Note from Quin: Two months ago, I did a news analysis on the race for mayor in Mobile. In it, I compiled a lot of statistics showing the superb job that incumbent mayor Sandy Stimpson is doing. The election is Tuesday. Stimpson needs voters not to be complacent, but to go to the polls and keep Mobile’s wonderful momentum going. Herewith, then, a repeat of that earlier column from Yellowhammer Politics:

….Stimpson, a leading timber executive with a long and varied record of local and state civic leadership, defeated [Sam] Jones in a mild upset in 2013. Jones is a former Navy man who served for 16 years as a Mobile County commissioner before his two terms as mayor. Election day is August 22….

Jones’ second term, though, was marked by reports of sloth, mismanagement, lack of transparency, and some economic stagnation, along with the embarrassment of having lost a cruise-ship contract after the city had spent a fortune building a new ship terminal.

Jones also appointed or re-appointed leaders to the local public housing board who, in the words of publisher Rob Holbert of the moderate Lagniappe Weekly, “allowed this city’s public housing to disintegrate to such a degree that much of it looked like it belonged in the Third World.” The Mobile Housing Board now is under investigation by the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – but that didn’t stop Jones from taking a job (after he left office) from longtime board chairman Clarence Ball, who oversaw the whole mess….

Since then, Mobile’s government has improved by almost every metric. Using figures provided by Stimpson’s administration (but not known to be controverted by anybody), the city’s debt (including bonded indebtedness, which most cities usually carry) has been cut by $72 million, after rising by $123 million during Jones’ first six years. (Jones added no bonded debt during his final two years.) Under Jones, Mobile had no reserve/rainy day fund (and indeed posted a $4.3 million operating deficit once bills were paid for 2013), but Stimpson now maintains a reserve fund of more than $20 million (with no new taxes or other new revenue sources).

When Jones left office, there was a backlog of “infrastructure” needs, with no money specifically dedicated to the purpose. Stimpson (and the City Council) now have dedicated $21 million annually for repavings, new sidewalks, and construction.

And both Moody’s and Standard & Poors have given Mobile better credit ratings (Moody’s had previously described a “negative outlook”), due largely to what S&P called “the city’s improved management practices” which (as Moody’s put it) “has improved the budgeting strategy.”…

[The full piece is at this link.]

[I also recommend this column by Lagniappe’s Rob Holbert.]


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