Monthly Archives: July 2008

U.S. Senator vs. state senator

From a column by Alan Ehrenhalt:

A 21st-century U.S. senator is, virtually by the nature of the job, a gadfly. He flits from one issue to another, generally developing little expertise on any of them; devoting a large portion of his day to press conferences and other publicity opportunities; following a daily schedule printed on a 3×5 card that a member of his staff has prepared; depending even more heavily on staff for detailed and time-consuming legislative negotiation that he is too busy to attend; and developing few close relationships with his colleagues, nearly all of whom are as busy as he is…

By contrast, what does a state legislator do? At his worst, he is doggedly parochial, someone who tends first and foremost to the interests of a relatively small local constituency. At his best, he keeps all the state’s significant issues in mind, and it is possible to do that in a state legislature in a way that is not possible in Washington.

Read the entire column.

Phoenicia Gourmet Cuisine, Ocean Springs

Last week’s lunch at the Phoenicia Gourmet Cuisine, Ocean Springs was a most pleasant dining experience, featuring an appetizer of Hummus ( theirs is a blend of Chick Pea, Tahini, Lemon Juice & Garlic) and bread, a table by the front window and a delicious entree of mahi-mahi topped with a sauce that tasted – well, Mediterranean.  Speaking of Mediterranean, I was told that the Phoenicia was a Greek restaurant, and then I read reviews describing it as a Lebanese restaurant, a Middle Eastern restaurant and a Mediterranean restaurant.  It describes itself as featuring Mediterranean Cuisine.

Reviews on the Internet seem to be mixed, but from my experience I would rate it eight stars out of 10 for lunch.  I also couldn’t help but notice that there was a short wait for a table, the best indicator of what diners think about a restaurant. Locals told me that it’s also a great place for breakfast.

For a town its size, Ocean Springs has a surprising variety of unique restaurants.  Some say that many of the New Orleans chefs came this way after Hurricane Katrina and had a positive effect on local cuisine.  Click here for a listing of Ocean Springs restaurants.  There are many and they are varied.

Phoenicia Gourmet Cuisine
1223 Government St
Ocean Springs, Mississippi

My column on the housing bailout bill is not coming along because…

I can’t get past the first three words that come to mind –




Mississippi Gulf Coast “aerospace corridor” is taking off.

Economic developers from the Mississippi Gulf Coast attended what I think is one of the coolest air shows in the world –   the Farnborough International Air Show.  (Just for the record, I did not attend.)   Click here to read a Mississippi Press article about their trip.

The airshow, established in 1948 and held every other year, has become a popular spot for aircraft debuts, and it drew more than 1,000 exhibitors, 263,000 attendees and $42 billion in announced sales In 2006.

Caterpillar rebuilds Oxford, Mississippi plant

Caterpillar Inc. held a ceremony Saturday in Oxford to rededicate the hose coupling plant, which resumed limited production less than two weeks after the tornado. It is expected to resume full production by the end of the year.  Read more about it in this Forbes article.

Mississippi Senator Alan Nunnelee Tapped for National Committee

Mississippi Senator Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, has been appointed Vice Chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Health Committee.  North Carolina Speaker of the House and incoming NCSL President Joe Hackney recently announced the appointment.

“I am honored to represent the interests of state legislatures in the continuing debate over the changing state-federal relationship,” Nunnelee said.

The Health Committee is one of 11 standing committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The standing committees are responsible for developing policies that guide NCSL’s activities on Capitol Hill and within the administration. The policies stress three themes: opposition to unfunded federal mandates, prevention of unnecessary preemption of state laws and protection of state revenue sources.

“Senator Nunnelee brings a great deal of knowledge and experience to the table,” said Speaker Joe Hackney. “As a leader of this important committee, Senator Nunnelee will help determine NCSL policies relating to Medicare, Medicaid, health cost and access.”

Nunnelee is chairman of the state senate’s Appropriations Committee and serves as Vice Chairman of the Public Health and Welfare Committee as well as a number of other national committees addressing public health issues.

“I’m convinced that access to affordable quality health care is one of the most important issues facing our state and nation,” Nunnelee said. “I have spent most of my legislative career in these areas, and I am honored that Speaker Hackney has asked me to serve in this important leadership position. This leadership role will allow me to better serve the people of Mississippi.”

Nunnelee has served since 1995.

Create your own economic development success story

One of the best things that local economic developers, community leaders and public officials can do is visit another city that has a similar demographic and economic profile and learn about how the other city became successful.  One of the worst things these same people can do is attempt to replicate what the other city did to become successful.  Why?  Because even though cities may be alike, they are not identical.  Generally speaking, a city must find its own unique path to economic development success.  In other words, learn from others, but chart your own course based on your particular situation.

Having issued those words of caution, I now urge you to read the special Economic Development section of today’s Wall Street Journal in today’s (Monday, July 28, 2008) Wall Street Journal It features seven cities that “…took different approaches to economic development – and came out ahead.”