They say a watched pot never boils, but I think 2013 proved otherwise for the city of Mobile.
As simple discontent with the status quo turned to outright anger, we watched the same ol’ pot of cold, stagnant water we had been staring at for the last 20 years begin to warm, getting hotter and hotter as it was fueled by the fire of the insatiable need for change. Thousands of tiny little bubbles dancing around under the surface, just waiting for one to break through to the other side.
And one did. And then another and another.
We witnessed one of the most transformative years our local government has ever seen. From the school board to the mayor and city council to the state legislature and most recently on the federal level with the election of our next congressman, we saw changes on every level.
Bubble, bubble, bubble, bubble.
2013 was the year we achieved rapid boil in the city of Mobile, but 2014 is going to be the year we figure out what we really want and need to add to the pot.
The election of Sandy Stimpson as mayor in August certainly had and will have the most impact on our city. With a little under two months as the city’s mayor, Stimpson has spent his short time in office assembling a quality team, learning the ropes, tearing down doors (literally), sorting through what the previous administration left behind, and reaching out to industry far and wide, as well as to other area leaders.
Although I wish he could snap his fingers and make good on all of his campaign promises instantaneously, it will obviously take a little time and prioritizing.
But one promise he has made good on already is transparency, not only within his own administration, but also of at the police department under the new leadership of Chief James Barber.
With the previous administration and chief, getting information was like pulling teeth from a crocodile on crack. But so far, Stimpson and Barber have been an open book.
And really, once you have that, everything else will fall into place.
But what “else” do we want to fall in said place?
Sure, we’ll take a cruise ship, all of the Airbus suppliers, more Hollywood film productions, whatever you got.
But as cheesy and self-help bookish as it sounds, I think 2014 is the year we need to focus on becoming our best self.
We’ve spent a lot time courting outsiders, and it is finally paying off. But now we need to get all gussied up before they get here. It’s time to do something with our crumbling streets, neglected parks, littered water and roadways and start thinking about those bike paths we talked about ad nauseum during the campaign.
Basically, this is the year we need to become a hottie.
I don’t know how “achievable” this is, but I do feel confident our new mayor will be open with us about what can and can’t be done and the reasons why. And I am looking forward to the beginning of our makeover.
We are also sending a new congressman to Washington. After voting in what seemed like 36 special elections to replace Jo Bonner, who left office early to take a sweet gig at the University of Alabama, Bradley Byrne will head up to the Beltway to join the least productive Congress in history.
Though it almost seems like you could send that crackhead crocodile up there and achieve the same results, I am happy Byrne was our choice. I’m pretty sure that other guy would have grabbed headlines for the wrong reasons.
With record low approval ratings, the nation is getting restless, and just like our city, discontent is turning to anger. It seems like Congress may finally be getting the message.
Though no one from Mobile’s like that hideous Patty Murray (yes, the Democratic senator from Washington who said we were too dumb to build airplanes), at least she and Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, were able to sit down and craft a budget deal.
Hopefully, we will continue to see our leaders in Washington actually work together to get something done, and Byrne will contribute to that process.
If any pot of stagnant water needs to boil, it’s the one up there. Turn up the heat, Congressman Byrne.
Bubble. Bubble. Bubble.