Here is part one, where I looked at what we were looking for that year as the election approached.
After the election results came in those who were hoping for change were ecstatic. I was at Ed May's campaign headquarters, and spoke with several supporters. I wrote another letter to The Western Star, based one the promises Ed May had made during his campaign, and what I heard that night as he celebrated victory.
Here is that letter. (For some reason the letter is not appearing yet, it will later. In the meantime, click on the title and you can read it.)
Letter ToThe Western Star September 25, 2002 Mayor May
Here are some of the promises outlined in the letter, and the outcomes as I see them.
Mr. May has outlined a plan whereby he, working with the school board and
superintendent, will improve our schools and offer our children a solid
Our schools have certainly made some improvements over the last 8 years, but it is not in any way attributable to Ed May, as this administration and council has refused to address the withholding of taxpayer generated funds belonging to the school system that the city refuses to pay them.
This led a city watchdog group, Citizens for Better Schools, to sue the city in January, 2008. The city government responded by considering a repeal of the ordinance that gives a portion of sales tax to the schools. Classy.
That's not just the mayor, but he sure didn't do anything to assure the schools got their money.
He has pledged to revitalize our historic neighborhoods and the downtown area.
I live in a "historic neighborhood" and I visit the "downtown area" almost every day. While I am proud to say there is some revitalization in a portion of downtown, this has all occurred within the last year and a half and much of the city center is still peppered with empty storefronts and abandoned or burned out buildings. And other than the destruction of some abandoned (historic) homes in the neighborhoods, there have been no initiatives toward restoration or improvements in the areas where people live.
He believes in the rule of law, and will enforce our laws fully and fairly, and
will support our police and firefighters.
His efforts to combat crime and reduce the murder rate depend on everyone coming to Jesus and telling their neighbors about him.
And he actually said that increased police presence would not make our area safer.
In reality, his strategy has not worked, as crime in Bessemer was addressed here.
He knows that our parks and recreational facilities are a reflection of our
pride and values, and will seek to restore those facilities to top condition.
We have an improved Roosevelt Park and a new track that a diverse group of citizens enjoy. Ed May and the council may be responsible for this, but did the mayor have to lie about it?
Ed May says on his current campaign literature:
Improved and renovated City Parks - building the only outdoor fitness facility
in Jefferson County.
I remember when I was dating my partner that we would sometimes use the exercise trail at Montclair Hospital (now Trinity) near Crestwood. It was a trail through the wooded area with several fitness stations positioned around the wooded property. I called Trinity to confirm that the trail is still in place, and it is. So this "outdoor fitness facility" or any other that the mayor may be referring to is not the only such facility in the county.
He has promised to end favoritism at Bessemer Utilities and to set up a consumer
advisory board to hear complaints and make recommendations to the
If there is a "consumer advisory board" then it is the worst publicized organization in the city, because I know nothing about it. I called Bessemer Utilities and the person I spoke with had never heard of it either.
I'm sure there are other promises that have not been kept over the last eight years. But the issues addressed in my letter, especially regarding crime, education and revitalization, and the failure of the mayor to follow though, are enough for me.