Eddie Mitchell, owner of Ed and Tom’s Bar-B-Que, has filed to run for city council’s District 1 seat saying he hopes to help make changes to what he calls the south gateway of the city.
Mitchell has been a resident of District 1 for 22 years and says the district needs a lot of changes including a change in appearance.
“We’ve got to change the gateway,” Mitchell said. “If you going to make downtown better, you’ve got to make our presentation much better, which means the southside.”
The seat is currently held by Michael K. Shelton, who was appointed by the City Council after former Councilman Malcolm Hamilton abruptly resigned earlier in the year. Mitchell said he sees it as an opportunity to represent for the south side. Shelton has said he seeks the office but he has not filed.
Following Hamilton’s resignation, Mitchell also applied to be appointed and said he didn’t know why they picked someone who hasn’t lived in the area as long as he has.
“I don’t think we’ve had strong leadership,” he said adding the city council needs new leadership “that wants to take care of the community and not just one side.”
He talked infrastructure and said that mobile homes on the southside are lowering property values in District 1.
“I think it’s hurting us and a lot of people I’m talking to are saying ‘man, build some small homes or something’, they don’t have to be two-stories or three-stories. We need to build some nice little homes and they doing a few and they’re showing a great deal, but we need to continue.”
Mitchell says the city has got to move into the future and hear from the taxpayers.
“City council has got to do a lot better man and I’m going to say at least the last 12 years, there’s been no improvements over here,” he said adding that downtown was getting ugly before the Marriott was built in the district.
While newer candidates like Mitchell send in their applications, current mayor David Turner and District 2 councilman Dewey Bryant, who have termed out of their positions, are looking to change seats. Bryant has filed for mayor and Turner has said that he will run for the At-Large seat.
“I don’t think that’s fair because that’s the same circle,” Mitchell said, “Give somebody else a chance. Maybe they come in with different ideas. I think once you did your eight years or you’ve been mayor, that’s it. You shouldn’t be allowed to run again.”
He said that if elected, he could help other city council members in their districts and they could help him in District 1.
Mitchell said that he’s been canvassing and raising money and he’ll start putting signs in yards.
“I’ve raised a little bit and what I don’t get in the next day or two, it’s just gonna come out of my pocket. I’m not looking to spend $5,000. I’m just gonna have some signs, some fliers and me. That don’t cost a lot.”
Mitchell said that he has traveled the country as a driver for All Aboard America! tour and charter busses before he started at Champion Chemicals for around seven years as a frac supervisor and then drove school buses for a year while he opened his restaurant in 2016.
He said that his experience as a business owner, but also someone who still preps in the kitchen and serves food is that he meets a lot of people, learns about them, but says that he’s also learned how to budget himself.
“Being in Odessa. You know that oilfield’s gonna drop sooner or later so you better get ready. It may run seven or eight years, but you better get ready for it and it’s the worst it’s been in quite a bit,” he said of the current oil slump.
Mitchell said he’s interested in diversifying the jobs throughout Odessa and that he want’s people to come to Odessa and spend money here.
“I think we need to see about bringing different jobs in here. Not just oil related because we know when oil goes down, it hurts everybody,” he said, “We need to bring us in a couple of places that’s gonna let two or three hundred people work it and don’t have to worry about getting laid off if something happens.”
He said that while the oilfield is bringing in a lot of money, that money should be invested in a way other than on oil.
He also spoke about the Odessa Development Corporation saying that, “they need to help smaller people a little more than these big million-dollar firms they bring in. Yeah that’s bigger tax dollars,” he said, “but I’m telling you momma and pops is the ones hanging in for ya.”
He says he is ready to serve.
“I’m ready to go,” he added, “We need to get this going because things don’t happen overnight. We need to get community input, see what’s going on. That’s our biggest thing. We need to know what the community wants not just what those six or seven people want.”
Reach Michael Merlo at 432-333-7769 or by email at email@example.com.