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Ron Williams

Ron Williams

Whirllie Byrd Has A Change of Heart

In an interview, Mrs’ Byrd had some strong feelings about her ousting as CVB president, but after a week to cool off, decided it wasn’t worth it and asked me to leave the issue alone. And I will do just that…for now. But I will say that the CVB board has been getting much press when in reality the CVB has done lots of good for this area in spite of the controversy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, funding festivals is fine…as long as the festival completely is transparent and books and receipts are kept and it can be held accountable for its being! Still, we will never have politics out of the CVB board because politicians with agenda’s are still appointing board members.

That said, part of a key line from my column was left out last week (my fault. RW). I was talking about Harry Sanders and Robert Smith in a stalemate about who to name as the ninth and final boardmember to the CVB board. They are supposed to decide on someone but politics is getting in the way. Apparently Mayor Smith wants to appoint Claude Simpson (Harry Sanders says the mayor wants to appoint Simpson because the mayor feels Simpson would be favorable to festival funding. RW). Sanders, at first, wanted to appoint former CVB board member John Bean. He says when the mayor balked on that suggestion (Sanders tells me Mayor Smith didn’t want to appoint someone that the city council had already “turned down” because it would be a slap in the face of councilmen who voted against Bean. Bean’s name was brought up and voted down when the Council appointed Bernard Buckhalter. RW). So, Sanders offered up an alternative in Allegra Brigham. But, he said the mayor won’t budge from his suggestion of Simpson.

When I say politics is getting in the way, I mean to say it’s coming from both sides. It’s obvious that Sanders wants boardmembers on the CVB who favor a closer relationship with the Link and Joe Higgins. The mayor wants boardmembers who would favor doling out money to festivals. So does Councilman Gene Taylor and Kabir Karriem. A ninth boardmember might be the balancing act between being liberal in handing out money to nearly every festival that comes along, or being tight-fisted with the 2 per cent sales tax and leaning toward Higgins and the Link. I believe with making any organization who can attract visitors to Columbus and Lowndes County prove their worthiness and validity when asking for CVB money, we can’t go wrong. But with politics in the way of making appointments, it’s not gonna happen.

Republican Executive Committee ‘Blindsides’ Representative Jeff Smith?

I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard from several sources who were that Representative Jeff Smith got verbally beat-up at the Republican Executive Committee meeting Monday night. These reliable sources tell me that Smith, who recently switched to the Republican Party after decades as a Democrat, took a pretty good tongue-lashing from Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Nan Lott and member Beth Stuart. Stuart’s participation in such a matter is particularly interesting because she has had conversations with Jack Larmour, Smith’s Republican Primary opponent. The conversations were possibly about Stuart assisting Larmour in his campaign against Smith.

Stuart, who is chair of CLOPAC (Columbus/Lowndes Political Action Committee) the political action group that held a forum at the Municipal Complex Tuesday night involving supervisor, justice court judge and chancery clerk candidates. Another forum on the rest of the county office-seekers will be held Thursday evening at the same location, again hosted by CLOPAC. Stuart has long been working with Bill Brigham in his campaign to try and unseat incumbent District 2 Supervisor Frank Ferguson. And is said to be assisting Allison Pritchard Kizer in her attempt to be elected to the county prosecutor post that Tim Hudson is vacating. Now, there’s certainly nothing wrong with these candidates receiving help from Stuart…but Stuart’s involvement with whomever candidate she is assisting would be a conflict of interest on her part. And in taking part in the blindsiding of Rep. Jeff Smith would indicate she’s probably trying to show Larmour that she can dish the dirt with the best of them.

It’s amazing to me that the Republican Party didn’t welcome Jeff Smith with open arms. What are they thinking? You have a longstanding state representative who is liked and respected by members of both parties, not to mention one who ran for Speaker 3 years ago and received every (yes…I said EVERY.RW) Republican vote in the Mississippi House of Representatives…as a Democrat! A man who, despite his former Democrat Party affiliation, voted conservative probably 95% of the time. And on top of all that, a man who was beat-down by the Democrat Party a few years ago and threatened to not be certified by them because of his conservative voting record. And now the Republican Party, who traditionally has been the party of wisdom, fairness and been above stooping to blindside attacks…is acting like the Democrat Party they often deplore?

