Skip to content

Jan. 10, 2008

Hasty Meetings Were Slap To Yalobusha Voters

Dear Editor,

    December 11th proved that given the choice, Yalobushians will vote for freedom. A record turnout was set for a single issue special election, a turnout that rivaled any election in recent memory, proving once and for all that the hypocrisy of having legal liquor and cold wine, but illegal beer made no sense to the vast majority of the population.  The democratic process worked.

    Many of the hundreds of people I talked to prior to this election hoped that this vote would not only signal a change for beer, but also for progress and openness in this county.  Water Valley’s Board of Aldermen and the County Board of Supervisors had other ideas. In what amounts to a political slap in the face to the majority of the electorate, the aldermen (with the exception of Fred White) and supervisors hastily enacted and without any public notice, the most restrictive beer sales laws in the State of Mississippi and as best as I know, the most restrictive in the United States.

    I do not believe that is what the majority of voters December 11th wanted. In the city of Water Valley where the vote was over 3 to 1 in favor and countywide where the vote was 2 to 1 in favor, it seems our aldermen and supervisors are incapable of absorbing simple math.

    If the new beer laws were not galling enough, the greater wrong is the manner and method they used to enact those laws. These two boards slam dunked these privately pre-decided upon laws through at the first possible opportunity. No advance public comment was asked for, no legitimate survey undertaken; no one that I know of was solicited for an opinion. These two boards, led by their de-facto leaders/legal councils, rammed through their personal bias through pre-arranged laws clearly against the will of all present. Those present, who only heard of the meetings at the last minute, and the electorate as whole had no voice in these hastily enacted laws.

    The manner in which the boards acted should come as no surprise, as they rarely publish publicly their real agendas and absolutely love their private executive sessions. The lack of transparency in their actions and the “do as we feel” attitude is the ongoing greater insult to county residents.  Now, if you happen to meet each alderman or supervisor on an individual basis, they come across as sincere and genuine people, but on the boards together there is a disturbing collective incompetence that ill serves the majority of citizens. Their way of doing our business must change.

    As for the supervisors’ fiscal competence, I am quite sure they will quickly and happily spend the new tax revenue legal beer has brought. Since legal sales have started, one store alone in Water Valley has increased its daily tax deposit by 230 percent. That’s almost an extra $400 a day paid in taxes from one store.  Paradoxically, it is this very money that they fought so hard to stop by spending needlessly twenty-thousand for the special election to satisfy special interests, when the beer vote could have been held concurrent with the November general election. One supervisor at the December 19th meeting came out strongly for the “integrity of our community”.  He should be first concerned about the integrity of the institution of which he is an elected member.

    This situation need not remain so pathetic. The boards should consistently publish their agendas a week minimum in advance. Emergency sessions and votes should be used for only real emergencies. Executive sessions must stop, they are solely for closed door wheeling and dealing. Most important, with the current aldermen in office for another two years and the supervisors for another four, the public demands a higher accountability and more participation in the decision making process.


Mickey Howley,
613 Blackmur Drive,
Water Valley, MS


Yalobushians Tell City Hall It Is Time For Change

Okay folks we won on getting beer sales in Yalobusha County now let’s not mess this up. Let’s enjoy this new deal. We got rid of the antiquated law now let’s not start breaking other laws. Keep your beer bottles and cans off the street and in your own garbage cans. DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE.

As you can see by the writings in this newspaper that Tommy Swearengen, et al are trying their best to stifle the new beer law by not wanting Yalobusha County to sell beer on Sunday. I can go along with that until after Church services, but not the rest of the day.

Also, Tommy Swearengen, et al are trying now to NOT have COLD beer for sale. Tommy’s reasoning, which is so antiquated like Oxford, is that folks will buy a can or bottle of beer and drink it while driving.

I got news for you Tommy, if folks do that kind of thing they can just as well get a can of beer out of their refrigerators and do the same thing. Don’t be so naive. If folks are that ignorant and get caught it is their problem.

All Tommy, et al want to do is strap the beer drinkers down with yet another antiquated law. On the next election, the voters in Yalobusha county should start voting OUT people like Tommy who have antiquated ideas and have tunnel vision.

If I am not mistaken the STATE allows the sale of cold beer and the sale of beer on Sunday. Why are we so different? Tommy, e tal should worry about all the other trash that is tossed along the highways and roads such as hamburger wrappings, paper cups, etc. and do something about that.

Do something useful Tommy and get off the beer drinkers because now you are prejudiced and unhappy because you lost this vote at 2 to 1. The people of Yalobusha County are trying to tell the people in City Hall that it is time for a change and long overdue at that.

Vote out these folks in the next election. Before you vote, ask them how they voted for beer in Yalobusha County. Then vote accordingly.

Gene Stella
10904 CR 436
Water Valley

Leave a Comment