Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fight the power.

Meeting today at 5:00 at River Hills for concerned residents. A bond bill is in conference committee right now. Apparently Ed Morgan of the State Tax Commission wants a brand new shiny building built for his agency on the corner of Lakeland and Ridgewood. There is an email circulating about this matter. JJ confirmed the email's claims are true and spoke to the author of the email. The email states:

"Please join us tomorrow, Sunday March 27, at River Hills Club at 5:00 p.m. to learn more about this development and what you can do to help prevent it from being built.

The State Tax Commission is pushing a bond issue to build a 200,000 square foot building, parking garage and parking lots that will be shoehorned on a 10 acre site at the R&D Center between the Workman's Compensation Commission Building, the new State IT office building, Lakeland Drive and the Eastbrooke town homes. The plan is to cut down the trees on Lakeland Drive for this new state development. The majority of the trees along Lakeland will be cut down and 1,800 visitors per week plus 500 employees will further clog Lakeland Drive. What is already considered major traffic congestion on Lakeland Drive would dramatically increase and the green buffer around the R&D Center would continue to be destroyed. The residents of Eastbrooke would no longer be looking at a forest, but staring at the back of a state office building, parking garage and parking lot.

This is of great concern to members of LOHO. PLEASE JOIN US to learn more and how you can voice opposition to this un-needed development tomorrow,March 27, at River Hills Club at 5:00 p.m."

JJ was able to confirm with several lobbyists this is indeed true. In fact, here is a promoting the site as well as several others.

Clarion-Ledger story this morning:

"The day was not a total loss. Legislators agreed to a $422.9 million bond bill filled with economic development incentives and infrastructure projects for state agencies, colleges and universities.

Agreement was not reached on funding for a new civil rights museum and Mississippi history museum, though a vehicle is alive for continued negotiations.

House Ways and Means Chairman Percy Watson, D-Hattiesburg, called the large bond agreement "a good bill."

It was filed just minutes before the 8 p.m. deadline. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby said disagreement over the Department of Revenue's $50 million request for headquarters at the wooded corner of Lakeland Drive and Ridgewood Road nearly derailed talks.

Several businessmen and area residents protested the deal as a waste of money that could bring traffic to a standstill on one of the city's busiest intersections and ruin neighborhoods.

"I have serious questions and concerns about the economic practicality of the state borrowing $50 million to build an office building when we have over 1 million square feet available in the Jackson metropolitan area that would be available at about half the cost," said Leland Speed, chairman of two publicly traded real estate companies and interim director of the Mississippi Development Authority.

State-owned facilities can turn into an enormous liability for taxpayers, Speed said. He suggested leasing space inside the old WorldCom headquarters in Clinton or the Regions Plaza or Capital Towers facilities in downtown Jackson.

The agency operates out of a converted warehouse in Clinton.

"We have from the beginning been wide open to looking at any and all options," said Revenue Executive Director Ed Morgan. But those mentioned by the developers will not work, he said.

In the end, the bond bill included only $3 million for the department to plan a new facility on nonspecific state-owned property in Jackson.

A public meeting on the agency's proposal is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at River Hills Tennis Club


Wade said...

This would be ridiculous and an obvious logistical nightmare! What the Hell are these people thinking? Oh wait, it is city officials after all....thinking is not involved.

Unknown said...

WTF?! why dont they build beside farish street so all the employees can support the "thriving new" developments downtown or is this their way of saying downtown jackson is dead?? Lakeland is the most heavily traveled non interstate road in the state, it can't handle any more injections of cars. if i can interject a conspiracy theory, maybe this is all for show and is already approved, thats why the mcdonalds is up and running ready for business! next they build a sky walk across lakeland so employees can take McLatte breaks and smoke breaks off campus.

KF, see if Ed Morgan owns the McDonalds.

Anonymous said...

How ridiculous! Talk about a huge traffic mess, and chopping down MORE trees which buffer the R&D and Eastbrooke.

I, for one, am sick and tired of green space being torn down for buildings, when there are empty buildings and space already available.

Kingfish said...

Story I'm getting is this is what Ed Morgan wants cuz he wants a brand spanking new building.

Anonymous said...

The trees at Eastbrooke were already whacked, if I am not mistaken, when the ITS building was constructed, but DFA has not planted replacement trees,despite requests from Homeowners. If DFA would cut or spare trees, the issue raised by Speed would not be a material now. Overall, I believe a competent traffic engineer can address ingress and egress on Lakeland,already a commercial corridor,provided necessary road improvements are implemented.The homeowners meeting,led by Speed, who incidentally is a top state official, occurs in the larger context- Rankin vs. Jackson, leasing vs. owning, the CBD vs. a campus setting.

Anonymous said...

There are still a great deal of trees left along Lakeland Drive. It will be necessary to cut down more trees to build a 200,000 square foot building, a parking garage and adding parking lots. I'm sure a traffic engineer could figure it out, but why would you with all the available office space in the metro area? Also, why would you pay $50 million to build an office building and still pay rent like all state agencies have to towards DFA?

Anonymous said...

So with the proposed bond bill plus last year's we're looking @ upwards of $1.5 BILLION DOLLARS in new long term state indebtedness in just a couple years.