I contacted Smith Wednesday to get his reaction to the meeting and his treatment thereof. He told me it was, “just unfair”. “I think what concerned me the most, I am capable of holding my own in front of Mrs. Lott and Beth Stuart. However had I been someone not accustomed to speaking in front of an audience and responding after being blind-sided, it would have been awful. I hope I acted as the gentleman that my father always insisted I be, but I was dismayed that such an exhibition could be held in a Republican forum. It was more like something you’d expect from Democrats,” Smith said in reaction. “I carry no animosity, but do hope that no one ever has to endure anything such as what I was subjected to on Monday night.”

CLOPAC Political Forum

As just mentioned, CLOPAC will hold another forum this evening (Thursday) at 6 p.m. featuring sheriff candidates and the remaining office seekers for Lowndes County elected positions. I’ll have a report on Tuesdays forum in next weeks Packet.

Ron Williams can be reached by email at Ronsings2you@aol.com



  1. True Independence

    I don’t know much about this Jack Larmour guy, but is it the same Jack Larmour that is suing Weyerhauser for “racial discrimination?”

  2. True Independence

    I asked a lawyer friend of mine about it and asked if he could get me a copy of the lawsuit. He said the cause number is 1:10CV306-M-D, but he couldn’t send me a copy because it costs money to get it all off the federal court system. He told me how to look it up on something like pacer.gov, but I haven’t had a chance to get it yet.

  3. Oliver

    You mean to tell me, a supposed “businessman” candidate who is supposed to be looking to protect business interests is suing one of the largest employers in Lowndes County?

  4. tj

    Get your story straight people…TWO DIFFERENT JACK LARMOURs!!!! If you wanna vote against someone who is for hurting business vote Jeff Smith… LOOK AT HIS RECORD. Any man that tells his father on his death bed that he wont do something and then does it… lost my vote (I am referring to how he told his father that he would never become a republican… and then as soon as he sees that he has an opportunity to maintain his liftime political status… he becomes republican not to mention the fact he knew he could never win a general election as a Democrat). Hmmmm… who’s the supposed wonderful person now with all his integrity? you people that read and write the trash in the packet should really do better research before forming an opinion.

  5. Proud American

    Actually TJ is correct. It was not candidate Jack E. Larmour Sr. who filed the lawsuit, it was Jack E. Larmour Jr. suing for loss of income and mental anxiety on the grounds of racial discrimination against Weyerhauser after termination. Jack E. Larmour Jr. is Candidate Larmour’s son.

    However, this does not fall completely in line with the true republican spirit of conservatism. We normally leave suing large employers to the democrats.

    The real question here is how far does the apple fall from the tree?

  6. True Independence

    Proud American,

    I wouldn’t worry too much about ole TJ. He’s not the best at making points, making sense, or even telling the truth. He is, however, very good at making things up. I personally like the comparison on one of the comments on the other board between he and Art Neal. That was priceless.
    I do find it interesting that this lawsuit is somewhat tied to candidate Larmour. You are correct in saying that is usually what democrats do. I guess if he was the Real Republican, he might talk his son out of suing a local business that employs so many people for racial discrimination.

  7. Tj

    Well maybe u should talk to smith after him being tied in suing severstal for millions of dollars…Also one of the largest employers in lowndes county. Look it up.

  8. true independence

    Well TJ, I did what you asked. I asked 4 different lawyers to look it up and they all confirmed he did NOT sue severstal. Nice try, but again, facts elude you every time. You might want to try them because some times they do work in supporting an arguement.

    You still haven’t addressed the fact that it is Larmour’s son who is suing Weyerhauser. I guess that is the Larmour supporter view? Don’t answer questions and then just try and make Smith look bad? Is that what it is? Come on, you can do better than that.

  9. SRG

    True independence,

    While I agree with you, I wouldn’t argue with this TJ character. He has been proven wrong time and time and time again. He has been shown to be making stuff up time and time and time again. He makes assertions of fantasy and provides no proof to back anything up. He is a blind Larmour supporter who is, to quote Bill O’Reilly, drinking the kool-aid. Just ignore the guy because he is apparently just a troll on here who tries to rile people up.

