Someone has to address the mayor

Published 10:34 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

For a small town, hidden away in the southwest corner of Mississippi, Natchez deservedly earns its fair share of the spotlight.

And, in the case of some things, such as historic preservation and an admiration of history, Natchez often leads the state.

So when the Natchez mayor took it upon himself to defy regulations regarding an historic property inside the city, ears and eyes all across the Magnolia state immediately perked up.

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Such is the case with the former Natchez Pecan Shelling Co. plant.

Today the factory is just a big pile of scary looking rubble, not exactly the picture of public safety that was used as the reasoning for tearing it down under an emergency order.

But that rubble represents a bigger issue with more far-reaching and troubling implications than the issues within the city limits of Natchez.

It’s a hot-potato issue certainly and no one wants to get his fingers burned.

The Mississippi Attorney General’s office doesn’t want to touch it. Neither does the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

The problem, however, is that the state’s historic properties need someone to stand up and handle the matter firmly and with proper application and interpretation of the law.

Not doing so would be a huge step backward for a state steeped in history.

Action is required and prudent. Inaction is a sign that it’s OK for others to defy similar regulations.

In the coming days, the spotlight will be shining on Natchez again as the issue of how to handle the matter comes up Friday.

The question is: who has the guts to step into the spotlight and firmly handle the hot potato?