Letters to the Editor

Readers views: Leaders talk (again!) about building an east-west corridor in Biloxi and Gulfport

Here we go again

Coast planners and business leaders are again talking about building an east-west connector road between Biloxi and Gulfport.

My suggestion after Katrina was to, where possible, make the westbound lanes of U.S. 90 into a two-way service road, the eastbound lanes of U.S. 90 into the new westbound lane and build the new eastbound lanes south of the seawall. Again — where possible — especially the new eastbound lanes. The entire U.S. 90 had been destroyed so there would have been no more disruption than replacing the existing highway in its present form.

The bridges from Ocean Springs to Bay St. Louis were upgraded for future traffic growth. Why did they not look to the future when replacing the highway connecting them? I guess that’s “water under the bridge” now.

David Mattina

Biloxi

Not a fan of Sen. Hyde-Smith

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is a dangerous disgrace to this state and this country.

She blocked three measures that would have helped protect our democracy from Russian interference in our elections. Amazingly, she did this on the same day that Robert Mueller raised his dire warning about the same, then similarly rebuffed the findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee report issued immediately afterward and containing the same urgent warning. Hyde-Smith offered no reason for her vote blocking the measures. She remarked later via Twitter that she felt the measures to be “partisan.”

While Hyde-Smith clears the way for American authoritarianism, her example is being followed by other apathetic state legislators who likewise have not acted to provide Mississippi voters with the all-important “backup paper ballots” also recommended by the Senate report to secure our vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, the state continues to trail the nation in providing this fail-safe measure.

Hyde-Smith and her supporters need to keep in mind the words of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini who said, “When you pluck a chicken one feather at a time, nobody notices.” Donald Trump, with the help of Cindy Hyde-Smith, is doing just that. America, you are being plucked!

Erin Mairead O’Malley

Gulfport

Thanks for the support, Sen. Hyde-Smith

As director of programs for Gulfport’s Climb CDC, I am inspired every day by the growth and successes of our students. When our elected officials share that same excitement, extraordinary relationships begin.

In May, I had the distinct honor of meeting with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., at her office in Washington, D.C., to talk about the great work being done in our YouthBuild program. YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program that provides job training and education for people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are out of school or out of work.

Whether it’s through training for the construction, hospitality or culinary fields, we help our students find a path to success while earning their high school diploma or equivalency. One week after our meeting, Sen. Hyde-Smith visited our program, met with students and toured the campus.

This kind of support from our congressional delegation is essential to students such as 17-year-old Yashmere Smith, who enrolled in Climb CDC in 2018, eventually earning an externship with the South Mississippi Regional Center. She then began working toward passing the ACT test. She harnessed her strength and intellect also to obtain her high school diploma from West Harrison High School. She is now preparing for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test so she can join the military.

Our students find all variations of success. We thank Sen. Hyde-Smith for valuing them.

Jake Cook

Gulfport

$15 minimum wage reality

The left is pushing $15 an hour minimum wage again. The reality of almost doubling the minimum wage to $15 would be disastrous to small and mid-sized businesses.

It sounds great and the politicians pushing it might sink the hook on some voters. But moving the wage for the lowest wage earners from less than $8 to $15, passes tens of thousands of people currently making $9 to $15. They are making more because they have more skills, experience, education, etc. Their wages will have to increase proportionally.

The reality is, all of these jobs are producing the things we buy or providing services we use. Contrary to the opinion of some, the majority of these businesses are not that “despicable” 1%. Most of these businesses work on a narrow profit line. So the result will be prices of goods and services will almost double to meet the new payroll and what you can buy with your new $15 an hour, will be the same as you did with your old $8. The bottom wage is still the bottom wage.

What to do? Produce more jobs, so those working entry level, low-paying jobs can move up the ladder, just as I (a high school graduate) and about everyone I know has done.

Paul Stultz

Ocean Springs

The have and have-nots

Several generations ago it looked like the American Dream had arrived. President Dwight Eisenhower’s tax laws had produced a more equal sharing of our wealth, a fast-growing middle class, and a peaceful and prosperous society as all levels benefited from a booming economy. Most earned enough to afford a home, adequate health care, and a college education for their children.

But our middle class is shrinking with our lower income bracket growing rapidly as more of our wealth goes to our top 1%. This trend will continue with technological advances and artificial intelligence replacing more workers. Technology is destroying jobs quicker than creating new jobs and resultant growing unrest is dangerous.

Our top 1% now possess close to 40% of our wealth, more than possessed by our entire lower 80%. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, a trend that can’t be sustained. History tells us what happens when divisiveness from income disparity between the haves and have-nots becomes too great and it is not a good story.

Our tax laws determine how our wealth is divided. We can have laws ensuring a livable wage and lifestyle for all or greater wealth to the top 1%. Current political leaders recently passed a tax bill widely identified as one of the largest transfers of wealth to our top 1% in history with little or nothing for the lower 80%.

How we vote determines who writes the tax laws.

Harold Dawley

Diamondhead

We must work together

It takes all of the American community to help bring about love, peace and security. We must work together in a spirit of oneness. All of the communities must work without a concern of our religious background or occupation. Hatred and prejudice stop progress.

The American nation will depend upon it.

Miguel Nicholson

Gulfport

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