  10. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    How soon voters seem to forget.

    Just over a year ago, Jeff “Mr. Businessman” Smith conspired with Boss Hogg and his “band of brothers” in the Mississippi legislature to kill legislation that was aimed at preventing the theft of property rights–deeding land from landowner A to landowner B in order to enhance tax revenue–through eminent domain.

    In light of the SCOTUS 5-4 Kelso decision on eminent domain, Justice Roberts has warned the States that the ball in is the state legislatures to prevent land seizures through the appropriate legislation. Most progressive states have followed his advice, but there are efforts–suing the Miss. Secretary of State to pull the “eminent domain” initiatve for the November Ballot– by “that good ole boy from Jackson who went to Harvard(Leland Speed)” and a cabal of so-called “industrialists” in Mississippi that want to seize private lands for corporate use through government fiat.

    Jeff Smith showed his hand when he initially voted for the appropriate legislation limiting eminent domain, but flipflopped and voted for the Boss Hogg land grabs.

    How credible can Ron Williams’ commentary be when he schmoozes with the powers-that-be and sits with them at the Bruinswick stews? Roger Larsen was beyond reproach.

    Working up A Number Six on eminent domai.

    Could this be where the Navy got the idea for naming its kill team… SEALE Team Number Six?


  11. true independence

    Well, apparently Johnny Phillip Morris hasn’t read the Mississippi constitution, nor has he read the KELO case he mistakenly names in his argument.

    IN the Kelo v. City of New London case, the Supreme Court ruled that it was okay to use eminent domain to transfer land to another private owner as long as it was for “public use.” This is what has driven people up in arms around the country. The problem with this reasoning is that it isn’t something protected under the Connecticut constitution. It is protected under the MIssissippi Constitution.

    The Mississippi Constitution doesn’t allow things like this to happen. And yes, the Mississippi Constitution controls situations like this because it is not in violation of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution of Mississippi, specifically Article 3, section 17, states:
    “Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use, except on due compensation being first made to the owner or owners thereof, in a manner to be prescribed by law; and whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be public shall be a judicial question, and, as such, determined without regard to legislative assertion that the use is public.”

    If you don’t know what that language means, it states that if there is any question of whether or not the use is for the public good (like it was the question in Kelo), it is a matter of a judicial question. That means you get to have a trial to determine if the taking is for public good, just like you get to have a trial to determine guilt in criminal matters. This constitutional initiative on the ballot this November does nothing but restate what is ALREADY in the constitution. There are also numerous instances of case precedence throughout the last 120 years that reaffirm this right of the people. Maybe since Jeff has read the constitution and these cases before, he already knows this.

    So, before shooting names at Ron Williams or Jeff Smith, try actually reading this state’s constitution or the actual case you are trying to use as proof. Demagoguery only works when you can use that proof.

  12. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Right back at you, TJ.

    I agree that the Farm Bureau initiative language left a lot of wiggle room for slimy shyster lawyers, bought legislators(Bennie Turner, for example) and corrupt judges to continue to do business as usual in Mississippi. And that Initiative 31, if passed, will end up challenged in the courts.

    I think the Libertarians have the REAL simple answer to the abuses of eminent domain in Mississipp and it’s right there in the Constitution:


  13. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Article 7: Corporations

    SECTION 190: Eminent Domain; Police Powers

    The exercise of the right of eminent domain shall never be abridged, or so construed as to prevent the legislature from taking the property and franchises of incorporated companies, and subjecting them to public use; and the exercise of the police powers of the state shall never be abridged, or so construed as to permit corporations to conduct their business in such manner as to infringe upon the rights of individuals or general well-being of the state.

    My understanding is that Article 7 Section 190 protects private individuals from the legislature concocting laws that would allow corporations to benefit from the state’s eminent domain powers. After all, if a corporation wants to expand their business into Mississippi then an agent of that corporation must contact the Mississippi Development Authority in order to benefit from the state’s eminent domain powers. Then, at the corporations directions the MDA will decide on the property to be seized, it’s owner evicted, the buildings bulldozed or repurposed, and the property given to the corporation so that it can conduct it’s business – all at the expense of the private individual. Although Mississippi law allows (even encourages) this underhanded tactic, the Mississippi Constitution reads as if it strictly forbids it since no right is greater than secure ownership of private property.

