From a reader:
I sincerely hope residents of the Shoals realize how important August 23rd is to their future. Apathy and a lack of interest could very well cost everyone another 4 years of lost progress. In Florence it will mean another four years of a Dick-Tater regime. Sholanda's Six Mickey Haddock do nothing-ness list is a very good one. But remember Haddock didn't do nothing alone. He had help, especially under the heavy handed President of the Council and Finance Committee Chairman, Dick Jordan. Under Haddock Jordan's wife was hired and promoted, her pet project - The Indian Mound Museum is almost complete while the Senior Center, Animal Shelter and numerous other projects went nowhere. With the exception of Barry Morris, none of the other Council members bothered to question the Mayor's non actions. Instead they added to the excuses games.
Electing a new Mayor is just the first step - the Council is important as well. Susan Goode has outlined numerous actions she will take and will truly be good for Florence. She has leadership skills and will not bow to the good ole boys or other special interests. She is a bridge builder and that is badly needed in the Shoals The possibilities are unlimited if she is elected and has a strong Council to work with in accomplishing goals. While Steve Holt is a good person the Chamber under his leadership was stagnant at best. He came to the party late and has no real platform.
Regarding needed City Council changes, Andy Betterton is a consummate fence sitter and a follower. There are two good choices in that race opposing him. Bob Hill and Jim Fisher. This reader thinks Jim Fisher is the choice. Bob Hill is a good man and has served the state well but Jim's energy and expertise in all things technology could make a big difference in the City of Florence's progress.. It is rumored that the lack of fiber optics and other technology resources is the reason Florence lost a major employer.
A young man who had to go to court to get approval to run, Chase Holcomb, has done extensive research and has the intelligence and character to do the right thing. He is running against Blake Edwards. Edwards has also been a yes man to the Mayor and Dick Jordan and is not a big fan of progress.
Herman Graham has an energetic opponent in David Bradley. He is an independent thinker and determined to make a positive difference. His legal experience could come in handy. Hopefully his family won't try to sell the City property. Herman Graham is one of the nicest people you will ever meet and has made valuable contributions over the years but in this latest term he has followed in the steps of no progress.
Barry Morris stayed true to his vote to have term limits and has bowed out. Two good choices are running for that positon. Michele Eubanks is this reader's choice as she has fresh ideas and energy to propel progress.
Dave Smith is also a nice man but has followed and been complacent in a lack of progress for his district. Katrina Simmons is aggressive, educated and determined to make a positive difference.
So don't forget all of the races matter! The people elected will affect your quality of life on almost a daily basis.
The above is a very insightful letter and one whose sentiments we share in large part. Now let’s look at District Four where Councilman Barry Morris currently serves. Three candidates are vying to fill Morris’ vacated seat:
* John Hargett – A perennial candidate with sound financial credentials and little chance of winning.
* Tom Wissert – A former member of the Florence School Board. If you want to know something about someone, ask a school teacher. We assume at least part of this vast trove of information is passed on to board members. His plan for District Four and Florence? All good wishes and no specifics? He has stated he wants to see the animal shelter and Wood Avenue paving projects completed, as well as determining the best solution for disposing of the old ECM Hospital building when the time comes.
* Michelle Rupe Eubanks – A former reporter for the TD. She also has to know what cooks in many areas. Knowledge is power. She states she wants to see District Four grow, but like Wissert, she’s lacking in specifics. Eubanks works in marketing and presumably has more concrete ideas than she’s elaborating on.
So, is there an obvious choice? Our personal opinion is that Eubanks may have a slight edge over Wissert, but either one will be good for Florence. Do your own research and, above all, vote.
If we have any advice for candidates and future winners in local municipal races, it’s to become better listeners. Obviously, some constituents will have no idea of what you can or can’t do for your district and them, some will dislike you for no valid reason, some will pester the heck out of you; however, when you stop listening and don’t offer an honest reply, you no longer honor the office to which you’ve been elected.
How many current council members would the above apply to? We’ve certainly heard it often enough about Dave Smith in District One. Perhaps Prince will join us tomorrow for a bone-chewing evaluation of that race.
As we publish today’s blog and prepare to post its link to FB, we see that we lack three likes having 5,000. Our sincere thanks to all our readers.
How many actually read out blog each day? While the numbers vary, we rarely have less than 3,000 page hits. Some readers send us hate mail while many more send us fan mail and ideas for future blogs.
Again, from all of us here, a sincere thank you!