I guess the 'creative class' will be paying those bills. Bend.over.and.PUSH.

P.S. Anyone heards anything at all out of Treasurer Reeves that debt kills?

Anonymous said...

WTH??? The state has NO MONEY!! What part of this do they not understand??? Ed Morgan wants a new building - Folks in hell want ice water, but they do not get it!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought the purpose of renovating the old building downtown that used to house the State Tax Commission was that after this was done, they would move back in it. It is terrible to have to drive to Clinton every time you need something, but the parking downtown was awful, you could ride around for an hour and not find a parking place. But having it on Lakeland Drive/Ridgewood Road would be a worse nightmare, the traffic is bad enough as it is................

Unknown said...

There is a plethora of existing Class "A" office space in downtown Jackson, ready, waiting, and much more affordable to the taxpayers than this proposed boondoggle. Parking, restaurants, infrastructure,'s all in place, without cutting a single tree! And, the owners of those builings pay PROPERTY TAXES. The proposed buildings would not. But Ed Morgan doesn't want a building with someone else's name on it. He wants a monument to himself, and if he can lord it over one of the more wealthy neighborhoods in the state, then, all the better, from his perspective. Just remember, Mr. Morgan, that when you use Other Peoples' Money against them, there are repercussions. And being a beaurocrat,rather than an elected official, does not completely insulate you from those political repercussions.

Ironghost said...

Like 4:26pm said, the point of renovating the Sillers Building was to have more room for the tax commission. That they haven't followed through on that plan is Ed's fault.

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no reason for a broke state to spend $50M to build a tax commission building. That is $50M that could be spent for a plethora of other needs. Ed can claim all he wants about how lease rates in a new $50M building would be slightly less than another property - but that completely disregards the $50M it would take to build the building. I've even heard he is arguing that by locating the tax commission next to the IT HQ, it would enhance internet speed over a downtown location. I get a big chuckle out of that one.

Anonymous said...

KF, besides Morgan, who are the players? They will wait out the opposition if we don't try to find them another line of work.

Who are Morgan's boy toys in the legislature?

Since they like the Lakeland location, I was thinking mopping the floors at McDonalds would be something they'd enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a bunch of empty space in the Regions Bank building downtown where two other State agencies just moved?

Anderson said...

Why aren't they using the old WorldCom building?

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is probably some good deals right now that could be taken advantage of and that needs to be researched but I think its funny that people think they have the right to control what happens on other peoples(in this case the state) property. If people in the condos wanted to maintain "green space" around them they should have bought more property. It is not the other persons responsibility to provide them "pretty trees" to look at.

Anonymous said...

The state government of MS has a responsibility to MANAGE state property so as to benefit the taxpayers.
Ed Morgan is NOT a property owner, he is supposed to be a PUBLIC SERVANT!
I would also argue that the taxpayers of MS OWN the property.
It's not a matter of looking at " pretty trees" , it's a matter of NOT looking at UGLY buildings and fighting more traffic on a traffic artery that is ALREADY inadequate.
The state government has a responsibility to improve the value of the tax base, not cause it to decrease and THAT job is especially true of the State Dept of Revenue( new name for the Tax Commission).
Your "take" sounds like Communism where the state " owns" everything and the convenience and comfort of the bureaucrats trump that of the citizens.

Kingfish said...

First of all, this is STATE money and that means taxpayers, even those who will live next to the site, can lawfully petition their government over how it spends its money. I realize a commie like you doesn't care about such things, but other Americans who happen to love freedom do.

Second, Bob Robinson is kicking Downs Syndrome children off of the Medicaid rolls left and right while Ed wants a palace. See a problem?

Anonymous said...

The McDonalds and the two package liquor stores didn't seem to bother all those poor people living in Eastover. This is really about Leland Speed making an issue over a project he wants to control and profit from, not the geographical proximity to a bunch of pompus old Jackson snobs' tennis courts.

Anonymous said...


Haley needs to either get rid of Morgan or put a leash on him. He's given Haley's politic opponents an easy weapon to use against a Governor who supports reducing government and fiscal responsibility and who is using his record in MS to demonstrate a committment to those ideals.

Unlike Waide, who also managed to unite people who usually don't politically agree on much of anything, Morgan does Waide one better by riling the deep pockets of just about every political group in the State. Even if the heavy duty contributor doesn't live in the Eastover area, most every contributor I can think of has either children,close friends and/or relatives who do.

This plan is not just a practically stupid, it's politically stupid.

Anonymous said...

commie. what a joke kingfish. When I had different ideas than the JFP she called me a troll and never again allowed me to express my opionion. I guess I'll be on your commie blog.

Yes people can petition but if I own property or the state owns property of which i am a taxpayer. I want to be able to do with it what I can. If I dont like trees on my property then I should be able to cut every damn one of them down. If my neighbors dont like it thats tough its my land. If they want trees they need to surround themselves with a few hundred acres of trees which would be their right. I would have thought you were for personal property rights but I guess not. If a commie is someone who wants to be able to do with his/her property what he/she wills then I must have misunderstood what a commie was.

Anonymous said...

Ye old Jackson money not liking this one bit. Has as much to do about control as it does anything else.

Last one out, cut off the lights!

Anonymous said...

Great arguing point, 9:38.

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