The best hopes don’t always lead to the best outcomes – especially, when trying to make something smell less like feces and more like roses.

All the bragging, promises, slogans and Happy Talk dreamed up from the imagination of those who keep painting pretty pictures about what they’re doing – which will take Paris into some bright future tomorrow – are not a guarantee of accomplishment.

Over the years, Paris has killed enough hopes and dreams and created enough loneliness and disillusionment to support a prosperous alcohol industry.

For years, actions have never included opportunities for those working in ever-increasing lower-paying jobs; they generally ignored the increased costs for the numerous retirees on fixed income; and especially failed to offer a future of real economic hope for the children of families now in poverty and in other lower income groups.

Where is the Happy Talk about opportunities – and hope – for all these?

While taking their money in taxes and fees, What is Paris, as a community, really doing to provide a ladder up from poverty for the disadvantaged? Especially, those children facing a society with growing disparities between the rich and the poor, who are living in a family hurting for income? And, in a group losing faith in a chance for economic advancement?

As a beleaguered group in a beleaguered society, there’s no one to believe in, and their dreams are almost as dead as the faith they once had in their community and nation. And sadly, they know what Paris is fighting about has little or no bearing in their life.

When does hope die?

While Paris is handing out money, some of it collected from you, you’re facing your kid’s request for money to to join a class trip or project with an empty wallet; and they are too young to understand why there’s no money for it. And no one knows or seems to care how it makes you feel to see the hurt and disappointment in their eyes as they turn away.

. . .so you can’t help but wonder if honesty is the best policy?

Why should we be surprised when hope turns to despair?

Without hope, why should we be surprised when some turn to drugs, to the inane, to the stupid? Why would we be surprised when some turn to crime? Why should we be surprised when self-respect dies? And respect for neighbor and community disappears? Why should we be surprised when trash is dumped on city streets or piled around homes? Why are we angry when we see vehicles parked nilly-wilily, especially non-operating ones, in UN-mowed yards? Or when apathy is the leading community component?

Without opportunity, without hope, what would you do?

Fussing about what Paris does and does not do is about as much fun for the Paris Chamber as cooking bacon naked, and we would rather go bowling with a skunk, but no other local organization seems to be facing reality.

What Paris is doing hurts Paris. But it hurts most those who should be hurt the least: The 52% percent living below the poverty line, the majority of us. As individuals, it lessens each of our humanity. It is another nail in the economic death of a community –

Percentage-wise, our community leaders are gouging the most out of those who have the least, in a community that offers little hope to those who need dreams the most.

We’re doing little-to-nothing to improve their quality of life.

There are those now serving or who have served on the City Council or in a city management position, or in the PEDC, or even as a Board member for what used to be the Lamar County Chamber of Commerce, who should be ashamed – or at least, apologize.

What Paris has done is no way to run a household, a business and, certainly, not a city.

It is inexcusable.

The Paris Chamber knows, just as an increasing number of citizens know, that Paris is a town wasting its assets.

You’re free to disagree.

But most folks in Paris will agree that for the last decade or two, Paris has been as normal as a 3-dollar bill – unless you count feudin’, fussin’, and fightin’ as normal behavior.

Whatever we’re doing isn’t working. A realistic tongue-in-cheek assessment is that our community and economic development successes are too small by precisely the same percentage that our spending was too much.

What Paris is doing is more than bad management. We’re killing hope.