Monday night, I heard a political official come as close to the truth of what the problem is in Albany than any other time in my life. Mayor Dorothy Hubbard came oh-so-close to putting her finger on the problems in the Good Life City, but still was able to miss it by miles.
In an interview with WALB on Monday, Mayor Hubbard said, “What we have learned from all of this, is we may be part of the problem, you know the way we see it, so if we see it in a different light then we can display it in a different light to other people, or express it in a different way to other people.” The phrase “we may be part of the problem,” is possibly the greatest and most truthful phrase I’ve ever heard from a politician in all my life. The reality is, they most definitely are.
Where Mayor Hubbard falls short of the truth is the rest of that quote. The words she uses – to say nothing of the other quotes she uses with WALB – indicate that she, like her predecessor, seems to think that things are just fine in Albany and more work isn’t really needed. What we need is simply better salesmanship.
First, salesmanship only goes so far. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Albany is floundering. We have poverty around every corner. The solutions we have gotten from the city is simply more housing and social programs, but many of us in town are hearing more and more stories about people moving into Albany to take advantage of our programs for the disadvantaged, thereby actually increasing our poverty level.
There has been little evidence to the citizens of Albany that our benevolent leaders have done jack to bring new industry to town. Small business owners can only do so much, and even then it’s really just shifting money around town versus bringing in anything from outside of the area.
Mayor Hubbard is right, the commission as a whole is part of the problem. They have given us wonderful gifts like welcome signs and a blue archway, come to us via their inclusion on a list of other things to be voted on in SPLOST votes, but so far we haven’t really gotten anything of substance from them.
However, she is oh-so-wrong when she thinks that a chance of perception on the commission’s part will enable them to simply change our perception. Can the commission fix problems like poverty? Maybe, maybe not. I’m realistic enough to know that their abilities are limited and poverty is a problem that they just might not be equipped to deal with. That doesn’t justify pretending that the problems don’t exist.
During her campaign, Mayor Hubbard spoke a great deal about education. While I was critical of that, seeing as how the mayor has no authority over education in any way, I was hopeful that her platform indicated she at least understood how big of a problem poverty was for this community.
Her words Monday indicate that, just as some in the community suspected, that Dorothy Hubbard first term would really be Willie Adams third term. It was Mayor Adams who essentially blamed local media for keeping away new business with our coverage of Don Buie and his shenanigans. Hubbard’s word, while not as direct, hinted at the idea that perceptions matter more than reality.
There are serious problems in this community, and they require serious people who will put forth serious solutions. B.J. Fletcher and people like her, the people who step forward on a regular basis to make this community better, can’t do it alone. They need the City to stop being part of the problem, and to recognize just how they actually are part of the problem. Then, they can just get the hell out of our way as we bring Albany back to greatness.