Combs Makes First Public Statement

In his first public speech since making his comments, Mayor Ken Combs told the group of city employees and business leaders that words can get people in trouble.

"I deeply regret and I apologize to all of you for any embarrassment that I brought to the city," Combs say.

The mayor says he made a bad choice of words when he criticized opponents of a proposed shopping and retail development near Turkey Creek. People who live in the area are fighting the plan because they're afraid flooding will get worse. One Gulfport businessman says it's time everyone understands what the project's all about.

"Ken Combs comments were inappropriate...but saying that, we all know Ken Combs and we know he didn't mean anything to anyone about that, other than the folks who stand in the way of progress. But we need to be inclusive. We need to make sure that everybody's voices are heard and we need to bring the facts to the table," Insurance Agent Tom Sawyer said.

Others say people should accept the mayor's admission that he was wrong.

"I think you see here this morning the mayor has made an apoplogy to this group and I feel sure as he goes throughout the city and talks to different groups you'll see the same type of regret comin' from the mayor," Coast Transit Authority Director Reid Hopper said.

Hopper says citizens, the city leaders and the business community need to come together to work on issues that are important: economic development and improving quality of life in Gulfport.

Most of the people who attended Wednesday morning's breakfast were city employees. We asked a couple of other business leaders to comment on Mayor Combs apology, but they declined.