Thursday, July 12, 2018

Is Lakeland Drive Becoming a Political Swamp?

"Thar she blows!"  That old phrase describes the media frenzy that took place in Jackson this week after the Clarion-Ledger questioned whether  Leftenent Governor Tate Reeves and his staff used their influence to push MDOT to build a frontage road on Lakeland Drive from Dogwood Festival to his neighborhood.  One could almost hear the whoops in newsrooms across Jackson as reporters screamed "yee-ha, we done got ourselves a polee-tician."  However, MDOT Commissioner Dick Hall said yesterday that he ordered the frontage road project to commence while Mr. Reeves said he did not lobby anyone to build the road.

Reeves Way

Star Political Reporter Geoff Pender reported Monday in the Clarion-Ledger

While the state grapples with how to pay to fix crumbling roads and bridges, the Mississippi Department of Transportation is being politically forced to build a $2-million drive from Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ gated neighborhood to a nearby shopping hub.

The project is ostensibly for safety of neighborhood motorists, but MDOT records obtained by the Clarion Ledger indicate safety is not the issue and that Reeves' office kept tabs on it while his neighborhood's homeowners association was deeply involved in the project's planning.

The new road project comes after Reeves and the Senate forced MDOT to leap-frog $43 million to widen Mississippi 25/Lakeland Drive near his neighborhood over repairs to deteriorated roads and bridges elsewhere across the state.

As some lawmakers continue to criticize MDOT as inefficient and lacking priorities for roadwork, the Legislature frequently overrides the agency’s priorities by ordering millions of dollars of pet projects in MDOT’s annual budget legislation.

The new road will start near the locked-gate entrances of Oakridge Trail — where Reeves lives — and Dogwood Place subdivisions and end at the Dogwood Festival Market shopping center. The road would not front any current developments and would likely receive little public traffic besides those living in the 130 or so houses in Oakridge and Dogwood.

“Yes. Political pressure. From the Legislature,” said MDOT Director Melinda McGrath when asked why the new road is being built. “We would not have done this otherwise.”

Normally, MDOT would build such a road only if its other construction had homes or businesses “landlocked” from a major roadway or a development was coming, in which case the developer and/or local government would foot much of the cost.

McGrath would not specify from whom the pressure is coming, other than “the Senate side.” McGrath said much of the communication from the Capitol to MDOT on the new road has been verbal. But MDOT communications records indicate staff in Reeves’ lieutenant governor’s office and his neighborhood’s property owners’ association have communicated with MDOT on the project.

And Reeves has been unapologetic about pushing for the larger Lakeland Drive widening, of which the new road from his neighborhood is the second and final phase.

Reeves through a spokeswoman declined an interview about the new road but issued a statement saying, “Reeves has not spoken to anyone at the agency regarding the Frontage Road and believes (the project) was negotiated between the city of Flowood and MDOT.”

But MDOT records indicate Reeves’ neighborhood property owners’ association, not the city of Flowood, has attempted to call the shots on how the new road is built.

In a list of early “demands” the neighborhood gave MDOT, it wanted the new road to have only one-way traffic from the neighborhood to Dogwood Boulevard. MDOT balked at building what would have essentially been a state-funded private driveway.

Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads said he knows of no political pressure from Reeves for MDOT to build the new road, and the city supports it as a “safety issue.” He agreed with Reeves that the city was the impetus for building the road. He said any talk that Reeves pushed for it is “BS if I’ve ever heard it.”

But records indicate the Oakridge Property Owners’ Association at one point shot down the city of Flowood’s support for MDOT building a “J-turn,” which could have been a cheaper, roughly $200,000 alternative to the new $2 million road — at the existing Oakridge/Lakeland intersection. (KF: Really? A neighborhood association can just order a city not to support a construction project? Is MONA paying attention?)

In a letter to Rhoads in June 2017 urging the city to drop its support for a J-turn, the head of the Oakridge Property Owners’ Association gave Rhoads an update on the progress of frontage road negotiations, “Since you have not been privy to our communications with MDOT concerning the proposed frontage road ….” Rest of article.
The newspaper reported Tuesday MDOT stopped the frontage road project and ordered a review.  It also couldn't resist having a little bit of fun with the story:



Mississippi's transportation commissioners have halted movement on building a $2 million road from Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves' neighborhood to a nearby shopping hub.

Central District Transportation Commissioner Dick Hall said that a Clarion Ledger article about the project and concerns raised by Mississippi Department of Transportation Director Melinda McGrath that the road was being built because of political pressure prompted commissioners to postpone taking bids on the project this month.

"I'm not saying we're not going to do it, but we're going to postpone it and re-evaluate the need for it," Hall said.

