Monday, August 27, 2018

Lakeland Swamp Update

Clarion-Ledger reporter Geoff Pender reported last week that the office of the Lieutenant Governor "knew" about a plan to build a $2 million frontage road from Dogwood Festival to his neighborhood off of Lakeland Drive.  Mr. Pender wrote:

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves has repeatedly claimed he knew nearly nothing about plans to build a $2 million state road to give his gated neighborhood easier access to shopping and a major highway and that he and his office were not involved with the project.

But communications obtained by the Clarion Ledger through numerous public records requests indicate his office knew about the road starting in its initial stages. And records indicate his office was kept in the loop as he used political pressure to push through a $46 million project to widen Mississippi 25/Lakeland Drive, of which the road to his neighborhood was a final part.

Here’s what’s known about the neighborhood road so far, what various officials have said and what public records show.

 Records and comments from the Mississippi Department of Transportation raise questions of how, with his office riding close herd on the overall Lakeland project — getting involved in speeding up moving utilities and even setting a deadline for the start of the project — Reeves could have been unaware of or uninvolved in the part about a road to his neighborhood. 

Reeves’ office was sent preliminary sketches of options for the “frontage road” to the gated community of Oakridge and Dogwood subdivisions in September 2014, around the time the road was added to the project. The communication, from its context, appears not to be the first about the frontage road, and many other communications followed.

An email from Michael Arnemann, then government affairs director for MDOT, to Reeves’ then policy director Lee Weiskopf said, “This is for illustrative purposes only. Nothing set in stone. FYI.” Attached to the email was a Google maps image with two different road paths roughly drawn and no further explanation.
Arnemann appears to have been in close contact with Reeves’ office on the Lakeland project and in general via frequent meetings, emails and social engagements — dinners, ballgames and hunting trips. MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath told the Clarion Ledger that much of the political pressure from the Capitol about the frontage road was verbal.

Reeves has said he couldn’t find any written communications between his staff and MDOT when he looked into it. Arnemann and Weiskopf have declined comment. Legislative and legislative staff records are exempt from public records disclosure laws. Reeves, who presides over the state Senate, has said that if any such communications exist, they were just his staff inquiring on behalf of constituents, not for him.....

 Transportation Commission Chairman Dick Hall, a Republican representing the central district where the road would have been built, has provided Reeves some political cover. Hall said he’s to “blame” for the road, although he has stopped short of criticizing McGrath or refuting her statements that there was political pressure on the agency for which she runs day-to-day operations.....

 McGrath in June and July, over the course of several interviews with the Clarion Ledger and in carefully guarded statements not naming any individuals, said the $2 million road to Reeves’ neighborhood was being built only because of political pressure from the Capitol, “the Senate side.”

“Yes. Political pressure. From the Legislature … From the Senate side,” McGrath said. “… We would not have done this otherwise.”,.... Rest of article.


Anonymous said...

Tate’s new theme song......

The Highway Ain’t My Home

Kingfish said...

They did post them. They were buried in some of the links embedded in the story.

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter that Tater was less than candid? With the continued support of these kinds of scoundrels are we losing our moral core?

Anonymous said...

Lulz. But Tater Tot conducted his own investigation and found nobody knew nuffin.

Anonymous said...

Are there no limits to the corruption of the MSGOP? Tate Reeves has no shame if he still runs for Governor after being exposed as a filthy liar as well as bullying Melinda McGrath and MDOT.

He should quietly finish his term and return to private life.

Don't be a shameless charlatan Tater.

Anonymous said...

@ August 27, 2018 at 8:46 AM

You know it's next up for Mississippians, regardless of the poor quality of the candidate.

In the mind of a majority of Mississippians, the only things that matter to them are - "long as they're not a liberal" and "does it piss liberals off?"

So in other words, they'll still vote for Tater Thot Maximus and be darn proud of it too.

Anonymous said...

Reeves is finished politically, I hope. Is there another viable GOP candidate for Gov?

