Thursday, December 01, 2005

How Many Homes Will Be Destroyed In Order To Move CSX?

I keep reading where the new urbanist want to move the CSX railroad to some vague area North of the interstate. Exactly where are they planning to move the railroad? How many homes will be destroyed to make room for the railroad? How many rural communities will be changed for the worse in order to implement their plan? And how much tax money will be spent on the move?

Some things to consider before CSX is removed from the cities;
*Homes North of the Interstate were not destroyed by the storm surge. Destroying them now, in order to make way for the railroad would not only be cruel; it would create even more homeless people, at a time when we can ill afford them.

*The railroad tracks are on property not owned by CSX but exist by a prescriptive easement. This means if there is any attempt to cease the use of these tracks by the railroad the land will be returned to the heirs of this property. Either by direct purchase or even eminent domain, this would be an absolute legal nightmare involving hundreds of heirs of former property owners, it would be years before the land could be used for anything.

*The cost of moving the railroad, as estimated by the consulting firm of DMJM Harris of New Orleans, hired by Wayne Brown and MDOT, would be between $1.9 Billion and $2.9 Billion. That amount of money could rebuild every school, every bridge and most of the infrastructure on the entire Coast.

*The railroad tracks are not isolated to the state of Mississippi but are connected to the rail system coming from Alabama and Louisiana. Are these states going to move their tracks at the same time? If they don't we will be making a big, extremely expensive loop to accommodate a few peoples vision of what the coast should look like?

Now to address the new urbanist plans for the cities. On paper they sound and look nice but how practical are they?

How many of you are going to walk anywhere in the heat and humidity of summer? How many of you are going to be willing to walk in the wind, rain and chill of winter? How many tourist do you think are going to be willing to brave the elements and walk around? No matter how scenic the route if people are uncomfortable because of the weather they are not going to walk.

How many of you are going to be willing to live above offices and retail establishments? How many of you are going to be willing to live in homes without yards and share green spaces with every Tom, Dick and Harry?

As for turning Highway 90 into a scenic Beach Boulevard. How are the customers suppose to get to casinos, restaurants and retail establishments along Highway 90? Not everyone will be willing to take public transportation (assuming we have any). Wayne Brown and MDOT are right to plan for traffic. If you do not want traffic on Highway 90 then you will have to move the casinos, restaurants and retail establishments that people flock to to another location.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mortgage Companies Take Advantage of Hurricane Katrina Victims by Vida Palmer

My name is Vida Palmer, I am a life long resident of the state of Mississippi. We are the luckier victims of Hurricane Katrina, our home still stands with just some leaks in the roof, We can stay in our home because it was not flooded and although my kids rooms leaked, and many of their possessions were lost they are happy to sleep on the couch for now until we can repair their rooms and the rest of the house. I spent the first 7 days after the storm helping victims in the Biloxi area including bringing food and water from north Jackson County to Biloxi every day. Finally to my relief after 2 months of waiting desperately, (not to mention the end of our savings account), the insurance check finally arrived yesterday. We were all so relieved and the kids were happy because things would finally get back to normal. Their rooms could be fixed and all things were good.. right?WRONG!!

My husband went to the bank to deposit the check into our account. The bank said no it must be signed by the mortgage company. So already quite agitated, because I have lived here my whole life, been through all the storms since Camille, and never once had to have the mortgage company sign for my check!! I begin the nightmare process of contacting the loan company to see what is involved? Here is what I found, they want me to send the check endorsed by us to them (via mail) and they will then sign it. So I asked ?then you will send it back here?? No they will keep the check and disperse funds to me as they see fit to repair my home. So the Mortgage and Insurance companies have worked a deal so that the money can sit in their accounts and draw interest on our money while they slowly disperse the funds to us as they see fit!! The lady supervisor of Country Wide home loans said they had to "protect their investment"????????

I asked her where Country Wide was the days after the storm when I was spending my savings account buying Lumber to secure the fallen areas of my carport and home. They weren?t around to help protect the investment then. They also weren?t around to give out water, food, or help of any kind!! Now they are around because they want to profit from our loss. By placing everyone?s insurance checks in the Mortgage companies banks they can draw large amounts of interest that belong to us.