Hall said that he had believed the road was needed for safety, but that the Clarion Ledger article and McGrath's comments caused him concern. He said he spoke with his two fellow elected commissioners and they decided to hold off on bidding out the project while they examine it further.....  Rest of article.
"Blame Me!"

However, Commissioner Hall stepped up to the plate yesterday and took the full blame for ordering the construction of the frontage road at a press conference yesterday.   Mr. Hall said adding lanes to Highway 25 was something "that definitely needed to be done."  He said Mr. Reeves "did not talk to me about it" in reference to the frontage road although he said he spoke to Flowood Mayor Gary Rhodes many times about it.   He said he thought the road was needed due to a "safety" issue.  He said that "I may have been wrong" since the Lakeland Drive was expanded.  He said the traffic is flowing smoothly and is now more easier to cross.  He said the project was going to be opened for bidding in two weeks but he halted the project.  The Commissioner ordered a review so engineers could determine the best solution for neighborhood residents.  He said "If anybody is to blame for this, it's me."



Reeves Returns Fire

The Leftnenent Governor  held his own press conference yesterday as well.  He said he had no conversations with MDOT officials about the frontage road project.  He said "if you ask the homeowner's association, they will tell you I have not been involved in that particular project."   He said his support for the Lakeland Drive was public knowledge and made no apologies for his support for it.    He asked MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath to notify him of any "unacceptable interactions" with anyone in the legislature in a letter sent to her yesterday:

With respect to the Highway 25 expansion, I have personally been a long-time - and unapologetic -   supporter of the state's efforts to cope with the growth in Rankin County.  The context of the  Highway 25 expansion project is important to note:  It is a project that is a statutory priority of the state of Mississippi, explicitly and appropriately approved by the  people's representatives.  The Department of Transportation has worked with the  Mayor of Flowood on the details of the  project, as is customary and normal.  The Department has heard the concerns of the  affected community, as is customary and normal.  The Department may not always be enthusiastic about its legal imperative to pursue statutory priorities, but that does not change its obligation to do so.   I hope that lack of enthusiasm is not playing a role in this instance.

With respect to the Frontage Road project, my understanding is that this was an agreement between the Department of Transportation and the City of Flowood. Commissioner  Hall stated in his press conference this morning that there was nothing unusual about  that.  He also stated that he has never spoken to me about the Frontage Road project.  In fact, unlike the Highway 25 expansion, I have not -   contrary to news inferences -   ever stated a  position on whether or not the state utilizes a service road as part of this expansion.  That is a  matter to be advised by engineers and negotiated with the Mayor of Flowood.  I trust the city and the Department can find a way to best, and most efficiently, provide safety for our citizens while  implementing statutory priorities and save tax dollars.

The news reports I have seen indicate that you communicated a level of discomfort with your  communications with the Legislature regarding the Frontage Road project -   going so far as to  suggest that the project was being done due to "political pressure."  While Commissioner  Hall was very emphatic to refute that statement during his press conference this morning, I feel the responsibility- as the Senate's presiding officer -   to delve further into the details of those accusations.  Each member of the Legislature takes an oath to he a good steward of tax dollars and
a critical part of fulfilling that obligation is providing oversight of agencies that spend those  tax dollars, like the Mississippi Department of Transportation.  If you had any unacceptable interactions with anyone in the Legislature on this or any other project that go outside the bounds of the body's duty to be engaged in monitoring the department and holding it accountable, I need to know about it so I can investigate and take corrective steps if warranted.
Please document, in detail, any interactions with legislators or legislative staff that were inappropriate along with written verification or third-party verification if the aforementioned communications were verbal, as news reports suggest.  I am eager to investigate these claims further and take appropriate corrective steps if necessary -   but I cannot act merely on hearsay or news reports as I am sure you understand.

Mr. Reeves also thanked Commissioner Hall for his candidness on the frontage road project.





Kingfish note: The legislature was right to order the expansion of Lakeland Drive.  The highway turned into a parking lot after 3:30 PM for several hours Monday through Friday.  The Dogwood Festival area is a big sales tax driver as well.  The Rankin County delegation actively pushed for the expansion in the 2014 session.  Watch this video of Representative Mark Baker slamming MDOT on the last day of the 2014 session.  He was particularly excised over MDOT's failure to do something about the entrance ramp to I-20 West  at the second Brandon exit.



The original article was somewhat sloppily written.  The expansion and frontage road project are two separate issues.  As stated above, the push for the expansion was public and debated in the legislature.  It was covered by the media.  It is not news.  The actual news is the debate over whether the Leftenent Governor's minions pressured MDOT to build the frontage road and if MDOT caved to the alleged pressure.

