Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rankin County throwdown at the Levee Board

Update: Here is a Copy of a letter McGowan sent to the Levee Board concerning the possible dredging of the Pearl River in Jackson. It is mentioned at the end of the original post.

Levee Board meetings used to be well, Levee Board meetings. Boring. Laid back. Adopt a few reports, make a few recommendations, vote on a few motions and resolutions, adjourn, and go home. Nice. Quiet. Such is not the case anymore as sparks flew yesterday at the monthly meeting of the Rankin-Hinds Levee Board as Flowood Mayor Gary Rhodes repeatedly attacked fellow board member, Leland Speed.

The meeting started off simple enough. A full quorum was present: Flowood Mayor Gary Rhodes, Pearl Mayor Brad Rogers, Richland Mayor Mark Scarborough, Hinds County Representative Socrates Garrett, Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson, Board Attorney Trudy Allen of Watkins Ludlam, Chairman Billy Orr, and Fairgrounds Representative Leland Speed. The scene was an interesting contrast as on one side of the board were the gentlemen from Jackson were all dressed impeccably in nice suits while the Rankin members wore sleeveless sweaters, button down shirts, pullovers, and rain jackets or whatever those members-only clones are now called. .pdf of members and terms

The audience contained a diversity of interested individuals: Joe Waggoner of Mississippi Engineering Group, Dallas Quinn and several other members of the McGowan/Two Lakes Clan, WLBT, Clarion-Ledger, Jackson Free Press, local attorney Sam Begley, Kenny Samples of Pickering Engineering, Flowood Public Works Director Gary Miller, Lee Ann Mayo of Capital Resources (She identified herself as the Public Information Officer for the Board), and Barry Royals of Waggoner Engineering.

Barry Royals presented the board with a draft of an Executive Summary of Lefleur Lakes economic impact study and said the final version will be submitted next week. The Treasurer gave her report and then Trudy Allen gave a briefing on the board about current bills in the legislature. Ms. Allen stated there are three bills alive in the House: HB #918 (Eminent domain guidelines, bill status), HB #1548 (Study of flood control districts, bill status), and the soon to be infamous HB #1549 (bill status).

I write infamous because Ms. Allen's presentation of this bill created a firestorm on the board. The bill gives the Governor and Lieutenant Governor the authority to appoint four additional members to the board as well as giving Hinds County an additional representative on the board as well. The mere thought of the State and Hinds County placing five more members on the board gave the Rankin members a conniption although it must be pointed out Mayor Johnson, even though he opposed the bill, was a bit more calm in his demeanor. Scarborough first raised the issue of Hinds County having an additional member and made it clear he was opposed to such an idea. Rhodes then asked if it was an election year as it made little sense why such a bill would be introduced in an off-year. He then asked if anyone on the board sponsored the legislation. Rhodes asked Speed if he was behind it.

Speed shot back he wasn't but that he thought it was a good idea. Speed called the proposed flood control projects "the single largest economic development affecting the state of Mississippi." Speed further argued since the board will be asking the state for help with financing the project (JJ has heard estimates ranging up to $70 million in state aid), the board would be better off including state participation now if were to seek state funding later.

Johnson opposed the measure, saying there was no need for state involvement at this time. Johnson further argued the bill "was giving undue influence (the proposed appointments) to what is ultimately a local issue." Johnson said the state "should not appoint anyone until the state actually does finance it."

Rhodes also indicated he didn't think the state should be involved unless it was actually providing money. Scarborough chimed in and said Rankin County pays 85% of the current costs of the levees and was clearly opposed to Hinds having one more member than Rankin. It should be pointed out that if municipalities are included, Rankin has a 4-2 edge over Hinds (excluding the Governor's appointment). The additional Hinds appointment will narrow the difference it to a 4-3 Rankin edge.

The board then voted to send a letter to Governor Barbour stating its opposition to the bill. Speed cast the sole dissenting vote and Garrett abstained. However, this skirmish was the prelim for the main event.

