Candidates turn out for Alabaster forum

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 2004

A political forum held at Liberty Baptist Church in Alabaster on Aug. 10 drew almost 100 percent participation among candidates seeking office in Alabaster municipal elections and gave those in attendance a look at the people behind the names on the ballot.

The election is set for Tuesday, Aug. 24 from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.

There are 20 candidates seeking office in Alabaster at this time. Only City Council candidates John J. Sarris, Ward 6, and Mike Morton, Ward 4, were not present at the forum.

Since the forum, mayoral candidate Alton Young dropped out of the race. According to City Clerk Marsha Massey, Young is retired and could not earn the $30,000 per year salary the mayor’s position pays as well as keep his retirement.

Seeking the office of mayor are incumbent David M. Frings, current Councilmember Henry R. Hines and former Police Chief Larry R. Rollan.

Hines said, &uot;I want to be your mayor to do the day to day business.&uot; He said his door will be open and that he will be a mayor for everyone.

He compared the situation Alabaster following recent economic growth to a team moving from the regular season into a &uot;bowl game.&uot; Hines said, &uot;I want to be the coach.&uot;

Rollan said he had been police chief in Alabaster for 30 years and seen the town grow from the days one had to go to Vestavia to get a cup of coffee to people not being able to get out of town due to traffic.

&uot;I don’t have a partner to run with, I’m not running against anybody else,&uot; he said. &uot;I will come out in the community and see what the needs are in different areas and try to meet with city leaders/community leaders.&uot;

Frings said he would like to &uot;continue the quality of life for all citizens of Alabaster … continue what we have going. We have a proven record.&uot;

Frings said he knows the issues that need to be address, that he will get with the council and new council members and get organized. He said coming issues include employee salaries and prioritizing capital projects.

In Ward 1, candidates include incumbent Bobby Lee Harris and Jerry Workman.

Workman said this election is about serving the entire ward.

Harris said the city has seen economic growth and that the enthusiasm in the city has inspired him to seek one more term in office.

In Ward 2, candidates include Mark Harwood, Bob Hicks and B.N. (Pete) Peterson.

Harwood said he wanted to give back to the community.

Hicks contended work needs to be finished before the city presses forward.

And Peterson said he would like to expand the fire and police departments and equalize salaries for city employees.

In Ward 3,

candidates include incumbent Adam Moseley and Carol B. Reddoch.

Reddoch said she wants to be elected because she has 33 years experience in public service and no future political aspirations. She said she would represent all the residents of the ward and would be for &uot;smart growth&uot; and &uot;long-range planning.&uot;

Moseley said he wanted to &uot;finish what we’ve started.&uot; He pointed to accomplishments in economic development and recreation. But he said the city still needs a new library and a new senior center, ways to help the school system and to address a pay rate that is less (for city employees) than neighboring cities.

In Ward 4, candidates include Amy Milliron,

Mike Morton and incumbent Rick Walters.

Milliron said she would first look to her ward which she feels has been &uot;somewhat neglected.&uot; She noted that the city needs to be careful in spending new revenues.

Walters said that he has served on the council for three years and sought office originally because he didn’t like what was going on.

In Ward 5, candidates include Russelle (Russ) Hubbard and incumbent Jim McClain.

Hubbard said he would work for more jobs for city residents. He said the city needs a new senior center, a new library and more computers.

McClain defended the city’s spending by noting a fast return on money invested in projects. He said the $6 million in revenue that will be generated from commercial growth will allow the city to increase city services, improve fire and police protections, public works and parks and recreation.

In Ward 6, candidates include Randy Robinson, John J. Sarris and incumbent MIke Sherwood.

Robinson said he’s seen a lot of growth but noted that when decisions are made there is no public notice. He said issues need to be discussed with citizens.

&uot;Growth with responsibility is my platform,&uot; he said.

Sherwood said, &uot;It’s my mission to serve. We have to finish what we started.&uot;

He said the first thing is to keep people safe focusing on good personnel in public safety. He also said the Siluria Mill property needs to be developed as a cultural and recreational facility.

In Ward 7, candidates include Terry L. Massey and incumbent Tommy Ryals.

Massey said the city needs to look at its debt and before money goes out, look at what the city is paying for.

Ryals said taxes don’t pay enough to cover city services. &uot;You have to have revenues.&uot;

Regarding question’s about the influx of Hispanics into Alabaster, Rollan said, &uot;If you’re here legally, I welcome you with open arms.&uot; But he said if illegal, those residents &uot;need to get out of town.&uot; He said &uot;illegals don’t pay taxes or obey laws.&uot;

Hines disagreed.

&uot;At one time we were all immigrants. We became legal,&uot; he said, indicating &uot;people should be given a chance first.&uot;

Frings said he would will not profile Hispanics, blacks, Chinese, etc.

He also spoke to the matter that if a person has a social security number, there is no way to tell if they are legal or not and indicated that the federal government doesn’t offer help if the numbers of illegals are small