One other thing, several readers emailed me to raise hell about not covering the Clarion-Ledger story Monday.  I fully intended to cover it but called the Leftenent Governor's office to get a comment.  His office said he would be back in town Wednesday so I decided to wait until he was able to comment.  You are getting everything in this post so you can make up your own mind about what took place.  That means the CL coverage, the press conferences, and the released statements.

However, let me make one thing very clear. I am under no obligation to post content from another media outlet, no matter how hot the story is.  Answer this question: How many times has the Clarion-Ledger posted JJ stories on its website? How many times has the newspaper given this website credit for something? How many times has its reporters tweeted JJ stories? They have done so for other media outlets in Mississippi when they saw stories they liked.

By the way Clarion-Ledger, nice job of only posting 1:42 of Mr. Reeve's press conference on your website.  WAPT managed to post all 19 minutes of the press conference as well as the full video of Mr. Hall's presser on its Facebook page. It also did not post any video of Commissioner Hall's press conference. 

91 comments:

Anonymous said...

Republicans need an alternative to Tater in next year’s governors tace

Anonymous said...

Tater and Dick Hall are covering for one another.

Kingfish said...

Natural reaction but Hall has never been in the Reeves camp. Not even close to it.

Anonymous said...

Good coverage KF. I've certainly criticized you at times for poor coverage, as well as commended you. This time you have done a fair representation of pretty much all sides. (You didn't include Mayor Rhodes comments, which were also telling, but pretty much the same as Hall's.

The question here is who set up this hit piece of Reeves? Rumor at the Capitol is that former House Transportation Chmn and Dem leader, Robert Johnson fed story to Pender. It also has the smell of Josh Gregory's fingerprints all over it. Gregory doesn't want Reeves in Gov office, putting his pocketbook over any philosophical opinion. Many of Pender's stories over the past year or so (those like this one ehere 'facts' have been fed to him) seem to have one thing in common - Gregory's client candidates all fare well or his opponents fare poorly.

My bet - combination of the two. Gregory feeding to Pender via Johnson. All have same agenda - jabbing at the Lt Gov.

Anonymous said...

Duck Hall 'covering' for Tayer? Hell, he has been at Tater's throat for over a year. After Tater's bill came out hitting at MDOT from all sides, Hall has done nothing but take shots every chance he gets.

More likely, Hall being the reputable, head up guy he is, stepping up and just stating the truth. He has no reason to cover; instead, he's being what we like about good politicians, being honest and taking responsibility for his decisions.

Anonymous said...

I would take Dick Hall over Tater as governor every day of the week.

Anonymous said...

When Tate is Gov. He will build that road, Hall will be there to cut the ribbon.

Anonymous said...

Best way to get a Democrat gov elected is for Tater Tot to be the Republican nominee

Anonymous said...

Do a bi-partisan investigation. Anyone who knows that tin horn dictator Reeves knows he is a small minded, obstructionist, opportunistic lightweight....a "legend in his own mind", if you will. BUT he has immeasurable power. Investigate this and have Melinda McGrath as the first witness. She is one strong woman. Nobody pushes her around. Period.

Anonymous said...

GOP needs to find alternative to Tate. I know way too many conservatives vtoing for Hood if tate is in. I think Michael Watson or Josh Harkins would be great. I would also advocate for someone like Perry Parker. Just NOT Tate.

Anonymous said...

Appears that the same operatives that planted this hit piece with Pender have their minions out today to comment about their hate for Tater. Keep it up Josh et al - you really willing to take a dem just so that you can try to continue your control of dollars to FS?

Anonymous said...

Hall must really want something from Tater. Or Tater has information on a dead girl or live boy.

Anonymous said...

Yes people are going to pile on Reeves, 10:08. Of the 174 over there (of which I AM one), he may have 10 people who like (read "respect") him. His gubernatorial opponent will have 164 emissaries flooding the state with "Hate Tate" venom. He is killing us.

Anonymous said...

This will destroy Tate. GOP needs to find another candidate unless they want Jim Hood to be the next governor.

Anonymous said...

Trying to figure out who has a hard-on to damage the round mound of shakedown is like trying to figure out who would want to harm an Iranian mullah. Good luck sorting out the virtually unlimited possibilities.

Anonymous said...

From the looks of Tater, he should walk or bike to Dogwood Festival and beyond, instead of ride in a car.

NeverTater said...

As a long time republican voter it saddens me that I will be forced to vote for Hood over Tater.

Anonymous said...

