City’s Easter basket filled with goodies

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, good morning and happy Easter!

Hopefully, everyone will remember the real reason we celebrate Easter today. It’s not about chocolate and bunnies, but about the resurrection of God’s son.

But after you finish with church services, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to put on your imagination caps for a minute.

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Remember the wonder of the imagination caps in your childhood?

Cracking out the imagination cap serves several purposes, from exercising the gray matter inside the big egg on top of your shoulders to just having a little fun.

For those of you who, in your growing old, have either lost your imagination caps or struggle to think outside the tangible adult dimension, please stop reading now.

For the rest of you, snap on that chinstrap — OK, I had an older brother so my imagination cap was really more of a football helmet — and let’s get started.

Imagine the City of Natchez’s Easter basket. If you were the Easter Bunny and were in charge of filling the basket, what would you put into it?

What kind of goodies would wait beneath the unearthly green plastic grass?

What would I do? Easy.

Just past the package of Martian-created Peeps is a box of annexation.

“B&B” is emblazoned on the annexation box, along with “new and improved” and “now with Splenda ©.”

As former Natchez Mayor Tony Byrne describes it, “B&B” annexation is the way to go.

Tourism naysayers, stop. Don’t freak out at the B&B label; this doesn’t have anything to do with bed and breakfasts.

This B&B stands for Beau Pre and Broadmoor.

Both subdivisions are prime targets for annexation and the city should be looking seriously at this.

Annexing both subdivisions needs to happen soon. In fact, it should have already happened. The problem is that annexation can be the third rail of local politics. The annexees often fuss at the idea of paying for more taxes. The existing citizens can fuss because it means city resources will be stretched a bit as the city absorbs the new areas.

So, like the electrified rail on big city subway systems, politicians shy away.

Annexation needs to be an issue in the city right now, even if politicians turn into a marshmallow Peep when you ask them about it.

Just past the annexation box, next to the chocolate rabbit is a bag of asphalt — a big bag of asphalt.

City streets are in the worst shape in recent memory. Major entry ways into the city are in poor shape.

Among the worst are Homochitto and Martin Luther King Jr. streets. Pretty soon, the city is going to be sued for the dental damage caused by the unintentional speed bumps on MLK.

A jarring ride to the polls certainly will make a lot of frustrated-with-the-status-quo voters.

So there you have it: yours truly’s thoughts on what the city needs for Easter. We’ve only got a short amount of time before the May 6 municipal primary election is here.

In the meantime, we should all be thinking about our wishes — Easter and otherwise — for the city.

By the way, does anyone else notice that despite having been out of office for 20 years, Tony Byrne still leads the city with ideas that just make sense — annexation, development of St. Catherine Creek, etc.?

He’s like the Easter Bunny, always coming up with great things to see, eat and do.

And he doesn’t have any of that funny green plastic grass on him, either.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or