I contacted my local bank and they said several companies were trying this, they also said most of the local loan companies were signing off on the checks. However the out of town lenders like Country Wide were holding the funds. How can this be possible, it is my insurance that I pay for? I own most of my home out right, my home is no where near a total loss, but they will keep my check?

I told the supervisor at Country Wide that I would be joining a class action suit to stop them from doing this, In the mean time I am having my house refinanced from another lender so that I can cash my hurricane check with my release of lien form, as Country Wide Mortgage will never get their dirty paws on my insurance claim money. I am saddened to think of the people who don't have the options or finances I do, as their checks sit at the mortgage company while big business collects the interest stolen from hurricane victims and hand out a little at a time to them as they see fit. How do you sleep with yourself?

Sincerely Vida Palmer Moss Point, Ms
swampweasel@earthlink.net

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

By Eleanor "Cissy" Jordan ~ Coast Needs All The Help We Can Get

With all the recent talk(once again) of moving the railroad tracks “somewhere north” perhaps it is time to interject a bit of reality on this issue.

First: In 2003 MDOT spent more than $2 Million of our tax dollars to determine where the tracks should be re-located. The conclusion: There is no place north of Interstate 10 where the tracks can be moved. Too many sensitive environmental issues to even consider this move as feasible. An official of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife allowed such a move was “impossible”.

Second: Senator Trent Lott, a member of the Transportation Committee and now a chairman of a subcommittee, said publically: “The cost of moving these tracks is outrageous. I will not support moving the tracks any further north than Interstate 10.”

Third: The railroad tracks in Jackson County are on property not owned by CSX but exist by “prescriptive easement.” This means if there is any attempt to cease the use of these tracks by the railroad it requires that the land be returned to the heirs of this property. Either by direct purchase or even eminent domain, this would be an absolute legal nightmare involving hundreds of heirs of former property owners.

Fourth: The cost of moving the railroad, as estimated by the consulting firm of DMJM Harris of New Orleans, hired by Wayne Brown and MDOT, would be between $ 1.9 BILLION and $2.9 Billion. That amount of money could rebuild every school, every bridge and most of the infrastructure on the entire Coast. And it is tax dollars....our money... not coming out of the pockets of CSX, which, recently posted revenues of $2.13 BILLION!

Fifth: The plan to move the tracks is so flawed that the Jackson County Board of Supervisors in 2003 passed a resolution opposing this issue citing the reasons being” economically detrimental, interference with major transportation arteries, interference with county facilities, limiting growth and presenting a safety hazard as well as the impracticality of such a move.

Sixth: Any normal thinking person can readily understand that the railroad tracks are not isolated to the state of Mississippi but are “attached” to the rail system coming from Alabama and Louisiana. ARE these states going to move their tracks at the same time or are we making a big, extremely expensive loop to accommodate a few people?

Seventh: And perhaps the most compelling fact: Katrina caused the loss of homes to hundreds of people along the Coast. Are those of you who consider the tracks in our Coast cities an impediment to progress and a “nuisance” willing to cause the loss of hundreds of homes of people where the tracks would be located?
Shame on you if you answered yes to this question.

On the issue of safety regarding the current railroad crossings on the Coast the answer is not to relocate the tracks but to require CSX to provide adequate safety devices at each and every crossing. If CSX can post multi-million dollar annual revenues why can’t they provide adequate protection at these dangerous crossings?

Shortly before the consulting firm of DMJM Harris ceased the 2003 study I asked them what the comparative cost would be to elevate the tracks on the existing roadbed. The answer was very revealing. They had not even considered this possibility. Why?

If major cities in our nation can successfully elevate the rail system, and many without incurring a change in the character of the neighborhood, why can’t MDOT or the current planners of our future on this Coast consider this plan? We need the railroad, we need a viable east-west road to alleviate traffic congestion on Highway 90 and Pass Road and yet considering the marriage of these two systems together has been immediately dismissed by MDOT. Why?

Many who lost homes and property due to Katrina are moving north. If the contract to move the tracks was let today by the time the relocation was completed it is very possible we will have more people living North of Interstate 10 than now live South of Interstate 10. Moving the tracks north would be placing them where the population growth will occur.

