Balance stagnation with initiative

Published 12:25 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When the town of Columbia was faced at the beginning of the depression years with a problem similar to the current economic problem Natchez faces, Mayor Hugh White (one of Mississippi’s better mayors) led the people of Columbia to bind together to build a new brick factory for Reliance Manufacturing which brought jobs to Columbia to replace the depleted timber industry. Thus was born the balance agriculture with industry initiative that gave Natchez its post-war boom and greatest modern period of prosperity.

Notwithstanding that Mayor White’s common call to action by the people, who placed their personal credit and collateral at risk, was later corrupted by the machinations of state and federal government bureaucracies, the basic idea was a sound one.

The basic idea was a common voluntary pooling of capital with a specific investment objective. Hugh White understood, as did the average Mississippi dirt farmer in those days (and their eighth-grade schoolchildren) that capital is a gift of nature given to each and every individual in the form of labor each individual has to offer.

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Capital, they understood, is not something only bankers have; indeed, knew they, the capital bankers use to back the credit banks work their miracles of boom and bust with is the property of every schoolteacher and every schoolchild; it is the property of every milkman and milkmaiden; it is the property of every living thing that toils beneath the sun.

Every living thing that toils has a common right, a common duty, and a common interest. The right is to free and voluntary expression of desire, the duty is to allow that to all others, and the interest is common prosperity.

Of the many forms capital may and does take, one form is the right to petition our government.

This being the case, I call upon the people of Natchez to formalize that right in a petition expressing desire for renewed and expedited attention from state and local temporary office holders to move more quickly on the St. Catherine Creek kayak project, and on the NPS bluff project. In employing this right as capital, I suggest that the combined voters of Natchez and Adams County represent a significant incentive to temporary office holders to move on our behalf, but I further suggest that this incentive is only significant if it is the unified voice of all the people, as was the voice that saved Columbia during the depression.

When do the city and county plan to hold this consensus building meeting asking the people to forget all other differences for these two initiatives and ask for speedy completion of these projects?

Marty Ellerbe

Natchez resident