Access to public assets must be preserved
Coast cities fighting Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann over control of their harbors and marinas have attracted public attention. While we sympathize with the cities, we believe that Hosemann has the better argument.
Hosemann’s proposed leases with the cities — which would cost them nothing — would still permit them to oversee harbor development and profit from it.
But as the guardian of more than a million acres of state-owned land, Hosemann has a duty to preserve public access to public property. Because South Mississippi’s municipal harbors and marinas sit on state-owned tidelands, Hosemann “is committed to preserving these areas for generations to come.”
We like the idea of putting long-term preservation ahead of short-term gain, even if part of the profit would help finance local governments.
As residents, we are accustomed to the status of our waterfronts. But we should never cease to marvel at how easy it is for us and our visitors to get to our beaches and piers and boat ramps. We should appreciate that a curtain of condominiums has not blocked the view of the Mississippi Sound.
Why then would we ever give our cities the right to allow exclusive properties to encircle our public harbors and marinas?
Hosemann’s aggressive effort to do his duty as he sees it is rocking quite a few boats along the Coast. But his is the clearest and strongest voice being raised for the preservation of public assets and unencumbered access to them.
This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board, which consists of President-Publisher Glen Nardi, Vice President and Executive Editor Stan Tiner, Opinion Page Editor B. Marie Harris, Associate Editor Tony Biffle, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Flora S. Point and Marketing Services Director John McFarland. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.