By RJ Walters / For the Jackson Citizen Patriot
The Wall Street Journal thought enough of Albion to feature the city in a video report last month, but not everybody is excited about it.
The video, “No Jobs, No Votes,” was published on the Journal’s website on Aug. 12 by Neil Hickey. Former Albion mayor and current mayoral candidate Bill Wheaton said it makes the city look bad and that comments from current mayor Joe Domingo are cause for concern.
The 5 minute, 39 second video focuses on the city’s manufacturing history, with an underlying message about how high unemployment could mean trouble for Democrats nationwide in November elections.
Wheaton said the video reflects poorly on the city because it shows a lot of trash and abandoned buildings, as well as sites like the closed Bohm Theater.
Albion College President Dr. Donna Randall, U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer and Harry Bonner, executive director of minority services, are featured in the report, but Wheaton said Domingo’s remarks are most troublesome.
“If we ever really come out of (the economic recession) fully, I don’t see probably any heavy improvement for the next five to eight years,” was Domingo’s lone statement in the video.
“Can somebody give me some light on this here, what it was about, what happened, who did it?” Wheaton asked. “There is not a positive thing in the whole video. It’s detrimental to the city and I suggest you go look it up.”
Domingo acknowledged doing the interview, but said he had not heard about the video until Saturday evening and had not yet viewed it.
“It wasn’t (about) just Albion — we just happen to be one of the places they happened to pick,” he said. “And we have lost a lot of business and factories and foundries and now we’re on the rebound trying to do something else.”
Several Albion residents voiced their dismay upon hearing about it, but Java and Jazz café owner Mark Hunt, who was also in the video, said sometimes short snippets of interviews don’t tell the whole story.
“We know there’s poverty in Albion, but we’re trying to move on, trying to move forward and some of us were trying to show that … so don’t blame the messenger, blame the message,” he said.