    If this is actually the case (libertarians believe it is), then the eminent domain powers given to the state under the Mississippi Major Economic Impact Act are unconstitutional and ought to be abolished.

  14. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    The snippet above is from the Libertarian link.

    They seem to define “public” use in simple layman’s language that is devoid of courtroom mumbo jumbo, gobbleygook and beltway gibberish.

  15. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    HB 918 as Introduced – Would restrict eminent domain powers to only be used for real public use (roads, bridges, utilities, rights-of-way, government buildings)

    Failed: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2010/pdf/history/HB/HB0918.xml

    HB 918 Committee Substitute – Would allow MMEIA to retain it’s eminent domain powers and would mandate that all takings for MMEIA projects would be subject to Judicial review. However, since the MS Constitution doesn’t define “public use”, and since the Kelo decision stated that economic development and tax revenue can be considered “public use”, the courts would rule that taking property from one private owner and giving it to another private owner is Constitutional. So again, this bill would not have limited eminent domain abuse.

    Failed: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/2010/pdf/history/HB/HB0918.xml

  16. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    true independence~

    You were mumbling something about a history of “case precedence” in Mississippi courts which would prevent a bunch of “good ole Mississippi boys that went to Harvard” from conspiring with the MDA to seize private property for corporate use.

    Could you be more specific?

  17. True Independence

    Well Johnny,
    You have yet to address my section of the constitution I quoted for you. It is one ofthe strongest protections in a state constitution in the country. It is pretty plain and clear and doesn’t in lnclude any “beltway” language as you call it. Case precedence is binding authority on an issue from previous court decisions. This was no mumbling and has been the basis of the common law throughout the history of this country. If you don’t understand how it works, I can suggest some books for you. There are literally hundreds and thousands of cases on eminent domain over the last hundred and twenty years in this state. You can look up a number of them yourself for free. The house bill you mention would not matter even if it did pass because the constitution prevails over statutory authority. I think you just have a misunderstanding of what is going on. This initiative is simply duplicative of what is already in the constitution. If we are goig to do that, why don’t we just pass another freedom of religion amendment or freedom o the press?

  18. True Independence

    The provision you posted is not really a good one to reference here because it doesn’t really define what eminent domain is. It is clear in the constitution of this state that “public use” is a jury question. How can you get more protection than that?

  19. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    If the First Amendment to the Constitution were left to the interpretation of a bunch of dumbdowned, New South Mississippi “jurors,” those funeral-protesting Kansas Jayhawkers could have been tarred-n- feathered by a M-16-toting goonsquad and riden out on town on a rail and there wouldn’t be one juror vote to convict.

  20. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    Let me give you an example of REAL “case evidence” of eminent domain abuse and how the voters of an industrial state–Michigan before its most recent decline– resolved the land aquisition abuse through ballot initiative worded in clear layman’s language that even a “Philadelhia lawyer” could comprehend. The definitions of public use was certainly NOT left up to jurors as you suggest would guarantee “protection” against abuse.

    In the infamous Poletown eminent domain case, Polish immigrants were ethnically cleansed from their homes in order to build a General Motors plant. “What’s good for General Motors is good for Michigan” must have been in their thoughts.
    So, in light of the past Poletown abuses and the SCOTUS Kelo decision, Michigan voters marched to the polls, putting stiffer restrictions on government land taking abuse.

    Recent Changes in Michigan Eminent Domain Law

    Constitutional Amendments. As part of the 2006 general election,
    Michigan voters adopted Proposal 4, which amended Const 1963, art 10, §2. The
    amendments addressed public use, just compensation, and other rights afforded to
    condemned property owners.

    Public Use. In June 2005, the United States Supreme Court issued its
    decision in Kelo v City of New London, 545 US 469 (2005), holding that the federal
    constitution’s public use limitation permits the government to take property from one
    private owner and transfer it to another private owner for purposes of economic

    In Kelo’s wake, a number of states adopted measures rendering their own “public
    use” provisions more restrictive. Even though Wayne County v Hathcock interpreted
    Michigan’s public use limitation to prohibit the kind of takings that Kelo permitted,
    Michigan voters amended Const 1963, art 10, §2 to explicitly prohibit such takings in the
    text of the constitution itself:

    “Public use” does not include the taking of private property for transfer to a
    private entity for the purpose of economic development or enhancement of
    tax revenues. Private property otherwise may be taken for reasons of
    public use as that term is understood on the effective date of the
    amendment to this constitution that added this paragraph. Const 1963, art
    10, §2.

