Note: Minor edits have been made.
January 21, 2015
Mayor Sandy Stimpson, the Mobile City Council and this audience,
This morning, a friend brought to my attention the above story where Mayor Sandy Stimpson came before last week’s Mobile City Council meeting (January 13, 2015) seeking funds to hire consultants out of Montgomery, Goodwyn Mills and Cawood Inc., not out of Mobile or sharing his plans to work with residents to help him develop his vision for One Mobile, after a year in office. I was unaware of this event. The mayor has spent the past twenty-years from his former one-story perch at N. Conception St. and from his mansion at the top of Spring Hill dreaming of becoming mayor or at least, everyone was begging him to. He campaigned with ease on the phrase “One Mobile”, which apparently meant little or nothing at the time seeing that he was in his fair share of exclusive, all-white churches, clubs and societies. It’s obvious from these memberships that he’s Christian, I have no doubts!
After twenty years of finally getting his finances right, his kids all married off and a year in public office, he still has no vision for his hometown and what it could become. Yet, he wants to be mayor for 2 or 3 more terms. Really, sounds crazy? This is not a family business where those who own it and run it — make all the decisions. That’s his problem, that’s all he knows. This is a government established to serve the needs of its residents including all of its stakeholders who may live in another city or out in the county, but work and play in Mobile. Mayor Stimpson seems to believe that if he says his other favorite campaign rhetoric, enough times, before the cameras and microphones “to make Mobile the safest, business friendly, family friendly city by 2020” that we’ll keep him in office even when this statement is just as meaningless as “One Mobile”.
Last summer, I requested a copy of this plan under Alabama’s Open Records laws, but the mayor has chosen not to share it with me probably because it doesn’t exist. His office failed to even acknowledge my request. You got to love honesty and transparency in this new administration led by someone who’s never been held accountable in his entire adult life and who thinks he’s king or, at least, a prince. That’s a sign of flawed character already emerging in one of the city’s newest politicians. He needs to go back to school at USA and take a course in government and democracy.
I met with the mayor (July 2012) just weeks before he announced his intentions to run for the office against Sam Jones. I brought him one of my essays to show off my talents. I never got a reaction. What we discussed in our meeting, the real problems facing Mobile, was never mentioned on the campaign trail by Sandy. Not once! This revealed his hypocrisy to say one thing in private and something else in public just like Mitt Romney. I hate hypocrisy! I emailed Sandy several times while he was on the campaign trail. He kept bragging to voters about his experience as an executive running his family business, Scotch-Gulf Lumber Company, as thought it was as big as or bigger than the size of the city of Mobile’s operating budget with all its employees.
Beyond being annoyed with his pathetic claims, I told him via email about my experience working for another forest products company after college, Georgia-Pacific Corporation whose world headquarters is located in downtown Atlanta, GA, and the CEO’s office isn’t located on the 1st floor, but instead on the 51st. Sandy and his brother, Fred, sat in their one-story building while GP’s CEO towers over the city of Atlanta like one of Delta Air Lines’ passenger jets approaching Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL, #1), (45,308,407). With worldwide operations, now that’s a company.
When the mayor came into office, I wrote an essay addressing several problems facing the Mobile — the location of the airport in west Mobile, the need for a college in downtown, a focus on tourism in the city and putting artists and musicians on the downtown streets to soften it up. My vision was ignored by him for his plan… what plan, no plan, no vision! This summer, I put my data on the area airports into a video and I shared it with the mayor and the city council. It got no traction. Only after President Obama mentioned “normalizing relations” with Cuba at Christmas did I see a third opportunity to push the idea of moving the airport. With an online petition through Change.org, I ran ads on Facebook and the petition took off like a rocket. It was the talk of the town.