Another disturbing aspect of this recent discussion is the secrecy and behind the scenes maneuvering in regard to the proposed sites for this relocation. This is a public issue, not one to be decided by a few regardless of the political or economic clout of those few. As the holder of a petition of more than 1,000 signatures( gathered within a very short period of time) of people in Jackson County who oppose the relocation of the tracks I personally feel the public should not be the victim here but an active participate. If we do not have the engineering talent within MDOT to
1. Locate the tracks down the middle of Interstate 10 as recommended by Senator Lott
2. Elevate the tracks on the existing roadbed, then we need to seek help outside the state as Wayne Brown has publically said both these proposals are not possible.

In conclusion: This is a bad idea, much like the plan to remove I-110. Relocating the railroad tracks is not a simple issue as it represents serious concerns for many people and has serious consequences, not the least of which is spending billions of our dollars unwisely at a time Coast needs all the help we can get.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

In Oct. 30th Letters to the Editor Sun Herald

Michael Barefield maintains the tracks could be moved without displacing homes. Too bad he is living in La La Land. The GOVERNMENT funded a study in 2000 at taxpayer expense http://makingtracks.org/. According to the engineers, who one can only hope knew what they were talking about considering the obscene amount of money they received, the median of I-10 is not suitable for railroad tracks 1.) It isn't big enough and 2.) The interstate curves too abruptly and railroad tracks have to go in a mostly straight line, with only gentle curves.He also maintains it wouldn't coast the federal government a dime to relocate the CSX rails there, not true! While the federal government already owns the land and would not have to purchase it CSX has no intention of relocating out of the goodness of their hearts, on the contrary they expect the government to foot the bill for the new rails.

He is also completely ignoring the land that would have to be purchased and the homes that would have to be destroyed in order for the railroad to create spurs to its customers on the coast (you know that industrial park he mentions).He does mention building overpasses and underpasses, but neglects the fact that they could be built at the railroads present location and achieve the same thing. "The trains could cross Mississippi without ever blowing a whistle or reducing speed for crossings." Why everyone is so determined to ignore the possibility of building overpasses or underpasses at the railroads present location is beyond me as this would prevent traffic from having to wait for trains to cross, prevent train-vehicle accidents, avoid delays in commerce and prevent anyone’s home from being destroyed in order to relocate the train.

Perhaps a better question to ask is why the powers that be will not tell anyone where they want to relocate the rails too. They just reply with a vague North of the Interstate, when questioned. Could it be because they fear the huge outcry from the residents who would lose their homes if they choose the route the government study favored? Could it be because they fear the huge outcry from taxpayers when they discover what the cost would be to take these peoples homes away from them by eminent domain?

Monday, October 24, 2005

October 24th Soundoff in Sun Herald

Raise the tracks
• Moving the railroad tracks is not the solution. The only solution to the railroad track problem is by putting the railroad tracks above the ground on a bridge. This is the only way that cars will not have to cross railroad tracks.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Don't Let Dead Snakes Come Back To Life



October 20th, 2005 Town Meeting
South Mississippi is a good place to make a living, it's a wonderful place to make a life. Let's keep it that way for everyone; including those residents who live North of the Interstate.
Jerry St. Pe said, " Don't let dead snakes come back to life--don't expend scarce resources on bad ideas." Relocating the railroad North of the Interstate is definitely a dead snake that needs to be put to sleep for good. When the government study was halted in 2003, they concluded there was nowhere North of Interstate 10 to relocate it too. To spend time and money on this BAD IDEA is a waste of both.
Now that BAD IDEA is out of the way, I would like to mention some of the good ideas.
  1. Public access to coastal waters, public spaces along the waterfront.
  2. Reduced dependency on automobiles, bike and pedestrian paths.
  3. Consider consolidating public services along the region, including a county based school system.
  4. Ferry between Ocean Springs and Biloxi (Great idea as long as it's affordable).
Public Comments made at the meeting.
Becky Gillette is concerned about the ecological impact a reservoir would have on our area and pointed out it is incompatible with our goal of promoting eco-tourism.
Jacob A Mass is concerned about affordable housing. He pointed out that areas of Moss Point were eye sores before Katrina. He also called the Coast a Gumbo (of races and economic levels) and stated that we owe it to ourselves to make sure every seasoning in this Gumbo is tasted. Even though Mr. Mass happens to be African American, he does not see this as a race issue.
Frank Leach(Jackson County Board of Supervisors) is concerned about the railroad relocation, but looks forward to a blending of the communities where we all work together.
As a member of the audience said after the meeting. "Don't railroad people out of their homes in order to relocate the railroad".

