- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Recent editorials from Mississippi newspapers:

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Jan. 30

The Sun Herald on development along the coast:

Another flurry of key development and some national exposure has the Coast riding a wave of optimism early in 2016.

The Santa Maria Del Mar, a retirement home wrecked by Katrina, is well on its way to a rebirth as a luxury hotel. The building on the beach in Biloxi has been gutted in the first stage of its renewal by the Barrington Development Group. We’re looking forward to the same great results Barrington had with the White House, which was a jewel of the Coast before it fell into disrepair. That hotel sparkles once again.

Barrignton also is transforming the old Casino Magic, which has been closed since Katrina, into a water park and hotel.

In Gulfport, a developer has similar plans for another piece of Coast history, the old Markham Hotel. The 1920s-era downtown hotel has been empty and decaying for years, but a Virginia attorney has plans to restore it. That would be a big boost for an already bustling downtown.

The Markham and Centennial Plaza in Gulfport both could benefit from tax credits available to restore historic properties. That pool of state money has run dry, though, and we hope the state can replenish it this session.

The White House, the Markham and Centennial Plaza add to the uniqueness of the Coast, which is already drawing national attention as one of the places to be.

For example:

Who knew that Gulfport, the Coast’s biggest city, also was America’s most-affordable beach town? SmartAsset website, that’s who. It was one of three Coast cities on its affordable beach towns list, a list dominated by Coast beach life. Biloxi was No. 4 and Bay St. Louis was No. 10.

And, Southern Living has learned what we’ve known for some time. Bay St. Louis is No. 19 on the magazine’s list of Best Places in the South. Southern Living likes the Old Town’s waterfront restaurants, bars and harbor, and the shops and galleries off the main drag.

Southern Living also named MGM Park in Bilox No. 21 on its list. Biloxi hits a home run, it says. That comes just a few days after the MGM Park drew its biggest crowd ever - for the Coast MLK celebration and Battle of the Bands.

That record will be tested April 2 when the Milwaukee Brewers take on the Biloxi Shuckers and April 4 when Jackson State University comes to town for an exhibition against the Biloxi Double-A team.

Finally, we have the prospect of yet another casino, this one in the Gulfport Harbor, one of the best spots on the Coast. Our casino market is quite healthy, coming off its best year since 2008. A well-planned addition in Gulfport would keep that industry rolling.

It’s going to be a great year.

Online: https://www.sunherald.com/

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Feb. 3

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal on the death of Gil Carmichael:

Mississippi’s Republican Party lost another of its statesmen Sunday with the death of Gil Carmichael, 88, of Meridian, who rose to become the nominee in races for Congress, U.S. senator, governor and lieutenant governor, always running strongly but never winning.

In the process, his progressive voice shaped the state party’s growth in the late 20th century, as had Tupelo’s exceptional civic leader, Jack Reed Sr., who died recently.

The two men, who were of the same generation and longtime friends, shared many convictions about public service and public policy.

Carmichael, a prosperous automobile dealer and real-estate developer, may have had his finest hour when he ran against Democratic populist Cliff Finch for governor in 1975. Carmichael won more than 45 percent of the general election vote, stunning many mossbacks who believed the Yellow Dog Democratic Party could rule Mississippi forever. His race was a foreshadowing of Reed’s near victory against Democrat Ray Mabus in the 1987 governor’s contest, and of Kirk Fordice’s first-since-Reconstruction victory for the GOP against Mabus in 1991.

Carmichael’s race against the venerable and feared Democratic U.S. Sen. James O. Eastland in 1972 also was a breakthrough for the GOP. Eastland retired in 1978, and he was succeeded by Thad Cochran.

Carmichael became a choice for many centrist Democrats who no longer felt loyalty to their party in the state or at the national level.

Carmichael solidified the perception of Mississippi as a two-party state. Much has changed within the state GOP since Carmichael’s era of greatest influence, but whatever part of it is considered negative should not be laid at Carmichael’s feet.

Carmichael was a George H.W. Bush kind of Republican, and during the Bush administration he was director of the Federal Railroad Administration. He had been an advocate of strong railroad infrastructure and service all his adult life. He was an advocate and leader for Amtrak, the federal passenger service which operates through Meridian, historically a railroad town.

Carmichael was a big-tent politician, supporting the Equal Rights Amendment, which was unpopular among many Mississippians, and appealing to the historically black base of the Mississippi GOP to stay in or rejoin the party.

Carmichael clearly was a futurist in terms of policy and position.

Political leaders like Carmichael, grounded in the private sector and visionary about governance, walk among us seldom. Carmichael caused many Mississippians to rethink what kind of state we seek for all citizens.

Online: https://djournal.com/

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Feb. 3

The McComb Enterprise-Journal on sharecroppers in the gulf:

Strict Libertarians will disagree, but a certain amount of government regulation is necessary in a civilized society. Without regulations, work places would be more dangerous, the environment would be more polluted and criminals would run amuck.

The question, of course, is how much regulation is too much. That’s a debate that will never end as long as there are politicians of different stripes in this country. Presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, on the far left, argue for more regulations, especially on capitalists; Republican candidates are for less.

What often is overlooked, or unforeseen, about even good regulations are unintended consequences.

Such is the case with the Individual Fishing Quota System, a little known federal regulation on certain seafood catches.

IFQs, which are imposed by many governments around the world, are purposed to maintain the seafood supply by keeping popular species of fish from being decimated by over-harvesting. Some variations of IFQs have been in use since the mid-20th Century. In 2007, IFQ regulations were applied to the popular red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.

AL.com recently published a lengthy article following a four-month probe of the regulation on red snapper.

First, the good news. The IFQs have resulted in a steady and dependable supply of red snapper rather than an oversupply or no supply under a previous system that allowed commercial fishermen to catch snapper only on the first 10 days of the month.

The not so good news is that the quota system put the lion’s share of the commercial harvest in the hands of a few people. The AL.com article said that in 2007, the National Marine Fisheries Service divided up the Gulf’s snapper harvest like a pie, with the largest pieces going to the fishermen who landed the most fish in the preceding years.

This has resulted, the article said, in turning “dozens of Gulf of Mexico fishermen into the lords of the sea - able to earn millions annually without even going fishing - and transformed dozens more into modern-day serfs who must pay the lords for the right to harvest red snapper.”

The right to catch 77 percent of the annual red snapper harvest is controlled by just 55 people, according to an AL.com analysis.

Many of those who own the rights lease them to working fishermen who essentially become sharecroppers of the sea.

AL.com “found that roughly $60 million has been earned since 2007 by this small number of fishermen whose boats never left port. That money was collected from the labor of fishermen who have no choice but to hand over more than half of the price that their catch brings at the dock.”

This gives a new twist to the adage of “teaching a man to fish.” Teaching him to work the system might be more profitable.

The regulations on catching red snapper seem like they need changing to be fairer to those actually doing the work. But who knows what unintended consequences could result from messing with those rules.

Online: https://www.enterprise-journal.com/


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