Eight years ago Bessemer was at a crossroads. Of course, we say that every time an election rolls around, don't we? But during the summer of 2002 the nation was still recovering from 9-11 and the country was more united than we are now. The people of the 7th congressional district had just elected Artur Davis in the primary to represent them. Some of us ended up being disappointed in Artur Davis. I could write about that, but he's already moving toward the history books.
In the summer of 2002 we were entering the election season for our city offices, and Ed May was the main challenger to Mayor Quitman Mitchell. Many of us wanted change, and in a letter to the Western Star I outlined some of the problems and the solutions we were seeking.
Here is the letter I wrote:
Letter ToThe Western Star July 3 2002 Upcoming Election
Our city is listed as one of the poorest in the nation. Our city core, the
downtown area and older neighborhoods are in disrepair. We need a mayor
who will work to solve these problems and restore the earning potential of our
citizens. This will involve improving our schools, improving safety,
restoring our neighborhoods and downtown. But just as important, we need a
mayor who will restore our faith in our city and in ourselves. Our self
image is dealt a blow each time we hear about how poor we are, or how unsafe we are, or how bad our schools are. We can’t be proud of our city when we
drive through it and see buildings crumbling. And we can’t expect people
to want to return to our city when they don’t feel safe here. We need a
mayor who will do things that will restore our pride and improve our quality of
life so that those who live here will have better lives and that those who don’t
live here will want to move here to enjoy what we know our city can be.
Eight years later, the problems remain.
We elected Ed May that summer. Like Artur Davis, elected that same year, he has turned out to be a disappointment. Seventy two per cent of respondents on a poll on this web site say that Ed May has not addressed the important issues of the city.
In part 2 of this series, I will outline Ed May's promises as reflected in another letter I had published in The Western Star after his election, and how those promises have not been fulfilled.