Dear Birmingham logo

Should Cooper fade away?

10.29.2007 by André Natta · → 7 Comments

Read Offline:

Should Patrick Cooper’s lawsuit against mayor-elect Langford continue?

If there was a chance that he could win in court, I’d be all for him going ahead and seeing what happens. The funny thing is, most lawyers seem to be saying that the changes of Cooper’s contest being successful are quite slim, despite letters of support in Sunday’s Birmingham News. And even if Cooper was successful, Langford would be able to go and register for the race again seeing as how he would be able to claim residency a little easier now.

That or he would be getting written in by the more than 50% that voted for him last time, in addition to some who voted for Cooper that are becoming disenfranchised with him after this demonstration of doing just what he campaigned that he wouldn’t do.

There are many who are regular readers of this site that may disagree with me about the idea of Cooper letting it lie, but I have an interesting situation to lay before you. Let’s say that Cooper had conceded the race the morning after the election, pledging to work with the mayor-elect to move the city forward and truly lead Birmingham towards being the 21st century New South city that both men believe it can become. The two men combined carried nearly 80% of the popular vote on Election Day. Now let’s assume that Governor Riley decided to not make a special appointment to the Jefferson County Commission and that a special election was called to be held in February. Cooper could easily have taken part in the race and probably could have been seen as a contender for winning the position.

Let’s say that Cooper won – you’ve suddenly put two populist-elected officials in two extremely powerful positions in local and regional politics. If the city and region did not move forward then, people would have to answer for it. The people would have spoken not once, but twice, saying that the region must move forward and that they were willing to put their faith in people that were willing to do things outside of the box. (My biggest problem with that phrase is “why is there a box to begin with?”)

This scenario may have played out, though now it may not as many are becoming increasingly impatient with Mr. Cooper as he carries out a personal crusade against the man that promised he wouldn’t run against him for mayor. Well unfortunately for him he did, and he won. Removing Langford from the equation before Election Day would have landed him in a runoff; now it would open up a Pandora’s Box of uncertainty.

Cooper has said that he does not care about his political future, but there are many out there that do, many that decided to vote for you because of wanting a change who are not quite sure what they would have gotten.

The court of public opinion still appears to be out on both men as Birmingham prepares to buckle up for the interesting ride that is a Langford mayoral term and the promise of Patrick Cooper’s name remaining in the public eye, at least for the short term. The only fear that some of Cooper’s staunch supporters may have is his name becoming one of those in the coming months and years that when mentioned evokes comments like “he had so much potential; it’s a shame he acted the way that he did in ’07.”

André Natta is the publisher and managing editor of The Terminal. To submit letters in response to this commentary or to contact for general information, use any of the methods listed on our contact page.

Read Offline:

Filed under: Alabama · Birmingham · Commentary · Election '07 · politics

7 comments
chotty
chotty

Agreed, Andre. Many of my clients are in downtown areas, I see the blight and (also) the opportunities. However, B'ham has only around 800 Police with a shocking per-capita murder and violent crime rate. (just look at this weekend's stats!) *Every year B'ham makes the Top Ten most dangerous cities list, #6 last year, i believe. I attend monthly meetings for our Avondale neighborhood and the last one was stupefying... it's about 25-30 years behind the rest of most US cities... small-minded, complacent, myopic. THAT is what has to change. Also at he meeting, our councilwoman told us that "There was money for more police, but we can't find any qualified people" - Gag!

Andre
Andre

I am a transplanted New Yorker as well. Something to consider when you quote numbers is to compare apples to apples. New York city has 8 million actual residents and 42,000 officers. During the day it has 12 million. Birmingham proper has about 240, 000 people with a metro area of 1.1 million. NYC also has a population that decided that it was time to help out. Property taxes are controlled by the state, not the local government. You are right Chotty, building things alone does nothing; but I would also remind you that people are coming back downtown. The issue is more about getting people to return to other areas of the city and what that means. Police are needed but zero tolerance relies on everyone participating. That may be the biggest problem facing the city - whether or not folks are ready to step up to the challenge.

Chotty
Chotty

I am a transplanted New Yorker. I know of what I speak. I saw an unthinkable turn-around happen right before my eyes. B'Ham would have to DOUBLE the size of the Police force just to get it up to a pathetic level. To give you locals an idea, the NYPD has 42,000 officers in uniform. THAT'S what it takes. Zero Tolerance. Raise property taxes for more police. Simple. What the HELL is a domed stadium going to do for this "city"? How about a couple hundred of those "domes" with lights you see atop Police cruisers?? Building things alone does nothing. No one will come back to the downtown area until it is SHOCKINGLY safe. "When all else fails, people take matters into their own hands".?? You couldn't possibly be serious...

Shawn
Shawn

Ok, I believe the person,"Chotty" may have misunderstood what Adrian is saying. Yes more police is good, but can the city afford that on their payroll. Things like The Dome and Rail system is something that can bring revenue to our city. Economically, Birmingham is in a rut. Their are no jobs to offer the citizens of Birmingham, so sad but true, these are the reasons people comment crime such as robbery and even homicides have a lot to do with money. When all else fails, people take matters into their own hands. So, I agree with Adrian. Cooper should not only focus on the crime but things that will actually help our city. Notice, majority of poor cities have more crime. So bring good paying jobs and some of the crime will decrease.

chotty
chotty

I voted for Cooper and I support his contesting the election results. Complacent statements like "but people are going to comment crime anyway" is exactly what is wrong with this small, myopic city. NOTHING is more important than more Police!!!!! - Welcome to the era of crazy spending on non-sense.

Adriane
Adriane

Okay, here is what I have to say about this. First I would like to mention that the this lawsuit is frivolous. I don't know what exactly Cooper think he will get of of this. If for some odd reason Cooper win the lawsuit and is granted a reelection, I would seriously doubt he will stand a chance of winning the election. With Cooper following though his lawsuit in my opinion, will only have people questioning his character. It will have people who actually voted for him loss trust in his ability to run our city. Not only that, the people who did vote for for Cooper just may vote for another candidate. Me personally, I didn't vote for Cooper. I voted Langford, but I was going to vote for Cooper before I found out that Langford was running(Due to the fact that Langford didn't raise enough money to campaign compared to Cooper) but I didn't vote for Cooper because I personally felt like Langford will do a better job as mayor because he was at one point a mayor and Cooper is only a lawyer. Plus, Langford has proven that he is capable of given the people of his city what they want at any means necessary. Point blank, I am angry about the situation. I am currently residing in downtown Birmingham and I would love to see this city grow. So far, I am very pleased at what Mayor Langford plans to do for our city. My question is can Cooper do that. I understand that Cooper claims he can cut crime within 40% but people are going to comment crime anyway. He cannot put a police on every corner and doorstep. I would like to put this out though, I am seriously thinking about protesting against Cooper,"The Sore Loser" lawsuit.

Anon
Anon

I think you are right that this is a personal crusade by Cooper. Part of the problem with his candidacy, as now evident, is that he didn't really want us to have the Birmingham we want, but rather he wanted to be Mayor. I don't think he would be interested in any other locally elected position. And even if he was, he would have to move in order to qualify for Langford's vacated seat, which would be a move that would require him to leave the safety and comfort of the downtown loft/forest park area. He may have spent one week spending his nights outside of these areas, but it has become abundantly clear that he does not really care about anyone other than himself. As you pointed out, he doesn't even seem to care about the people who voted for him and the people who want to see this City move forward.