The problem for the CL is their facts are horribly wrong on this piece. They tried to make two projects into one project. The Lakeland Drive expansion project was strongly advocated for by Tate Reeves and many others. A frontage road near Tate Reeves's neighborhood was not pushed by Tate Reeves. Dick Hall said yesterday he approved it and the Mayor of Flowood wanted it - not Tate. Tate Reeves also said this yesterday.

The CL is about to lose more credibility bc of this article. Ultimately it will allow Tate Reeves and other Republicans to simply say - the liberal media just simply made this up in an attempt to hurt me and help Jim Hood.

Anonymous said...

10:31. "Saddens me" is so sissy. Say "it pisses me off" for crying out loud. "Saddens me"....what a country of wimps.

Anonymous said...

10:32. Do an investigation then. Come on Tater Tot....step up! Call for one and DO IT.

Anonymous said...

The quicker you schmucks realize the Gold Coast runs Missisippi politics, the quicker you all can just move along and worry with Whole Foods, McDades, and The Fondren and The Belhaven and thieves on Hoover boards.

Anonymous said...

Power "Influence" is not having people do what you want when you tell them to.
It's having people do what you want even when you don't tell them to.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone interviewed any senators about this issue? We can't believe what REeves says.

Anonymous said...

This longtime Republican will be happy to vote for Tate Reeves over Jim Hood. I'd vote for him seven days a week and twice and Tuesday. And I would be willing to bet that polling indicates most Republican voters agree with me. Oh, and if you didn't know, there are a lot of us in Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Just a bunch of self-important rednecks.

Justice for Tater said...

JJ gets no respect from the ponderous, incoherent, insipid, prosaic, vacuous and vapid Clarion Ledger dumpster fire. KF runs circles around the so called “journalists” at the CL. Don’t always agree with his opinions but I have to give credit where it’s due.

Anonymous said...

This longtime Republican will not be voting for Tater.

Anonymous said...

GOP surely has other viable candidates to run for head goob in this state; I have been wondering why the hell Hosemann wants to settle for Lt. when he could give Hood some real competition for the Gov. seat over Reeves? Josh Harkins, another good one. I fear long time repubs are going to be casting their votes for Hood if that tater tot with napoleon syndrome doesn't quit worrying about building himself a private driveway and get his $*%! together.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that even claims to be a Republican, or a conservative, that says that they would vote for Hood over Reeves is either (1) lying about being conservative; (2) an idiot; (3) someone who doesn't do any individual investigation of candidates but lives and relies only on social media ; or (4) on Josh Gregory's payroll.

Once Hood has to answer some real questions during a campaign - some that will identify his core beliefs other than being bought and paid for by the trial lawyers - there may well be some folks who vote for Reeves while holding their nose, but if they pay any attention they cannot and will not vote for Hood.

Free spending Democrat at the core. Check out his record on all that he has advocated spending for, with no source for the income other than any money remaining from his lawsuits after paying off the cronies he engaged to file the suit. Or, raising taxes "on the rich, they can afford it" in order to fully fund Medicare. Or, fully fund Mental Health (the largest state employer already). Or, of course, fully fund education. And, of course, fully fund the AG's office who has to hire outside counsel (or wants to hire outside counsel to continue feeding his so-called "campaign account") in order to continue protecting us poor folks from the nasty big corporations.

Any look into his 'work' as an absent AG and his lack of management of his office says enough - but of course that is all ignored because the media doesn't put it into the limelight as it does the LG office. Or his living out of his campaign coffers - fed of course by the big NYC law firms that made millions at his behest. Corruption at it finest, but of course who is going to investigate it? The AG? The Ethics Commission? Get a grip. Hood has lived out of those campaign contributions since he went into office - personal cars, personal insurance, unidentified credit card payments for hundreds of thousands of dollars - IN NON-CAMPAIGN YEARS. Yes, if that's what these so-called conservatives claim that they would support I wish that they would quit lying and just move on over to the liberal, big spending, big government, higher taxes, no accountability party of their decided hero, Mr. Hood.

Anonymous said...

Is the road needed? If not, then why is it getting built, just because the mayor of Flowood wanted it?

Anonymous said...

The House needs to investigate this!!!!

Anonymous said...

Heard Mayor of Flowood put the pressure on Hall to change his opinion

Anonymous said...

11:13,

I didn’t finish you’re dissertation because you forgot option #5: We dislike Tate more than Jim. Same thing as the ‘16 presidential election. Which candidate repulses you less? No if Harkins runs all bets are off. That’s a candidate to get excited about.

Don’t really care how the CL got its hands on the story, I’m just glad the taxpayers are paying for Tate’s private access to Dogwood. So to that I say thank you, CL.

Anonymous said...

