Marty Wiseman, director of the Stennis Institute of Government, made a somewhat generalized speech to an audience assembled for the East Mississippi Business Development Corporation's Business Before Hours.
But afterward he told NewsCenter 11 his impressions of our city.
"Meridian has developed over the years an inferiority complex. And certainly one of the things that they were afraid of that happened again in 2000 was another loss in population for the city," said Wiseman.
He conceded that, over the years, Meridian has been its own worst enemy.
"You could come to Meridian and I, as an outsider, would come here and immediately there were people who were willing to tell you a list of the bad things about Meridian," Wiseman said. "And I was standing there looking at a list of things that I considered assets and people didn't seem to notice those that much. I think that attitude, that change in attitude, is probably the biggest thing I've seen in the recent two year involvement in Meridian."
A lot of people are saying well, there's a lot of things we can do and these are assets we do have and you're starting to look at just how to make those assets translate into jobs and a quality of life," said Wiseman.
Then the subject changed to the current state election. Wiseman said he thinks the public is tiring of the blame game that's being played.
"It used to be that every campaign, you could expect a gubernatorial candidate to talk about what he was going to do to get jobs and now we've got a campaign blaming each other on who lost the most jobs," said Wiseman.
At the time, the legislature was considering where to place the Southern Arts and Entertainment Center. It was said the Stennis Institute had recommended Jackson. Wiseman denied that.
"Jackson was recommended by the committee, not by us," he said. "We did the study. They took our numbers and made that recommendation."
Meridian was the eventual winner and the center, when and if it is built, will be in Meridian at Bonita Lakes.