On Jan. 6, the city of Mobile announced MSN had named our fair burg as the 10th “hottest” city in America in 2015, and this time in didn’t have anything to do with the relative humidity.

The study said Mobile “will be booming” in 2015 “thanks to new jobs, growing industries, burgeoning art and food scenes, and affordable real estate.”

Our thriving port, expanding international trade and prime location on the Gulf Coast were also considered, according to the site.
“Mobile will become the Southern trading hub of the U.S.,” they declared.

They used factors that included job and population growth, affordability, livability and the health and well-being of residents, as well as how “innovative and cool the city is.”
Other cities on the list included the usual hipster suspects Austin, Nashville and Denver. (Wait. Are you sure affordable real estate was a factor?)

Ironically, or maybe just sadly or even comically, on the very same day I received a press release from wallethub.com on their most recent study, which had just named Mobile the “12th Worst City to find a Job.”

They used similar factors as the MSN study, such as real estate affordability, employment growth, social life and also took into account median annual income, unemployment rates for high school graduates and college-educated residents.

Last month, this same site ranked Mobile as the “10th Worst City for Singles,” taking into account such things as restaurant and movie prices, number of nightlife options per capita, crime rate (because you know you don’t want to get murdered while walking hand-in-hand to the malt shop) and online and mobile dating opportunities.

The press releases from wallethub, a site which just seems to be designed to get clicks and sell advertising and/or financial products, is always sent from their communications manager, a gentleman (I presume) by the name of Raz Daraban.

You better watch out, Raz. Mayor Stimpson will fly you down here and set you up with some leftover debutante just to prove you wrong. Ask Julie Zeveloff how “miserable” she thinks Mobile is now.

I’m not exactly sure where all these folks are getting these numbers to crunch, but I don’t think any of us really needs a study to tell us what is “best” or “worst” or “hottest” about our city.

I do agree with the MSN study though, Mobile “will be booming” very soon. There is an almost palpable energy in this city right now, like the bubbles in a pot of hot water just before it boils.

The long wait is over. Jetliners are about to be assembled right here in this city. They’ll start assembling them this year. I do believe we can fly, R Kelly. Mobile, we can touch the sky.

Downtown is hopping. The restoration of the Van Antwerp building and Barton Academy will bring these diamonds out of the rough. The brand spanking new federal courthouse will certainly be easy on the eyes and more accommodating for all of our drug traffickers and shady politicos.

And I think I am most excited about “Automotive Alley” on St. Louis Street. Even though they took our dream building for Lagniappe World Headquarters, it’s great to see Rural Sourcing, Inc and Rogers & Willard Construction renovate the old Buick Building for their offices. I really feel like we are going to start seeing a lot of cool businesses and entertainment options up and down the “The Alley.” I just love that street.

The revitalization of downtown always gets a lot of attention, while other areas are seemingly neglected, so it’s also very encouraging to see Mayor Stimpson include those underserved areas of the city in his recently announced long-range plan for capital improvements.

There are a lot of great things going on in this town. I don’t care what you say, Raz. Good to see that love being spread around.
But, sure, there is always room for improvement.

Though I think the new chief of police is doing a great job and has brought transparency back to the department, it does still seem like a lot of people are shooting each other.

And the capital needs. Oh the capital needs. I know the mayor is trying to find the funding and identify the greatest areas of concern, but it just seems like we have been waiting forever already to get these things done. Oh, because we have. I often wonder what will happen first: the repaving of Ann Street or the completion of the I-10 bridge. Hard to call.

But patience is a virtue, right?

Hopefully our patience will pay off in 2015 too, as we see GulfQuest finally open. I’m sure they would love to prove all of the naysayers wrong.

And maybe, just maybe, the sad reminder of economic development gone awry and symbol of taxpayer waste known as the cruise terminal will be repurposed as something else besides a place to have parties.

If ol’ Raz does a study on the Trashiest Cities in the U.S., I’m sure Mobile will take top honors. Though litter enforcement has been stepped up to the point feathers have been ruffled, the litterbugs are still a litterin’. Take a walk down the shores of Three Mile Creek and take a gander.

The city’s new ordinances on enclosing dumpsters will certainly help, but they also need to take a look at their own garbage receptacles. Many of the ones in our parks have no enclosures and are often overflowing, leading to a pile of Checkers napkins flying all over Public Safety Memorial Park.

All cities have issues and problem areas, even those “best list” hogs, Austin, Nashville and Denver. But I feel like for the first time in years, our city is really focused on addressing these issues.

And in the next few weeks, as people across the country battle post-holiday blues and the remaining seasonally depressing darkest and coldest days of the year, our streets will be brightly lit with colorful floats and filled with the sounds of marching bands and people laughing and screaming “throw me something mister.” Oh and that’s after we send the entire NFL and the best college football players in the country back home.

Julie and Raz can crunch their numbers all they want and put us on the worst of the worst and the most miserable of miserable lists, but we all know the things that make Mobile “the best of the best” to us are unquantifiable.