Move on to other ideas by Cissy Jordan

Two years ago MDOT hired a consulting group for $4 million to find a route suitable to move the present CSX railroad tracks. After spending $2 million plus of our tax money they ceased the search and this was their conclusion: THERE IS NO PLACE NORTH OF THE INTERSTATE SUITABLE FOR RELOCATING THE TRACKS. NONE.....THERE ARE ENVIORNMENTAL AND OTHER ISSUES THAT PROHIBIT ANY MOVE NORTH OF THE INTERSTATE. Officials with the U. S. Fish and Wildlife have concurred with this conclusion. We have three endangered species in Jackson County alone that would prohibit an intrusion of a relocation of these tracks. Senator Trent Lott has publically stated: "I will not support any expenditure of funds to move the tracks any further north than the Interstate" And he added: Without my support it will not happen. The cost to move these tracks(estimated at $2.2 to $3 Billion dollars) is outrageous." Fact: When this issue came up two years ago the Jackson County Board of Supervisors unamiously voted against moving the railroad tracks as did other government entities. Jackson County depends on the tracks to service industrial clients. Fact: How can you sit here and even think of moving the tracks when it is patently obvious YOU ARE NOT CONSIDERING THE EXISTING CONNECTIONS TO THE TRACKS IN ALABAMA AND LOUISIANA.. So you are saying you want to spend billions of dollars that are needed to rebuild our infrastructure up and down the Coast just to make a silly loop to accomodate some people who have far flung ideas but are not aware of the facts? Fact: No study has ever been made to consider elevating the tracks or creating overpasses and using the roadbed in Harrison County for an East/West corridor. Why not? Fact: By the time such a relocation of these tracks is finished more people will be living north of Interstate than will be living on the Coast, thus such a move will more disruptive than if you leave the tracks where they are and spend this godawful amount of money to help people get their lives restored. In conclusion: Suggesting that the tracks be moved is not like removing your neighbors dog poop from your lawn. There are no locations north of the Interstate where these tracks can be moved.....we suggest you move on to other ideas.

Soundoffs October 23, Sun Herald

Which came first?
• What are all these complaints about houses being built by railroad tracks? The tracks were there before the houses were. It was there before the businesses were there. In fact, houses and businesses were built to be near the railroad tracks.


Geniuses abound
• Remember when Biloxi paid serious money for experts to plan for its future? The experts wanted to move the Lighthouse and dig a canal into downtown and build a harbor there. I put those plans on the same level as moving the railroad tracks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Guest Columnist - Meridian Star

Alawine: Get heads out of sand By BO ALAWINE / guest columnist Meridian Star, Wednesday, October 19, 2005

OCEAN SPRINGS - On a recent visit to my hometown of Meridian, I had the occasion to peruse The Meridian Star. Craig Ziemba's Oct. 9 column, “Defining success in war on terror,” was of most interest to me as a primer on how easy it is to bury our heads in the sand and deny the obvious.Mr. Ziemba claimed, as well-established fact, that “our troops are attacking them over there and disrupting their ability to wage war over here.” His proof? “We've not had another terrorist attack on the United States since Sept. 11.”
Based on this type of reasoning, I can confidently claim my cat Whiskers has been successful at preventing the field mice in the pasture next door from stealing my truck. How can I make that claim? Well, Whiskers is hunting the field mice next door, keeping them tied up, thus not allowing them time to put into action any of their nefarious plans. Plus, my truck is still in the driveway.Mission accomplished!What Mr. Ziemba is trying to pull here is a sleight-of-hand. The original case for military action in Iraq was based on the now refuted certainty that Saddam Hussein possessed vast quantities of weapons of mass destruction, presenting a clear and immediate danger to the United States. In fact, the American people and the rest of the world were told that use of these biological, chemical and nuclear weapons was imminent, either through the state action of Iraq or through surrogate actors like al-Qaida. Thus, the Bush policy of pre-emption.As the Iraqi conflict has continued (long past the “Mission Accomplished” photo op), the justifications for the Iraqi war have changed. A partial list of these changing reasons are:
  • 1. WMD (Not found)
  • 2. Association with and/or sponsorship of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations (Not true)
  • 3. “Saddam was a very bad man.” (Duh!)
  • 4. Restoring human rights and spreading democracy (specious at best)
  • 5. Global War on Terror (which became the Struggle Against Global Extremism)
  • 6. “Fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here.”
  • 7. Stay the course; i.e., we can't cut and run. (Vietnam syndrome)

