Welcome to Misery...Lumberton Is One Step Closer to Losing Its School
Thursday the Senate Education Committee voted to abolish Coahoma Agricultural High School and the Lumberton school district. News of this pending decision was released days before the Hattiesburg American published its Sunday edition of propaganda. Instead of focusing on a legislative decision that would greatly impact the City of Lumberton, they opted to do a fluff story on Kent Crider; giving him front page status to continue to announce his campaign plans because none of the things discussed came to fruition but it discussed things he hoped for during his administration. Hopefully Kent will not forget to mention that Lumberton lost its school system in his campaign literature for re-election. There are some that are going to say that the elected officials of Lumberton did not have a hand in the closing of Lumberton’s school and they would be wrong. For the last 8-12 years, elected officials have been beholden to those that own the majority of the prime land in Lumberton (Paul Ockmond, Jerry Brown and Ben Winston) and every board refused to raise the millege rate (taxes) because their decisions are made to please these few instead of ensuring stability for the City of Lumberton. The main reason these schools were targeted, according to Committee Chairman Gary Tollison, R-Oxford, is the fact that the
“school districts don’t generate enough local revenue…”The elected officials gambled with the future of the City of Lumberton because of personal agendas and lost a school in the process.
In more disturbing news, the day after the Hattiesburg American published that fluff story about how Lumberton is rising from the ashes like the Phoenix with a pseudo rebirth a study was released outlining the most miserable cities in Mississippi and Lumberton was #6. As a lifelong resident of Lumberton, I have noticed the continual decline of Lumberton but I wouldn’t categorize the city as miserable; we have miserable representatives that are elected over and over again and they contribute to the deterioration of the city’s infrastructure because they are focused on tearing down their own barns and building bigger ones so they can have enough stored away for years to come, take it easy, eat, drink and be merry while the city suffer from the consequences of their poor choices. The criterion for the study included the percentage of residents with college degrees, average commute times, unemployment rates, cost of living, percent of married couples, percent of home owners and poverty rate. In other words, the study is subjective. On the bright side, we were not in the Top 5.
Now, let’s dissect the study. According to the story, happiness is based on a college degree but keep in mind that there are plenty of people living in Lumberton that have good paying jobs that didn’t require a college education. Having a college degree is a personal choice and I become miserable every month when I write a check to Sallie Mae (that’s not the company that actually receive my payments but people are familiar with that name). There’s a lot of people that have earned degrees and moved away from Lumberton because they can’t find employment in Lumberton. As far as commute times, after the closure of Cooper Industries and other businesses on Industrial Park Drive, most people know they must commute in order to work. With the exception of one job, all of my jobs have been in Hattiesburg and there are others that travel further for employment. So commute time is not really a factor. The unemployment rates are high everywhere but the difference between Lumberton and other Mississippi cities is the fact that their elected officials are making moves to bring industry to their town. Lumberton have too many elected officials that are beholden to the likes of Paul Ockmond and Ben Winston and can’t make decisions that are best for Lumberton because they’re making decisions that please their masters. I almost forgot, Crider is bragging about the rebar facility that’s adding to the junkification of a high traffic area and I see there’s some workers there but how many Lumberton residents have been hired to work at this facility?
They also evaluated marriage and home ownership as criteria for happiness but with a 50% divorce rate, it seems that a lot of people are unhappily married. Homeownership is a very good investment but with a high unemployment rate it’s hard for people to invest in a home. Drive around Lumberton and look at the number of for sale signs. It’s rather daunting but as I said the study is subjective. One person said that they love the people of Lumberton but don’t like those governing the city but it’s the people that elect those governing the city….well the 401 out of 1,614 registered voters that actually vote. There’s a lot of things I like about Lumberton and there’s a lot of things I don’t like about Lumberton but I think the good outweigh the bad. People can keep electing the same idiots and thinking Lumberton is going to magically change but at some point, they will see that success of failure of this city is not tied to the color of the administration. It’s sad that those that have lived in Lumberton all of their life think people that washed up after Hurricane Katrina has a better understanding of how to run this city than those that actually grew up here. They trust you enough to vote them in office but they dredge the swam for clerks. Interesting. I’m not proud of those that represent this city and I’m embarrassed by the fact that this board is determined to keep a city clerk that can’t create a budget or effectively use BBI, refuse to hold land hoarders accountable by exposing them for wanting far more than fair market price for their land while running away businesses but they want to sell an entire hospital and land for less than $500. I don’t think the City of Lumberton is miserable but it’s well on its way to becoming a miserable place. Once the school is gone Bancorp South will follow because the Lamar County School District banks with Hancock Bank. The Lumberton School District is the biggest depositor in Lumberton and without them there will no longer be a local bank. Keep making poor political choices and watch your city continue to falter. I guess the inclusion of Lumberton in the survey is turning out to be a self-fulling prophecy. Misery loves company!