Editor, The Commercial:
A special "Welcome Home" to Byron Tate. Mr. Tate understands the landscape of Pine Bluff. Our personal acquaintance goes back to the days when he was on the City Hall beat. We are blessed to have a person with the talent and institutional knowledge of Pine Bluff. He could reside in Any Town, America.
As we approach the next presidential, state and local elections, I am reminded of the famous quote of the late Tip O'Neill, "All politics is local." I ponder each day about our city and county, because collectively, we should work together for the greater good of the whole.
I applaud the County Judge, Mayor, Council Members, Justices of the Peace and all other elected officials for trying to make the best decisions for all of the citizens. Their jobs are not easy. Every decision has a consequence -- positive or negative. I try to be the type of citizen to give help and praise instead of always complaining. Paraphrasing John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your city can do for you; but what you can do for the city."
Case in point: It is NOT the responsibility of the Mayor and other citizens to clean up and keep our city clean. It is all our responsibility to maintain our property. Every piece of property has an owner.
Crime prevention comes when neighbors get involved. We all are responsible and our brother's keeper. I welcome good policing; however, the police force cannot do it all. Collectively we can help decrease the crime by being the eyes and ears for the betterment of the entire community. Let's stop the blame game!
My concluding commentary: "Go Forward Pine Bluff." I am pro Go Forward. I was part of the planning team serving on the infrastructure government pillar. Presently, I am serving on the board. Is it a perfect plan? No! Is it a good plan? Yes!
Economists, demographers, urban planners, etc. recommend that each community evaluate itself about every 10 years. Go Forward is a spin-off of Partners for a Better Pine Bluff and the 2020 Initiative. Special thanks goes to the Simmons Foundation for financing the plan. Go Forward has served as the impetus for many good initiatives in Pine Bluff.
Many critics say the projects downtown are a small part of the many problems. Let's look at it as a "microcosm" ... starting small and extending to something large. Look around at the projects mushrooming like wildfire.
Drive downtown and imagine what it will look like in a few years and imagine this kind of progress in the neighborhoods.
Let's all take a deep breath and move forward in the revitalization of our hearts, minds and souls for the great city of Pine Bluff and the county of Jefferson.
Remember, "Rome wasn't built in a day."
Former Pine Bluff