The Year of Moving Forward

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Bessemer Animal Cruelty and... Libscomb

Bessemer Mayor Ed May stopped me in the middle of addressing the Bessemer City Council last night. After calling the newspaper I write for a tabloid with made up news, he did not want to hear that Bessemer Animal Control is abusing animals and my use of the word "illegal" in describing procedures there that violate state law was too much for him.

But I was able to remind the council (and the mayor) that they had heard the accusations before in the form of a letter from Jacque Meyer of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society in November 2006. They were also reminded that the letter outlined a solution, that is the hiring of Kim Staton of Animal Welfare Consultations to assess and make recommendations.

After the mayor interrupted me the council referred the issue to committee (oh my god) to look into it. As if that will lead anywhere (without severe prodding from interested parties).

I don't take the oath I took as a veterinarian to promote the welfare of animals and relieve animal suffering for the benefit of society lightly. So my mission is not over.

I want to urge those of you who live in Bessemer to call your council person and let them know you support having an outside consultant assess the animal control program and how horrible it is that Bessemer is allowing this to continue.

District 1 Dorothy Davidson 424-4060
District 2 Louise Alexander 424-4060
District 3 Sarah Belcher 424-4060
District 4 Jimmy Stephans 424-4060
District 5 Albert Soles 424-4060
District 6 Jesse Matthews 424-4060
District 7 Earl Cochran 424-4060

Since our city officials do not make email addresses or personal phone numbers public, you will have to call the council office. If you catch them in the office, great, if not, leave a message with the secretary or on their voice mail. this will only take a few minutes.

If you live outside the city you can call the same number (205-424-4060) and ask for the mayor's office or just leave a message with the receptionist. The city just needs a lot of calls.

But there are others in different positions who will also be taking measures to stop the animal cruelty. Good for them.

Here is the column in the Western Tribune regarding Lipscomb this week.

What can possibly happen to make the situation in Lipscomb worse? I mean, the mayor, Simon Speights, has resigned after the district attorney asked a judge to remove him from office because of a prior felony conviction. This follows the resignation of mayor Jimmie Johnson, who resigned after it was determined that he didn’t even live in the city.

The next mayor could be city council member Gaston Randle, but he has been charged with four felonies, so his future is questionable. Another council member, David Horn, has charges against him as well.

Former mayor Speights has been accused of driving a stolen vehicle, city officials are impersonating police officers, and Hispanics are being threatened and shaken down.

But things could get worse. The remaining officials could be allowed to continue to govern. The city could continue to exist.

I have nothing against the people of Lipscomb, but no one should have to live under the type of rule (and lack of rule) that they have suffered under for years. There is no doubt that there are qualified people living in Lipscomb who could manage the city, but apparently they do not want the responsibility because in recent years they have not made their presence known.

Lipscomb needs to become District 8 of Bessemer. The territory of Lipscomb has few businesses to generate sales tax and business license revenue. Property values are such that revenue from property taxes is low as well. Other than shaking down immigrants and setting up illegal roadblocks there is no steady source of income for the city.

Municipal services, like police and fire protection, while not perfect in Bessemer, would definitely improve if Lipscomb becomes part of this city.

Of course, the homes in Lipscomb are not like the newly built homes on the other side of Bessemer. Some of us love the older homes, though, and would be glad to add them to the array of historic residences in our city that our homeowners are so proud of.

In 1890 Bessemer was the fourth largest city in the state in terms of population, but 117 years later we are nowhere near that and in fact the city is still losing residents, according to U. S. Census estimates. Lipscomb has lost residents over the last few years as well and has about 2400 residents. However Lipscomb’s per capita annual income is about $1300 higher and household income about $7000 higher, and this could actually raise Bessemer’s income levels.

Bessemer officials should talk to the officials in Lipscomb about becoming part of our city. But wait, who would they talk to? Your guess is as good as mine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would imagine that the only reason Lipscomb residents wouldn't want to come into Bessemer is the school system. Currently, Lipscomb children attend Lipscomb Elem a K-5 school. It is a Jefferson county school. Then in 6th grade they attend McAdory School. There are a lot of ggod people in Lipscomb. Many are older and feel powerless in this situation.