Suffice it to say the reason we are in Iraq now is not the original reason we were told we needed to be there. In essence, someone either lied or really screwed up. For example, does anyone remember how we were going to pay for this war? Give yourself an A-plus if you answered, “By pumping lots of Iraqi oil.”I am often amazed by the naivete, ignorance or downright intellectual dishonesty displayed by those of Mr. Ziemba's ilk concerning war in Iraq. Mr. Ziemba fails to understand (or refuses to admit) there is nothing cowardly about the calls to stop sacrificing the lives of some of our best and brightest for a policy of “staying the course.” I would go even further by demanding to know if it is even moral. Exactly what is this “noble cause” for which our parents, spouses, children and friends are fighting, being maimed and dying?Critically questioning our leaders is not unpatriotic; in fact, it is perhaps the best type of support we can provide for our troops: holding our leaders accountable for the decisions to send our citizens to war in the first place.The war in Afghanistan was justified but incomplete. The war in Iraq is a mistake and never-ending.To argue otherwise is burying your head in the sand.

Bo Alawine, a Meridian native and 1983 graduate of Clarkdale Attendance Center who currently lives in Ocean Springs, is a computer programmer/systems engineer for a defense contractor

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The People Who Live North of Interstate 10 Matter Too

It never ceases to amaze me that people do not care that in order to relocate the railroad, families will lose their homes. You would think that after so many people lost homes to Katrina they would be less anxious to see more people lose their homes to bulldozers.

October 15th Letters to the Editor (Sun Herald)

Hal Hardaman wants to destroy my community so he can turn Highway 90 into a scenic boulevard. Please!........ What is so great about looking at a bunch of casinos and souvenir shops Highway 90 is a commercial area and should be treated as such. As to saving lives building an overpass/underpass and installing crossing gates at the railroads current locations would save lives, cost a lot less and not involve taking families homes away from them.

I received a very nice e-mail from SUZI GRAVENSTUK explaining she did not realize homes would be destroyed in order to relocate the railroad.


Thank you for explaining patiently to me. I was assuming there was land available, not neighborhoods. Actually, I am used to the rail road and would be willing to continue to accept that burden to your neighborhoods and wildlife would be undisturbed. I was partially in gest speaking directly to Mr. Koonse and his letter of October 8th. If you re read that letter you may actually be a little amused. Mr. Koosne was whining and belly aching about NOT being able to sleep because his railroad was "no more". My point was that rail roads do the same work wherever they are located. They don't have to be located by us to accomplish the work that they do, and, IF, the rail roads were moved I was sure Mr. Koonse could find someone to swap homes with, so he could continue hearing the trains at night, and the new people would not have to hear them. Yours was the kinder of letters I have received. I understand fully where you all are coming from. I advocate moving the railroad , how about to Beach Blvd., or why can't they build a railroad bridge from Louisiana to Alabama and spare us all. Any way, I hear you and apologize for stepping on your toes


At least one person understands how I feel.
Here is her letter, as it appeared in the October 15th Letters to the Editor printed in THE SUN HERALD.

Relocating the tracks would destroy our homes
I am outraged by the people who are using Hurricane Katrina to push their agenda for moving the railroad tracks north of the Interstate. Apparently they do not understand that in order to relocate the tracks people's homes would be destroyed... Or maybe they just don't care.