Agreed 11:13, but it is clear Reeves is also not well liked in many republican circles. Maybe he needs to take a page from Hughes or Gilbert's playbook and have his first tv ad sitting at the dinner table with grandma talking about the good old days when he was a former star football player, volunteers at church regularly, saves kittens from trees in his spare time and is an all around nice guy (when you get to know him). He needs to re-invent his image if he wants to convince folks and I don't mean by a new hair cut.

Anonymous said...

Repubs will vote for Tate over Hood, as will independents once they consider whether they want the libs and trial lawyers taking over state govt. All of the inside-the-beltway type chatter on this website won't change that.

However, there is a TV show the name of which adequately describes Ms. Melinda McGrath's professional and political future unless she has the goods to back up her bold claims: The Walking Dead.

She is on the hot seat now.

Anonymous said...

If Dick Hall is such a stand up guy, WHY is he back-peddling now? If it was done for safety, then there will be a papertrail to prove it. If not, then he's got some explaining to do....because it looks like (regardless of him being against Tater) quid pro quo stuff.

Anonymous said...

@12:24, that is sausage being made. Give it a while to cure and it may just be delicious.

Anonymous said...

Not a Tate supporter, but The Clarion Ledger's front page the past two days were RIDICULOUS! The headline yesterday, and Tate's big head today... They have lost all sense of credible journalism and will go to any measure to get their editorial opinion on the front page. Pitiful excuse for a newspaper! I do admire Tate for firing back and asking for proof of the claims.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, Please do a voter poll for upcoming election between tater and Hood. Also make it to where you have to state whether your a registered Rep or Dem. I would like to see how many Republicans here would vote for Hood.

Anonymous said...

Reeves v Hood will be a tough fight - not a blow out either way.

Handicapped this way....

Reeves is a conservative and Hood is at best a moderate. (advantage Reeves)
Reeves isn't likable and Hood seems to be fairly pleasant. (advantage Hood)
Reeves will have a ton of money and Hood won't. (advantage Reeves)
Reeves seems to be pretty darn smart and Hood seems to be a good talker. (slight advantage Hood)
Reeves is for the state flag and Hood is for changing the state flag. (advantage Reeves)
Reeves is for lowering taxes/giving gov't less money / Hood is for more gov't & more taxes (advantage Reeves)
Reeves will have the support of Pres. Trump and Hood will have the support of national Democrats. (ad Reeves)

When you look at this race it's going to be a 53-47/54-46 Reeves win....worse case scenario.


Anonymous said...

As a homeowner in the neighborhood, this frontage road has been talked about for years. A request was made to put in a light at one time but that would have 2 stop lights within 40 yards of each other. Safety has always been a concern because you are pulling out against traffic going 50 mph. Whether you like Tate, or not, I don't think He had anything to do with the frontage road process. Most neighbors had mixed opinion on the best solution anyway. Not that we really had a voice in the matter.

Anonymous said...

How does a project this big get started without the total, complete 100% understanding and approval by Commissioner Dick Hall? And now it is halted so he can "look it over". Seriously, MDOT just started building this road because Linda McGrath felt so much pressure? That implies Dick Hall is out to lunch mentally.

Anonymous said...

The ONLY way Dick Hall goes to bat for Tater (they hate each other) is because he now has Tater by the small hairs and Tater has cut a deal for MDOT road and bridge funding in the upcoming special election.....which he has been holding out on for months.

Well played by Dick Hall (although I think MDOT is a money pit).

Anonymous said...

Tater will run a few ads touting his fake christian conservatism and GOP rubes will line up to eat it up.....

Anonymous said...

42 comments and not a single one about the lady in the red pants situating Dick Hall's tie at the beginning of the WAPT video? Sure got my attention.

Anonymous said...

1:28,

There’s a real simple solution to that intersection.

Just don’t move into those neighborhoods.

We looked at a house two years ago in Dogwood but decided against it bc...drumroll....didn’t want to deal with Lakeland Dr. Plenty of houses to be bought off Cooper and Luckney roads that are easier to navigate.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 1:28. Don’t own a home in there but have been in the neighborhood. There is no crossing lanes and turning left with much traffic.

Anonymous said...

12:55...where does one go to register?

Plain ol' Catfish said...

@ Kingfish

Well big fella, I know you don't have to report other stories that other outlets already produced, but I usually want your take on hot-button topics like the one with Lakeland Drive. Albeit, you lean to the conservative crowd, I still want your perspective, because you may have seen something or spotted something the other outlets have not.

Plus, want to see what the readers on here have to say, although they are anonymous or use nicknames, they are brutally honest - they touch on the true pulse of anything touching Mississippi.

Anonymous said...

