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The race to mediocrity

01.19.2010 by André Natta · → Leave a comment

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This website has never endorsed a candidate in a political race during its nearly three-year existence.

We’re not starting today.

That said, even if we wanted to, there’s no way that either candidate would warrant an endorsement based on just how childish and asinine they’ve behaved in recent days.

Bell vs. Cooper - Bob Farley/f8PhotoThe “fresh face” has dipped down to the same level as “the elder statesman” of Birmingham municipal politics and in reality neither one of them have actually talked about the issues – or at least explained what they were actually going to do if elected.

When one campaign (or their supporters) is running photos of a candidate’s ex-wife and making accusations about that person’s sexual orientation while the other one (or its supporters) is digging up 10-year old articles that include allegations about his personal life instead of talking about the issues – the real issues – it becomes more about character assassination instead of talking about moving Alabama’s largest city (for now) forward.

We heard less about Mr. Bell’s current plans for his hometown and how electing him would be different now than previously and more about him being tied to Birmingham’s present – one that is described as a city “dying on the vine.” We heard him talk about himself in the third person (something that is incredibly annoying) and more insulting one liners than anything else, not to mention supporters talking about Birmingham becoming a colony – perhaps the only way to sustain our current population numbers right now short of fixing our educational system – even though charter schools are apparently not the answer in his eyes if it means that the city will have to pay the bill. I’d have more links for this section but the Black and White article kind of covers the good, the bad and the ugly – whether true or not.

We heard more about Mr. Cooper’s connections to Andrew Young and saw a lot of arm waving and heard less about his father’s past connections to several influential companies that conduct business in metro Birmingham that may be his key to bringing about change in the community. We heard less about the fact that the former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica once served as the senior vice president for Volkert and Associates, an engineering firm that does a great deal of work here in the city. He is also a former member of the board of United States Steel – (see page 6) – owner of more than 200 square miles of land located within city limits, a lot of it undeveloped.

The connections that both candidates have to people are a result of them being politicians – yes, both of them. It’s something we’ve got to live with…

What disappointed me the most ties into the post I wrote back when this roller coaster ride began. I still don’t think that Birmingham needs a savior (even though they need someone to save it from this sham of an election cycle). Neither man did the one thing that would have made a decision on who to vote for a slam dunk – neither one of them called off the attacks once it became apparent that many people in the city were tired of them.

I hope that whoever wins this evening decides to actually be that leader or head coach that we need and not worry too much about getting re-elected. Then the city would truly benefit.

The only thing scarier is the issue of whose minds the mud slinging actually changed.

I encourage those of you registered in Birmingham, AL to vote today – even if you feel as though it will not mean anything. This city has been able to move forward – albeit slowly – in the past and can continue to do so regardless of who ends up in the big office on the third floor of Birmingham City Hall. But I may encourage all of you to look deep within yourselves to figure out what you can do to make Jones Valley a better place for all people – and start thinking about who can truly help us lay out a path for the future come 2011.

I’m going to have a glass of scotch and sit on the front porch at the house and hope that the calvary’s planning to appear by then…

André Natta is the stationmaster for bhamterminal.com

Photos: Bob Farley/f8Photo

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