Leaders must trust, respect EDA officials

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

Economic development may be the most important issue our local officials will tackle as they approach the election season and the next term in office.

So we begin our election issues coverage today with that topic, asking candidates for mayor just what they plan to do to help attract industry and bring jobs to the area.

The candidates’ answers have been varied, but ironically those who understand the topic best agree that perhaps the best thing a mayor can do for economic development is stay out of the process until the time is right.

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Trusting our appointed economic development officials &045;&045; and we have a great team in place now &045;&045; is perhaps the most important thing a mayor or alderman can do to ensure the process works.

For the most part, industrial prospects don’t want politicians involved until the deal is far enough along to require their help &045;&045; securing grants, approving resolutions for in-kind help, appealing to Congressional leaders.

So we would advise the candidates &045;&045; and officials &045;&045; that their role, no matter how much they want to be in the &uot;inner circle&uot; &045;&045; works best when they follow the process.

Erasure of reporters’ tapes violates rights of journalists

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s visit to a Hattiesburg high school turned into an ugly scene for the First Amendment last week when a U.S. marshal demanded two reporters erase their tapes of his speech.

While it doesn’t endear him to journalists or lovers of a free press, it is Scalia’s right not to have his speeches recorded. But the problem in this case is neither he nor his staff made any such request before he began speaking. Erasing the tapes not only violated the reporters’ rights, it also shamefully illustrates the lack of respect strict constructionist Scalia seems to have for the first amendment of the Constitution.