MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Since News 5 hosted the Mobile Mayoral Debate on Monday, we’re taking a closer look at some of the comments and issues that were brought up.
One of the topics that affects a lot of people, including Mobile Mardi Gras societies is the fate of the aging Civic Center.
During the debate, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said, “Before we take out options we need to know how much it’s going to cost to fix it. We don’t know that but we will know in September and that will give us leverage to move forward.”
To which former Mayor Sam Jones responded, “Everybody here remembers when you said you were going to tear it down–you were going to demolish it.”
And that’s true. Mayor Stimpson waivered on the demolition of the Civic Center when it became apparent Mardi Gras groups were not happy about the uncertain future. In January of 2015, Mayor Stimpson set a deadline of April 2016. But by November of 2015, that deadline had been pushed back to March 1st, 2018, a date noted by Sam Jones that was after the city’s upcoming Municipal Elections.
At the time, Mayor Stimpson was open about the reasons for the delay and about his decision to want to close it in the first place. And that leads us to another topic brought up during the Mayoral Debate; transparency.
We looked at the current administration’s record on transparency after the door to the Mayor’s office was famously taken down in a symbolic gesture. But during the Monday debate, former Mayor Jones remarked, “What’s not told is that there are two sets of security doors you have to get through to get to that door.”
That is true, but it was also true during the two-terms Sam Jones was mayor. From a reporter’s standpoint, it was much more difficult to get an interview with then Mayor Jones. A News 5 investigation in May looked at issues getting information from Mobile Police and from Municipal Court; issues that persisted under Jones and under the current Stimpson administration.
Municipal elections in Mobile are set for Tuesday, August 22nd.