They won’t consolidate, but we can

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, January 25, 2012

By now you likely know that the Cooper family household has four members — me, Kevin, plus two dogs.

You may also know a bit about our dogs. They are both shelter rescues; Suzy came first and was my dog before I met Kevin. Alice came almost a year ago, on a whim, and totally ruined Suzy’s life.

But what you may not know about our dogs is their very defined views on consolidation and how closely they parallel the two dominant views in the community.

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It’s not rocket science, really. Alice is 100-percent in favor of consolidation. Suzy is 100-percent against it.

Let’s examine it from Suzy’s point of view first.

Suzy was chosen to be a part of the Cooper household first. She feels specially adopted — even elected by popular vote, if you will.

When we voted her into our family, we told her she’d have certain privileges.

First, we’d pay her daily in top-quality dog food and occasional table scraps.

We’d give her praise and adoration that did not have to be shared with any other being.

And she’d have power over our heartstrings whenever she chose to speak to us through gorgeous brown eyes and head tilts.

Alice, on the other hand, never lived life as the “only.”

She doesn’t have any dreams of life without Suzy around. In fact, Suzy is her hero, maybe her god.

She wants to share everything Suzy has — food, belly rubs, couch time, naps, bathroom breaks, walks, sniffs, runs, back scratches, air and space in which to exist.

To Alice, it just makes sense to take advantage of what Suzy is already doing so well.

Why re-invent the wheel, Alice’s less-expressive, sometimes dopey faces seem to say.

I love Suzy, and I think she’s the smarter of the two dogs on almost every level.

But I have to admit that Alice is probably living a happier life simply because she’s ready and willing to share, draft right along behind Suzy the workhorse and not fret about having all the power.

Thankfully, the majority of the local taxpayers seem to realize the Alice-way of life is simply logical.

Of course, few of the elected officials — the Suzys — are ever going to admit that Alice might be right.

The result for our community is the exact same annoying standstill we’ve been at for decades.

And elected officials — no matter who they are — are not going to change that.

The majority of city and county leaders are never going to willingly put into place a plan that could mean less money, less limelight and less power for them. It’s not the way political animals work.

Though some bright bulbs will think differently from time to time, getting the majority needed to pass a motion will be nearly impossible, unless, of course, the taxpayers take the lead.

Much like business leaders got behind the creation of Natchez Inc., our community needs to be working, in the next two to three years, to put together a group of non-elected residents to do the research, lead the charge and put on the ballot the idea of continued consolidation.

We likely can’t — and shouldn’t — consolidate the city and county governments over night. But we can agree to consolidate public works or law enforcement now and something else later.

Suzy would never, ever have brought home another dog. But when the adults in the house made the decision, we saved a life and brightened our own beyond imagination.

And Suzy copes.


Julie Cooper is the managing editor of The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at 601-445-3551 or