Gulfport mayor challenges website that ranks leadership lowest

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Another year, another myopic and confusing ranking of a free credit score website.

Gulfport has over $50 million in downtown development, is home to the Mississippi Aquarium, home to Cruisin’ the Coast, and is one of the top vacation rental markets in the United States.

This and more challenges WalletHub’s annual list of the best and worst run cities in America, with Gulfport as number 10 in the “worst” category.

Interestingly, in a June 2022 article, Wallet Hub ranks Gulfport as the 141st Best Managed City in America in thousands of cities.

Looking closer at the actual “metrics”, the “worst” ranking looks very suspicious.

It didn’t help, when seeking clarification of their findings, that WalletHub officials declined our request to discuss their research, process, and findings.

Unfortunately, for those who don’t recognize click-bait for what it is, this type of content is sometimes passed on by the media as content and time filler.

Even more troubling is the fine print disclaimer that “we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information presented on our website”. Luckily, we’re too busy here to put much effort into answering a hacking job. Yet, after several hits, “an undisputed lie becomes the truth” and must be resolved.

It doesn’t take long to notice that the Mississippi Gulf Coast is enjoying a resurgence of vitality. Gulfport is experiencing a renaissance with over $1 billion in investment over the past decade in the commercial, hospitality, medical, military, education, business and tourism sectors. These developments did not happen by accident – it was the resolution of the City Council, Mayor and staff to create a place that is “Open for business and designed for having a good time!” This is classic teamwork, fostering collaboration with public and private sector partners.

Economically, the city of Gulfport is gearing up and many experts believe it is ready to take off. In 2018, Realtor.com named Gulfport one of Top 10 small towns poised to become a powerhouse. Many other editors have highlighted Gulfport’s resilience, quality of location, and cost of living. (that’s to say, “Best places to live” by Money Magazine—2014; “The most beautiful place to live in Mississippi” Florence Gardens, Gulfport, by Readers Digest — 2020)

Gulfport’s economic opportunities have also caught the attention of US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. In 2021, Raimondo traveled to Gulfport to tour the city and see firsthand what it has to offer.

“What you have in Mississippi is top-notch and world-class,” she said. “This is my first time to Mississippi and I had several ‘I had no idea’ moments. It’s all to your credit.

A city does not experience Gulfport’s consistent levels of investment, interest and success in accepting the status quo or remaining at the bottom of the barrel. With diverse cultures and cuisines, top-notch museums, an attractive year-round climate, easy transit times, barrier islands, miles and miles of sandy beach, and consistent ocean breezes, Gulfport is a gem. hidden away on the secret Mississippi coast. And the only way to experience it is to see it personally.

It’s the only way to have the “I had no idea” realization instead of perpetuating prejudices that have no place in southern Mississippi today. Either way, we’ll stick to our proven track record.

In one respect, we thank WalletHub for its persistent intimidation. It gave us the opportunity, once again, to tell our story — and that’s pretty good!

Read the full response at WalletHub.

Billy Hewes is the mayor of Gulfport.

Mary Perez has won awards for her articles on business and casinos for the Sun Herald. She also writes about Biloxi, jobs and new restaurants and developments coming to the coast. She’s a fourth-generation journalist.

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