    In addition, the amendment explicitly placed the burden of proving that a taking
    complies with the public use limitation on the condemning agency. Under the
    amendment, condemning agencies generally must prove that a taking is for a public use
    by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard requires the agency to present
    evidence that the taking is for a public use that outweighs the evidence brought against
    the taking. See Hoholik v Metro Life Ins Co, 289 Mich 242, 249 (1939). When the
    taking is to eliminate blight, however, the condemning agency must demonstrate by
    clear and convincing evidence that the taking is for a public use. This is a higher
    evidentiary standard. See LoCricchio v Evening News Assoc’n, 438 Mich 84, 135
    (1991) (Cavanagh, J.). As amended, the constitutional section provides:


  21. True Independence

    Well all that would matter if this was Michigan. Fortunately we are not in Michigan, we are in Mississippi. Mississippi has it’s own protection and it’s own case laws that matter in Mississippi. To put it as simply as possible, Michigan cases and the Michigan constitution have absolutely no authority in Mississippi. Again, the constitutional section I quoted to you is pretty evident of the Mississippi protections. The Kelo case cannot take away from these protections.

  22. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    So, since you have read the Mississippi State Constitution and you are familiar with “case laws” that protect Mississippi landowners from corporate scoundrels and their watercarriers in the State Legislature, the MDA and the Governor’s mansion, what is it in the simple defining language on eminent domain in the Michigan State Constitution that would prevent that word-for-word language appearing in an initiative on a State of Mississippi ballot?

    What is it in the following language that could possibly violate the US Constitution:

    Public use” does not include the taking of private property for transfer to a
    private entity for the purpose of economic development or enhancement of
    tax revenues.

  23. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    It is clear in the constitution of this state that “public use” is a jury question. How can you get more protection than that?~true independence

    I defer to the Master:

    In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. ~ Thomas Jefferson

  24. True Independence

    Why in the world would I care to quote the Michigan constitution on a Mississippi matter? It’s hard to even attempt to answer your questions because you are all over the place. On top of it all, I think it is clear that you have a misunderstanding of the basics and structures of laws and the structure of our government on a federal and state level. I will see if I can compile you a list of books you can read on civics, federal and Mississippi government, the legal system, and history so you can educate yourself on the matter. Until you can do that, I don’t really have much else to say since you kind of talk yourself in circles.

  25. JohnnyPhillipMorris

    True Independence~

    The probem of eminent domain abuse is not just a Mississippi matter, if you even bothered to open the links that I have posted.

    The Progressive industrial States of the North have dealt with the problem of the usurpation of property rights of the people–such usurpation brought on by the ruse of obliterating “blight”– with constitutional amendments. In the poorer, agrarian South we face the ruse of corporate interests lobbying governors and legislators with the promise of jobs for the people and the “increase in taxation” to fill the coffers of the State.

    And it is nowhere more evident than in offices of MDOT and MDA that we have seen such abuse of eminent domain occur. Isn’t it ironic that both these offices are/were goobernatorial(sic) appointees–MDOT’s Butch Brown and MDA’s Leland Speed– and that neither had any expertise in their appointed fields, but were slimy land developers that made millions in real estate? Butch Brown was a “good ole boy from Natchez,” but I don’t think that he went to Harvard like the “good ole boy from Jackson, Leland Speed.”

    The November ballot initiative will NOT solve eminent domain abuse in Mississippi, but it can be a wakeup call to legislators that we want a REAL constitutional amendment with no loopholes…one patterened after our Yankee friends who seem to get somethings right, sometimes.

    That is, if Mississippi voters can find time to tear themselves away from the buffet tables, booze bars and ballgames and run like lemmings to the sea to throw the rascals out that want to take our land and deed it to foreign and domestic oligarchs from such places as Canada, Israel and the former Soviet Union.

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