Flowood Mayor Gary Rhodes then waved a copy of the Jackson Free Press "All About Water" issue and accused Speed of unethical behavior. Rhodes said "Mr. Speed, I think that you’re in the middle of an ethics violation sitting on this board and making decisions that could have personal gain for you in the future" Rhodes made hay of the fact Speed owns a "sliver of land" by the Pearl River (This story in the JFP provides more details on Speed's property). The argument is captured in the video above and is worth watching.

What is ironic is Mr. Rhodes ignored the fact that the law actually requires board members to own property in the district (Oh the irony: You better own some land in the district but don't own land that is too close to the river.). Mr. Speed didn't back down one bit as he immediately said it was a worthless piece of property that he was going to donate to the appropriate government agency in a public manner when the final plan was implemented. Rhodes had none of it as he told Speed he needed to step down from the board. Speed reiterated he would donate the land "publicly" and would "talk to Mr. (Tom) Hood about it today."

After Mr. Rhodes' little spat with Mr. Speed was over, Mr. Garrett then inquired if information was being kept from him and wondered aloud if there was a bloc of members were making decisions for the board.

Speed asked about a proposal submitted by McGowan to the board to dredge and clear out vegetation between the levees. Joe Waggoner chimed in and said permits from various government agencies would be required. Miller said removing the stumps is what would likely require permits. The board agreed to investigate the idea and seemed inclined to follow the course that would not require permits. The proposal will be posted on this website if obtained.


Autogyro said...

Deplorable and grossly insulting behavior on Rhoads' part. For him to call for an ethics investigation, and then in the next breath declare that he won't sit on a board with someone he "knows" to be in an ethical breach is just laughable. What an inarticulate, braying ass.

Kingfish said...

Then there is this lie by Ladd:

The big thing with the above story is see, Queen, is that a House committee passed a bill that will allow the state to take over the local levee board, even though the state has shown little interest in helping us fund flood control. Some people don't like what has been done, so they are trying to remake the board in order to change it. This one's simple.
posted by ladd on 02/09/10 at 12:01 PM

You dumbass, 7 + 5 = 12.

But the state only appoints five so 12 - 5 = 7. That means SEVEN would be appointed by Rankin, Hinds, Jackson, Flowood, Pearl, Richland. Seven out of twelve is a MAJORITY. That means the state appoints a MINORITY. I don't think I would call that a "state takeover".

What an idiot. The more she lies about this whole deal, the more we are going to call her out on it, especially if board members are going to cite her as an authority.

However, its just about having a headline, isn't it?

WMartin said...

I might be wrong about this... but wasn't the levee board created by the state legislature? If that is true isn't that an interest in helping to control flooding? And what would stop them from doing away with the board altogether if they wanted to control the plans?

Anonymous said...

"we've been protecting the state fair grounds for the last 35 yrs ,,,, and never received a penny from the state."

Rhodes ought to get his penny.

Anonymous said...

What a crock of shit move by Rhoads.

Anonymous said...

I think the comment about the protection of the fairgrounds for 35 years stems from the fact that the pumping station on the west side of the river behind the YMCA oddly enough is in Flowood

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rhoades is out of line, berating Speed as if were going to profit from the levee plan!

What a total ass. Really, I am surprised a mayor of Flowood would act so unprofessional. Glad I don't live in Flowood.

Anonymous said...

Fuck that redneck ex-cop. He is PERFECT for Rankin County.

Anonymous said...

Who are the beneficiaries to the "second lake"? I would guess the land owners who back up to the current flood plain (on the east side) and just outside of them.


Search "flowood"

Somewhere in here are the properties that will line the "second lake". I would imagine they are all interested parties. I even noticed City of Flowood in there...hmmm.

You know what, another thing to think about...why the M Braves, the Bass Pro Shop, SAMS??? Someone did a great sell job on more than just that direct area, I mean it is Pearl. The area in Flowood along Flowood Drive just north of this recent development is a GOLD MINE!

Do we all remember the interchange that was defeated out there? I wonder if Donna's real concern is the city might implode if development went on in any meaningful way vis-a-vis two lakes because this type of development would certainly doom North Jax (read homes north of Fondren). It would wind up looking more like west Jackson.

