Local leadership needs taming

Published 12:42am Sunday, March 25, 2012

Human beings are amazingly similar and simultaneously insanely different.

A recent National Geographic magazine article explored the phenomenon of twins — siblings that share identical DNA makeup.

Twin studies show us just how different we can sometimes turn out, even if we share identical genes with a sibling.

The article — and a bit of local news from last week — got me thinking about something.

Does a gene for motivation exist?

Scientists tell us no, but it’s difficult not to look around and believe many of us are radically different from one another.

How else can one explain how one individual can look at a problem and see a solution?

All the while, dozens of other people look at the same problem and either have no clue what to do or just don’t see a problem at all.

A great example of that came last week as freshman county supervisor David Carter presented a plan to help fix a problem that’s long plagued the City of Natchez — unkempt road entrances.

The amazing thing is that Carter cares enough about the problem to invest his time into making a plan and presenting it to the city.

It’s refreshing to see that supervisors no longer think their responsibility ends at the city-county line. Other evidence of that was evident a year or so ago when Supervisor Mike Lazarus put county road money into much-needed paving inside the city limits.

Clearly Carter and Lazarus are among the more progressive leaders in the area; they realize it’s their job to help the community — the whole community, not just their own community of voters or their own little faction of supporters.

The plan Carter presented to the Natchez Board of Aldermen is an excellent, long overdue solution to fix the problems.

As Carter pointed out, the areas of our city that greet visitors to our community are vitally important.

For far too long, we’ve collectively allowed our public thoroughfares to get out of hand. Citizens routinely drive by high grass, untrimmed edges and a general lack of care on public medians.

Carter’s aim is to have the city and county adopt a five- to six-year plan for maintenance of the areas.

That’s another example in which Carter seems to be thinking far differently than most of our elected officials; he’s seeking to fix the problem on a longer time line than just once every blue moon.

Although his discussion last week was a plan for maintenance along John R. Junkin Drive, it’s only the beginning of the vision Carter seems to have.

“My goal long term would be to have all of our main throughways looking like we care.”

Imagine, a community that actually looks like it cares about its public spaces. Now there’s a novel idea, isn’t it?

In 2008, years before his entry into public office, Carter became a local rock star by his amazing performance in the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition.

Carter used his skills to train his then wild horse Silverado.

Carter showed us then he’s capable of great work under pressure, hopefully he can continue to tame the complacency that seems to dominate most political leadership.


Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.