Just the other day, Airbus announced the largest order for medium-range single-aisle jets in the history of the company. They also uncharacteristically announced that Mobile will play a part in the fulfillment strategy of that order to Indigo Partners, which includes three airlines in the Americas: Frontier Airlines here in the United States, an airline in Mexico and an airline in Chile.

On top of that, over the last couple of weeks Bombardier has announced two orders for their C-Series jetliners to two customers in Europe and Egypt. Earlier this year, Bombardier and Airbus announced they would be building a C-Series final assembly line right here in Mobile, so there might be an opportunity for Mobile to play a part in the fulfillment of these orders as well.

Around the same time as the announcement of the FAL for the C-Series jet, SSAB announced they would be moving their North American headquarters to Mobile, and reinvesting more money in their plant in North Mobile County.

All of these economic development wins are great news for the Mobile region, and there might be even more news coming, with everybody waiting on where the big whale, the Toyota and Mazda plant, will land.

Couple these announcements with the news earlier this year and late last year that both Wal-Mart and Amazon would both be building distribution centers in West Mobile County, and the economic development news for the city of Mobile and Mobile County and Southwest Alabama has been very positive.

The current dust-up over who is going to be president of the Mobile City Council, and the rancorous arguing about everything it entails, could possibly give Mobile a black eye, especially when it comes to the world of economic development. When companies decide where they’re going to locate or expand their businesses, one of the things they look for and strongly consider is the harmonious political atmosphere of that region. One of the reasons why Mobile, and Alabama in general, have been successful in recruiting economic development projects is the fact that all of the local and state officials have worked well together as a team to land these projects.

It is time for the Mobile City Council to put aside their personal differences and their personal animus toward one or more of their colleagues and decide on a president and vice president, and start moving forward not only with the business of the people, but also with the business of landing even more economic development projects.

I have met with Levon Manzie several times during his tenure as a Mobile City Councilman, and I’ve worked with him on the Citizen’s Advisory Council involving the sales tax issue. I have always found Councilman Manzie to be respectful, thoughtful and engaging.

While he is always looking out for the best interest of his District 2, he does consider other points of view as well to consider what is best for the city as a whole. I think Councilman Manzie is qualified to be Mobile City Council president, and would make a good council president while unifying all the different factions on the council and helping the council move past this impasse and move forward with this business of the city.

I encourage the councilpersons to put aside their differences and vote for Councilman Manzie as City Council president and elect a new city council vice president and let’s keep this economic development boat rocking!

David Preston