A retired businessman made it official Feb. 21 and became the first person to publicly announce his intentions to run for the District 5 Mobile City Council seat, which will be vacated by City Council President Reggie Copeland once this term expires.
Joel Daves, who retired in April 2012 from Regions Financial Corp. as South Alabama Area President, told 50 or so supporters gathered in Government Plaza he would run for the position.
"The future is bright for Mobile, but we have to be disciplined as leaders and steer our city in the right direction and do so with everyone at the table,ā€¯ he said. "Over the past six months I have spoken to citizens and city employees, I have met with neighborhood groups, with pastors and with small business owners. I have met with firemen and have talked with police captains, lieutenants, sergeants and with patrolmen on the beat. I have listened to theses folks as they told me about their dreams for our city and how they think the city can be improved. They want the same things the rest of us want: a clean, safe city that is fun to live in and has opportunities for all of us to grow and succeed.ā€¯
The decision to run for the council seat came about because of timing, Daves said. Copeland, who has represented the district since 1985, decided to retire from City Council life around the time Daves retired from Regions.
The point in Mobileā€™s development is something else that lured Daves to run for the office. He said Mobile hasnā€™t seen an opportunity like this for "60 or 70 years.ā€¯
"I decided to retire and at the same time I was involved in fundraising for the Chamber of Commerce. I became even more aware of this great opportunity in front of us and Reggie decided he wasnā€™t going to run for re-election. So, I was concerned about what would happen with that,ā€¯ he said. "The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that I could provide the leadership in that seat once Reggie left. I thought it was really important for where we are now and where we could go.ā€¯
Leadership for District 5 was not just the one factor Daves wants to make a focus. He also wants the people, business owners and anyone with connections to Mobile to be treated well.
His campaign slogan "The customer is always right,ā€¯ signifies this principle, he said.
"The customer is always right ā€” the cityā€™s customers, every citizen who visits a city park, every victim of crime, every single member of this community is our customer and I intend to make sure that we treat our customers well,ā€¯ Daves.
The customers Daves spoke of include Airbus officials, small business owners, but mainly the citizens. He said while out speaking with a cross-section of Mobilians, they all expressed issues with the cityā€™s procedures.
"I want to make all processes clearer and easier for people,ā€¯ Daves said. "All over the city, I heard people saying they find the cityā€™s processes difficult.ā€¯
Daves wants to make the process for starting up a small business easy because they are "the lifebloodā€¯ of the city.
"Every day some energetic and enthusiastic entrepreneur is planning a new venture, a job creating venture that streams tax dollars into the cityā€™s bank account but yet we fail to see that opportunity instead of making it easy and even support that business owner. Instead we make it hard and complicated. That must end,ā€¯ he said.
The municipal elections, which will be for all City Council districts and mayor seats, will be Aug. 27, 2013.