To the casual observer, the Mobile mayoral race must seem pretty tame so far. While we get to see Big Luther making sweet, sweet love to a gun every 60 to 90 seconds on his numerous television ads for his run for U.S. Senate, we haven’t seen much of anything on the race between former Mayor Sam Jones against the man who ousted him, current Mayor Sandy Stimpson.
Jones has not raised much money as of yet, so we most likely won’t see him fighting Big Lu for advertising space on the airwaves. As such, we haven’t seen much from Stimpson, who has a sizable war chest, either.
There have been no debates so far and to my knowledge none are planned at this point (hopefully this will change), so even just normal media coverage of the candidates has been far less than it was during the last campaign.
One place you can find plenty of debate about this race, though, is on social media.
Each has their own campaign page or pages, with supporters and trolls alike having plenty of love and hate to spew. You know, like anything else on social media.
I have seen comments from “supporters” on BOTH sides that make me cringe and feel depressed. I have to hope those folks are the vocal minority and just part of the fringes on each side — and the rest of us who are reading their crazy rants are all silently judging them as lunatics and are equally disgusted.
There has been a lot of divisive talk about “The 52 Percent” vs. “The 48 Percent” (the racial makeup of the city) by supporters on one of Jones’ pages.
And I think largely because of the presidential election, there are also pages where people seem to be working out existential crises because they hate the political party one candidate is affiliated with, but aren’t so sure about the candidate of their own party — even though this is supposed to be a nonpartisan race. Remember all politics is local.
In any case, I have to say we need to forget about black or white, red or blue and think about “The 100 Percent” of us who live in this city.
We are all Mobilians, no matter what we look like or who we voted for in November 2016, and we all want the same thing for our city.
New businesses that are bringing in more jobs, less crime, new and improved streets, sidewalks and parks; someone who uses our tax dollars with care, who has a bold vision for our city and who gets out there and tells us what it is.
To me, that’s exactly the kind of leadership we have gotten over the last four years with Mayor Stimpson. I have called Mobile home for over 20 years and I have never felt as excited about it or seen as much progress than I have the last few years. It’s been astonishing. And I just want to see that continue.
No, I haven’t agreed with every single thing Mayor Stimpson and his administration has done, but even so, I believe he has earned another term.
Basically if ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Both of these candidates are known quantities. We don’t have to kick the tires or lift up the hood to get to know them. They both have records that can and should be reviewed.
There are dissenting opinions on who should take credit or blame for this, that or the other. Hopefully there will be a debate where each of them can be questioned about their perceived accomplishments, missteps and failures.
And while I do think looking back is important, it is more critical to hear their plans for this city moving forward.
Mayor Stimpson has laid out his vision through 2020, so we know where we are with him.
So far all I have heard from former Mayor Jones aside from racial politics is that he doesn’t want the I-10 bridge and he wants to bring back BayFest.
Jones says he thinks the bridge will make it too easy to pass right on through Mobile.
Um, OK. I have never once decided to stop and visit any attractions in Atlanta when I have been sitting in their horrendous, god-awful traffic from hell. It just makes me say, “God, I hate Atlanta and I am so glad I don’t live here.”
Anyone who has been in traffic on a Friday afternoon in Mobile knows that bridge is an absolute necessity, which begs the question: has the former Mayor?
And no offense to BayFest, but that void has already been filled by new festivals that require far less financial commitment from the city, (which of course frees up revenue to fix more streets and hire more police and firefighters), and have formats that have evolved with the times.
These are backward steps, moving in the wrong direction for all “100 percent” of us.
In the words of the Black Eyed Peas in their Grammy Award-winning 2010 song “Boom Boom Pow,” former Mayor Jones, I’m sorry but you are just so “two thousand and late.”
The city is moving forward under Stimpson’s leadership and we need to keep it going. Even if both of these candidates were equally perfect in every way, can you imagine the momentum suck it would be if we had to change mayors and entire adminstrative staffs right now when things are on the move? I just don’t see any good reason for it in the 2017 election.
Now 2021, that’s a different story. Talk to me then.