Autogyro said...

Is that Rhoads' background? Ex-law enforcement? Maybe that explains his combative attitude. He certainly appears to have cultivated an active dislike for Leland Speed and John McGowan. Maybe it's a class thing - a blue collar guy who disdains those he perceives as wealthier and better-connected socially.

Still, he ought to behave in a courteous and professional manner, and not make a boor of himself.

Hookah said...

Flowood's population is only 4,700 but you'd think from the bickering they're some major metropolitan city.

Flowood wants to annex or incorporate only the business sections around the city, leaving emergency services up to Rankin County while they rake in millions in tax revenue.

Just look at last years annex that ran down the highway portions of 25 and 471 yet stopped short of several residential homes and subdivisions.

This also creates a voting base that hardly ever changes--ensuring he'll win in a landslide every time a mayoral election is held in Flowood.

Anonymous said...

Flowood and Pearl have the same power as Jackson regarding voting on that board. We put up Leland Speed, and the necks from Rankin County, at the meetings, dress like shit, chew tobacco, slay the King's language, put up 3 redneck mayors who hate black people, Jackson's pussy Mayor succumbs to threats by the NAZI USACE, and the metro area gets fucked in the process. Mississippi at its best.

Anonymous said...

Pearl = 24,400
Richland = 7258
Flowood = 7016

* Per Census Bureau, July 2008

KaptKangaroo said...

Can you see power flowing? Wealth follows opportunity. Numbers living in rentals don't really have a stake. Owners on the other hand, have a voice.

Anonymous said...

Donna and Co. are now claiming that there will be a class action lawsuit because Two Lakes will raise property values.

Kingfish said...

I know. Can you imagine that one? Too funny. See, this is where she is her own worst enemy. Ward wrote a pretty good story. Good interviews, got the quotes on the money, got the gist of the hearing right, can't really gripe about his coverage yesterday. She then ruins it with all of her obsessive comments and pretty much backstabs her own reporter because no one remembers his story but instead her outlandish comments that have no basis in reality, such as the state taking over the levee board.

Anonymous said...

Again you bring to the public Mr. Kingfish an interesting question that abecedarians Stauffer, Ladd and Johnson either don't care to discuss for fear of opening a can of worms that will shame the Levee Board or, my guess, are too ignorant to consider.

The fact of the matter is that the levees, right now, today, don't meet Corps certification requirements. So why haven't the levees been given the de-cert already by the Corps?

If there is a flood tomorrow, next week, next month or any other time while the existing levees don't meet cert, the Levee Board and Corps will be sued.

Knowing Mississippi as well as I do it is safe to say there will be a line of law firms a mile long wanting to take that case.

Kingfish said...

I'll talk to my buddy Ashley about it. I'm sure he'll be interested.

FEMA decerts the levees. Corps is supposedly recommending they do so. See Mac's letter, it provides a possible solution.

Anonymous said...

Sir, I did read the letter. The matter remains that the levees are not in compliance right now and haven't been for some time.

That is a major story no one is reporting. (1) Why hasn't the Levee Board properly maintained the existing levees? (2) Why hasn't the Corps recommended de-cert long before now?

If the abecedarians are so profoundly concerned about flood control why aren't they asking these questions?

Anonymous said...

7:41 nails it. Donna is a fucking idiot. Class action? Please. She doesn't know shit about the law. Mind you, she'll buy any bull shit some non-lawyer feeds her on her site, if you can call it that, about a "class action."

Anonymous said...

Progressives can only deal in lies. The truth doesn't fit into their arguments so they peddle in emotion.

Anonymous said...

I am not a lawyer, however, I did not think "class action suits" per se, were "allowed" in Mississippi???

The Race Baiting Fascist of Fondren said...

House Bill 1549, the bill reviled by the JFP that would expand the membership of the Levee Board, was authored by Mary Coleman.

Mary Coleman is a Democrat representing House District 65. House District 65 covers some of southern Madison County and much of North Jackson west of I55 INCLUDING Fondren, Woodland Hills, Broadmeadow and three of the most affluent black precincts (80, 81 & 82) in Jackson where Harvey Johnson himself resides.

