Eight years ago, the people of Bessemer decided a change was in order. Our city had been declared "past the point of no return." As we look around we don't see evidence of the change we were promised. Oh we have a shiny new shopping center out Eastern Valley Road and a theater
and some nice restaurants. The same can be said for the Academy Drive area.
But our neighborhoods are crumbling, trash is piled in our alleys, and crime is as bad or worse than it was a decade ago.
The people of Bessemer do not feel good about their city, and they are not inspired to work with each other, or to support the city council, because of the lack of leadership and lack of evidence that the mayor and council are doing anything to help our city progress.
I proposed a list of qualifications that the next mayor of Bessemer should possess. One candidate met these standards and agreed with all these qualifications.
The Progressive Bessemer Coalition has endorsed Ken Gulley for mayor.
Ken Gulley kicked his campaign off in March. Here are Bob Pennington, Gulley, Otis Smith and Hank Tyler at that event.
Image courtesy the Western Tribune
In a conversation with the candidate he said this about the list, "All those things can be summed up; we want good government."
The list included taking control of the budget (in a transparent way), having a vision for the city and a plan to get us there, a person who can get along with the council and share information with the city, be committed to transparency, must be squeaky clean, must be committed to addressing our crime problem, and must live in Bessemer and support Bessemer in everyday living.
The Gulley family
Supporting Bessemer is something Ken Gulley has done all his professional life. Not long after receiving his degree in business management from Alabama A & M University he began working in Bessemer city government, so he has a foundation in how government works, and how the city is organized. After he left city government, he continued to contribute to Bessemer by serving on several community boards and organizations including the Red Cross and the Bessemer Chamber of Commerce.
His vision for the city includes "sound fiscal management, structure and accountability, a state of the art school system, a clean and beautiful city, promoting more tourism and new businesses to our city."
He also says that he will "work to unify the relationship of the mayor and council, so that we can work together to attract more residents, businesses and tourism."
He has promised to treat city employees fairly, and will work to make their salaries comparable to surrounding cities.
He will find funding for youth and senior citizens recreational programs.
He will work to restore the Bessemer Home Rehabilitation Program, which assisted qualified elderly residents who needed renovations to preserve their homes.
He also will examine the status of the First Time Buyers Program. Under this program approximately 50 homes were built, giving those that did not qualify for home ownership under regular conventional methods the opportunity to enjoy the American dream.
These are just a few of real and reachable goals of the Gulley administration.
Vote for Ken Gulley on August 24.
You can find out more about Ken Gulley at Voteken2010 (click on "On the issues") or by attending the Mayoral Candidate Forum on Tuesday, August 17 at 6 pm. the event is free to the public, and all 6 candidates are expected to speak and answer questions. The forum will be at Bessemer city High School.
The City Council and School Board Forums will be on Thursday, August 12 (Districts 1, 2 and 3)and Monday, August 16 (Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7) at 6 pm. More on these later.