Cleo King kicked off his campaign with an event at Nukes Sports Grill on 19th Street in Bessemer yesterday evening. A few dozen people dropped in, some to show support, others curious and anxious to meet the young candidate.
Here is King (in the dark suit) addressing potential voters.
Cleo King is flanked by his staff; Sheila Walker, campaign treasurer and Prince Cleveland, campaign manager.
The crowd was entertained by musicians from Neo Jazz School of Music. (Later yesterday evening I saw these guys addressing the Birmingham City Council on the meeting replay)
Cleo King is a newcomer to the Bessemer political scene, but that is exactly what we need. He's running in District 7.
Cleo recognizes that Bessemer is in a funk. Or, as he puts it, "Bessemer has become fatigued with the internal bickering and slow resolution of issues that face the city."
That's putting it mildly.
Bessemer needs a new council and a new mayor. Even the current council president agreed when he told me a few months ago that the voters should replace them all.
Among the items in Cleo's Action Plan (and my comments) are:
- Support initiatives to protect neighborhoods against crime. Cleo has been a victim of crime in Bessemer, so he has a perspective that others may not share.
- Stimulate economic growth in under served areas of Bessemer. I would think this includes the 7th district, where there are few economic opportunities. A neighborhood coffee shop here and there would be a good start in this residential district. Visit the the Marigny neighborhood in New Orleans to see how that works.
- Support neighborhood beautification and downtown revitalization. Downtown is about to get a shot in the arm, with the groundbreaking for the new DHR building scheduled to take place on June 4. The city should follow with more downtown activity.
- Encourage consensus among city leaders. "Consensus" may be asking a little too much, How about civility. We've had recent Town Hall meetings where microphones were jerked from the speaker's hand and voices were raised by elected officials. This results in a turning away by citizens who are both embarrassed and repulsed by what they see. What we need to do is act in ways that encourage citizen participation.
- Support programs to develop and cultivate the talents of Bessemer's youth. Do you think Bessemer will ever have a rec center for kids and seniors? I've lived here for a decade, and every candidate mentions "rec center" in their platform. Please, council of 2010 and new mayor, find a way to build a rec center. Maybe this could be a new project for the Public Building Authority to undertake?
Other candidates will be filing to run in this and other districts, and the August 24 election is 2 months away, so it's too early to compare King to other candidates. But he's running ahead of the field as it stands now. Check out Cleo King and learn more, at his web site.