Mobile: Likes, dislikes & crotchets
By Chip Drago
Mobile Bay Times
What do you like about Mobile? What do you dislike? What is the one thing about Mobile that you feel most strongly about -- positive
or negative -- that you think is of less consequence to others?
MBT posed those questions to a few dozen area residents and got a variety of perspectives.
1) The thing I like most about Mobile is that it is big enough to provide choices but not so big that it is overwhelming. We have cultural outlets as diverse as opera and monster truck pulls; we have dining choices from down home to new gourmet fusion styles and plenty of things in between.
2) The thing I dislike most about Mobile is that for all the talk about potential and growing new business for Mobile, we fail to focus on the essentials like literacy and building government to meet the needs of the future. For example, we have improved our waterfront and have plans for more development, but we haven't matched the tourism, residential component with a commercial/retail element to provide shopping, groceries etc. to support that development.
3) I find it incomprehensible that we have only three county commissioners, and that people act as if you are speaking treason when you suggest that County government needs to be restructured.
-- ABC, lawman
1) I like the Southern Charm that seems to have been lost in other parts of the State. Also, Mobile has the potential to become the largest and most progressive city along the Gulf coast if we can attract higher paying jobs in different industries, i.e., high tech and manufacturing, providing we stop the dumbing down of our students and show new residents our education system is second to none.
2) The Mobile County School Board needs to be totally reorganized or disbanded. Unless we provide a better education system for our next generation, Mobile will forever wallow around in the theater of mediocrity. If we hope to attract better high paying jobs, we need to have the education system in place to educate our next generation from kindergarten to 12th. grade. The higher education system (colleges and universities) seems to be in place to take our high school graduates to the next level.
3a) I feel very strongly about providing stronger police protection for our citizens by increasing the man power of the Mobile Police Department. I am also disturbed by the seeming increase in the Latino population in Mobile. If they are legitimate aliens, I have no problem. If they are illegitimate aliens, why are they still here? Where is the INS on this. AND
3b) Develop a state lottery and bring legitimate gambling (Casinos) to the state. Why should the states around us benefit from our money?
-- John R. Gavin
1) Mobile is on the verge of greatness. Officials are working together -- this is quite evident everywhere we look. We are no longer the city of potential -- we are realizing it .
2) The educational system.
3) Our great history -- if people would realize how important our culture is, we could capitalize upon it and turn it into an economic machine -- look at New Orleans, embracing the French heritage --Mobile has the same roots -- they use the fleur de lis to promote everything -- why don't we?
-- Chris Clarke
1) The richness of this beautiful city. The people of Mobile are so rich they hang their jewelry in the trees.
2) Negativity about this blessed piece of God's green earth. Progress is difficult if not impossible to achieve when so many know not where it lies.
3) People make a city, not land, rivers and buildings. Mobile is special because Mobile's people are special.
-- Ronald P. Davis
1) Mobile's neighborhoods and lush greenery are in my ``most like''
2) I dislike the hurricanes, of course. But also neglect of historic structures, residential and commercial, and the seemingly unplanned, uninformed political leadership. For example, the goofy idea of building a condominium on the site of the old courthouse, when a park would not only preserve the city's cultural heritage, but become a meeting place for entire downtown. As the RSA tower is completed and congestion follows, a park is needed there. Savannah and Charleston are so far ahead of Mobile in cultural and architectural preservation.
3) As for the one thing I feel most strongly about, I guess it would be the city's future direction, with no clear vision out there that unites the maritime industry with tourism and related interests. If Mobile gets a second cruise ship, maybe this part of the city's future will improve.
-- RAP, veteran area newsperson
1) Like -- Easy access to water-related activities, Bay, Rivers, & Gulf.
2) Dislike -- Although it seems to be improving, a lack of strong leadership over the past 50 years has resulted in mediocre schools & a tendency to think that Mobile must 'take what it can get' in terms of economic development.
