The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Monday, February 26, 2007

Maybe Bessemer is Making Progress

Those of you who remember my campaign for city council will recall that I wanted to connect the citizens to the city government, and vice versa. "Get Connected" was my campaign theme. One of the issues I was promoting was city wide wi-fi access. Since the election, I have read articles in the Birmingham News about Hoover and Birmingham looking into wi-fi access. Someone with access to our city government told me that a few years ago a plan was devised to bring wi-fi to Bessemer, but at present there is no talk of advancing on this. I still believe it would bring new business to Bessemer, and I know it would increase opportunity for students. Now I am not naive enough to believe that all Bessemer students have computers in their home, but with city wide wi-fi, more students would probably get computers, in fact, I believe we could probably get some corporation to donate computers for our students.

Also during the campaign I gave a speech in which I made reference to the clock on the tower at City Hall being stopped, and our city government being stalled too. Well, both are still at a standstill. Not that the council hasn’t been working, but its hard to get excited about finally passing a budget or debating a lodging tax. Even talk of upgrading street lights doesn’t do a lot for me (it might if they were in residential sections). Well, I take it back…this article in the Birmingham news a couple of weeks ago caught my eye:

Recycling plant looking at Powder Plant Road site

Wednesday, February 07, 2007
News staff writer

The principals who want to build a 200,000-square-foot recycling plant in Bessemer have scrapped plans to build near the Rock Mountain Lakes community and instead are considering a site near Powder Plant Road.
Waste Not Technologies plans to not only build the plant, but also construct what is being called Bessemer Green Park. Plans include the recycling plant and eight mini-mills, which would turn the recycled material into usable products.
The new plan would bring 1,200 new jobs - with an average salary of $27,000 - to Bessemer in addition to eliminating the needs for landfills, company president David Bennett said.
The article goes on to say the project could generate as much as $800,000 a year in property, sales and occupational taxes for the city. I promoted recycling in my campaign also, and I certainly support this project. It is this kind of progressive thinking that we need in Bessemer, and I commend the mayor for pursuing this. I was afraid the project would die when the company at first tried to locate near Rock Mountain Lakes, but they realized that they did not need to be near residential areas and the new site would put them closer to the Northern Beltline (oh yeah, I talked about that in the campaign too!)

So there is hope for progress. I would expect a progressive government to challenge its citizens to improve their selves and their city, and I would expect a newspaper to do the same. Instead of using their limited space to print editorials that express the views on Atlanta’s Sunday liquor sales and the opinion of someone in Michigan regarding Hillary’s presidential bid, try printing editorials that challenge city leaders to improve city services, or promote the Jonesboro Garden project, for example. For those of you who do not know, the Bessemer Historical Homeowners Association is partnering with the Bessemer School Board and Vulcan Materials to build a community garden at the site of the old Jonesboro School. This will be a place that will bring people together, and a place for relaxation, exercise and education. This project is moving forward and site preparation and planting should begin within a few weeks.

Please leave a comment or email me with your ideas for progress in Bessemer. There are lots of issues, what is important to you? And check out the comments others have left on these topics, and add your own.


Anonymous said...

You are right about the editorials. If I want biblical instruction, I go so church or read the bible. I don't go to the Western Star. But that's all I seem to find, from the opinions page, to James Dobson's column, to the amen corner. That's why I quit reading the paper. Keep up the good work.

Jennifer (Errett) Robinson said...

Great Comment Anonymous. I agree. Maybe the Western Star is not a progressive paper to go with what I see Bessemer is becoming, and that is a progressive city. There are good things happening and while the paper is gay bashing and Bush supporting, there is real news out there happening. Joe, thanks for this site. It feels good to vent our frustrations and know that others agree.