OHMIGOSH!!! The State is going to take over Jackson. STOPTHEMADNESS!!!!!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!! STOPITALL!!! Give Sam Hall a beta blocker cocktail before he has his second meltdown in a month. The local media breathlessly "reported" on State Representative Mark Baker's "plan" to write a bill that will have the state take over Jackson. There is just one problem: There is no plan nor is there a bill.
A debate about the airport takeover bill broke out between State Senator Josh Harkins and GOP Elder Pete Perry on Facebook on May 4. Mr. Harkins and Mr. Perry traded licks back and forth over the bill until the discussion turned towards Jackson itself. Then Mr. Perry said forget the airport, perhaps the state should take over Jackson itself. Mr. Baker jumped in and said heeeeeyyyy... how about I just draft a bill that does just that. That is it. Then someone in the media saw this exchange a week later and went all Nancy Grace on it. The Facebook exchanges are posted below.
Pete Perry:“If you look around, there’s a lot of green around here. What we want to see is what other airports have done,” Senator Harkins said. “They have developed around the airport. If you look at airports around the size of Jackson, whether it be Baton Rouge or Little Rock, there’s development all around there.”
At first it was about the high cost of flying. Now its about the undeveloped land - but the interesting thing is that the undeveloped land is not a part of the airport itself, its just land that is owned by the City and surrounds the airport.
Which is it, my friend - the cost of flying, or the "lot of green around it"? If the issue was the "lot of green", why didn't someone, or some governmental body, offer to purchase the green area. And that would provide Jackson with cash that - hopefully - they would put into those other areas that you correctly mention needs their attention.
Josh Harkins: Pete, do you think it is going well? And if you honestly answer yes, then I respectfully disagree. What is being taken from Jackson?
Pete Perry: Control of its property.
Josh Harkins: no they still have 5/9. that is control
Pete Perry: You own real estate. How would you like it if someone came in and said you could still own it but they were going to manage it because they didn't think you were doing it very good.
They don't name the 5. Somebody else gets to name them
It sounds good that 'they have five'. Put that same theory to our real estate - your bank gets to name three; you two, and somebody else four. Would you feel that appropriate
Josh Harkins: Are you saying that the Gov and Lt. Gov would appoint people that are residents of Jackson and would quietly have ulterior motives to harm Jackson?
Obviously we will agree to disagree. I still love you Pete!!!
Then the knuckleheads turned towards discussing Jackson itself. Now the fun starts.
Pete Perry: No. I don't think so. And I think they would appoint someone better than the current leadership of Jackson. But, the Gov and Lt Gov weren't elected to run Jackson. While I think the current leadership is way deep over their head, they were the elected leaders. If you had a bill to take over Jackson totally, I would probably help lead the parade. But the one part of Jackson that is running reasonably well (not because of the board, but the ED) is the airport. Take over the wastewater treatment facility and I will help - cause it isn't being run responsibly.
Everybody is entitled to be wrong every once and awhile. (I notice you never answered how you would feel about someone else coming in and managing, without compensation, your real estate properties, although I am sure I know the answer.)
Josh Harkins: I paid for any and all of my privately owned property 100%. The state has not spent one penny maintaining my property. Airport can't say the same. Apples to oranges
Pete Perry: Josh, I know you have paid for your property, and further, I am not in the group saying that your promoting this bill has anything to do with your business interests. But - I would say that the comparison is apples to apples. So far, nobody has shown me any pennies that the state has spent on maintaining the city's property at the airport.
But besides that point, your property is yours to manage. Jackson's should be Jackson's to manage.
Then Mr. Baker poked his head into the discussion:
Mark Baker: Pete: if you think what we dos with the airport is so bad, you're going to really hate it when we pass a conservator law for municipalities like we have for school districts. Fair warning, they get it together or we will.
Pete Perry: Mark Baker Wrong!! If the legislature were to bring up such a bill I would come help lead the parade. I believe that they are incapable (under current structure) to get it together and if they don't your suggestion is the only answer I can see as well. I would be glad to come testify if it would help. Take over the entire city and get it under some kind of reasonable management. My objection to the airport bill is that it only takes one little segment of the problem - and far from being a failure in operation compared to the rest of the city - because it is an assistance to others (governments, not individuals) while not helpful to the city.
i wouldn't hate the conservator approach - knowing what I assume would be the process, I would love it.
Mark Baker: I'm going to start drafting something this summer. I'll send you a draft for review.
There you have it. Three knuckleheads goofing around on Facebook. Mr. Baker died laughing for a solid minute when I asked him about this "story" yesterday and said the exchanges between him and Mr. Perry were made "tongue in cheek". There is no bill written. He is not drafting a bill nor plans to do so this summer.
The media took a late night discussion on Facebook where three friends were giving each other grief and turned it into a major story even though there was nothing to it. Only one reported spoke to Mr. Baker. The legislator said he was "considering" such a bill. The media of course, fell for it all. Ooooh I love to dance a little sidestep... JJ learned it was a joke yesterday but chose not to report it until this morning for one good reason: Why get in the media's way when they are making complete fools of themselves?
Kingfish note: It is interesting that Mississippi has no municipal bankruptcy law or conservatorship. What happens if a city does hit the wall and implode? Serious question. Are there any remedies in state law to deal with such a problem?