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We need to focus on ourselves first

Dallas County ranks among the counties with the highest unemployment rates in Alabama. And by no coincidence, Selma ranks among the municipalities with the highest unemployment rates in the state with nearly one in five residents out of work.

But while local economic leaders are often pushed and challenged on their efforts, their results, we as residents have far too often fallen short in helping our economic recruiters in making this area of the Black Belt more appealing to outside businesses, industries and residents.

We maintain above average crime rates and our area government strife — which more often than not appears to be fit for a three-ring circus than the chambers of city hall — do little to endear us to those guests looking to move in.

Then there is the situation involving litter and the pride we take in our communities and ourselves.

All you have to do is drive along some of the major thoroughfares to notice a complete lack of attention when it comes to litter, code enforcement and overall curb appeal.

Take a drive from Craig Field to the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. In an area completely void of zoning and code enforcement, you will see former housing projects completely left in ruin by careless owners and business owners who think little of the image they present to those who might have flown in to tour the city, the area and our industrial parks.

While we can talk of the lack of new industry, new business and new residents, we must first talk about what we are doing to make those who might move here want to move here.

Until we can take an honest look at ourselves and admit that we have work to do, we cannot fault others.