Hayes announces for Ward 3

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 10, 2004

Another Ward 3 resident, Selma businessman Michael Hayes, has joined the race for city councilwoman Jean Martin’s seat.

Hayes, the owner of Talking Heads Communications, has lived on Alabama Avenue for 16 years and says now is the time to make a change.

“It’s been on my mind for several years to (run),” Hayes said. “I feel that this is the time to step up to the plate.”

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Hayes, 51, said over the years he’s watched as his neighborhood in Old Towne has deteriorated.

“I’ve seen the neighborhood at it’s peak, now I’ve seen it at probably it’s worst point,” Hayes said pointing to the crime and “dilapidated housing” in the historic district.

While many of the candidates this year have attacked the problems of the City of Selma as a whole, Hayes’ main focus is on Ward 3.

“People misunderstand what the purpose of a city councilperson is, that’s why they have them over wards,” he said, “so you can specifically help your ward and also help the city at large.

Of course I want to see an environment that will help industry to come here, but that’s not my job as a city councilperson. Of course I want to give a good image to the city, but what better way than to help the ward out.”

Hayes said he would work to help the city council present a united front to the community and to incoming businesses.

“My whole platform in running is very non-political,” he said. “I think one of the problems with Selma is that everything’s political. We have to move away from that.

Selma is one of the most political towns you’d ever want to live in.

From the Civil Rights and the Civil War, but we must move beyond that now.

I would like to be the mortar between the bricks.

Right now we have a lot of bricks, but no mortar.”

Hayes said he would focus on civic improvement and infrastructure.

“My whole platform is to do neighborhood revitalization,” he said. “I live in a historical district, What I would like to do is find money to restore not one or two houses but whole blocks and make the affordable for first time home buyers.”

The candidate said Selma has both “houses you can’t afford and houses you don’t want to afford,” but it lacks housing in the middle ground.

“It’s very difficult for first time home buyers to get into a situation that’s affordable for them,” Hayes said. ” My premise is that if we’re able to secure funds we’ll be able to go in there and restore homes which will create jobs, which will create a product and which will help our infrastructure.”

While Hayes doesn’t have specific programs in mind that would provide the money, he is confident that there would be some monies available.

“You’ve got to do your homework,” Hayes said. “We’re in a historic district so I’m quite sure there are funds available for neighborhoods in our same situations. We have a kind of a unique situation. We’re a mixed neighborhood. We have whites and blacks living in our ward.”

Hayes had some ideas for some of the neighborhood’s buildings that are going unused

“I’ve seen the good and I’ve seen the decline,” he said. “There is an old DHR building on Riverview, another thing I would like to do for the ward is I would like to see about utilizing that facility.”

Some of his ideas for the building included turning it into a police precinct or satellite office, an after school tutoring building or elderly daycare facility.

“I think we have to be creative,” Hayes said.

Hayes also expressed a desire for the city council to work to provide a more united front.

“I feel that whoever is elected at city council needs to not have their personal agenda’s on their sleeves,” he said. “I think that as a city council we need to seek goals and objectives for that council and that city I think we need to present a united front as leaders. If leaders are always bickering in public, the people don’t feel good about their current situation. We cannot continue to do business as we’ve been doing.

We have to have a united front. I’m not saying we won’t disagree but we shouldn’t be washing our laundry in public.

In addition to being a Selma businessman, Hayes was a co-founder of the C.A.R.E Neighborhood program, is an ex-Exchange Club member, a Chesterfield Club member, spent 10 years on the Board of Directors of the Selma Youth Center, is a member of the 100 Black Men of America and was the Minority Businessman of the Year for the Black Belt in 2000.

He is married to Barnette Hayes and they have three daughters.