wendy’s and Mahoney’s and Vrazel’s back as well.

But where’s everybody else?

The shoreline of Harrison County boasted a smorgasbord of tasty treats before Katrina.

Why have so few returned?

Our appetites certainly have.

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1 comment:

tadpushy said...

From the beginning Katrina recovery has been mired in buraucracy at all levels, but I would have thought that Mississippi's governor would have had the juice to grease the necessary wheels at all levels to speed things up. Maybe things are moving right along, but people just don't realize it. By this I mean it appears that some special interest projects are progressing at a pretty good rate.
It sounds like what's needed by the ordinary citizens is someone who's knowledgeable with the situation and has the clout and influence to get "The Real Recovery" moving. In other words a lobbyist with some juice, a person who can open doors and get peoples attention.
I think I know of just the person, he's new at this, but I don't think he'll be cheap. If you can afford him, Trent Lott's your man. Or maybe he's already involved and people don't realize it.