Tate Reeves has sacrificed so much for this state. The max salary, according to the MS State Personel Board, for Lt. Governor is only $60,000 a year. There must be some benefits afforded to the elected official with so much responsibility and so little compensation.

Anonymous said...

@2:08PM I believe that is the Secretary to the Commissioner. She is a very smart, hardworking professional. If you ever see Commissioner Hall speaking live, you will always see her in his entourage doing her job.

Anonymous said...

Governor Hood, please raise your right hand and repeat after me.......

Anonymous said...

tater tater another GOP lapdog traitor.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm, Reeves is a Republican gubernatorial hopeful. The Clarion Ledger newsroom is run by the former executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Nah, couldn't be any bias on the part of that dog-training rag. Right?

Anonymous said...

2:59

Have you seen his campaign account?

Some are giving Dick Hall too much credit. He looks foolish. Melinda is toast when she can't come up with a scintilla of evidence like the Lt Gov has requested. I will be waiting with baited breath. This only exemplifies MDOT's poor management and why the legislators are skeptical of giving them any more money. How many other projects were like this and did not "see the err of their ways?" I mean it only proves what Reeves and Baker were saying that DOT is a shit stew and needs to be overhauled and put under the executive, whomever it is, D or R. I don't care who is elected. Lets join every other state in this here Union and not elect Highway Commissioners.

Anonymous said...

Many Republicans didn’t like Tate when he ran for Treasuer in 2003. He won. Even more Republicans really didn’t like him when he ran for LTG in 2011, and his opponent (a likeable guy) had the support of the most popular Republican in the state, the current Gov. Tate won. For 6.5 years these same people and others in politics have been rumored to challenge him (2015 and 19). They haven’t. They have instead bitched because he has had the audacity to tell people no, do what he said he was going to do in every campaign, and be two steps ahead of anyone else he deals with in the legislative processs. They make shots about his ego(some warranted, not all) and posted how he is fat (he’s not, in fact he’s made his personal health a priority and done so publicly to lead by example). He’s not the most warm and fuzzy guy, but Mississippi is lucky to have him, his vision and his resolve.

Also, old rule in politics, never run against someone because people who support you hate your opponent more than they like you.

Anonymous said...

He (Tate) has the vision of an anvil.

Anonymous said...

4:20,

You mention his campaign account as a retort to his salary....... unlike Jim Hood, Tate does not use his campaign account for personal expenses and supplement his salary.

Anonymous said...

Dick Hall is long overdue for retirement. He's so busy chasing his tail trying to please Mary Hawkins and Cosco Magee he can't remember where his office is or when his next ribbon cutting is. The only difference in Hall and Thad Cochran is Hall is not living in somebody's basement.

Anonymous said...

4:42

the question was posed what benefits are afforded to LT Gov.

Have you seen his account. Did not say he uses it for any nefarious reason and I do not believe he does. He knows there are going to be too many eyes looking at it.


Anonymous said...

The Tate haters who claim to be conservatives sound like disgruntled employees when their boss make an unpopular decision even though it is the best decision for the company.

Pappy Odaniel said...

@10:32...I know I m late to the party, but Tater and Applesauce Dick attempted to conflate the two projects to make it seem like it was all a big mistake. 90% of the counties in MS haven’t had 43 million spent in them in the last ten years. Tater sounds like Hillary trying to say “ you mean with a cloth?” But it’s amazing to me that people don’t realize this is what takes place every single day. This is the process. What does any of these elected commissioners know about road construction...jack squat. It’s about who can influence whom to get a major project to benefit their personal interests. How do you think we got this way with our infrastructure? Irresponsibly using new road construction as “economic development” instead of meeting a public need.

Anonymous said...

How did Linda McGraw start a multi million dollar road project out of the blue that Dick Hall has now halted? Who is driving?

This is the same woman who called out the Lt Gov on TV by name when they closed the Springridge Rd bridge. After the big TV event, they reopened the bridge 48 hours later because it had been repaired weeks before they closed it. There’s a big show going on behind the scenes that not all of us have tickets to.

Pappy Odaniel said...

@5:53...WTH are you talking about? This service road project makes 0 sense for anyone outside of his neighborhood. Also, real bold of Tate to come out and say “blame him, blame Dick Hall”.

Sum Ting Wong said...

How bout fuck with just ONE road at a time instead of cocking up EVERY street in my miserable existence? For the love of Christ, EVERY street I have to drive on is being "resurfaced" (aka: wasting tax dollars so we get it again next year)

Alpha Storm said...

I see Americans For Prosperity hasn't said anything about this issue? I guess Russ is friends with Tater Head.

Anonymous said...

