A candidate for Mobile mayor envisions a future where the city no longer owns some of its biggest and most debated structures. Gerald Patterson said that as mayor, he would sell to the Retirement Systems of Alabama a number of city-owned structures, including the Civic Center, the cruise terminal, Hank Aaron Stadium, Ladd-Peebles Stadium and GulfQuest Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico.
The millions saved from the sell-off would be used, in part, to upgrade old fire stations, Patterson said.
“I’d replace five fire stations,” he said. “They’re obsolete and it’s a disgrace.”
Patterson said he would make sure first responders had everything they need to do their jobs.
“For this city to not give those men and women in uniform everything they need and deserve to do their jobs effectively was the final straw for me,” he wrote in an email message explaining his platform. “God knows I don’t know everything and I doubt I ever will, but as mayor, our first responders will have the greatest ally in the history of that mayor’s office should I prevail.”
He added that as mayor he would immediately reverse any cutbacks in the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department.
These are just three of about 100 proposals the candidate is introducing for a run he said he started in order to give Mobilians a choice in August.
Patterson, who works as a medical waste contractor for Mobile Infirmary, noticed many candidates running unopposed in November’s general election and wanted to make sure Mayor Sandy Stimpson doesn’t run unopposed.
“To understand the essence of my campaign, you only need to know that I am not worried about whether or not I win this election,” Patterson wrote. “All that I want to do is to bring my ideas out into the open and get the conversation changed and the issues that have been greatly ignored by our city, county and state lawmakers, news and citizens brought front and center.”
While Patterson said the incumbent has done a good job with the city’s finances, he feels Mobile could use a mayor that focuses more on the concerns of everyday citizens.
Those concerns include even more spending on infrastructure projects. Patterson said current infrastructure spending is for “pet projects.” He said he would spread the money around more.
If elected mayor, Patterson said, he also would work to remove the city’s sales tax on groceries and push to implement more municipal funding from property taxes over a two-year trial period.
Patterson’s other proposals include: 12 weeks’ paid parental leave for city employees; four-year moratoriums on travel and raises; work to synchronize traffic signals within the city limits and repair railroad crossings citywide, among other ideas.
Patterson is the first candidate to officially challenge Stimpson for mayor. Although he has a base of support on Facebook for a 2017 run, former Mayor Sam Jones has not officially announced.