The City of Fairhope has three days before it swears in a new Mayor and begins another chapter in its history. It is past due time to turn the page.
In the recent City Sketches, the centerfold article “if they build it they will come” is a glowing tribute to Mayor Kant’s accomplishments. This city magazine has been a propaganda tool of the Mayor, paid for with tax dollars, and supported by a disingenuous editorial staff of one person. The publication is outdated and the content is not truthful. Many people will read the magazine and be misled, for the first time, while visiting Fairhope, as well as citizens who are not politically aware or connected to the city. The Ripp Report has had several complaints from long term residents. Some of 30+ years, take offense to the many false claims by the soon-to-be former Mayor.
Mayor Kant said in the article that in 1983 that the “the town was dying,” and he was “equipped with his marching orders.” In fact, the town was nowhere near death; in reality it was a self-sufficient community of 7,268 people with over 80 businesses from car dealerships, restaurants, drugstores and grocery stores.
It is true he got marching orders… from Jim Nix, the previous Mayor—a dubious character who handpicked the conflicted Mr. Kant to carry his water for 16 years.
The Kant Tribute article smells like flowers but the content is fertilizer, especially the boasts about the soccer fields and the “imaginary north end parkland.” Both projects represent over $20 million of taxpayer money. The soccer fields have costs are over $5 million, so far, and do not even have bathrooms, concession stands or locker or dressing rooms.
Yet Kant claims the facility is “World Class.” I checked. There are not enough fields on this complex to attract a major soccer tournament. Therefore, it is NOT, “World Class.” This project warrants a financial audit. Further, the “parkland” is a result of a legal settlement that drained 3 million in tax dollars for attorney fees, the purchase of the land was a “legal settlement” not a park. What was not mentioned in the article is how Kant has obstructed any transition from himself to the new mayor, he has made it difficult to obtain documents or any general information, and this will be his legacy. All this will soon be history, City Sketches, along with Kant, will make their final EXIT.
What about the last 4 years of council business?
The council has a poor track record and many mistakes were made that will financially impact the city after Kant has EXITED. As Mayor Kant micromanaged the city into a good ole boy club for a selected few. He controlled or eliminated committees and had the City Council and Planning and Zoning Board under his thumb. Three council people have been replaced and the entire Planning and Zoning board needs to be replaced. Several of the members of Planning and Zoning have said they plan to remain and obstruct the New Mayor from appointing new board members. The community needs to be strong and convey to these members that their services are no longer needed.
They must be told that they too—for the good of the city–need to EXIT. Mayor Wilson needs to have the ability to move forward and be surrounded by people she can trust.
The last council’s legacy will be the new council’s burden. The Triangle lawsuit and the deliberate actions of the council to omit public participation in its decision of settling a lawsuit was a betrayal to the community. The soccer field complex from purchase to date is a disgrace. Lawsuits have cost the city millions and enriched Kant’s selected attorneys. The new administration is inheriting multiple lawsuits; let’s hope the past attorneys Hand Arendall are also shown the EXIT door.
The city council sat by while the volunteer fire department built a fire station on a dead end road and on property donated by Angelo Corte. They were also asleep when Kant authorized a sewer lift station built on Mr. Corte’s private property, recently gifted to the city. The council also supported doing business with elected officials such as Senator Tripp Pittman, who will also soon be EXITing.
On a positive note, the bad baggage of the past council broke the back of the community, and the proposed Fly Creek apartment was the last straw. Kant has his own Planning and Zoning board, Angelo Corte and the good ole boys to blame for his defeat. KARMA is real.
Now we, the community must slam that EXIT door on these scoundrels with profound determination going forward.
ENTER a new door with new ideals that represent the community as a whole.
You must engage your community in order to prevent corruption and the good ole boy mentality from returning.
Please attend the swearing in ceremony of our new Mayor Monday night, https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-city-of-fairhope-inauguration-tickets-29031235206,.
Be sure to let your councilmen know we wish to move forward and to please support our newly-elected Mayor Karin Wilson.
Fairhope has EXITED the past and ENTERED the future.
Francis Paul Ripp