Author: Dale Liesch

Sam Jones enters mayoral race for rematch with Sandy Stimpson

In his childhood church filled with supporters, former Mobile Mayor Sam Jones made his case for why he should again be elected to the city’s top office last Saturday, ending months of speculation about whether he would run. In an announcement that was interrupted by standing ovations and chants of “all in,” Jones relied on his experience, record and identity politics to paint Mobile as a city traveling down the wrong path and himself as the only man who can move it in the right direction. With the announcement at Greater Nazaree Baptist Church in downtown Mobile, Jones becomes...

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Mobile Housing Board absorbing nonprofit positions

The Mobile Housing Board of Commissioners voted 4-0 to convert positions from its troubled nonprofit, Mobile Development Enterprises, to MHB positions. The move continues a series of changes the board has made to MDE since a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General report found that, among other things, a conflict of interest existed between the nonprofit and a contractor the board used starting in 2011. MHB was already ordered to reimburse $1.2 million to HUD through its non-federalized capital funds as restitution for the conflict. HUD also made other recommendations related to the nonprofit. The board must now work with the Mobile County Personnel Board to create a number of new positions. Commissioner Reid Cummings has previously said current MDE employees — including State Rep. Adline Clarke — would have to reapply for the positions. Commissioner Norman Hill was initially hesitant to vote on the new organizational chart without elaboration. “I am opposed to voting on the organizational chart today as it’s presented,” he said. “I believe we should have a full presentation matching each job with the budget so we can understand it. I’m not comfortable with looking at this sheet, going to the Personnel Board and saying, ‘This is our new staff.’” Board Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway said she feels the board has done that already and has spent enough time on...

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Mobile Gas turns former facility into park

Mobile Gas has owned the 7-acre patch of land at the intersection of Broad Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue since Andrew Jackson was president of the United States. Friday morning, the company officially dedicated a park on the parcel called Caldwell Field, named for company founder James Henry Caldwell. “This is where we got our humble beginnings,” Project Community Liaison Keeshia Davis said. “This is where we became a good corporate citizen … ” Plans for the project have spanned 24 years and three mayors’ administrations, but culminated with the opening of the green space, complete...

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Mayor pulls ordinance designed to give police more discretion over minor charges

The Mobile City Council has cancelled a scheduled meeting of its public safety committee to discuss a proposed ordinance that would make the punishment of minor charges, like marijuana possession for personal use, similar to that of a traffic citation. In a statement released Friday morning, City Council spokeswoman Marion Steinfels wrote that the committee meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday had been cancelled upon Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s request. She wrote that Stimpson had asked the proposed ordinance be pulled from a future council agenda. The legislation, which would’ve allowed Mobile Police Department officers the discretion to write $100...

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Majority of Ann Street to get ‘band-aid’ resurfacing

Foregoing a costly total reconstruction project, Mayor Sandy Stimpson and councilmen Levon Manzie and C.J. Small announced a “band-aid” fix for parts of Ann Street. While the total reconstruction of Ann Street, which included replacing utilities under the surface, is nearly complete on a portion of the roadway from Arlington Street to Tennessee Street, the city will only resurface the remaining portion, from Tennessee Street to Springhill Avenue. The resurfacing would allow drivers a smoother ride, while avoiding the multi-million cost of a total street reconstruction, Stimpson said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We wanted to do something...

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