Before you advocate moving the tracks, consider this, the people whose lives you want to destroy are the very people who are helping the Coast rebuild, through donations and personal assistance.

There is no vacant land north of the Interstate. Expensive new subdivisions are being built every day. My family just built a new home that weathered the hurricane with no damage. We do not wish to have it taken from us by the relocate-the-tracks crowd.

Now is the time for CSX to build overpasses and underpasses at the railroads current location. The engineers said it wasn't feasible before due to the buildings on either side of the tracks. Thanks to the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, that is no longer a consideration.

Wouldn't it make more sense to encourage the people whose homes and business were destroyed by the storm surge to relocate north, so they wouldn't have to fear the destruction of their homes when future hurricanes visit our Coast? With global warming we cannot be certain that Katrina is the last or even the worst big storm we will see.

Please do not compound the destruction of Katrina by destroying people's homes north of the Interstate to please a vocal minority who want to move the tracks.

ELLA JOHNSON
Vancleave

http://blog.360.yahoo.com/blog-mHWLetM4aa9w2ytnj_fJuy.YW.E3

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rebuilding Mississippi

I am appalled the relocate-the-tracks crowd continues to use Hurricane Katrina to push their agenda. Apparently they do not care that people’s homes, homes that withstood the wrath of Katrina, would be destroyed in the process.

The presence of endangered species in the area of Latimer makes relocating the tracks to our area environmentally unsound (see Red Cockaded Woodpecker, Non-Migrating Mississippi Sandhill Crane, Gofer Tortoise, and Quill Wart Grass).

Perhaps you are unaware that there is a petition with a 1,000 signatures on it objecting to having the railroad relocated North of Interstate 10. Jackson County is opposed to relocating the railroad, as are the Ocean Springs aldermen. The government study http://www.makingtracks.org/, which was funded in 2000 and halted in 2003, came to the conclusion there was nowhere North of Interstate 10 suitable for relocating the tracks. Senator Trent Lott has said publicly that he opposes relocating the tracks any further North than Interstate 10, and that the cost (an estimated $2.2 billion) for such relocation, was cost prohibitive and he could NOT SUPPORT SUCH A COST TO TAXPAYERS!

The residents of Latimer have offered help to the Coastal communities that were destroyed by Katrina’s storm surge; we do not deserve to be repaid by having our homes destroyed by the relocate-the-tracks crowd--homes that for the most part survived Hurricane Katrina with minimal damage. Rather then allowing MDOT to take peoples homes away from them by eminent domain, I suggest the railroad build overpasses or elevated tracks at their current location.

Many people live North of Interstate 10, and would be adversely impacted by relocating the railroad to their communities. Communities we moved to because we wanted to enjoy the peace of the countryside.

There is NO REASON that will justify demolishing peoples homes and destroying the peace of our countryside, just to relocate the railroad tracks.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Katrina


After eating a lovely brunch at Bayview Gourmet in Ocean Springs. Which is even more crowded then usual due to the scarcity of restaurants, and short staffed to boot, we decided to tour Ocean Springs.

First we drove to the Biloxi - Ocean Springs bridge. Seeing the concrete tossed to and fro like blocks after a toddlers temper tantrum is sobering, and gives you a new appreciation for the POWER of WIND & WATER. Then we drove along the beach in Ocean Springs, seeing homes that were just "gone", yards that had huge sink holes in them where the water had washed the ground away, and memories of someone's life scattered to the wind is depressing.

But there are signs of rebuilding everywhere and the capacity of the human spirt to survive almost anything nature throws at it, gives me hope.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Don't Want To Hear The Train Whistle Morning, Noon, & Night Either

Poor CHRISTOPHER NORTON of Ocean Springs, he doesn't want to hear the train whistle morning, noon and night.

Well Mr. Norton, I don't want my home destroyed so YOU won't have to listen to a train. The train was there before you, if you didn't like the sound of train whistles why on earth did you buy a house next to a train track?????

How dare you suggest they move the train. ......................... so you won't have to listen to it. For one thing I moved to the country for peace and quite, I certainly don't won't to hear the train whistle morning, noon and night either and unlike you I didn't buy a home next to a train track, I bought one in the country. Secondly relocating the train would involve destroying peoples homes. I think having a roof over my head and the head of my neighbors is a little more important then you having to listen to a train.