It resulted in two TV interviews and one newspaper article. Here’s an idea that Mobilians want, love, but the king is too stupid to recognize its popularity or see the obvious truth. Here’s a signature project for any mayor to embrace with the support of U.S. Representative Byrne and hundreds of Mobilians who’ve signed the petition. My honest and innocent efforts to move an airport were sabotaged when a cowardly agent working on behalf of the city of Mobile and/or the Mobile Airport Authority attempted to kill the petition’s momentum by anonymously leaking to WKRG’s Tiffany McCall a ridiculous cost of $500mm-$1b to move the airport with no facts to substantiate the claim.
Tiffany ran the story along with the numbers later refusing to make any corrections or to even return my call. I would go on to find an airport terminal project (Wichita, KS) currently under construction for $160mm with an annual passenger volume of 735,000 (U.S. #99). Mobile’s (MOB) passenger traffic stands at just 287,000 (U.S. #159). This cost to build the new terminal at Brookley Field (BFM) stands at $100mm-$150mm. In the mayor’s haste, he’s cut-off his nose in spite of his face. That’s bad politics any way you slice it. Now, he stands with no ideas, no vision while letting a really great idea burn to the ground, in public. Some kind of a leader we got as he goes panhandling to the city council for money to buy an idea from some out of town consultants. (GulfQuest, the maritime museum was put together by consultants!)
This lie went along way to killing the petition’s momentum, turning the public against it and ruining my good name in Mobile. In the past seven years, I’ve written to some of the world’s best universities — Harvard, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, billionaire CEOs – Charles Schwab, Ted Turner, federal lawmakers, and I’ve never had anyone try to destroy my endeavor or try to ruin my name. Only in my hometown did this occur and without any consideration for my honest work or for the right of the people to know the truth. It was only about how this campaign affected the mayor or how this campaign affected the Mobile Airport Authority. It was never about what the citizens want. This is not a democracy, this is tyranny. This is why Mobile has no real leaders; this is why America has no political leaders.
When I look at Sandy Stimpson and his brother-in-law, Richard Miller of Brewton, AL, one has a long history of risk taking – emotional, financial and spiritual – that’s required to take on a project of any real size while the other doesn’t. Risk taking occurs anytime someone takes on new responsibilities, a new challenge and has to grow into the new role. Both, the Millers and the Stimpsons have a lot of timberland, a lot of money and their own sawmill, Sandy chose to play it safe, to look important over becoming a person of high value to his family and to this community.
He spent 37 years at his sawmill cutting logs into the same ‘ol dimensions – 2x4s, 2x6s, 2x8s, 2x10s and 2x12s. On the other hand, Richard Miller chose to hire professionals to run his family’s sawmill so he could pursue a career in real estate development around Destin, FL, in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. Entering politics and becoming mayor has all sorts of new facets to learn and master. Simply going through the motions for days, weeks, months and years doesn’t cut it when you’re finally confronted with real change. I’m of the opinion that the wrong person ran for mayor and won.
There’s not a single consulting firm in this state or country that can provide this type of analysis for their client (the mayor) that I have just freely shared with him, with the city council and this audience. No one else can explain the mayor’s basic problem, as I have just done. The mayor had a chance to hire me when I came to visit him to discuss the problems facing this city and he failed to realize what he was looking at. He’s living in his head and not in reality. Instead, I was ignored for the past two and half years. Today, he’s got no vision and I dream of one for Mobile, both, day and night.
Does Mobile deserve an incompetent, rich guy at the helm or the city’s best talent working on its’ behalf for the next three years? The vision that Sandy lacks is the same one that both, the president and Congress lack and it’s the #1 reason that America has become a sinking ship. Like the rest of them, he’s more interested in being right than seeking the truth.
KWCH.com Construction begins on new airport terminal,
Mayor Sandy Stimpson request for funds,
Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved. “Mayor Stimpson lacks vision, needs money for ideas.” by Ted Burnett
My other essays and videos can be viewed at my website – http://www.tedburnett.com. I can be contacted via email at – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Daphne, AL 36526 USA