3) Most strongly -- I believe that if we collectively decide and focus on providing the best education possible while maintaining our quality of life there is no limit to where we can go as a community! With clear common shared values and goals we won't lose focus and drift!
-- Rick Collins
1) Really nice neighborhoods to live in spread throughout the city, not just in one homogenous pocket. Examples are Ashland Place, Oakleigh, Springhill, new west Mobile neighborhoods, the (Dauphin) Island, Eastern Shore or out in the "country" with your property.
2) The school system has been for many years and still is the hugest embarrassment and hindrance to growth.
3) (Mobile) hasn't quite gotten over the hump of the mid-size mentality and still has a very close-minded, "if you aren't like me then maybe you should find somewhere else to live" feel ... not progressive enough in terms of welcoming and supporting diversity in the arts, good cultural venues and eating establishments. Basically, it's all about huntin', fishin', doin' Mardi Gras, or stayin' at home bein' a Mobilian.
-- Mimi Lauten Fowlkes
1) The weather except in July and August!
2) That my answer to #3 is true, I fear.
3) Too many are indifferent to poverty and many say it's due to
laziness -- look at the popularity of the right wing radio on all the stations.
-- John Duffy
1) The uniqueness it has within the state because of the history and location. It has its own feel. Can't describe it but it has one. A very large small town.
2) The vastly under-reported crime problem throughout this city. There are more and more areas in this town I would deem unsafe.
3) The underbelly of corruption I feel is woven all throughout government entities. Stuff that Josh Bernstein and even Uncle Henry have tried to bring out.
1) Mobile is no longer stagnant. It has become a progressive city with emphasis on new industry and businesses. The optimism brought by the revitalization of the downtown area.
2) The school board and school system. The school board has been an embarrassment for way too long.
3) The judicial system. I don't think many people realize how fortunate we are to truly have the best group of judges in the state.
-- Ken Nixon
1) The great people
2) The poor representation in local government.
3) We should have a place outdoors for music etc. that is fun and nice.
-- DBU, salesman
1) Its size -- big enough to have everything you need, from shopping to sports and cultural entertainment
2) Litter. There's not enough pride to keep our city beautiful.
3) We have an amazing Symphony Orchestra here!
-- Linda Steele
1) The thing that I like most about Mobile is its proximity to the Gulf Coast.
2) The thing I dislike about Mobile the most is the abandonment of downtown as a functional place of commerce. It's nearly dead, and the restaurants that are there are too small to sit in and relax and eat.
3) I feel very strongly about keeping young talent (tomorrow's leaders) in Mobile. From what I have seen, there hasn't historically been a push for that, as it seems that so many things in Mobile are controlled by people who would have retired decades before anywhere else. Mobile needs to be energized by fresh ideas and thinking, and I think we are beginning to see that happening. I hope the town continues to grow and begin to thrive; we certainly have everything going for us.
-- NTS, educator
1) I am very proud of the natural beauty of Mobile and our beaches, rivers, streams. I am proud of our skyline. I am proud generally of our friendly Southern people.
2) I dislike the looseness of our police enforcement, i.e. allowance of loud rap music from vehicles such that it actually hurts one's ears. And I am very critical of the tolerance of speeders and reckless drivers. Wouldn't the revival of motorcycle cops be helpful?
3 I feel very strongly that we should pursue our city as a tourist destination. We have so much history and beauty to offer. I sincerely believe that Mobile is truly poised to grow and I hope that it is with intelligent design.
-- John F. Butler, retired judge
1) Most like -- Its relationship with the water and the history that comes with that.
2) Dislike -- Litter and unkempt appearance of properties, urban sprawl, apparent lack of planning.
3) I feel very strongly that our police force is undermanned and underpaid and I don't think many people are concerned about that. It's hard to decide between that and the fact that I feel strongly that the city is in desperate need of western annexation and it is obviously not a priority among the majority of the community.
-- Jeff St. Clair, hospital administrator