The past few months have been very difficult for our city, state and country. We went immediately from battling a virus and economic collapse to witnessing a police officer slowly and callously taking the life of an unarmed man with his knee.
There has been a lot of ugliness of late. So much, in fact, it is really hard to process. I am still trying to do just that myself.
But there has also been some goodness too, and today I am going to dedicate my ink to it. Because I think we all could use it right about now.
So let’s get to it!
Good on you, Mobile County and Commissioner Connie Hudson
The phrase “we are all in this together” may be the most over-used, played-out group of words of the pandemic. I want to throw my remote at the TV every time I hear it. But Commissioner Connie Hudson and the Mobile County Commission put their money where their collective mouth was this week and proved maybe we are, in fact, all in this … I refuse to write it, but you know where I was going.
Yep, they proved our in-this-togetherness by launching the Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF) to help local businesses who suffered economic hardship caused by shutdowns in response to COVID-19. The program will give qualifying businesses up to $25,000, which will be administered through the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.
This was Commissioner Hudson’s baby and it took some wrangling with the AG’s office, but they got it done. This will be a huge help to all our local businesses, most of which took a huge hit.
Thank you, Commissioner Hudson.
Good on you, O’Daly’s
If “we are all in this together” was the most over-used phrase, “pivot” is pretty high up there too. But no one had a more entertaining “pivot” than O’Daly’s Irish Pub. Their “Boom and Zoom” videos advertising their food delivery service provided some much-needed comic relief during the shutdown. They took on everything from “Tiger King” to “Lion King” and “Dirty Dancing” (complete with “the lift”), and many more, and it was magnificent. I hope they will keep doing these now that things are opening back up.
Thank you, Boom and Zoom.
Good on you, Mayor Sandy Stimpson
The COVID-19 pandemic has to be one of the most challenging crises any mayor or governor has ever had to navigate. Walking the line between protecting the health of the community but also the economy and our local businesses was (and is) a difficult one. And you are always going to make someone mad. There is no way to “win” this one.
But I think Mayor Stimpson did both of those things quite well. His nightly emails with updates on new cases and deaths and what the city was doing to combat the virus and also help the economy have been both informative and a refreshing display of transparency. And there was promising news from last night’s email, as last week saw the lowest number of deaths since March, with five. It seems we are heading in the right direction. Let’s hope it stays that way.
And good on Mayor Stimpson for his decision to remove the statue of the Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes. I know some have criticized him for “rewriting history” or “caving to the mob.” But the fact is, it does offend people, and it would have been an incredibly stupid waste of time to have a big fight over this. Is this really the hill any politician wants to die on?
Stick it in a museum where proper context can be added, and let’s move on. I think we are all ready to see brighter days in this city, and as a city, and this move will let us do just that instead of having us mired in a debate over a dude who was alive more than 150 years ago. Let’s focus on 2021 (2020 is dead to me!), not 1861. We have some pretty incredible artists and sculptors in this fair burg, who I am sure could come up with something spectacular to put in its place. Something of which we can all be proud!
Thank you, Mayor Stimpson!
Good on you, Lagniappe supporters
Finally, on a personal note, I just want to thank all of the many people who signed up for a Lagniappe digital subscription or sent in donations or signed print advertising contracts or just called or emailed words of encouragement in support of this newspaper. Working in media can be a bit soul-crushing these days, but I am very proud of the work our reporters and columnists do every single day and have done, especially during the pandemic. And the incredible outpouring of support has shown us you appreciate it, too.
Thank you, Mobile.
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