Four new members of the Mobile City Council were sworn in this week. With Cory Penn, William Carroll, Ben Reynolds and Scott Jones all coming on board, this marks the most new members to take office at the same time in the council’s history.
How it will change the dynamic of the body remains to be seen, but change is usually good and certainly energizing. There’s nothing like a fresh start. And it seems Mayor Sandy Stimpson, who is about to start his third term in office, is viewing this as a new beginning of sorts as well, as he announced a pretty bold agenda for the first 100 days of what will likely be his last four years as mayor of Mobtown.
During Stimpson’s first campaign he said he hoped to make Mobile “a safer, more business- and family-friendly city by 2020.” During his third campaign, he said the city had made strides in these areas but he was “not done yet.”
The mayor’s agenda for the next three months (and change) includes initiatives designed to Protect Mobile (public safety), Grow Mobile (growth through annexation and putting resources into areas already within the city limits), Hire Mobile (bringing new jobs and economic growth), Connect Mobile (improving infrastructure and walkability), Enjoy Mobile (expanding entertainment and recreational opportunities), Visit Mobile (tourism) and Ready Mobile (building a sustainable community ready for natural disasters, pandemics, flooding, etc.). You can find specific plans and goals for each of these initiatives at cityofmobile.org/100days.
While all of these are vitally important, Protect Mobile is probably the one most Mobilians would like to see addressed with the most vigor.
I know crime is up around the country, but it seems like someone is shot every single night in this city lately. We have all almost become numb to it.
Another day, another shooting.
Mobile’s new police chief, Paul Prine, has said reducing violent crime is his top priority.
In an interview with Lagniappe last issue, he said, “My vision is to see crime reduced in the city. Violent crime coupled with youth violence and gun crime are at the top of the police department’s priority. As we move forward, we’ll be implementing hot-spot policing — mobilizing our resources to specific areas where we are having problems.”
He also said MPD would be working with the Mobile County Public School System and other community organizations on early intervention efforts.
“There is no one-fix-all plan,” Prine said. “Crime happens for a multitude of reasons and has to be attacked on multiple levels. We can’t address all these problems, but we can have private and commercial partnerships. We’re all invested in this community. We’re all stakeholders.”
Sometimes it’s easy for us to say “it’s not my problem” if we do not know any of the victims personally or if the crimes are not being committed in our own backyards. But Chief Prine is right. We are all stakeholders in this community. If we don’t get this under control soon, no one who lives here will be able to simply shrug their shoulders and say, “not my problem.”
And he is equally correct, there’s no simple fix. But I am hopeful we will start to see results very soon from some of the new technologies they plan to employ and other programs they are going to implement. I have lived here for over 25 years, and this is the first time I ever remember starting to have serious concerns about crime and public safety in this city I dearly love. And I know I am not alone.
While the mayor has formulated quite the lengthy to-do list for himself — hey, go big or go home, right? — another item on it really caught my attention. And that is Stimpson’s ongoing effort to throw all Mobilians who litter in a giant trash compactor to squeeze the life out of their worthless bodies. OK, OK, so maybe I am putting those words in his mouth, but the death penalty seems like an appropriate punishment for the vile creatures who continue to chronically throw their Popeyes mashed potato containers, Vienna sausage cans, hospital bracelets and disposable masks on the ground. (And if this list seems highly specific, that’s because it is. It’s what I picked up in front of Lagniappe World HQ just this morning.)
I faithfully clean up the area around our office almost every workday. And it’s so disheartening. There is trash out in front of our office EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I sometimes wonder if I just left it there, how long it would take before the front of our building more closely resembled the trash heap from “Fraggle Rock” than a newspaper office. I would guess two, three weeks, tops!
And I know many people do the same. I see a lady out on Springhill Avenue near Florida Street picking up trash in the mornings and a gentleman out doing the same on Springhill, just east of Ann, which I have dubbed the Litter Capital of Mobile. I know they must have fantasies about maiming these menaces too. Or maybe that’s just me. But I just don’t understand how anyone can think it’s totally fine to throw their garbage on the ground.
Much like crime, fighting the war on litter is a tough nut to crack. I am glad the city is keeping this as a top priority. I will continue on my personal crusade against these litterbugs as well, but if you find any dead bodies in a trash compactor, I was definitely home all night with my family, baking cookies or something.
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