Friday, September 16, 2016

Florence Mayor?

Florence mayor Mickey Haddock is completing his first term in office. He will happily tell you much he has done. Let's look at some things he has...and hasn't done...that he won't mention:

* Failed, for whatever reason, to build new animal shelter. For those not aware, next weekend there is a BENEFIT for our current shelter in order to make needed improvements. By now the old shelter should have been sold or even donated, and the new owners providing maintenance for the building.

* Failed, for whatever reason, to build new senior center. What has been accomplished is to rent property the city had previously sold where the current senior center lies and an unsuccessful attempt to buy back the land. 

* Failed, for whatever reason, to secure funding for College Street bridge to connect West Florence with the western end of the county. (In fairness, this will require state approval, but lack of such is still another example of our current mayor and council's inabilities to get things done.)

* Presented idea to combine Florence-Lauderdale Government Building and Lauderdale County Courthouse properties into one plaza, even authorizing initial blueprints, then seemingly abandoned the idea without comment.

* Delayed Wood Avenue paving project more than once, each time removing needed improvements to the water pipe system underneath.

* Authorized a parking committee to handle peak hour shortages in downtown. After thousands of dollars, we now know there's a shortage of spaces (no comment) and that painting the parking deck purple and gold will alleviate it partially. (Not making that one up; check for yourself.)

* Authorized a study for a second entertainment district downtown without ever acting on the already approved Sweetwater Arts & Entertainment District. As of today, Florence still has no entertainment district. 

* Hired a councilman's brother-in-law as project coordinator who had been terminated by the previous mayor and council in his role as city clerk. If anyone knows what a project coordinator does, please let us know.

* Engaged in sporadic rhetoric about inside tennis courts and other attractions for Veterans Park. Four years later, there's still no attraction as promised in the park, and citizens report current facilities are in dire need of maintenance.

* Failed to listen to water department manager Mike Doyle who advised of high liability risk in continuing to provide sewer service to parts of St. Florian. For those not geographically inclined, St. Florian is an incorporated town north of Florence which has no connection other than a shared boundary. Haddock did demand St. Florian property owners sign an agreement to pay for any damages resulting from this arrangement. Let's hope we never have to see just how that may or may not work.

* Failed to even enter into discussions concerning lack of space at county detention center where Florence prisoners are housed. 

There are certainly more minor problems not addressed by our current mayor, but you get the idea. After the election, we plan to look at a few oddities concerning this race. In the mean time, we endorse Steve Holt for mayor of Florence. Mr. Holt was for years head of the Florence Chamber of Commerce, is highly competent, and aware of the local job situation. 

A vote for Steve Holt is a vote for actually doing something.

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