From the story: "He (Flowood Mayor Rhodes) said any talk that Reeves pushed for it is 'BS if I’ve ever heard it.'"

Well, credit where it is due - if you want an expert on BS, how to you top a Mississippi politician? And all this talk about Tater v Hood...it's like being forced to choose whether you want to be kicked in the right nut or the left one. Sad, sad, sad. You know it is bad when the most honest pol to campaign in MS in the last 10 years was Donald Trump.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone with sense think MDOT would pursue a project like this if it wasn’t told to? In a budget crunch for a man who would slash their budget to $0 if or when given the chance? Drive down the road to the apartment complex just past Luckney - where more people live - and see if any frontage road has been or will be built there.

Anonymous said...

I live in the area. There are several subdivisons and busy business establishments off Lakeland without a red light that you have to turn into traffic. Howver, it is fact that since Lakeland has been widened, it is much easier. The money should be used for a project that will benefit more people.

Anonymous said...

SO...the most powerful/influential state lawmaker had NO idea that $2M was being allocated to help out his ritzy neighborhood by his legislature that he has final say on all funding allocations? Come on man....we ain't that stupid. He got caught with his hands in the cookie jar and his body language at that press conference showed it. He swayed side to side and looked so uncomfortable.

BTW, I have friends who live in the neighborhood that months ago were boasting that Tate was getting the money to build the road. True story.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully everyone will remember all of this nonsense next time Tate and Dick are running for office. BTW anyone who honestly thinks that Melinda McGrath is going to have official correspondence instructing her to build Tate's private driveway is so very naive.

Not even the most novice elected charlatans in Mississippi would bw dumb enough to leave a paper trail if they are using their power to extort a $2 million shortcut to Chik-fil-a for themselves.

These types of political subterfuge take place at the country club, the country buffet, and the men's rooms at highway welcome centers.

Anonymous said...

The problem with gotcha journalism is it relies on the stupidity of the people. According to Google Earth the subdivision in question is the ONLY subdivision that does not have access to a red light in order to turn onto Lakeland Drive. The Lakeland expansion project is not in question as it has been depabeted for several years now, but the article interweaves the controversy in order to confuse the reader.

Plain ol' Catfish said...

@ Pappy Odaniel

Your comment at 6:05pm, well stated - my sentiments exactly

6-pack of tall cans on me whenever you want

Anonymous said...

I really don't give a rat's behind which candidate or party any of you like best. I'm looking for competence.

This is SHOULD be about how we prioritize limited funds in Mississippi.

One didn't need a highway engineer to know that Lakeland should have had either 6 lanes or frontage roads to start. It should have been done right the first time.

One only had to look at existing and planned development and high traffic times at the outset and bother to know a little about socio-economics.

Apparently, none of our politicians know that there are important reasons to protect residential tax bases. The failure to protect residential tax bases (in other words the customers for those businesses) is well understood elsewhere.

My issue with Hall and Reeves is that neither does their homework on issues before hauling off and doing something stupid . Neither seems to know how to seek expert advice either. They do , however, listen to lobbyists and special interests who they hope will donate to their campaigns or who will flatter them.


And, they, like apparently many of you, don't understand that you take care of your capitol and highest population areas first if you are at all interested in attracting new business. You make them desirable places to live or else no one will come.

You can't turn Brandon or Pearl or Flowood into urban cities. You could, with informed leadership, make them nice suburbs for your capitol city and in that way, they too will prosper.

God save Mississippi from it's egotistical politicians who don't know what they don't know and won't bother to learn. Billy Bob in the barber shop is NOT a good source of information nor is some road builder or engineer or developer whose finances will improve if you do what they are asking!



Anonymous said...

Has Melinda and the CL produced all the records yet? Sam Hall was thumping his chest so proudly on social media they had “records” and anyone who didn’t believe them was wrong! GOOD JOURNALISM WINS aGAIN, he said. I am sure he could put a PDF up on the CL website quickly to prove Tate wrong? Assuming Nashville approves the expense.

Anonymous said...

8:17am. Wrong. Look again, and there are also businesses with a lot of customers who do not have a red light to turn into Lakeland, too.

Anonymous said...

1:09,

How do you define records? Does Tate’s staff count? He said legislators or legislative staff didn’t speak to MDOT. Does that cover the lt gov’s staff as well? Asking for clarification since technically Tate isn’t a legislator and therefore would have no legislative staff to speak to MDOT, despite being the president of the senate.

You tell me.

Anonymous said...

I want the records Pender references from his article and Sam Hall said they had that showed threats/pressure/demands/whatever you call them were on MDOT. Don’t care who they are from.....Tate, his staff, Senators, Legislative staff (not that there is are many).

Anonymous said...