Gary & Sheila Lorenz's Letter Makes This Writer As Livid As It Made Me


This letter appeared in the Sun Herald, Thusday, September 22.


Railroad tracks saved lives and property of thousands

After reading the letter by Gary and Shelia Lorenz in Sunday's paper, I am absolutely livid. To suggest that everything south of the railroad tracks be converted to what amounts to nothing more than glorified tourist traps totally ignores the lives and the rights of many whose families have lived and owned property there for generations.

Perhaps the Lorenzes would have a better understanding if it were suggested that their neighborhood and their home be leveled and converted into a parking lot for those same tourists.

As for relocating the CSX tracks north of Gulfport, the idea now is sheer folly. I and my neighbors personally can attest to the fact that had it not been for those tracks being there and acting as a natural tidal surge barrier, our homes and our lives would now be in shambles... if we had managed to survive. There is now no doubt that those tracks saved lives and property. I personally will fight to my last breath to keep those tracks right where they are. My neighbors have stated the same as well.

Let San Francisco, Long Beach and Galveston have the tourist traps. Leave the charm and ambience of our Gulf Coast as it was and will be again.

Common sense dictates that we give the job of rebuilding the Coast the vital consideration needed to protect property, lives, and our economic welfare from future natural disasters, but it also dictates that we consider the lives, rights and well-being of our people who live here as well.

JOHN STACHURA

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Relocate The Tracks Crowd Would Destroy the Homes of Those Who Helped Them

I am appalled that the move the tracks zealots such as GARY & SHEILA LORENZ (9/18 letter in The Sun Herald) would use Hurricane Katrina as a means to push their agenda. Many of us who live North of the Interstate, have reached out to help those in the areas destroyed by the storm surge, we do not deserve to be repaid by having our homes destroyed to please the relocate the tracks crowd.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Our Homes Survived Hurricane Katrina Don't Let The Railroad Destroy Our Homes

I would like to thank BFI, garbage service was the first service restored to my home, and believe me it was a relief to get rid of the garbage aroma we had been living with. I would like to thank Singing River EPA for working around the clock to restore power. And The Sun Herald is to be commended for printing free papers. The paper was the only way we had to receive outside news for quite some time, and The Sun Herald’s newspapers were much appreciated by this household when we could get them. And last but not least I would like to thank Cableone, it so nice to be able to get online again.

It was with dismay I read the September 11th, editorial in the Sun Herald about relocating the railroad The communities of Latimer, Vancleave, and Larue (all North of Interstate 10) survived the wrath of Hurricane Katrina with minimal to moderate damage to our homes. We do not wish to see our homes taken from us by eminent domain so they can be flattened to make way for the railroad. Considering the fact that many people along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are now homeless, and there is a severe housing shortage forcing many families to relocate out of state, it is the height of stupidity to suggest that homes that withstood Hurricane Katrina should be destroyed so the railroad can be relocated. A more intelligent suggestion would be that MDOT and the Railroads take this opportunity and work together to build overpasses at their current location.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Letter from an Idiot who wants to move the RR so Drunks and Malcontents will not get hurt and my response to it

Your letter reminded me of a semi amusing article a university professor wrote several years ago in The Journal of Mississippi History about the history of Picayune, MS. The writer said there was an old dowager who owned most of the land there, and she thought development was okay as long as it wasn't on HER property--lol! Well, as for the idea that the rr trax should not be in north of the cities, au contraire, sis! Those of us who live near RR streets have seen a lot, not the least of which have been several hearsts after some drunk from a casino or some malcontent who is depressed has ended it all by not looking to the left and right before crossing! Now that the cities are getting big time, it's HIGH time those tracks got as RURAL as possible. Get with the times, hon. I don't know how old you are (I am 50), but I doubt we'll see ANY change in the near future. Have a nice day.

S

My response to S
Crossing gates and over passes would prevent drunks from running into trains. When you choose to live in the city the train was already there, so learn to deal with it rather then making it someone else's problem.