Mary Coleman has been in the House for sixteen years and is a powerful member in Billy McCoy's ruling hierarchy. Mary Coleman is black.

HB 1549 is also co-sponsored by the white male Bill Denny, R-Jackson, and the white female Rita Martinson, R-Madison. But make no mistake about it, the authoritative heft behind the bill in the highly partisan Democratically controlled Mississippi House is Mary Coleman.

So in this week's edition of the JFP where they continue their paranoid hysteria that the state is trying to jigger the Levee Board to benefit Two Lakes -- a mathematic impossibility as Kingfish has already noted -- which legislator's photograph does Editor Donna Ladd tag for the reading public to associate with the evil bill?

You got it, white male Bill Denny's.

This isn't about flood control Jackson. This is about Ladd & Stauffer's personal animus for certain Jacksonians whom they despise. Their's is the politics of personal destruction, racial division and the impugning of reputations of long standing members of our community who ARE STILL HERE INVESTING THEIR DOLLARS IN JACKSON TRYING TO MAKE THE CITY BETTER.

Please say 'No' to the Jackson Free Press. Jackson can't afford their hate.

Anonymous said...


KaptKangaroo said...

Kudos! Well said.

Autogyro said...

Well said indeed, Race Baiting Fascist of Fondren! Ladd & Co. hate Eastover and Northeast Jackson and everything (they think) it stands for. They hate the monied Old Jacksonians who have grown this city through their own pluck and hard work. They'd like to remake this place in their own warped image, and resistance to that scheme makes them rant and rave.

Anonymous said...

@1:21. You are right. You can't have a class action in state court in MS. You can in federal court in MS.

Anonymous said...

The CRAZY BITCH at the JF RAG has 34 posts on the latest Levee story. 20 are from her. She is certifiable.

Anonymous said...

But she teaches you. Listen and learn, grasshopper.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

We ought to reference JJ and KF in a manner like Stern's Bababoey on JFP comments...I bet it would drive DL nuts!

Anonymous said...

We ought to reference JJ and KF in a manner like Stern's Bababoey on JFP comments...I bet it would drive DL nuts!

Best idea I've heard in a long time.

Anonymous said...

Actually its:
7 + 5 -1 = 11
(Fair Com only gets a seat if number of members is otherwise even.)

Mayors + Billy Orr (Rankin) have been voting to move beyond Two Lakes to realistic flood control
=5 votes

Garrette has been voting to support Two Lakes. If we assume the other Hinds vote would also support Two Lakes, 4 Haley appointees would tip the scales for Two Lakes.

Kingfish said...

Ok 6:04, pretty good comment, just leave out the last sentence.

6:39: That is a really dumb commment. I can't believe you graduated from a college or high school with such a low IQ. It simply boggles my mind that someone on this board would make such an ignorant comment. In fact, its so ignorant and stupid, I'm going to let my chauffer respond to it in a few minutes.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting KF that everyone save their comments so they can edit out offending sentences?

Anonymous said...

6:04. What was it KF. Leave out the last line an post it.

Kingfish said...

Here ya go:

Anon at 6:04 today:

"The people of Byram need to be asking why the Jackson Free Press wants to shaft them of their rightful representation on the Rankin-Hinds Pearl Flood and Drainage Control District Levee Board."

Anonymous said...

Are you being willfully ignorant KF? Is this site only for bashing people and yelling obscenities?

Why is 6:39 a dumb comment? It is straight out of SB-1549 (if you substitute Haley for Gov and Lt Gov). Also consistent with the Two Lakes strategy trumpeted by W. Emmerick.

What is the talk of Byram? My understanding is that it is outside the R-H Levee District. If it did get a seat, that would be offset by the Fair Com.

Anonymous said...