Anonymous said...

This is no big deal. 2 million will not build much of a road and If the light Governor can not locate a rode then what is he good for.

Anonymous said...

Tate Reeves, aka Pillsbury Dough Boy, should get out of public office and go try to work in the real world again. Maybe some bank will take him back. His wife is the real breadwinner, anyway.

Has she been involved in any funny business at Coker Palmer with money or accounts?

Anonymous said...

If all of the previous posters are getting paid for their comments, the Democratic Party should demand their money back.

If Geoff Pender is getting paid by the Democratic Party for his poorly constructed witch-hunt, they should demand their money back.

The sad thing is that Pender is making a very poor attempt at making political hay in this so-called swamp. First it was reported that Tate Reeves was directing the making of tater-road. Then when Pender, McGrath et al were called to the mat, now Pender is attempting to prey on, what he no doubt thinks is, the blind ignorance of his readers.

Pender's attempt to continue to put words in the mouths of others, surely has him thinking he's clever but it simply belies his supposed responsibility that comes with freedom of the press, to "report" truthfully.

This is the picture next to the definition of the phrase "fake news"

Anonymous said...

I ain't votin' for Tater under any circumstance! I will write-in Otis Campbell or Barney Fife before I vote for that sorry sumbitch.

Anonymous said...

This is a snapshot of a section of The Swamp.

The Swamp is the following:

Corrupt politicians

Corrupt businessmen who pay lobbyists and buy influence to give themselves an advantage and more power by getting bad legislation passed that favors them.

Lawyers and judges who sell their souls to the Devil for social influence and advantage or who are too cowardly to do the right thing.

The Swamp isn't the bureaucrats living within their means doing their job to make a living as best they can.

The alligators in The Swamp are fed by those of you who are loyal to a man or a party but not to principals and those who do not understand government or issues but won't admit to themselves that their " intuition" and " who they like" isn't a good basis for loyalty.

Anonymous said...

9:30 What a screwed up comment, in so many ways.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was rich enough to live in a gated community

Anonymous said...

I am @10:19 AM. It is great!

Anonymous said...

@10:19 AM - you can, just go into politics.

Anonymous said...

I hope this road gets built and maybe ends up connecting to other roads. I want it to one day be a well traveled thoroughfare named “Tatertot Parkway.” It’s nice to have a road with a story and a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

TR will be the next governor. As long as he as the "R" by his name he can do whatever he wants, say what he wants, and be held to no moral or political standard of decency.

Anonymous said...

Moral Compass you say, we won't even lower the flag to half mass, for a great statesman and war hero.

Protocol Police said...

It's half staff, not half mass (sic) "mast."

"Staff" - flag pole on land

"Mast" - on a ship

Anonymous said...

Potato had to lie! He didn't want to jeopardize the $2 million shortcut to Simple Burger for his NEIGHBORS. He did it all for them!

Anonymous said...

MSGOP (R) aka little ruskies just like their president finding lower lows, projecting their flaws, blaming the opposition, faking patriotism, biggest immoral hypocrites.

Anonymous said...

McCain, great statesman? ROFLMAO

Anonymous said...

"...we won't even lower the flag to half mass, for a great statesman and war hero."

You must be Catholic. What the hell has McCain's death got to do with mass? Statesman? As a republican, he single-handedly killed any hope of shit-canning Obamacare. And he did it for no reason other than he was butt-hurt over Trump being elected when he could not be. Ask his first wife about his virtues. Ask his (deceased) Forestall shipmates about his hero status.

This is not the right thread, but maybe you will opine later as to how you figure he was a 'war hero'.

Hank said...

At least our Lt Gov doesn’t live in the great county and/or city of Madison. He might be a redneck.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of Tater Haters!

Anonymous said...

"So-called" swamp? What rock you been living under? Every elected official in Mississippi has a full-time job in just trying to NOT be exposed for what they know about the pervasive corruption at every level.....and judges laugh about all of it.

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