What you city folk don't seem to care about is the fact that people will LOSE their HOMES if the RR track is moved. I have friends in their 50's & 60's who have lived in their homes for generations. How fair is it for the government to take away their home by eminent domain just so you won't have to worry about some drunk or malcontent getting hit by a train. My husband and I have worked hard to afford a home for ourselves and our children, how fair is it to take our home away, just because you don't want to live by a train anymore. By the way we have drunks and malcontents north of the interstate too, do their lives not matter just because they don't live in the city????

And where do you think the trains customers are??? They are in the city. So that is where the RR belongs, and hopefully it will stay there forever. If you don't like it move, don't tell me I have to give up my home. And you are living in La La land if you think there are any undeveloped areas north of the interstate. New expensive sub divisions are going in every day. So the next time you want them to move the RR think about how much TAX money it would cost. If you don't care about other people losing their homes maybe you'll at least care about the money the government would have to spend. And not that it matters but I am 39.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Government Website

http://makingtracks.org/

Work was stopped after numerous Latimer and Vancleave residents who would lose their homes if the route recommend by the engineers was used complained to Senator Trent Lott.

Looks like they also want to use our tax dollars to relocate the railroad in Texas too.
http://corridornews.blogspot.com/2005/10/its-our-tax-dollars-that-will-fund.html

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Moving the Rail Road Would Destroy People's Homes

I was dismayed to read Caroline Grady’s letter to the editor entitled Train-delayed minutes could mean life or death. http://www.sunherald.com/mld/sunherald/news/editorial/letters/12288598.htm

The residents who live north of the interstate also have emergencies. We too need fire trucks to protect our homes and ambulances to rescue our loved ones to arrive in a timely manner. Caroline Grady knew there was a railroad in Biloxi when she moved there; she should just learn to deal with the inconvenience instead of trying to inconvenience someone else. And does she know for sure that a fire truck on the other side of the tracks wasn’t already where it was needed?

I moved to the country to escape air pollution, high traffic volume, and noise pollution; the railroad would bring all of these to my rural/residential area.

Rural areas do not have the infrastructure to deal with chemical spills and other hazardous accidents. Cities, which are already threatened with hazardous pollutants from a number of sources already, have plans and equipment in place to handle accidents of this sort.

Many of the families in Latimer have owned their homesteads for several generations. Other families like mine have scrimped and saved to buy a home that we treasure. We do not wish to have our homes taken from us by the railroad; so a few people in Biloxi will not be inconvenienced.

The best solution is to leave the railroad exactly where it is. Insist that CSX build overpasses where practical and put up crossing gates at all crossings. Keep the railroad in the city where it belongs

Keep the Railroad in the City

I was dismayed to read the soundoff “move the tracks”. Apparently some whinny Biloxi motorist was inconvenienced by having to sit in traffic. Well while keeping the tracks in their present location may inconvenience them, it is better then the heartbreak of moving the tracks north of the interstate and taking peoples homes away from them. Having to sit in traffic is a MINOR INCONVINCE, having a home you love and worked hard for taken away from you by eminent domain is heartbreaking and a MAJOR INCONVINCE.

So Mr./Mrs. Biloxi motorist the next time you get stuck in traffic because of a train consider these things before you suggest they be moved.

The residents who live north of the interstate do not wish to be inconvenienced by the railroad either. We too have emergencies and places we have to get to on time. Instead of trying to inconvenience someone else, why don’t you suggest they build overpasses in the railroad tracks present location?

I moved to the country to escape air pollution, high traffic volume, and noise pollution; the railroad would bring all of these to my rural/residential area.

Rural areas do not have the infrastructure to deal with chemical spills and other hazardous accidents. Cities, which are already threatened with hazardous pollutants from a number of sources already, have plans and equipment in place to handle accidents of this sort.

Many of the families in Latimer have owned their homesteads for several generations. Other families like mine have scrimped and saved to buy a home that we treasure. We do not wish to have our homes taken from us by the railroad; so a few people in Biloxi will not be inconvenienced, by having to sit in traffic.

Leave the train tracks where they are. Let the residents of Latimer keep the homes they love. Motorist can always take alternate routes to get where they are going.