USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.

USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.

Note: The following is a series of email exchanges from me to Mayor Sandy Stimpson and the Mobile City Council about the city’s latest ranking on Gallup’s list of best and worst cities for well-being published in the USA Today, on March 25, 2014.  I received a response from the mayor’s chief of staff, Colby Cooper, the mayor’s communications director, George Talbot, and the mayor, himself.  Some minor edits have been made.

March 26, 2014

USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.

By

Ted Burnett

 
Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 9:35 PM

To: Mayor Sandy Stimpson and the Mobile City Council

While y’all continue to struggle with the revised budget, the city of Mobile, AL has once again made Gallup’s annual list of best and worst cities for 2014.  I’ve got some good news and some bad news to tell you.  What would you like to hear first?  The Good News?  Well, the good news is that we’re no longer the third worst city to live in, according to Gallup.  The bad news is that we’re still on their top ten list of worst cities!  Does this mean anything to any of you as our government officials and “city leaders”.

Without doing anything more than the status quo, we’re making Gallup’s list of worst cities.  Is it possible for Mobile’s city officials, for our city leaders and our civic leaders to come together and develop a vision, a plan and a strategy that addresses Gallup’s metrics that gets us off their worst list and onto their best list?  Is that a worthy goal?  Do you want your legacy while in office to be remembered for bitching about the city budget or to be about how you helped to turn this pathetic city around?  Do you want to spend the rest of your time arguing over whose numbers are right or get on with the business of coming up with some desperately needed new ideas for making Mobile a city that everyone loves and that tourists want to experience?  It’s your choice.  However, your decision will determine whether we, as citizens and as stakeholders, continue to experience more pain and suffering or start experiencing a better quality of life.  Its easy to deny problems, but this elephant is in the living room and its staring us right in the face.  Who will be the first to blink?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/03/25/gallup-cities-well-being/6828197/

Enjoy,
Ted Burnett
500 Lincoln St. B-105
Daphne, AL 36526 USA
 
Re: USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 11:03 PM

Ted,

Blink!  Did you see the interview Mayor Stimpson participated in this morning on NBC 15 were One Fit Mobile was launched?

OneFitMobile.com

Check it out. I think you will see that through public/private partnerships Mobile is doing many things to address the challenges before the City.

— Colby [Cooper, Chief of Staff for Mayor Sandy Stimpson]
 

Re: USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 8:35 AM

Thanks Ted. As you so rightly observe, the status quo is not acceptable. It will take some “outside of the box” thinking if we’re going to move up that list. I for one am open to any ideas that will help get us there.

— George [Talbot, Director of Communications and External Affairs at City of Mobile]
 
Re: USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.
 
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 1:04 PM 

Colby,

Thanks for writing back.

One Fit Mobile is a start, but the key to this program’s success is in solving real health problems that improves quality of life (emotional, mental, physical and spiritual) and not in treating mere symptoms (losing weight…) that miss the bull’s eye and the target, completely.

The green bicycles for rent at this point have little or no demand by, either, residents or tourists.  The launch of this recent rental program was out of sequence, untimely and beyond all of the first day’s fanfare, no one came in to rent a single bike at the Urban Emporium, on day two, because there’s no demand for them.  I went down there to find out for myself and I counted all eight bicycles lined up in the store.  Its another example of government solving problems that don’t exist while ignoring the ones that do.

For now, this program is another low risk, low reward gimmick to make the evening news, at best.  Like Mobile’s Convention and Tourism marketing campaign of “Secretly Awesome” that got panned by social media during the televised Go Daddy Bowl, the city is getting no immediate measurable uptick in visitors or revenue.   This campaign slogan should be fed to the delta’s alligators because it simply isn’t true.  It may make residents feel good to think and say.  However, it’s a lie that we repeatedly tell ourselves to keep us from having to grow up, from having to take full responsibility for the real state of the city and doing the hard work that’s necessary to make this town great.  I’m not into lies about myself or the world that I live in.  In my pursuit of excellence, I have to put up with your excuses, your mediocrity.

The city’s limited waterfront along Mobile River, which is primarily an industrial and marine site, has little or no demand given all the water access that this community enjoys along the causeway to the north and to the south, in the delta, along Eastern Shore down to the gulf (Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach) and “down the bay” to Dauphin Island.  Water access for, both, residents and tourists isn’t a problem, so why make rehabbing Water Street and the Mobile River site a top priority?  We’re not San Antonio and we’re not landlocked!

The immediate focus and energy of the mayor’s office and the city of Mobile should be on developing the city’s weak heartbeat and the natural site of its soul — downtown: Dauphin Street and the surrounding streets running from Broad Street east to Royal Street/Water Street.  The focus on the Mobile River waterfront should be based on the real use and natural spill over by area residents and tourists coming from our hotels, from our venues and from Dauphin Street/Royal Street seeking access to the river.  For us, the western banks of the Mobile River isn’t a field of dreams.

Enjoy,
Ted Burnett
500 Lincoln St. B-105
Daphne, AL 36526 USA

Re: USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.
 
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 1:58 PM

 
Ted,

Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. We agree that focusing on downtown is a priority, and I welcome your assistance in this process. Over the last several months, I have been privileged to hear many great ideas across the City, and I trust that with people like you involved, we will push forward to reaching our full potential, which certainly includes a vibrant, thriving downtown. One Fit Mobile just launched, and I think as time progresses, you will be impressed with their efforts. However, they can’t do it alone, which is where you and other passionate people come into play. Thank you for what you are doing to help move Mobile to the top of the list of healthy cities.

Regards,

Sandy [Stimpson, Mayor of Mobile, AL]

Source:

America’s Most Content (and Miserable) Cities by Alexander E.M. Hess, Vince Calio and Thomas C. Frohlichhttp://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/03/25/americas-most-content-and-miserable-cities-2/4/

9. Mobile, Ala.

> Well-Being Index score: 62.9

> Pct. adults with college degree: 21.5%

> Pct. smokers: 22.8%

> Median household income: $39,691

Mobile, Alabama, had among the highest percentages of residents who said they were angry within the past 24 hours. Exceptionally high rates of violent crimes may be one cause for unhappiness. There were 552 violent crimes and about 11 murders per 100,000 residents in 2012, both among the most in the nation. Residents did not particularly enjoy their work either. Only a little more than half said they felt their bosses treated them as partners. In terms of health, the area also did not fare especially well. One in 20 residents said they had previously been diagnosed with cancer, one of the highest rates in the country. The area was also in the top 10% for the percentage of residents who suffered from high blood pressure.

 

Copyright © 2014. All Rights Reserved. “USA Today: Gallup ranks best and worst cities for well-being for 2014.” by Ted Burnett

My other essays can be viewed at my blog – http://www.tedburnett.com. I can be contacted via email at – tebjr1@yahoo.com.

 Ted Burnett: I'm an American thought leader and pioneer on the subjects of human, organizational and societal development and health. I write about the role that integrity, dignity, sanity play, as well as, on the topics of spirituality, faith, freedom, happiness, problem solving and risk taking. I produce and deliver original, world-class commentaries on business, political, social and spiritual matters to a global audience of world leaders, chief executives and key decision makers, top faculty and notables in the fields of academia, banking, business, foundations, government (including heads of state, lawmakers and governors), healthcare, media, non-profits and policy institutes. Website: www.tedburnett.com