3:05,

I suggest you file a public records request and get them. Probably what Pender did as well. Or you can continue to throw an anonymous temper tantrum. Whatever gets you through the night, man.

You keep harping on Pender when what you really should be mad about is that our government was thisclose to spending two million dollars of taxpayer funds on a project to that will benefit nobody except the lt gov and his five neighbors.

Anonymous said...

5:27,
If we were that close, how much has MDOT spent on crap projects and who is the arbiter of what is and is not crap?

Anonymous said...

Me. The voter and taxpayer. There’s an army of me’s all over the state. You’re one too, unless you’re a Russian bot sent here by the masters at Lord Snow to stir the pot.

No clue how much MDOT has flushed down the toilet thanks to politicking. But I do know that number is $2m lower than what it could be thanks to the CL. They have finally, freaking finally, done some decent reporting.

Hood is gonna have a field day with Tate over this. If Tate gets a primary challenger it might get ugly early. I don’t like either candidate and hope Josh Harkins decides to do something statewide. Don’t laugh, a kid can dream.

Anonymous said...

5:27,
If we were that close, how much has MDOT spent on crap projects and who is the arbiter of what is and is not crap?

Anonymous said...

Does reading comprehension elude everyone commenting?

Pender got it wrong because he chose to obfuscate to go after a politician with, what is effectively, lies.

They are lies because of the obvious intended implication and Pender can't evade his intent.

He attempted to contrive that Reeves "kept tabs" on the Tater Road with evidence that he kept tabs on the bigger Lakeland project. He interwove the two in a very juvenile attempt to besmirch.

In fact, he should be fired. More in fact, he should be sued by We, the People, because with the right of Free Press comes the responsibility of actually reporting. That's why there is op-eds, to delineate actual reporting from skewed opinions.

Anonymous said...

10:02,

For this being a Tate “problem”, Jim Hood has about 5 to this one. Tate ain’t Scott Newton, Al Hopkins, Steve Simpson, etc..... this is just a battle in a war, and if you think this is going to propel Jim Hood to the mansion, I have beach front property in Chickasaw County to sell ya.

Anonymous said...

I've reading (and I attempted a post that got whacked for some reason) and following along, and I've yet to see it asked: assume for the purpose of argument that the Totster called someone and demanded the immediate construction of Taterhood Parkway or he would crush 'em like a bug. Why would MDOT go along? I understand power, etc., but such a request would have been stupid to make and stupid to agree to, which is not to imply that stupid stuff isn't requested and granted every day in MS government. But still, why THIS road and why was it OK'ed at any level by MDOT? It isn't like some backroom deal that they figured no one would ever know about - it's a friggin' road...that (basically) connects the Taterhood and the Taterheads to large shopping center...to be built right next to Lakewood Drive. Someone was gonna notice and wonder.

I have a feeling that this either has some really idiotic, pissant reason behind it or someone (or several someones) screwed the pooch bigtime and did something that could draw prison time.

Anonymous said...

@8:29 prob the later of your two hypotheticals, but no matter—-I’m enjoying this GoT stuff. If MS conservatives want to go back to the old days, we need to get some entertainment value out of it on the way. I’m so glad Gipson is in a relatively harmless spot these days.

As we all know, a 2 million dollar needless road is a liberal road, and there won’t be any of that Libby road building going on when bridges are being shutdown. By now, dear tea party, yea old hypocrites—-you’re seeing how your own policies will come back to bite you in the ass. It’s all in the Bible. You reap what you sew.

Tater Way - RFD Niknar said...

8:29 - Which body of government funds the state D.O.T.? There's your answer.

Someone above mentioned Tater and Dick in the same sentence. Reverse the order of those names and you have Reeves. He needs to be back in a teller's cage.

Anonymous said...

10:02, what are Jim Hood’s 5 “problems” and what is your basis for saying so?

This Is Rich.. said...

Ahoy...

2:17,5:27,9:15,10:28 and 2:24 are all the same poster. He begins every post with a time that someone else posted followed by a comma.

And ironically he criticizes others for being anonymous and accuses someone else of continued 'harping'.

Anonymous said...

I don’t care about who likes who and who likes someone else. The bottom line is our highway money should be spent where it can help the most people. Since Lakeland has been expanded to three lanes on both sides, turning on to it is much easier now when a red light is not present. Much, much easier. These two subdivisions don’t need a special $2M road just for them. It is ridiculous it has gotten this far.

Anonymous said...

10:04,

If that's the best ya got, I'll take it. Also notice you're ignoring the point of the posts. Consider the 2:32 comment above as the point. That poster gets it, unlike you. I would bet most of the taxpayers feel the same way.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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