Mobile starting to look like Birmingham

The history of Alabama could be summarized as the story of shortsighted and stupid politicians. While Mobile has done some good things in the area of economic development, the shortsightedness of politicians is easy to see in the handling of the Senior Bowl.

According to one report, Mobile’s leadership has systematically snubbed the Senior Bowl, while lavishing dollars on the Gulf Coast Classic. “It is inconceivable to me to think the most prestigious event we have that has been here for over 50 years has been overlooked by the mayor and the Ladd-Peebles board,” Nodine told Lagniappe Magazine. … “It was a slap in the face to the Senior Bowl and the NFL that the city turned down the Senior Bowl, especially in light of what they gave the Gulf Coast Classic,” Nodine said. “In no way shape or form are they the same. Now we’ve put in jeopardy the prestigious economic development event we have.”

There are more damning items in the story. But all the issues point to one big problem in politics—Aesop described this best in one of his fables. According to Aesop, “A Dog, crossing a bridge over a stream with a piece of flesh in his mouth, saw his own shadow in the water and took it for that of another Dog, with a piece of meat double his own in size. He immediately let go of his own, and fiercely attacked the other Dog to get his larger piece from him. He thus lost both: that which he grasped at in the water, because it was a shadow; and his own, because the stream swept it away.”

Such greed is far too prevalent in politics and business; there is a willingness to spend millions to land new business, while neglecting the business you already have. It costs more to land a new customer than to retain old customers, but we waste time and resources on the wrong battles. Why is it so hard to take care of what you already have?

While the Senior Bowl might stay in Mobile, the fact politicians have insulted and neglected one of the brightest sporting events in this state is a sign Mobile needs leadership change before it winds up like Birmingham.