(c) In the event the proposed flood and drainage control district is comprised of lands lying, in whole or in part, in one or more municipalities which are in existence at the time of the creation of such district, and in one or more counties and not falling within the description of (a) or (b) above, each such municipality shall appoint one (1) director and the board of supervisors of each county in which part of the lands of the proposed district lie shall appoint one (1) director. The Board of Supervisors of Hinds County shall appoint one (1) additional director. In the event there are one or more new municipalities incorporated within the district after the organization of such district, each such municipality shall be given a director of the district. In addition, the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Mississippi, each shall appoint one (1) director from each county in which any part of the lands of the drainage control district lie. However, in the event that selection of directors in said manner results in an even number of directors, the Governor of the State of Mississippi shall appoint one (1) additional director who is a member of the State Fair Commission so that there shall be an odd number of directors. Each director appointed pursuant to the provisions of this section, except the director who is a member of the State Fair Commission and appointed by the Governor, shall be either a resident or property owner in the district for which he is appointed.

Flowood = 1
Pearl = 1
Richland = 1
RankinCo = 1
Jackson = 1
Byram = 1
HindsCo = 2
GovRankin = 1
GovHinds = 1
LtGovRankin = 1
LtGovHinds = 1

Subtotal = 12

GovFairCom = 1

Total = 13

Rankin and Hinds have co-EQUAL representation.

If English is your second language, please advise.

Kingfish said...

Never listened to Jerry Clower, did you?

The state will only be able to appoint FIVE members.

FIVE. Five out of Twelve is NOT a takeover despite how you spin it. Whatever the alliances are at this time, that can chance at any time or after any election. Now they may vote with the Hinds members or the Rankin members but that is not a takeover. A takeover would be if the bill allowed the state to appoint a majority of the members. I think you are the one being willfully ignorant about the plain numbers and are instead trying to spin it to fit your argument.

Anonymous said...

That JFP crowd is so invested in their conspiracy theories you'd think there was a fleet of black helicopters circling o'er the top of Fondren.

Anonymous said...

"In the event there are one or more new municipalities incorporated within the district after the organization of such district, each such municipality shall be given a director of the district."

Byram is not in the District. It IS in Hinds but NOT in the Rankin-Hinds Flood Control District. Not applicable either way, since a Byram vote would be balanced by a Governor appointee.

Byram = 0
Subtotal = 11
GovFairCom = 0
Total - 11

The Gov does not appoint 5, only 4 under the new law.

Hinds County has consistently voted in favor of Two Lakes.
HindsCo = 2
GovRankin = 1
GovHinds = 1
LtGovRankin = 1
LtGovHinds = 1

Two Lakes Vote = 6

Not spin, just acknowledging the Two Lakes strategy. Obviously votes could change and the strategy could fail, but it would sure look better for McGowan with SB-1549 configured board.

If you would stop name calling and discuss the facts, you might have a more constructive blog.

Anonymous said...

If you would stop name calling and discuss the facts, you might have a more constructive blog.

But you are still here reading. Go figure.

Byram may not be in the district today but you don't know that it won't be tomorrow. You see the trees but are missing the forest. Byram is completely within the Corps primary study area for the Pearl River Basin.

Byram is going to get a seat. Sit back and watch. That language is in the bill for a reason. Byram isn't going to sit back and let Harvey or the Hinds Board of Dupes represent their interests.

Ta Ta ... Chump. Watch out for that black helicopter.

Anonymous said...

How will Byram likely vote?

ByramResident said...

12:20 PM. For those who don't know the levee plan initially considered a levee segment at Byram but eliminated it because the Corps concluded that there wasn't enough damages here during the Easter Flood. Byram has grown significantly in 31 years. A 1979 scale flood in our city now would have a serious negative economic impact. Byram has more people than Flowood. If levees get built it is likely that segment will be restored to the revised plan. Hinds County doesn't represent us in Byram any longer. The folks in Jackson and Doug Anderson need to get over it. We have a voice and plan to use it.

Anonymous said...

"We have a voice and plan to use it."

GOOD.... the first voice should be on the Levee Board. While we are at it, put the loudmoth redneck Mayor of Monticello on it, as well as someone from the JFP. Get them both up to speed so they will have a clue what they are talking about.

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