A rose to all who have offered themselves for election in the county races in August. We”ve said it before and we”ll say it again, without good candidates you can”t have good government. A large field makes for an interesting race and, presumably, a broader discussion of the issues. Running for office is not only a commitment of time and money, it can be a soul-bearing experience. Some have equated running for office to earning a college degree. We”re happy to see a large field of candidates in the Lowndes sheriff”s race and for superintendent of education. And we”re glad to see all supervisors races in Lowndes, Clay and Oktibbeha have more than one candidate.
A rose to Columbus Middle School Principal Cindy Wamble who was named the district”s administrator of the year on Monday. “I was totally shocked,” Wamble said when she learned of the honor. She shouldn”t have been. Wamble, a 23-year veteran with the Columbus Schools, has, by all accounts, done a masterful job of orchestrating the move and merging of three grades into the district”s brand new middle school. School superintendent Del Phillips praised Wamble, crediting her for enrollment and academic growth in her school.
Yet another thorn to the Lowndes Supervisors Leroy Brooks and Harry Sanders who on Monday were at it again, bickering over a redistricting proposal that would reduce the black percentage of Brooks” district 2.2 percent from 63.5 to 61.3. Brooks, an African American, argues that the plan should be modified to include blacks now living in District 4 Supervisor Jeff Smith”s district, which is almost 80 percent black. With only two majority black districts, and both of them adjacent, we think Brooks” concerns merit consideration. Oxford-based consultant Bridge and Watson is overseeing the redistricting.
While it seems a bit much to give a rose for speaking to the Rotary Club, we think a comment made by developer Mark Castleberry to the Columbus Club Tuesday merits repeating. The developer said the city is “under demolished.” By that Castleberry was referring to vacant, obsolete buildings with no historic value. Demolishing those building would not only remove eyesores, it would make room for new development, he said. That is if no one wants to do with them what Castleberry has done, taken outdated shopping centers and breathed new life into them.
A rose to the meager crowd that showed Thursday evening to provide input for a comprehensive planning effort the city of Columbus is undertaking. Those attending offered the usual negatives: traffic, dilapidated housing and meager retail options, and the usual positives: downtown, industrial growth and the Riverwalk. Birmingham-based KPS Group is producing the plan and will hold public hearings on the second Thursday of the next four months. We urge citizens to attend and be part of the process.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.